Yanny or Laurel? Soundbite sparks Internet din

A simple looped soundbite with just two syllables has ignited an internet meltdown, dividing social media users into staunchly opposed camps: do you hear "Yanny" or "Laurel?"
Updated 16 May 2018
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Yanny or Laurel? Soundbite sparks Internet din

WASHINGTON: An audio snippet with just two syllables has ignited an Internet meltdown, dividing social media users into staunchly opposed camps: do you hear “Yanny” or “Laurel?“
The collective sensory experiment causing a Twitter tizzy mushroomed from a short audio clip originally published by a high school student on Reddit, The New York Times said Wednesday.
Roland Szabo, 18, said he recorded the seemingly innocuous audio from a vocabulary website while doing a project for his school in the US state of Georgia.
He played it for his peers, who disagreed over whether the syllables formed “Yanny” or “Laurel.”

Intrigued, Szabo sent it to a friend who posted the clip on Instagram and created a poll that quickly went viral, triggering a mass debate that has spread internationally.
Input from celebrities has inflamed the frenzy: “It’s Yanny,” horror writer Stephen King said in a deadpan tweet.
“It’s so clearly laurel,” quipped supermodel Chrissy Teigen. “I can’t figure out how one would hear yanny.”
In perhaps the most vexing element of the debate, the majority of listeners hear beyond doubt one of the two words, with few waffling between the two.
A straw poll carried out among staff in AFP’s Washington bureau counted 17 for Yanny, and 14 for Laurel. Just three were caught in between — hearing first one, then the other when played again, or a mix of the two sounds.
The controversy recalls the similarly impassioned debate that broke out over the #TheDress: in 2015 a photo of a two-toned frock had social media users tearing their hair out over whether its colors were white and gold, or black and blue.


Chip Wickham ushers in winds of change on the jazz scene

Updated 22 May 2018
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Chip Wickham ushers in winds of change on the jazz scene

PARIS: The hotly hyped “British jazz invasion” has been the toast of international scenesters for some months now, with breathy adjective-heavy sprawls penned on both sides of the Atlantic paying tribute to a fresh generation of musos who grew up not in the conservatoires but the clubs, channelling the grit and groove of grime into a distinctly hip, 21st century strain of freewheeling, DIY improvised music.

Now the Arab world has its own outpost in the form of Chip Wickham, a UK-born flautist, saxophonist and producer whose second album grew out of extended stints teaching in the GCC. “Shamal Wind” takes its name from the Gulf’s primal weather patterns, and there’s a distinctly meditative, Middle Eastern vibe to the title track, a slow-burning, moody vamp, peppered with percussive trills, with hints of Yusef Lateef to be found in Wickham’s wandering woodwind musings.

There’s rather less goatee-stroking to be found across the four further up-tempo cuts, which swap soul-searching for soul-jazz, soaked in the breezy bop of a vintage Blue Note release. Recorded over a hot summer in Madrid, a heady Latin pulse drives first single, “Barrio 71” — championed by the likes of Craig Charles — with Spanish multi-percussionist David el Indio steaming up a block party beat framing Wickham’s gutsy workout on baritone sax.

Having previously worked with electronic acts, including Nightmares on Wax and Jimpster, one imagines the dancefloor was a key stimulus behind Wickham’s rhythmically dense, but harmonically spare compositional approach. Phil Wilkinson’s sheer, thumped piano chords drive the relentless nod of second single “Snake Eyes,” Wickham’s raspy flute floating somewhere overhead, readymade to be skimmed off for the anticipated remix market.

In truth, Manchester-raised Wickham is both too thoughtful, and too thoughtless, to truly belong to the London-brewed jazz invasion — Shamal Wind yo-yos between meditative meandering and soulful strutting with a wilful disrespect for trend.