The Sounds of the Junk Yard, a 1964 vinyl record

Last week, I posted about The Sounds of the Office, a 1964 vinyl record released by Folkways Records of field recordings by Michael Siegel. This week, it's The Sounds of the Junk Yard, another 1964 Folkways collection of Siegel's field recordings, ranging from an Acetylene Torch to Alligator Shears to a Paper Baler.

Moses Asch founded the incredibly influential Folkways Records label in 1948 to record and share music and sounds from around the world. Along with bringing the music of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Lead Belly, and Elizabeth Cotten to wider audiences, Folkways, acquired in 1987 by Smithsonian, also issued incredible sound recordings from the Ituri rainforest, Navajo Nation, Peru, and many other locations and indigenous peoples across the globe. (In fact, the label provided several tracks for the Voyager Golden Record, now 12+ billion miles from Earth! Researching that project with my partner Tim Daly, a DIY musicologist himself, I've become absolutely enchanted by Folkways. If any of you dear readers have Folkways LPs collecting dust, I'd give them a wonderful home.) Along with music, Folkways released LPs with poetry, language instruction, nature sounds (frogs! insects), and other field recordings. The Sounds of the Junk Yard reminds me of an Einstürzende Neubauten album but was issued a decade before the birth of "Industrial Music" was born.

"Some junk yard equipment is common to all of them, some is more specialized," wrote Siegel in the album liner notes. "All these sounds were recorded in yards in Warren, Pennsylvania."

Hear more samples at the Smithsonian Folkways page here. Read the rest

One man's passion for food-processing videos

Shon Arieh-Lerer goes public with his love for the industrial food-processing videos on YouTube. (Slate)

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Chris Carter talks about DIY synthesizers

The directors of modular synthesizer documentary I Dream Of Wires visited the studio of BB pal Chris Carter who handbuilt many of the instruments for his pioneering musical groups Throbbing Gristle and Chris & Cosey.

Exclusive: New track from ex-Throbbing Gristle's forthcoming Final Report

(photos by Paul Heartfield)

In 2006, industrial music pioneer Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson of Throbbing Gristle and Coil was so taken with Desertshore, a challenging 1970 album by Velvet Underground chanteuse Nico, that he set off on a project to "cover," and I use the term loosely, the entire album. It was a project that would quietly simmer in the background for several years as Sleazy continued to record and perform as part of the re-activated Throbbing Gristle with Chris Carter, Cosey Fanni-Tutti, and Genesis P-Orridge. In 2007, Throbbing Gristle performed versions of some of the Desertshore material live at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. It would be three more years though before Sleazy focused on Desertshore in earnest, preparing to record guest vocalists who would sing Nico's poetry on the reimagined songs. Simultaneously, Chris and Cosey, who Sleazy had recently toured with as the trio X-TG, prepared at their Norfolk, UK studio for a forthcoming visit from their friend who was then living in Bangkok. The plan upon Sleazy's arrival was to finally immerse themselves in the Desertshore production. Then, on November 25, 2010, just a month before his scheduled trip to see Chris and Cosey, Sleazy died in his sleep.

For the last two years, Chris and Cosey have sifted through Sleazy's sound files, recorded snippets, and notebooks in an effort to bring Desertshore to life even in the shadow of their friend's death. The album is now complete. On November 26, 2012, the day after the anniversary of Sleazy's death, Desertshore will be released on Industrial Records. Read the rest