Music from a strange CD-r found in Joshua Tree, Calif.


47 Responses to “Music from a strange CD-r found in Joshua Tree, Calif.”

  1. Baldhead says:

    it’s just weird for sake of weird. College student stuff.

  2. weaponx says:

    Oh thanks I knew I’d left that somewhere on my spiritual journey.

  3. Ian70 says:

    hey they got on BoingBoing.. seems like pretty effective promotion to me, intended or not.

  4. cymk says:

    @Baldhead: Yes more than likely just college stuff.

    But one thing is definite: whoever made this is a fan of the old TV show Airwolf, as evidenced by the email address found on the floppy case (and ernest borgnine as dominic at gmail dot com)

  5. Baron Karza says:

    we are within the radio

  6. Jay Levitt says:

    Is there a Guitar Center close to Alpha Centauri?

    Where do you think Mars Music got its name? Duh. (Pro tip: Only the Terran stores went bankrupt.)

  7. zephomega says:

    This reminds me of a much more mellow version of an album a friend of mine stumbled across a few years ago at a local coffee house / venue. The album was titled ‘the professor ___ ____ institute for advanced invertebrate study’ (I don’t recall the name of the supposed prof)or something like that.
    The story goes that my friend met this man whom no one had seen before or since. He gave my friend a cd filled with what i can only describe as violent psychedelic and/or demonic ambient music. The time signature on most of the tracks was impossible to find, the individual sounds of the instruments warped to incomprehensibility. And most vividly I remember the vocals were filtered and slowed to sound like something out of a nightmare.
    My friend dug it, but I couldn’t listen to it for more than a few minutes without feeling a sourceless fear that unsettled me deeply.

    This Swan Fungus album has a better back story, but as far as weird goes it can’t hold a candle to the professor’s work.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This sounds like something my partner’s ex-boyfriend would do, based on the stories I’ve heard and some of the stuff he’s posted on Facebook. He’s a functional human with serious mental problems, which makes him super-creative in a crazy sort of way.

  9. Anonymous says:

    It sounds a lot like Nurse With Wound.

    How come anyone who undertakes any creative endeavor that is the least bit out of the ordinary is described as having “too much time on their hands”? It’s a lot more worthwhile and interesting use of time and watching TV or playing video games.

  10. firesine says:

    Unfortunately, the folks at MetaFilter have pretty much decided this is viral marketing:
    and that the guy who made the CD posted the story himself to the WFMU blog.

  11. genre slur says:

    Music: It’s not J.S. Bach, Robert Normandeau, John Oswald, NWW, Boredoms, or Bud Powell, but come on, I’d rather have someone make that than more NIckleback. I wouldn’t actively search the music out and download/buy it, but if one of those tracks ended up on a mix-tape made for me, I wouldn’t fast forward it everytime I listened to the tape.

    Cultural/mimetic frame: Completely Pressed Ham. Josua tree? Ugh. Maybe it was meant to fool EdgeBono… Cat should have spent time releasing it on vinyl, with care enough to ensure half the people finding were led to believe it were some side-prog project from the sixties/eighties. Could have done that with a thousand, it would generated more imaginative tension in the finders. The ‘press release’ angle is so 19th century. Ugh.

    Overall: 5 content, 2 context. Out of ten. Overall, with good framing, could have had Kid606 remixing for The Wire cd comps…. and just one apes opinion. I could be wrong.

  12. dculberson says:

    So Swan Fungus writes about the music in 2006, then three years later posts about “finding” it in the “desert.”

  13. Inkstain says:

    “So Swan Fungus writes about the music in 2006, then three years later posts about “finding” it in the “desert.””

    And the best part: When he gets caught, he begins to DELETE EFFING EVERYTHING!, as 4channers would put it.

  14. jessemoya says:

    I planned a treasure hunt for a friend before.

    I bought a nice treasure that I knew she’d like, hid clues throughout some local woods near where she and I were living at the time, and then mailed her a browned letter with a partial treasure map. We were about the same hight, so I could mark off paces with a pretty good accuracy. She loved it!

    None of the riddles or clues sounded nearly as cryptic or interesting as a CD in a floppy disc, though.

  15. JoshP says:

    Amidst all the hemming and hawing, veracity, doubt… whatever. I only get one thing. Think about what the guy who found this felt. How can you reproduce emotions like that in this jaded world. I say this is a new calling. These are little time capsules for the mind.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This is no mystery, as has been poted on Meta Filter. Try this yourself: read the mp3 tags of the last track and you get “Musky Taint

  17. Xenu says:

    The “music” is pretty much terrible.

  18. OoerictoO says:

    back when i used to send my friends holiday CDs i usually put them in 5.25″ floppy cases like that.

    now i just send them a playlist, and if they are lucky, a non-itunes giftcard (amazon this year, dislike their patenting policies, amongst other things, but like their music store)

  19. toilet says:

    I bet those 10 X’s are the locations of those hidden weather balloons or whatever that recent contest is.

  20. Anonymous says:

    So he.. picked it up and pocketed it. Didn’t follow the map?
    … Nice. That’s so obviously what is wrong with the world today; greedy funseeker expending minimal effort but waving his stolen find at the world, “lookie, neato, give me cred for scooping it up!”

  21. Anonymous says:

    Ted the Caver? Or found a camera with weird pics of aliens? Anyone?

  22. darn says:

    From the comments:

    Put it all together and we realize, we’ve been had.
    It’s not a mystery at all.

    Look, this WFMU mystery CD article was posted by user Swan Fungus.

