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Truax in 2010
|Origin||New York City, United States|
|Genres||Steampunk, outsider, independent music|
Thomas Truax ( // TROO-aks) is an American songwriter, performer, and inventor of experimental musical instruments.
An inventor is a person who creates or discovers a new method, form, device or other useful means that becomes known as an invention. The word inventor comes from the Latin verb invenire, invent-, to find. The system of patents was established to encourage inventors by granting limited-term, limited monopoly on inventions determined to be sufficiently novel, non-obvious, and useful. Although inventing is closely associated with science and engineering, inventors are not necessarily engineers nor scientists.
An experimental musical instrument is a musical instrument that modifies or extends an existing instrument or class of instruments, or defines or creates a new class of instrument. Some are created through simple modifications, such as cracked drum cymbals or metal objects inserted between piano strings in a prepared piano. Some experimental instruments are created from household items like a homemade mute for brass instruments such as bathtub plugs. Other experimental instruments are created from electronic spare parts, or by mixing acoustic instruments with electric components.
Truax first came to prominence as a solo performer in the 1990s in New York as one of a group of musicians and songwriters (including Lach, Jeffrey Lewis, Curtis Eller, The Burning Hell, Dibs, Boo Hoo and Beck) who made up the antifolk movement based around the Sidewalk Cafe on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Truax's emergence as a solo act came after years of fronting bands (most notably Like Wow).The move was in part to remove the need to rely on other people to perform and to embark in a new direction that would distinguish his act from the hundreds of bands and singer-songwriters active in New York. This new direction involved the construction and playing of unique instruments, as well as more traditional singer-songwriter style songs. The "inventor" side of his musical act drew on his work as an animator on MTV's Celebrity Death Match and a fascination since early childhood with building objects out of whatever materials he had available. Thomas's use of "primitive" technology, the often fantastical elements of his songs and gothic overtones (his website talks of his instruments "as though plucked straight from the mind of Tim Burton") have led to him being linked to the subgenre of steampunk.
The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.
Jeffrey Lewis is аn American singer-songwriter and comic book artist.
Curtis Paul Eller is a banjo player, songwriter and rock & roll singer based in Durham, NC.
Truax's first two instruments were the Cadillac Beatspinner Wheel and the Hornicator, the former being a system of spinning wheels, metal spokes and small cymbals, which, through the use of various contact mics, "beats out" through the PA a primitive drum beat that forms the backing to songs that Thomas then plays on guitar. Its large size made the Beatspinner Wheel unsuitable for touring, so Truax created a smaller version, entitled "Sister Spinster" that he uses to this day. The Hornicator started life as an old gramophone record horn, before Truax added a set of strings, a kazoo and a microphone. Here Thomas beats out the rhythm on the horn's metal casing (using a ringed finger to create a 'click' and other fingers to create a contrastive "thud") which is then repeated through the use of a looper pedal that records the beat and loops it over the PA, allowing Thomas to add more layers of other instrumentation (through the strings and other implements attached to the Hornicator). Finally Thomas sings a vocal through a microphone attached to the instrument.
Other instruments work as variations on automatic rhythms and looped beats: the Stringaling features a vaguely bongo-like drum at the top of a length of clothes drier tubing to which is attached a variety of musical devices with pull-strings; Mary Poppins features a metal column attached to which are two arms that fly out to the side and spin, creating a train-like rhythm; the Backbeater, made up of several rotating spokes, straps on to Thomas' back and spins to create a low rhythm. Some songs do not feature any of his inventions, most notably "Inside the Internet" which is played solely on guitar, and "The Butterfly & The Entomologist", which is again played on a guitar, albeit with the use of a pocket fan that Thomas used to hit the strings to produce an eerie effect. Common themes in Thomas's songs include love, loneliness, travel, the animal kingdom, nature and technology.
Bongos are an Afro-Cuban percussion instrument consisting of a pair of small open bottomed drums of different sizes. In Spanish the larger drum is called the hembra (female) and the smaller the macho (male). Together with the conga or tumbadora, and to a lesser extent the batá drum, bongos are the most widespread Cuban hand drums, being commonly played in genres such as son cubano, salsa and Afro-Cuban jazz. A bongo drummer is known as a bongosero.
Truax was once challenged to show how he makes an instrument. Given many items retrieved from a recycle bin, within 15 minutes he created a rhythmic invention which he looped through effects with water and rubber bands.
Though Truax usually only performs solo, his records contain songs with full band arrangements, along with his invented instruments. He has been featured in several music documentaries including Adam Clitheroe's "One Man In The Band" (2008) and Gabriel Shalom's "Instrumental" (2005).
In 2013, Truax composed a new original score for Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt, which was staged at the Theater Dortmund, Germany during its 2013/14 season, with music performed live by Thomas in an open metal container suspended above a stage of water.
A songwriter is a professional that writes lyrics and composes musical compositions for songs. A songwriter can also be called a composer, although the latter term tends to be used mainly for individuals from the classical music genre and film scoring, but is also associated writing and composing the original musical composition or musical bed. A songwriter that writes the lyrics/words are referred to as lyricist. The pressure from the music industry to produce popular hits means that songwriting is often an activity for which the tasks are distributed between a number of people. For example, a songwriter who excels at writing lyrics might be paired with a songwriter with the task of creating original melodies. Pop songs may be written by group members from the band or by staff writers – songwriters directly employed by music publishers. Some songwriters serve as their own music publishers, while others have outside publishers.
