THE BEST Music

Bob Dylan at 20

Bob Dylan at 20

“The song was there before me, before I came along.” Blank on Blank animated an excerpt from a 1962 interview with a then 20-year-old Bob Dylan, who had yet to release an album. He talks about working at a carnival, writing songs, and more. Full interview here.

’80s Synth Riffs

’80s Synth Riffs

From The Final Countdown to Take on Me to Axel F, musician shochan8883 catalogs some of the most memorable synthesizer riffs of the 1980s. It’s by no means comprehensive, but entertaining nonetheless. Also, we’re not sure what to make of that Baroque Hoedown.

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Tobe Nwigwe: Tiny Desk Concert

Tobe Nwigwe: Tiny Desk Concert

“Now I slay beats… ‘member when I would slay freaks.” Houston rapper Tobe Nwigwe’s smooth sound and positive vibes are a breath of fresh air, complemented by soulful backing vocals and jazzy instrumentals as he performs Houston Tribute, Caged Birds, Against the Grain, Shine, and I’m Dope. at the NPR offices.

Tiny Piano Players

Tiny Piano Players

Musician and video maker Beanzo decided to enlist the help of 19 tiny digital clones of himself to perform Beethoven’s Für Elise on a grand piano. He openly admits he swiped the idea from Mystery Guitar Man, but Beanzo’s approach was clearly quite a bit more complex.

Kian Soltani: Tiny Desk Concert

Kian Soltani: Tiny Desk Concert

Listen up as NPR’s offices are filled with rich and vibrant sounds made by musician Kian Soltani and his rare Giovanni Grancino cello, made way back in 1680. The tracks are Hungarian Rhapsody by Popper, Nacht und Träume by Schubert (arr. Soltani), and Persian Fire Dance, by Soltani himself. That’s Christopher Schmitt on piano.

Rapper’s Delight: Digital Edition

Rapper’s Delight: Digital Edition

The 1979 Sugar Hill Gang track Rapper’s Delight put hip hop on the map for many of us. Now enjoy a cover of the seminal rap track, as performed by the trio of Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, courtesy of YouTuber Steven Rosenthal. It seems like Siri has the best sense of rhythm.

Bang Your Head (It’s a Celebration)

Bang Your Head (It’s a Celebration)

Musical mashup master Bill McLintock’s track will drive you mad. It’s another impossible combination that somehow just works, as Kool & The Gang’s Celebration meets Quiet Riot’s Metal Health. Crank it up to 11 as funk and metal make beautiful music together.

Sonic Surfing

Sonic Surfing

The original Sonic the Hedgehog has one of the most catchy and memorable soundtracks in the history of gaming, thanks to composer Masato Nakamura. Now listen as 130Grit Sound Studio performs a trio of familiar tunes from the game, done wonderfully in Dick Dale/surf rock style.

Classical Music Mashup III

Classical Music Mashup III

Musician Grant Woolard follows up his previous two classical music clips with a new medley of 70 tunes performed on piano, as more heads of composers bounce their way across the musical staff. Many of the greats are represented, from Beethoven, to Bach, to Strauss, to Mozart, to Chopin, and more. Rick Roll at 0:39.

Video Game Metal Tribute

Video Game Metal Tribute

It’s a couple of years old, but that doesn’t make FamilyJules‘ hard rock medley of classic video game music any less entertaining. Whenever we hear video game music played with this much energy and speed, we think our character is about to run out of health. Grab the MP3 here.

YYZ Blindfolded

YYZ Blindfolded

The 1981 Rush instrumental track YYZ is known for its intense rhythm track, but that didn’t stop musician Mitch Bruzzese from performing the daunting track live for his Twitch followers – while wearing a blindfold for the entire 4+ minute song.

Super Mario World: “Athletic” Jam

Super Mario World: “Athletic” Jam

The multitalented Aaron Grooves and Jared Charney Cohen collaborated for this fun tap dance, piano, and xylophone performance of the “Athletic” theme music from Super Mario World. If you need a smile today, this video should do the trick.

