Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sonic Scenery @ The Natural History Museum: BYO iPod

Looking for a hot date with your iPod? This Friday is the opening night of Sonic Scenery: Music for Collections exhibit hosted by the Natural History Museum.

Sonic Scenery is part of the museum's 'First Fridays' series; this monthly event dedicates the first Friday of every month to highlight a different component of their collection.

Adding an aural dimension to the museum's visuals, the Natural History Museum has gathered an eclectic group of musicians to compose songs inspired by their permanent collection. The museum hopes adding an interactive element allows patrons to discover a new layer of relevance within the permanent collection--which sounds kinda cool in a Holden Caufield sorta way (the permanent exhibit is still exactly the same yet, at the same time, different).

Sonic Scenery invites museum-goers to download the list of songs off iTunes (Sonic Scenery album) to their iPod, don on headphones and walk through the Cenozoic era (or, once upon a time 65 million years ago) to Ozomatli's hard-hittin' Latin-punk, check out Ancient Latin American stone sculptures with Sun Ra Arkestra's jazzy song playing in your ear and revisit American history from 1865 to 1914 to the beat of Autolux's moody tunes.

And, of course, what visit to the NHM is complete without checking out taxidermied animals? (This time, to the musical animal sounds from the Matmos band)

If you're one of the few remaining iPodless folks like me, the museum has $3 headphones you can rent. Afterwards, plug into museum headphones to hear 'silent DJ sets' or drop in on the panel discussion of the Future of Sound in Space...or, get lured by the drinks at the museum's bar.

Even if you're not a big museum fan, the idea of drinking cocktails and listening to music in a Natural History Museum after hours is cool enough to erase bad memories of museum class field trips as a kid.

General admission is usually $9 but this Friday's (February 3rd) Sonic Scenery opening night is free. You only pay the headset rental or the cost of the iTunes download which you'd probably want to purchase for your iTunes library regardless given the playlist.


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