A podcast about unrepeatable experiments in music & art by Dave Hilowitz

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Episode 3: The People's Instrument

- If you flip through any musical instrument catalog, one fact will become blindingly clear: the guitar is by far the most popular instrument in America. But that wasn’t always the case, and I’ve often wondered: if the electric guitar hadn’t gotten so popular, what would we be playing instead? To answer this question, I take a trip back in time by means of the 1903 Sears Roebuck catalog and a series of Philadelphia junk shops. In the process, I discover a type of instrument that used to be hugely popular and is now all but forgotten: the fretless zither. After finding and restoring a host of instruments I’d never seen before, including phonoharps, Marxophones, and Taishogotos, I end up building a harp of my own.

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Episode 2: Zombie Nightmare

- My grandmother was a lot of things: an abstract expressionist painter, a social worker, a collector of antiques. But as far as the internet is concerned, she had just one real claim to fame: she was the associate producer of Zombie Nightmare (1987), a movie so bad it’s featured on the IMDb’s “Bottom 100” list. Strangely, it stars Adam West and Tia Carrere. In this episode, I do a deep dive into this extremely minor footnote in my family’s history. I rewatch the movie and try to get to bottom of what makes it so bad, and I also reach out to people who were actually involved in creating it. Terrible movies don’t make themselves. A movie this bad has to have a lot of secrets.

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Episode 1: The Fiverr Song Project

- In this episode, I explore the bizarre world of Fiverr, a website that lets you purchase services for five dollars. As an experiment in online music collaboration with strangers, I take one of my own songs and replace each instrument track with a new recording made by a Fiverr session musician. The episode chronicles the process and culminates in a version of the song produced entirely by the Internet.

Coming soon.