Week 147: “Undiscovered Colors” by The Flashbulb


My favourite thing about the camera I had as a kid was the flashbulb it came with.

The camera was a Kodak pocket instamatic, and it was designed to be compatible with a crazy contraption called a “flip flash”. The flip flash was almost as big as the camera itself; a clunky, wasteful hunk of plastic that allowed you to take just ten washed-out photos before it joined the junk pile. I remember even as a kid wondering how humans could be clever enough to invent strobe lights, but still have trouble coming up with a re-usable flash.

Anyway, knowing that my flip flash would die after ten flashes made me very selective with the photos I took. You didn’t want to waste one on a lousy picture. And then, after taking a photo, you could tell which of the ten bulbs had been used, because it went from being beautifully transparent to a cloudy gray in a split second. Sometimes, a faint sulfur-ish smell would linger after the flash, and I kind of got it into my head that I was mercilessly killing a family of bulbs one by one. It was very dramatic.

Modern cameras have eliminated the need for such bizarre 20th century technology, of course. And besides, today’s point-and-shoot cameras are so good at compensating for a lack of light that flashes are rarely necessary anyway. But I would like to thank Chicago’s Benn Jordan, aka The Flashbulb, for two things: reminding me of my beloved flip flash, and creating the wonderful track “Undiscovered Colors”.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The glitchy percussion that starts at 1:38. “Glitch” is an interesting subgenre of electronic, and it’s worth exploring if you like the energy of dubstep but don’t like migraines.

2. When the percussion cuts out at 2:33, we’re left with an interesting cross-rhythm between the piano and violin.

3. The official video is exactly what I would have suggested for a song that seems to combine fast-forward and slow-motion.

Recommended listening activity:

Hand-making a card for someone.

Buy it here.