Fuck Your IPod!

The Sony Walkman WM-1
photo: my lovely wife

I recently received a batch of cassettes in the mail shortly after my Ipod bit it. All I wanted to do was to listen to some music while I was at the laundrymat but the damn thing won’t even turn on. Then I thought it would be a good idea to listen to these cassettes. So I pulled out my WM-1 (circa 1981) and placed the Damion Romero/ 16 Bitch Pile Up – Cross Sections series Bake 1 cassette in and decidedly walked into downtown Ballard to see what would happen.

The WM-1 still sounded great after all these years. I even have the original headphones. While walking around I reminised about being in college and listening to The Psyclones – Cult Leader Gang Raped by Disciples cassette on this same machine.

But fuck your Ipod! this beast weighs a ton, sounds great and holds up to 90 minutes of music (120 minutes can be achieved at a lower bit rate).

Jaunt For Your Life!

My new favorite show is 70’s sci-fi series The Tomorrow People. This was produced concurrently with Dr. Who and included many familiar sounds, cheap video effects and plots. It’s actually way more psychedelic than Dr. Who but he familiar sounds of the BBC Radiophonic workshop rules the soundtrack.

I was turned on to this a couple years ago by coming across the soundtrack on an online blog about sci-fi. Being a fan of the Radiophonic Workshop, I downloaded the theme and loved it, but I felt that it was too obscure of a TV show that I would never see an episode. Recently in a DVD rental shop, I spied a DVD collection of Tomorrow People and I was in heaven. It’s now on my Netflix list and am enjoying every episode.

Turns out that it is being produced again. But I suspect is not nearly as cool as the original given my disappointment with the newly produced Dr. Who’s.

Sir Richard Bishop – The Freak of Araby

My new Arabic name is Abdullah Basheem!

freakofaraby

“Another album of acoustic guitar music from Sir Richard Bishop– are you ‘freakin’ nuts? The Freak Of Araby is a new direction for our distinguished gentleman, and just in the nick of time as well. Sir Rick’s had it up to here with solo acoustic guitar records! The Freak Of Araby isn’t even a solo record! And there’s no acoustic guitar on it! So let’s have no more of this kind of talk. Over his years with Sun City Girls, Richard Bishop threw a wide variety of music and sound against the wall — and all of it stuck. Among those who know, he’s reasonably fluent in any number of international music traditions, playing them for (mostly) fun and (sometimes) profit all over the place. The Freak Of Araby is the debut of Sir Richard Bishop and his Freak of Araby Ensemble, a talented quartet of players getting deep into the Middle Eastern mystic with hand drums, percussion, bass, drums, electric guitars and a heavy dose of Moroccan chanters, all of it captured with depth, detail and sympathy for the eternal enigma by engineer Scott Colburn. But a Sir Richard Bishop album with a backing band — how did this happen? After recording a cover of ‘Ka’an Azzaman,’ written by Elias Rahbani, one of Lebanon’s finest songwriters, something dawned on Sir Richard. Half-Lebanese by birth (it didn’t just occur to him later), he found himself suddenly possessed to really dig into Middle Eastern sounds. A pair of original melodies not fully developed at a prior recording session had the Arabic inspiration, so these were reattacked and finished in short order. Soon, Sir Richard’s head was flooded with some of the classic sounds spun for him by his grandfather back in his (way) younger days, like Farid Al-Atrache, Oum Kalthoum and Fairuz, along with other personal favorites, such as the guitarists Omar Khorshid and Mike Hegazi. In addition to the studio improvisation, ‘Taqasim For Omar,’ the whole of The Freak Of Araby is dedicated to these inspiring players. Check ’em out. In addition to his soul-stirring electric guitar playing, Sir Richard grabbed a couple of Moroccan chanters and blew the house down on ‘Blood-Stained Sands,’ providing an epic (not to mention epochal, heh heh) finish to this journey to the center of one-half of the family tree. This is music meant to be played live, and Sir Richard’s Freak Of Araby Ensemble intends to play it everywhere there’s interest in hearing it. So get your Freak on.”

Record Collection Excavation

I bought this record nearly 15 years ago and really dug the cover but also the line that says it was recorded on 35mm magnetic film. That would be mag stock used for sound on films. The cover is printed on 10 pt board that makes it thick and heavy like a piece of stone.

