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Introduction, music visualization, Atlanta, meta

Outer Joins
Introduction, music visualization, Atlanta, meta
By Melissa Lewis • Issue #1 • View online
I don’t know how long I’ll keep this up, but I’m thrilled to’ve finally gotten around to starting! I don’t have an idea for focus quite yet except a roundup of what I’ve recently learned or thought about in data visualization, journalism and a rotating theme or ~bonus subject~.
Initially, I think it might be best to link to one or two items in each domain and provide some context as to why I loved it and/or found it challenging. But I hope to learn from feedback if anyone’s inclined to give it!

Data | musical visualization
I know very little about music theory, so whatever of this visualization might manifest interesting principles there escapes me. But I could see this being a tool for teaching, as I think that watching this helps me track patterns more quickly than just through sound.
Is there a control you especially enjoy manipulating? I love driving down the stiffness setting such that it looks like water, especially during Adagio for Strings.
This project, by Anita Lillie, analyzes an MP3 file by mapping time on the horizontal axis (naturally), pitch on the y axis, and timbre in each segment’s hue.
The Für Elise video is lovely and helps to orient the viewer, but it’s a testament to Lillie’s sensibilities that the static images are beautiful too. The above image is of Moonlight Sonata, and I love how much it resembles gel electrophoresis (also in my header image).
It’s also weirdly haunting to me that this project is 11 years old, and the website hasn’t been updated since 2014. I want to go find its owner, but I’ll do that after finishing this letter.
Journalism | music and more
Donald Glover Has Always Been Ten Steps Ahead
If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend Atlanta. Glover created, produces, writes and often directs it, and stars as in it as an Ivy League dropout trying to manage his cousin’s burgeoning rap career. It’s uniquely funny, surreal and incisive:
“Storytelling is just simplifying what’s happening to you. Life is just a story. Stuff that happens to you, you just put into story mode. I just take what’s there and put it into story mode on a smaller level so that you can be like, ‘Oh my God, that’s life! I totally relate to that.’”
I’m a philistine but I’m not surprised that I love the music. I already knew of Childish Gambino, but it was from this show that I learned about Lakeith Stanfield (who you might also know from Get Out):
I don't know that this will actually render as an animated gif 😬
I don't know that this will actually render as an animated gif 😬
He’s my favorite character and just perfect as Darius, a first-generation Nigerian-American and conduit for the mystical and absurd. But even that didn’t prepare me for how much I’d love Moors. If you use a streaming service, I recommend “Fire.”
Bonus topic: making a newsletter is very hard
This is my first such attempt. I’ve agonized over whether to use a blogging tool, whether to use a static site generator or Tumblr, and so on. But I resolved to just do a thing today, in part because two of my favorite newsletters are using or trying this tool right now: Data Machina and Fair Warning.
Data Machina
I learned about audiofabric because Data Machina linked to it today!
Sophie’s previously been on TinyLetter, and though she’s from the UK, her roundup is global. I had the privilege of hanging out with her in Chicago recently because we were both there for a journalism conference. An unexpected asset from this is that now I read her posts in her voice, and though a recent Allusionist episode has me feeling a bit sheepish about it, I love her accent.
This feels like a cursory post, but it took me over four hours! But it’s been a joyous exercise, and I learned a lot. I hope you learned something too, and let me know what you think. <3
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Melissa Lewis

Data, journalism, and other things I'm learning about!

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