    When we did a google search on the song titles, we found a post on the Swan Fungus blog from 2006 (now, as mentioned, its been removed)

    The obvious result:
    “Swan Fungus” posted this attempting some self promotion. He didn’t realize/forgot that on his own blog 3 years ago he posted about the music. When the ruthless internet dwellers put their collective minds together to solve this, he realized he’d been caught and thus attempted to remove the original post.

    This was a poor poor attempt at self promotion, nothing more.

    Nothing else to see here, move along


    Still kind of neat though.

  23. ruurik says:

    The “Treasure Map” is actually a representation of Middle Earth. Compare with the map here:

  24. Anonymous says:

    If I had a CD full of music that bad, I’d leave it out in the middle of the desert too.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I live in joshua tree and by my guess it was a bunch of stoners that went hiking that thought the cd would confuse the hell out of whoever found it, knowing people from yucca valley and joshua tree they would be high out of their minds and forgot they did it

  26. Anonymous says:

    If Swan Fungus is the author, I find this to be humorous and not malicious at all. Any press for FMU is good press, arguably.

  27. Dolnor says:

    We would like it back please.

    We thought a single One would be enlightened.

    Humanity is obviously not ready. Soonâ„¢ perhaps.

  28. shadowfirebird says:

    I quite like the music.

  29. zandar says:

    As a maker of genuinely bad homemade music, I can say this is really not bad at all. I like some of it. It’s certainly not creepy or weird. Outsider, to some degree. It reminds me of Alastair Galbraith for brief moments.

    Or if I’m wrong and the underground has devolved to the point that this music IS creepy and weird… the apocalypse is fast at hand.

  30. andremount says:

    Joshua Tree is a strange place. I went backpacking there with a couple of friends last year. After finding a working water pump in the middle of the desert with a dead coyote next to it (not a good sign), we camped next to a weird pile of boulders. Exploring the boulders, we noticed that a number of the rocks had messages chiseled into them. Stuff like:


    Check out the pictures here (scroll about halfway down):

    • AnoniMouse says:

      What a lovely travel account. I was pleased to be entertained through the whole thing, and loved the great pictures! Thanks for sharing.

  31. ill lich says:

    Although this is apparently a fake, an attempt at self-promotion, I will give him credit for trying to bring some mystery back into the music world. Thanks to the internet there’s no mystery anymore, you can find info about almost any band, current or past. I recall the first time I found Can or Amon Duul2 or Silver Apples records at the thrift store, and was blown away by the new/old mysterious sounds. Those days are gone.

  32. SamSam says:

    Pretty nasty work on the part of the original poster and “finder” of the CD.

    It’s one thing to make a little hoax on your web site. It’s a completely different thing to start lying about it and deleting posts from years earlier in an attempt to cover your tracks.

    Can BB edit this story now that it’s been shown that the story is a lie?

  33. Anonymous says:

    it was probably part of a geocache of deliberately random stuff designed to prolong the ‘treasure hunt’ experience…
    i think you’re supposed to leave the stuff or replace it with something similar.

  34. Anonymous says:

    If it’s self-promotion, it’s good self-promotion. So what if the author is “lying” about a mystery – If he is, it’s a refreshing tactic. 50% in so far and it’s a keeper.

    Thanks, whoever made this :-)

  35. Anonymous says:

    I posted this over at WLAME.

    Sounds like the aliens have been influenced by Pink Floyd. Damn aliens, always ripping off our Earth stuff. Same key and chords on some of the tracks. Is there a Guitar Center close to Alpha Centauri? No wonder they threw it away, they realized they were’nt original either…..the map leads to WalMart to Pink Floyd’s greatest hits album. Tape reverse much. Beatles? Holy Crap are all aliens in their mid 40′s with a DAW? Now we know. Wittgenstein is rolling over in his grave out in the desert next to a stack of Pink Floyd albums. Fun listen though.

  36. groovehouse says:

    The new release from Jandek, perhaps?

  37. Anonymous says:

    And it got boing’d, so that’s all the publicity needed for whoever put this together.

    For the record, that “treasure map” isn’t “browned” with age. It’s burnt with fire. Anyone who has ever been crafty can tell the difference.

  38. Anonymous says:

    What’s with the Airwolf reference?

  39. Tdawwg says:

    Talk about alternative distribution networks!

    Is it just me, or does the map bear some resemblance to southwest England? (Like a badly-reconstructed-from-memory and inaccurate southwest England?)

  40. Anonymous says:

    this was pretty much debunked in the reddit thread when this was linked at reddit. the conclusion was that the blog poster himself had made the disc.

  41. lasttide says:

    Wankiest recording ever.

  42. isaacb2 says:

    The best part of this is reading the full post at WFMU — apparently there may be some self-promotion disguised as mystery going on… check the entry, and read the comments.

  43. Anonymous says:

    I’d keep tabs on this one… some of the commenters toward the bottom of the linked blog have intimated that some text from the Mystery Disk can be traced back to Swan Fungus’ own blog from 4 years ago, which would make all this a self-promotion stunt in the guise of a cool mystery. If true.

  44. Kennric says:

    Can’t help wondering how long it was out there on the trail while Mr. Fungus waited, tapping his fingers impatiently, for someone to find and blog about it – before realizing he was going to have to “discover” the mystery on his own.

    Reminds me a bit of a Burning Man experience, finding a package constructed of two paper plates stapled together and containing a weight, cryptic message, and length of video tape. The tape held bits of awful homemade sci-fi movie interspersed with porn (yes, I spliced it into e VHS cassette just to see). The cryptic message implied that the creator was distributing his messages widely but only a few would be chosen to contain the Real Message. Would have been much more effective as an art piece had it not been found in such a high weirdness environment to begin with.

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