Research Note 003: Podcasting & Skeuomorphism

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Podcasting with Scott Morgan of Loscil

I woke up this morning feeling good about last night’s experiment. While watching my daughter’s soccer practise I recorded a conversation with Scott Morgan (aka Loscil). We’re considering creating a podcast about creating music and instruments and thought we could start by making a pilot of our podcast. I’ll edit the conversation down we’ll discuss publishing it at the further date. For now I’d like to know if the topics we talked about are something you’d like to know more about.

The banter was lively, moving from discussing themes for the podcast like:

  • What constitutes an musical instrument and how important is its tangibility. This subject is core to the workshops that I’ve been facilitating in various locations over the past few months. The Sonic Interactions workshop is about creating new sound interfaces using existing instruments like ukuleles, drums and thumb-pianos along with open source tools like RaspberryPi, PureData. I’ve been documenting the workshops at SonicInteractions.org.
  • “artificial nostalgia”, how are kids nostalgic for vinyl records when they didn’t even grow up with them? I’m sure we’ll expand on this topic and it’s something I’ve been curious about.
  • Skeuomorphism in music & instruments. Skeuomorphism is a common Interaction Design term to describe when an interface mimics the physical attributes of a its real-world counterpart. A good example is how early digital books had the top right corner of each screen. It is useful as an affordance for people unfamiliar with digital books but limiting if you’d rather have an endless scrolling read. Here are some examples:
The once-ubiquitous “page curl”

Is the Page Curl of a digital book an affordance or an useless ornamentation from a time when users needed a visual cue to explain the metaphor of a book?


Fetishizing shiny stereo components
Wood paneling is a new trend in digital synths

Skeuomorphism is a contentious topic in the Interaction Design industry and worth thinking about.

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