Max Cooper: Perpetual Motion

Max Cooper: Perpetual Motion

Visual artist Nick Cobby combined amazing top-down drone footage with abstract digital art to create the hypnotic video for Max Cooper’s Perpetual Motion, an audio-visual piece commissioned by London’s Barbican Centre. The work transforms the movements of people into ever-changing geometric patterns.

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Say_Superstrings

Say_Superstrings

A trio of classical musicians teamed up with interactive artists Ouchhh on this innovative performance art work for Ars Electronica, using sensors to measure data from its cellist’s Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta and Gamma brainwave activity to generate real-time visuals influenced by emotion, focus, auditory, and other neural response.

The Neverending Story: Rock Edition

The Neverending Story: Rock Edition

If you’ve never seen The Neverending Story, rent it this weekend. The 1984 classic is a wonderfully imaginative ride through a child’s mind as he discovers a fantastical world hidden in the pages of a book. To show his love for the film, guitarist 331Erock put his own spin on its theme song, by Limahl and Giorgio Moroder.

Grand Piano Island

Grand Piano Island

Pianist Pavel Andreev performs in one of the most exclusive venues we’ve ever seen – on a man-made floating square island in the middle of the lake in Karelia, Russia’s stunning marble canyon. They had to lower the piano on a crane from above, then floated it into the lake.

Pump Up the Jam in Church

Pump Up the Jam in Church

Get your booty in a pew tonight. Gud Nuse shared this very different interpretation of Technotronic’s 1989 dance mega-hit Pump Up the Jam. His toned-down version was recorded in a church, and performed on a grand piano.

Snow (Hey Oh): Fingerstyle

Snow (Hey Oh): Fingerstyle

Musician Luca Stricagnoli is back with another fantastic performance. Watch and listen as the fingerstyle guitar master’s fingers fly across the fretboard with a great rendition of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ melodic 2006 hit Snow (Hey Oh).

Bohemian Rhapsody on Bass

Bohemian Rhapsody on Bass

Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is an incredibly challenging song to play when you have the proper instruments. To prove his bass-playing chops, musician Zander Zon managed to perform a compelling rendition entirely on his bass guitar. We’re amazed that he was able to extract such range from the 4-string instrument.

Stairway to Heaven: Russian Edition

Stairway to Heaven: Russian Edition

The Osipov State Russian Folk Orchestra is best known for their classic Russian tunes, but they also enjoy the occasional rock and roll song. Here, their balalaika section performs a cover of the 1971 Led Zeppelin classic Stairway to Heaven. We had no idea that a contrabass balalaika was a thing.

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Sounds Like Van Spirit

Sounds Like Van Spirit

After listening to a great performance by a street musician, sound engineer Marten Berger found himself inspired. He spent two years on the road, traveling across 25 countries in search of the best performers, then recorded many of them in his studio on wheels. A collection of recordings are available for sale on his website.

Desolation Center (Trailer)

Desolation Center (Trailer)

Burning Man, Lollapalooza, and Coachella owe their existence to a series of 1980s guerrilla punk rock events in the California desert. Stuart Swezey’s documentary combines interviews of punk and post-punk luminaries with performances by Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Perry Farrell, and more. Drops 9/13/19.

Michel Gondry: Recursion

Michel Gondry: Recursion

Michel Gondry’s music videos, TV shows, and films deftly combine humor, childlike whimsy, and in-camera effects to entertain our brains. In this clip from Polyphonic, essayist Noah LeFevre explains how Gondry’s background as a percussionist has influenced his work through rhythmic, repetitive, and redundant imagery.

Killing In The Name of 1000 Musicians

Killing In The Name of 1000 Musicians

Every once in a while, the Rockin’ 1000 assembles a group of musicians from around the globe to offer up one epic rock performance. This time, they gathered at the Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt to play the Rage Against the Machine classic, Killing in the Name. We love watching all the drummers banging away in sync.

Anna Meredith: Paramour

Anna Meredith: Paramour

Perhaps inspired by the LEGO railway work of BananenBuurman, filmmaker Ewan Jones Morris takes us on a thrilling one-shot, POV ride, engineered by LEGO expert builder Gary Davis. Anna Meredith’s engrossing instrumental track serves as the perfect accompaniment to the precision-timed train ride.

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