Sheet music is a handwritten or printed form of musical notation that uses musical symbols to indicate the pitches (melodies), rhythms or chords of a song or instrumental musical piece. Like its analogs – printed books or pamphlets in English, Arabic or other languages – the medium of sheet music typically is paper, although the access to musical notation since the 1980s has included the presentation of musical notation on computer screens and the development of scorewriter computer programs that can notate a song or piece electronically, and, in some cases, "play back" the notated music using a synthesizer or virtual instruments.
No Strings Attached is the third studio album by American boy band NSYNC, released on March 21, 2000, by Jive Records. Looking to distinguish their music from that of their labelmates, its music incorporates pop and R&B styles. Prior to the release of the album, NSYNC separated from their management Trans Continental and their label RCA Records; its title is a play on the idea of independence from corporate control.
After Forever was a Dutch symphonic metal band with strong progressive metal influences. The band relied on the use of both soprano vocals and death grunts.
A rhythm section is a group of musicians within a music ensemble or band that provides the underlying rhythm, harmony and pulse of the accompaniment, providing a rhythmic and harmonic reference and "beat" for the rest of the band. The rhythm section is often contrasted with the roles of other musicians in the band, such as the lead guitarist or lead vocals whose primary job is to carry the melody.
In music, a breakdown is part of a song in which various instruments have solo parts (breaks). This may take the form where all instruments play the verse together, and then several or all instruments individually repeat the verse as solo parts.
Tourniquet is a Christian metal band that formed in Los Angeles, California in 1989. The band was founded by Ted Kirkpatrick, Guy Ritter, and Gary Lenaire. The band primarily performs a mixture of thrash, progressive, and neoclassical metal, and is influenced by additional, non-rock forms of music such as classical and world music. It has earned six GMA Dove Award nominations and won multiple recognitions from the readers of HM Magazine, including "Favorite Band of the 1990s" and "Favorite Album of the 1990s" for Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance (1992). It has released ten studio albums, two compilation albums, one EP, and several video releases. Tourniquet has sold more than 300,000 albums. In addition to its use of classical music, the band is known for frequently using medical terminology in its album and song titles and lyrics.
A one-man band is a musician who plays a number of instruments simultaneously using their hands, feet, limbs, and various mechanical or electronic contraptions. One-man bands also often sing while they perform.
Jari Mäenpää is a Finnish heavy metal multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. He is the founder of Wintersun for which he records all instruments. Before forming Wintersun, Mäenpää was best known for his role in the folk metal band Ensiferum, which he joined in 1996 after leaving his prior band named Immemorial. Wintersun was initially planned as a parallel project alongside Ensiferum, but in January, 2004 he was forced to leave Ensiferum due to clashes between their touring schedule and the studio recording time he had booked for Wintersun.
Hip hop production is the creation of hip hop music in a recording studio. While the term encompasses all aspects of hip hop music creation, including recording the rapping of an MC, a turntablist or DJ providing a beat, playing samples and "scratching" using record players and the creation of a rhythmic backing track, using a drum machine or sequencer, it is most commonly used to refer to recording the instrumental, non-lyrical and non-vocal aspects of hip hop.
Phil Sgrosso is an American heavy metal musician, best known rhythm guitarist of the American metalcore band As I Lay Dying, former rhythm guitarist of the band Wovenwar and touring lead guitarist for Saosin and Nails.
Kroncong is the name of a ukulele-like instrument and an Indonesian musical style that typically makes use of the kroncong, the band or combo or ensemble consists of a flute, a violin, a melody guitar, a cello in pizzicato style, string bass in pizzicato style, and a female or male singer.
Michael Masley is known for his musical work on the Hungarian cymbalom. His unique method of playing the instrument comes from his invention of the bowhammer, a cross between a fiddle bow and a dulcimer hammer, attached to the finger with a ring. Since 1983, Masley has made his living as a street musician, busking and selling cassette and CD recordings on the streets of Berkeley, San Francisco, and other San Francisco Bay Area locations.
"Breakin' Down" is a song by Skid Row and released as a single from their third album, Subhuman Race. The song was released in 1995 and written by Dave "the Snake" Sabo. It is mostly known for its use in the Christopher Walken film The Prophecy.
"Through the Fire and Flames" is a song by English power metal band DragonForce. The song is acclaimed as the most successful song by the band. The song is a single as well as the opening track from DragonForce's third album, Inhuman Rampage, and features rapid twin guitar solos by Herman Li and Sam Totman.
Mike Silverman, better known as That 1 Guy, is an American musician based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He frequently performs and records as a one-man band, singing and using a variety of homemade musical instruments.
Sarth Calhoun is an American musician from Brooklyn, New York.
This is a list of jazz and popular music terms that are likely to be encountered in printed popular music songbooks, fake books and vocal scores, big band scores, jazz, and rock concert reviews, and album liner notes. This glossary includes terms for musical instruments, playing or singing techniques, amplifiers, effects units, sound reinforcement equipment, and recording gear and techniques which are widely used in jazz and popular music. Most of the terms are in English, but in some cases, terms from other languages are encountered.
A rock band or pop band is a small musical ensemble which performs rock music, pop music or a related genre. The four-piece band is the most common configuration in rock and pop music. Before the development of the electronic keyboard, the configuration was typically two guitarists, a bassist, and a drummer. Another common formation is a vocalist who does not play an instrument, electric guitarist, bass guitarist, and a drummer. Instrumentally, these bands can be considered as trios.