[Video Link] I love this trippy new music video from Sean Lennon's band, The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger. It looks like it was shot at the Alta Dena, California ranch of the late Colonel Jirayr Zorthian. David and I attended one of Zorthian's parties years ago and it was exactly like this video. (Side note: Richard Feynman took painting lessons from Zorthian and paid him by giving physics lessons to Zorthian).
The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger (AKA the GOASTT) consists of Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Bringing to mind the likes of Tame Impala and the Flaming Lips, who Lennon recently performed with on Letterman, the duo has grown in popularity since we first heard them on “Jardin Du Luxembourg.” This month they release the new album Midnight Sun and today they’re sharing the Rich Ragsdale-directed music video for its song “Animals.”
“It’s a loving spoof of the Source Family, that infamous ’60s cult of polygamous vegetarian hippies. We shot it on 35 millimeter and were inspired by the surrealist aesthetics of Jowdorowsky and Kenneth Anger,” Kemp Muhl tells us. That explanation doesn’t even seem necessary once you see how much the video embraces the playfully strange style of a film like Jowdorowsky’s Holy Mountain (which, incidentally, came to fruition thanks to the support of Lennon’s parents). The whole clip is framed around a massive, cultish sing-along and filled to the brim with surreal special effects, spaceships, and nudity.
Last week was the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's suicide. Soaked In Bleach is a new film mixing historical footage and interviews with dramatizations that dredges up the tired old conspiracy theory that Cobain didn't kill himself, but was murdered by a hit man. Hired by who? One guess. Of course one of stars, at least of the trailer, is the detective Tom Grant who was retained by Love and later claimed that she had paid a hitman to off her hubby. If all this sounds familiar, you must have seen Nick Broomfield's 1998 documentary "Kurt & Courtney."
"The brainchild of Keith Roberts, Birds 'N Brass derived their unique sound from conventional brass, guitar, etc and fused this with the wonderful voice of Barbara Moore (an album from her coming over the weekend) and with the Trivox, a weird electronic accordion."
Sean sends us, "a video interview with Imogen Heap describing her homemade electronic interface gloves that control her music interface software by the movement and positions of her hands." Heap is kickstarting an open source hardware version of the gloves.
In the late 1940s, avant-garde filmmaker, artist, and mystic Harry Smith scoured his massive collection of 78 rpm blues, country, cajun, jazz, and gospel records to compile what would become one of the most important collections of recorded music in history. The Anthology of American Folk Music, a six-album set with extensive liner notes was released in 1952 by Folkways Records. It was essentially a bootleg and the complete licensing of all the tracks wouldn't be worked out until 1997 when Smithsonian Folkways Recordings reissued the material on CD. The original LPs were kindling for the mid-century folk and blues revival and brought artists like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Mississippi John Hurt, The Memphis Jug Band (above), and countless other pioneering roots musicians to the ears of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Dave Van Ronk, Jerry Garcia and so many more.
"We all knew every word of every song on it, including the ones we hated," Van Ronk has said.
The 1997 CD box set is fantastic, but now, after decades out of print, the vinyl has been reissued in four limited volumes by Mississippi Records, a glorious tiny record label (and store!) in Portland, Oregon. If you dig wax (200 gram, baby!), this is an absolutely essential addition to your collection.
I purchased mine directly from Mississippi Records but they may be out of stock already. If so, try your local independent record shop or perhaps one of the Amazon third party sellers. And if you really search, you might still locate one of the complete sets that comes in a wood slipcase!
Over at Dangerous Minds, Richard points us to this fantastic 1967 short documentary "It's So Far Out It's Straight Down" from Granada Television. Allen Ginsberg, Pink Floyd, the staff of the International Times underground paper, and Paul McCartney all make the scene.
"The straights should welcome the underground because it stands for freedom," Sir Paul says. "It’s not strange it’s just new, it’s not weird, it’s just what’s going on around."
I’ve just spent a very depressing afternoon looking through the leading music periodicals. And what did I learn? Pretty much what I expected. I found out what the chart-topping musicians are wearing (or, in many instances, not wearing). I got updates on their love life, and learned whose marriages are on the rocks. I read updates on the legal proceedings of the rich and famous. I got insights into the food preferences and travel routines of megastars. And I read some reviews of albums, and got told by “‘critics” (I use that term loosely) that they were “badass,” “hot,” “sexy,” “tripped-out,” and “freaky.”
The periodicals in question have certainly become harder to read, that's for sure. But as Gioita points out, music's been a tool of self-definition for many years. At MeFi, lizarrd heads "down the rabbit hole" of websites that apply music theory to pop.
Enjoy 'Mixed Paganini,' by the Studio Di Fonologia Musicale Di Firenze. Published in 1967, it sounds like a weird, hectic video game from 15 years later. The songs were programmed by Pietro Grossi; the 7" disk was "distributed as a Christmas and new year gift by the Olivetti company." [via]
A few years ago, I posted about TuneUp, software from my pal Gabe Adiv's company that did a bang-up job cleaning up the metadata mess of my 150+ GB music archive by identifying dupes, fixing track names, and grabbing cover art. About a year ago, Adiv parted ways with the company he started, TuneUp Media. Since then, the company released an update that really bummed out serious users and last month announced they were shutting down. Well, Gabe just managed to buy back the TuneUp assets and reunite the original development team to relaunch TuneUp. Interestingly, their first "new" product is an old version of the TuneUp software. Congrats, Gabe! Above, a classic TuneUp commercial starring the great Biz Markie!
In each episode of Gweek, I invite a guest or two to join me in a discussion about recommended media, apps, and gadgets. This time my guests were:
Ramez Naam, a computer scientist and the H.G. Wells Award-winning author of three books, including the sci-fi thriller Nexus, which has been optioned as a film by Paramount and director Darren Aronofsky. The follow up title, Crux, came out in August.
Danimal Cannon, a touring chiptune and heavy metal musician who occasionally composes music for indie video games. His album Parallel Processing was recently launched as the soundtrack for the new game Wave Wave on iOS.
This episode of Gweek is brought to you by:
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Tomorrow night, San Francisco's pioneering contemporary dance company ODC will premiere a new work inspired by famed sculptor/environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy with live music by experimental cellist and loop musician Zoë Keating, likely familiar to Boing Boing readers from previous BB posts, or her appearances on Radiolab and Who Killed Amanda Palmer. For this piece, titled "boulders and bones," ODC artistic directors Branda Way and KT Nelson took choreographic inspiration from the ever-transforming landscapes of art and nature. The visual context of the dance comes from a time-lapse film by RJ Muna shot during the seven-month installation of a Goldsworthy sculpture at private location north of San Francisco.
Performances of "boulders and bones," along with several other works, will be held through March 30. Tickets are available here. Boing Boing is delighted to share the special video below from a "boulders and bones" rehearsal, along with another stunning photograph of dancer Natasha Adorlee Johnson by RJ Muna.