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GIFs And Music; Kelly Willis And Bruce Robison; Pulitzer Prize Winner Edmund Morris

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bruce Robison and Kelly Wilis perform in the Soundcheck studio. Bruce Robison and Kelly Wilis perform in the Soundcheck studio. (Michael Katzif / WNYC)

In This Episode: We take a look at the internet phenomenon of GIFs and how they relate to music. Chadwick Matlin, senior editor for Reuters Opinion and Joshua Carrafa, creator of the “Music History in Gifs” Tumblr, explain the popularity of these animated image files that endlessly repeat.

Plus: Country couple Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis recently united for an album called Cheater’s Game. The duo plays live with their band.

And: He’s best known for writing landmark biographies of presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, but Edmund Morris’ latest book, called This Living Hand, features quite a bit of writing on music. He stops by for a discussion about Beethoven and more.

Guests:

Joshua Carrafa, Chadwick Matlin, Edmund Morris, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis

GIFs: A Passé Format Becomes A Cultural Phenomenon

2012 was a big year for the GIF. The animated file format, once mainly associated with GeoCities "under construction" pages and the mid-90s "dancing baby," exploded in popularity thanks to the blogging platform Tumblr. GIFs have become ubiquitous -- summarizing a year in sports; explaining economic policy; endlessly repeating cringe-worthy moments; and even teaching us music history

We talk with Joshua Carrafa, creator of the Music History in GIFs blog -- and Chadwick Matlin, author of a recent piece in The New Republic called "Inside the GIF Industrial Complex" about why GIFs have become so popular, whether they're art, and how music might be seeping into the traditionally silent medium. 

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Kelly Willis And Bruce Robison: 'Let’s Do This Right'

Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis have largely worked apart in their nearly two decades of marriage, Robison writing #1 hits for the likes of Tim George Strait and The Dixie Chicks, and Willis singing her way through a career that has lasted two decades. Now, they come together for their new album, Cheater’s Game.

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For Edmund Morris, Music Is A Superior Language

Pulitzer Prize winnier Edmund Morris' new book This Living Hand, consists of 40 years of essays, lectures and notes from Morris. He tells Soundcheck about the brilliance of Beethoven, and why it's so hard to write about music.

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Licensed for use only on NEH-funded Annotations blog.

Remembering Van Cliburn, A Larger-Than-Life Pianist And Cold War Icon

The legendary pianist and Cold War icon Van Cliburn died of bone cancer in his Fort Worth, Texas, but leaves behind a powerful legacy.

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Cantus: A Cappella Around the Tiny Desk

The all-male choral group Cantus is an a cappella ensemble that started out at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. Since the group went pro 13 years ago, they've put out 15 albums, won numerous awards and been named Minnesota Public Radio's artists in residence. All nine members of Cantus recently sang at NPR Music in Washington D.C., as part of their Tiny Desk Concert series. 

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Majical Cloudz

Gig Alert: Majical Cloudz

Montreal dream pop project Majical Cloudz plays Santos Party House Wednesday night. Download the track "Turns Turns Turns"

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