Amazing Grace On The Matryomin Sounds Strangely Wonderful

A matryomin is an unusual instrument. It’s a cross between a miniature, pitch-only, theremin and a matryoshka doll (a Russian nesting doll). The instrument has a cult following in Japan.

This video shows a matryomin ensemble called “Da” at the auditorium of Jiyugakuen Myonichikan in Tokyo on 22 Jan. 2011. The ensemble consisted of 167 musicians playing Amazing Grace. It sounds wonderful – in a strangely creepy sort of way.

Recently the ensemble group Da broke a world record for the “Largest Matryomin Ensemble” by gathering over 277 musicians in concert.

via youtube

Here is a link to the mp3 if you want it: Amazing Grace by Da


PKN vol 1 audience / stage right, originally uploaded by INV/ALT.

Last Friday, me and about 150 other folks went to Denver’s first Pecha Kucha Night. Pronounced “P chalk-a-cha”, and Japanese for “Chit Chat”. Pecha Kucha’s are held in cities from Amsterdam and Auckland to Venice and Vienna. The event was organized by locally by Jaime Kopke, Angela Schwab (both of whom have great blogs that are in my feed-reader, are they in yours?), and Brian Colonna.

The rules of the night, as explained on the official Pecha Kucha website, are as such:

Each presenter is allowed 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds each – giving 6 minutes 40 seconds of fame before the next presenter is up. This keeps presentations concise, the interest level up, and gives more people the chance to show.

It’s a a way for architects, designers, artists, writers, and plain-old, ordinary, people to share their work in a concise and rapid fire format. It’s like show and tell for adults, with beer.

It was such a packed house lots of people had to sit on pillows on the floor. And the despite the overload of hipsters in the audience, the presenters were excellent – some of my favorites being Steve Silber’s “Greeting”, Claire Martin read a series of obituaries about interesting but unsung people, Kent Corbell displayed a knew audio frequency that is supposed to fuck with your chakras and make you all emotional (it kinda worked), Andrew Novick talked about his love for pi, and Scot Lefavor was a no-show, maybe next time.

Speaking of next times, the next Pecha Kucha night will be Monday, July 14th. If you want to share your creative project at the next event shoot an email over to [email protected]


Last night, after getting off a phone call that totally boosted my mood from where it was yesterday after noon, I went out to the uptown for a beer and some din din. After I ordered a quesadilla I got a phone call from a friend I hadn’t heard from in a long time wondering if I wanted to go grab a beer. He ended up meeting me at the uptown. I was glad to hear from him. He’s in the same boat as me: single, no single friends. So it’s nice to have a new (read: lone) person to go grab drinks or do single kinda stuff with.

He spent a couple of years in Japan teaching english. When he went there he knew very little Japanese. Among the few words he knew were “drink” and “watermelon”. He told me that Japanese for drink is nomu (no-moo). I can’t remember what he said Japanese for watermelon was but it was something like suika. After he had been in Japan for only a couple of weeks he invited a fellow coworker over to his apartment for drinks. His fellow coworker knew very little english as well. My friend explained that they had communicated all night by means of exaggerated hand motions, laughing, dancing, games, and excessive drinking. He said the alcohol had allowed them to loosen up and speak to each other in a unique and unlikely ways. He later learned that the Japanese actually had a word, a combination of english and Japanese, for this type of communication. They called it nomunication. I though that was rather clever and have since added it to my vocabulary.

He also told me that 7-11 convenience stores have signs that read seben ereben.
Read More