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Music

Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: Who Smashed the First Guitar on Stage?

December 2, 2015

Smashing a Perfectly Good Guitar Pendant | UncommonGoods

Who smashed the first guitar? Yes, they did.

Pete Townshend, legendary guitarist of the classic British band first destroyed his instrument on stage in 1964…by accident. Soon, the Who was known for the instrument-smashing melees that punctuated their exuberant live shows, including Keith Moon’s exploding drum kit, live on the Smothers Brothers Show. Since then, the annals of rock history have been full of violent instrumental sacrifice, with other performers getting more and more inventive with their destructive showmanship: Jimi Hendrix set his Strat on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival, Keith Emerson abused his Hammond organ with a dagger he carried for just that purpose, and Kurt Cobain made an art form of reviving Townshend-style guitar sacrifice. Today, busted-up basses and six strings are mostly relegated to museum collections, but in the classic rock era, no axe was truly safe in the spotlight.

Smashing a Perfectly Good Guitar Pendant | $75

Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: Is it Really All About That Bass?

December 1, 2015

Boombox Touch Speaker | UncommonGoods

It depends on the low-frequency context. A stand-up bass in a jazz trio can contribute to a soothing chill-out. The rhythmic bass line of your favorite workout jam can provide essential inspiration. But studies show that Low Frequency Intrusion (LFI)—sounds such as cars with giant sub-woofers that rattle the whole neighborhood—causes negative symptoms in unwitting listeners, including anxiety, decreased concentration, elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, and insomnia. In other words, intrusive, booming bass is anything but music to many ears. But in other parts of the animal kingdom, low-frequency sound provides essential communication. Some whales use ultra-low notes in their “songs” to keep in touch with each other over great distances because long, low-amplitude sound waves hold their sonic integrity better over large distances in water. So, don’t be surprised if see a blue whale hanging out near the PA at your next rock concert—they’re all about that bass…and krill.

Boombox Touch Speaker | $40

Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: What’s the Longest Song in History?

November 15, 2015

Drawn to Music | UncommonGoods

Longplayer, an epic musical composition and A.I. project initiated by Jem Finer (of Pogues fame) has been playing for less than two percent of its intended duration. Designed to last a millennium without repetition, Longplayer is barely getting warmed up as it approaches the fifteen-year mark of its sonic lifespan. To put that in perspective, the longest Pink Floyd track is about 25 minutes (“Shine On You Crazy Diamond”), and Wagner’s Ring cycle clocks in at over 16 hours. But these compositions are mere blips compared to Longplayer’s thousand-year run. If you spent your entire life listening to the meditative tones of Longplayer (and who has the time?), you couldn’t hope to hear more than ten percent of the evolving composition. But regardless of how long you can listen, the piece offers a sensory analog to the expansiveness of time and the difficulty that the human lifespan poses to our perception of much beyond “the now.” In an age of music by instant-gratification download, Longplayer serves as a contemplative antidote to the impatient listening encouraged by MP3s or streaming audio.

Drawn to Music | $20

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Reggie Philbert

September 25, 2015

ReginaldPhilbert

Reggie Philbert – UncommonGoods Security Officer

My hometown…
Brooklyn.

I’m inspired by…
Every time I play the drums, whether it’s for a concert or just practice. It’s one of the few times I actually feel free and relaxed.

When I was a kid, my favorite TV show was…
Hey Arnold! When I was growing up all the characters on the show reminded me of people in my life one way or another. I liked the morals that every episode consisted of, such as the value of friendships and hard work. It was also a way my younger brother and I would bond.

The word or phrase that best describes me is…
Loyal.

When I’m not at work I’m probably…
Reading a Stephen King novel, practicing on the bass guitar/drums or playing basketball in the park

If I could become an expert on one thing it would be…
Playing piano. I gave up on it when I was younger

One thing I’ve learned from working at UncommonGoods is…
The value of communication, teamwork, and patience.

An uncommon fact about me…
I’ve never learned how to whistle.