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TED2008

Kaki King: Playing "Pink Noise" on guitar

March 1, 2008

Kaki King, the first female on Rolling Stone's "guitar god" list, rocks out to a full live set at TED2008, including her breakout single, "Playing with Pink Noise." Jaw-dropping virtuosity meets a guitar technique that truly stands out.

Kaki King - Guitarist
Kaki King combines jaw-dropping guitar work with dreamy, searching songwriting. Full bio

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Double-click the English subtitles below to play the video.
I was thinking about my place in the universe,
00:14
and about my first thought about what infinity might mean,
00:17
when I was a child.
00:24
And I thought that if time could reach
00:27
forwards and backwards infinitely,
00:31
doesn't that mean that
00:33
every point in time is really infinitely small,
00:35
and therefore somewhat meaningless.
00:38
So we don't really have a place in the universe,
00:40
as far as on a time line.
00:42
But nothing else does either.
00:44
Therefore every moment really is the most important moment
00:46
that's ever happened, including this moment right now.
00:49
And so therefore this music you're about to hear
00:52
is maybe the most important music
00:54
you'll ever hear in your life.
00:56
(Laughter)
00:59
(Applause)
01:00
(Applause)
04:10
Thank you.
04:13
(Applause)
04:15
(Applause)
08:27
For those of you who I'll be fortunate enough to meet afterwards,
08:56
you could please refrain from saying,
09:00
"Oh my god, you're so much shorter in real life."
09:02
(Laughter)
09:06
Because it's like the stage is an optical illusion,
09:09
for some reason.
09:12
(Laughter)
09:14
Somewhat like the curving of the universe.
09:18
I don't know what it is. I get asked in interviews a lot,
09:20
"My god, you're guitars are so gigantic!"
09:23
(Laughter)
09:26
"You must get them custom made -- special, humongous guitars."
09:27
(Laughter)
09:30
(Applause)
14:21
Thank you very much.
14:24
(Applause)
14:26

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Kaki King - Guitarist
Kaki King combines jaw-dropping guitar work with dreamy, searching songwriting.

Why you should listen

Kaki King's percussive technique (guitar geeks compare it to Preston Reed's; everyone else compares it to Eddie Van Halen's) drives her songs forward, while layers of overdubs and her own soft vocals create a shimmering cloud of sound.

King's work on the soundtrack for 2007's Into the Wild was nominated for a Golden Globe, along with contributors Michael Brook and Eddie Vedder. Her groundbreaking multimedia work The Neck Is a Bridge to the Body uses projection mapping to present the guitar as an ontological tabula rasa in a creation myth unlike any other.

The original video is available on TED.com
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