Karascope

I recently went to Eastern Washington to visit my grandparents, and Grandma was going through some things and asked if any of them held sentimental value to us. When I was a child, there was always an assortment of fun things to play with, especially puzzles and stuffed animals and objects that stimulated our visual curiosity. I remember one game I frequently played with my sister and cousin. First we’d gather all the bouncy balls we could find. One kid would sit at the base of the staircase with a basket and try to catch as many balls as they could, while the other kids sent them tumbling from the top of the stairs. It was always a contest to see who could consistently catch the most.

Being that we grew out of those games well over a dozen years ago, most of those toys have since been donated. But a small handful remained, my favorite of which being the Karascope.

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It looks like a kaleidoscope, and acts very similarly to one. But the cool part is that it’s asymmetrical and changes colors depending on what angle the pieces are at in relation to the light source. Polarized light is pretty spiffy! I wish I knew more about the science of it.

The tube of the Karascope reads:

The Karascope designed by Judith Karelitz

The Karascope creates an optical fantasy in a tube by polarizing, refracting, and reflecting light. There is no colored glass in the Karascope, only the spectral colors of light itself.

Ordinary white light which vibrates in all directions is polarized along one plane when it passes through the base of the tube. The light then enters clear, colorless pieces of birefringent material and is reorganized by the eyepiece to produce the startling colors that you see. The patterns, unlike those in a kaleidoscope, are asymmetrical.

Hold the Karascope toward the light, rotate the base, and the image changes. A twist of the eyepiece alters the colors of the image and causes the pattern to swirl to or from the eye. The spectrum also shifts as the Karascope is pointed toward different light sources.

Judith Karelitz 1978 N.Y.C.

Further investigations determines that the Karascope was sold in the Museum of Modern Art (NY) back in the 70’s. It’s cool to hold a fascinating piece of visual art history, at the same time I remember some of my childhood wonders. Sorry my camera doesn’t quite do the Karascope justice, but it’s a really fun piece of design!

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Stumbleine “Spiderwebbed”

Just ordered another album, and it arrived in the mail just before the weekend! I’ve been enjoying Stumbleine’s album Spiderwebbed constantly since then. This chillwave artist hails from the UK, and I really love the dreamy landscape he has created in his music. It’s emotional yet uplifting, possibly due to its very organic structure.


I’m a sucker for his opening track “Cherry Blossom,” and am drawn in by the nostalgic instrumental introduction followed by floating vocals and a strong pulse. “Honeycomb” is my second favorite track. Stumbleine has a breadth of albums available on Bandcamp, but this one was available through Monotreme Records. I got the CD, but digital downloads and LPs are available for sale too. Monotreme Records sent me a free compilation album of their artists with my order, so maybe you’ll luck out and get a copy too.

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Swing Delux “Triple Water EP”

Another ambient album to stimulate my creativity late into the night. Triple Water EP by Swing Delux is available for download at the price of your choosing, even for free.

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Rare Monk

Found another artist to listen to at work, perfect for those lonely rainy mornings when I need a little edge to my routine. Rare Monk has a couple albums out for free download.



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M|O|O|N

I must say that I’ve gotten a little addicted to Bandcamp, and I’ve found hoards of music I enjoy! When browsing the best selling albums, I came across M|O|O|N, an emerging electronic artist from Boston. Their latest album Particles EP was released this past September, and MOON EP was released November of 2011. I love the drive these tracks have, and I must say my favorite is “Paris” from their first album. Definitely buying these to listen to at work!

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Parallax Effect

I’ve been looking for website inspiration recently, and I’ve noticed that the parallax effect is very trendy in current web design. When researching more about uses for the parallax effect, I started finding examples in photography. I found a nice tutorial on how you can achieve this effect, essentially giving a three-dimensional impression from a two-dimensional image. It’s definitely something I want to try someday.

The person who did the tutorial also has an interesting demo reel.

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Everlone “Vertletzte EP”

I recently discovered the Free Music Archive (FMA), and they have a fantastic library free legal audio downloads. There is a huge assortment of genres for every taste, and each artist chooses the sharing rights for their intellectual property. You can even find audio for film use, which is great for me to keep in mind if I ever delve deeper into motion graphics.

I wanted to share today’s recent discovery of and artist called Everlone, and I might regularly curate selections of my favorite music discoveries. Everlone recently released an EP called Verletzte, and I appreciate the album for its combination of a dreamy atmosphere with energetic beats. It totally stimulates my imagination and creativity, something I could use a little more of these days! The FMA offers a free download of the album, or conversely you can buy the album from Bandcamp at the price of your choosing. It is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

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Virtual Choir 3.0 “Water Night”

Eric Whitacre released Virtual Choir 3.0 today, in which I sang Alto II for “Water Night”. Bottom row, ninth from the left! The sheer quantity of singers is amazing with each new release, and I’m eager to see how many join VC 4.0.

From a production standpoint, I think this video could have been better. Producing it was probably rushed, and perhaps I was hoping for something more organic in visual quality. But hey, given the time frame and the quantity of footage to handle, it’s still impressive.

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