The hilarious thing is the liner notes where they talk about the recording. They list all the mics used, Telefunken U-47, RCA-44 BX, Telefunken KM56, Altec 639 B, RCA-77D and special Church microphones. I wondered what a special church microphone is? When I researched it, Stanley Church designed mics for MGM. So now it comes full circle where the film industry and music industry collide.

The liners also mention why they needed multiple mics (because each mic was specific to an instrument or sound) and why mag stock is superior to 1/4″ tape (because it’s 3 times as wide, has no flutter because of the sprockets and is 5 mils thick. It also travels at 18 ips rather than 15ips). I actually agree with what they say as the record sounds fantastic. It was recorded in 1961.

This record was promising because I really love the Kulingtang. Unfortunately, there are only two cuts featuring this instrument. the rest of the cuts sound like waltzes or polkas. The fascinating things was the date of recording (1959) which means that this record is 50 years old and still plays great! My oldest CD is not even 25 years old. It also makes me bum out about all the digital media that has just disappeared because it was digital

317X

Last night I pulled a record from the shelf titled

The Most Fabulous Sound Experience Ever!

The First Percussion Sextet.

The music itself is pretty good. the recording is nice and realistic. The playing is top notch and I do believe there is a hint of humour. But the most fascinating thing to me was the section on the back about the Miracle Surface!

What is 317x? I can’t find any info about it, but I can say that this record is still in pretty good shape, however, I bet it wasn’t played that much to begin with, so who knows?

The Staxx Brothers – We Are the Blaxstonz

watb

Left to their own devices with Scott Colburn (Arcade Fire, Animal Collective) at his voodoo lair, an old Finnish church turned recording studio, The Staxx Brothers return with a vengeance on We are The Blaxstonz. It’s an album that borders on black comedy with heavier social undercurrents; by now as much Chappelle & Carlin as Big Boi and Jagger. It’s a good time record that helps you dance through the tough ones. It’s HARD ASS SOUL. It’s ice cold. This is the way they used to make records. Step real close and you can detect that heavy scent of Howlin’ Wolf runnin’ wild through a Hip Hop landscape…I can still hear him laughin’

Magik Marker – Balf Quarry

balfquarry

“Oh, Magik Markers — you dirty fuckers! You look like a reasonably intelligent young woman and man — perhaps a bit intense, but who isn’t in these end times? Then the needle drops and you’re amok, dusting us from the git-go, wild-eyed in a china shop where stop keeps meaning more. Ah, if it were only music — but it would appear you’ve rethought that too. And would it kill you to crack a smile? When an album begins with a song called ‘Risperdal,’ one should assume a mind-and-body-slamming forty-five minutes or so are underway. And ‘one’ wouldn’t be wrong, dickhead. Sure, Balf Quarry has moody space in its soul, melodies whether stretched over rock, ululating rhythm, chimes ‘n piano and/or wah-wah. Regardless of the configuration, Elisa Ambrogio and Pete Nolan are locked together, beating it out, listening to feeling the sound of their earth quake. And slicing through all the atmosphere, Elisa’s voice is a spear of light, splashes of mud, an acid purple flashback. The Balf Quarry libretto reads like an inner monologue of some poor bastard from The Stand: desperate and vengeful musings from the head of a witness to and survivor of an apocalypse, in a world they never made, dreaming helplessly of the demons out west. ‘Safe before their life sets in’ might mean hope in this landscape. The world’s not broken — people ruin it every time. Working with engineer Scott Colburn (Sun City Girls, Animal Collective, Sir Richard Bishop), Magik Markers have captured a lot of different moods and twitches on Balf Quarry. Tremoring mid-rhythms form the body, with a couple showers of hardcore, high flying free-duo style and several clinking music boxes of woe as well. On slower tunes, the mass of brooding guitar tone generated is Elisa’s signature, a carving all of her own. Fills, licks and other touches move the songs a broken arm’s length away from a fundament of chaos and horror. When colors actually match and you have grey music for grey days, it’s great — but what about grey music for cherry red lava days, or rainbow sounds arcing over six months of darkness? Anything goes — and just your luck, Magik Markers have brought anything with them on Balf Quarry — a multicolored projectile of vomit you can sing along to! If psychosis is your thing, Balf Quarry is like a jukebox just for you. The only thing it’s missing is a brick attached to the CD to facilitate throwing it through your window! No, we’re not talking about you, asshole. This is the royal ‘you’ — the ‘you’ of all Magik Markers fandom, the ‘you’ of anyone with ears and the guts for this shit. Wot fun! Prepare for the birth of the second sun, y’all.”