Small cubes that self-assemble

Small cubes that self-assemble
MIT Oct 3, 2013

Known as M-Blocks, the robots are cubes with no external moving parts. Nonetheless, they’re able to climb over and around one another, leap through the air, roll across the ground, and even move while suspended upside down from metallic surfaces.

Inside each M-Block is a flywheel that can reach speeds of 20,000 revolutions per minute; when the flywheel is braked, it imparts its angular momentum to the cube. On each edge of an M-Block, and on every face, are cleverly arranged permanent magnets that allow any two cubes to attach to each other.

journalistic versions:
Surprisingly simple scheme for self-assembling robots
MIT. Oct. 3, 2013

Watch: MIT’s Self-Assembling Robots Offer Whiffs of Optimus Prime
Wired, 10.09.13


1,000 Things (by Sarah Jarosz)

Sarah Jarosz, ‘Build Me Up From Bones’
Song: 1,000 Things

For the past couple of years, Sarah Jarosz has been touring with fiddler Alex Hargreaves and cellist Nathaniel Smith as one of the most impressive trios on the folk circuit. On Build Me Up from Bones, she shifted her focus to this trio, taking her jazz-improv-and-folk-infused compositions a step up.
Lyrically, the disc is heavy on coming-of-age themes, wrought with exploration, discovery and fresh insights. With this disc, Jarosz has firmly established herself as one of the finest, most promising artists in her field.

The Top 10 Folk And Americana Albums Of 2013
December 21, 2013

Birds and Stars

Elephant Revival, ‘These Changing Skies’
Song: Birds and Stars

Elephant Revival is another group that established itself anew this year with this collection of entrancing, soulful music.
The idea of confinement doesn’t usually go along with the freedom and expansiveness of jamgrass, but it turned out that when Elephant Revival put aside its jamming inclinations, some exquisite songwriting appeared.
This troupe of remarkably dexterous multi-instrumentalists delivered some of the most creative and lyrically beautiful string band music this year.

The Top 10 Folk And Americana Albums Of 2013
December 21, 2013

see also:

My Favorite Picture Of You

Guy Clark, ‘My Favorite Picture Of You’
Song: My Favorite Picture of You

Guy Clark has built a career of writing starkly honest story-songs. He’s one of the finest living songwriters in American folk music, holding up the legacy of his late friend Townes Van Zandt. With My Favorite Picture of You, he delivered an album that tackled the impossible, complex emotions that came with burying his wife and moving on. Susanna Clark was a songwriter and artist, a devoted wife and frequent muse, and these songs pay beautiful homage to her memory with devotion to match, so raw it’s often heartbreaking.

The Top 10 Folk And Americana Albums Of 2013
December 21, 2013

Red & White & Blue & Gold

Aoife O’Donovan, ‘Fossils’
Song: Red & White & Blue & Gold

With the life of a well-loved band (Crooked Still) behind her, Aoife O’Donovan launched her solo career with a bounty of expectations from her fans. All were surpassed by this collection of imaginative arrangements and instrumentation that was somehow both minimalist and lush at the same time.
With producer Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, Neko Case) at the helm, O’Donovan was free to weave together her strange bedfellow musical tastes — everything from traditional folk to new jazz, gospel, bluegrass and pop — into a dreamily cohesive album.

The Top 10 Folk And Americana Albums Of 2013
December 21, 2013

Kaleidoscope (by Tiesto)

Songs To Shake The Dance Floor
Tiesto (feat. Jonsi)
Album: Kaleidoscope
Song: Kaleidoscope

Headlining this year’s festival is Dutch DJ and producer Tiesto.
As arguably the most famous DJ in the world, Tiesto’s influence in dance music cannot be overstated.
His star power has helped to change the way DJs are perceived: They’ve gone from anonymous faces behind turntables to iconic musicians.
On the title track from his latest album, Kaleidoscope, he teams up with Sigur Ros frontman Jonsi. The Icelandic singer’s haunting falsetto builds the first five minutes of this song, and releases it to a trance-y explosion of synthesizers. The latter half of the piece is more typical of Tiesto’s sound.

Giorgio Moroder On Dance Music’s Future

Giorgio Moroder On Dance Music’s Present And Future
December 29, 2013

Four decades into a career that also includes award-winning work in cinema, with scores for Midnight Express and American Gigolo, Moroder is still going as strong as the beat in his songs.
Among other projects this year, he collaborated with one of the biggest names in dance music, Daft Punk. The Grammy-nominated French duo invited Moroder into the studio — not to push buttons and twist knobs, but to narrate his own life.

I met Donna Summer in ’74. I loved the Serge Gainsbourg song “Je T’Aime… Moi Non Plus.”

I’m not a discotheque guy.
Sometimes, if I had a new demo I went to some discotheques to check it out — see how the reactions of the people were. But just to dance, I rarely did that.

Now, the DJ becomes a star in itself, because of the way he programs the songs with lows and then highs and then slowing it down. The big DJs, like Tiesto and Deadmau5 and all those guys, they are very, very creative.

Daft Punk. That big hit “Get Lucky” is a disco song — not only the melody and the whole concept, but we had one of the great disco guys and one of the best guitarists ever, Nile Rodgers, to play on it. So that’s great disco, but a modern disco, because it has great vocoders and synthesizers.

The trend now is to go back to more traditional composing, where you have an intro, a verse, a pre-chorus, a chorus.
Avicii, with the song “Wake Me Up,” that’s more like a traditional dance song — in fact, it could be a country-and-western song. I think the music in the EDM world is going to go back to recording and composing the traditional way.