Save 20% on the Voyager Golden Record 2xCD/Book edition

Last year, my friends Tim Daly and Lawrence Azerrad and I released the Voyager Golden Record on vinyl for the first time ever and were blown away to win a Grammy Award for the box set. It's really a testament to the creators of the original Voyager Record, the iconic message for extraterrestrials launched by NASA in 1977. We were honored to have had the opportunity to bring this stellar artifact to a wider terrestrial audience.

For those who still prefer compact discs, we also published the Voyager Golden Record 2xCD/Book edition! Two audio CDs containing all of the Voyager Golden Record music and sounds are tucked inside a full-color 96-page hardcover book (12” x 12”) featuring all images included on the original Voyager Record, gallery of images transmitted back from the Voyager probes, and an essay by Timothy Ferris, producer of the original Voyager Record.

Today, we're offering 20% off the elegant Voyager Golden Record 2xCD/Book edition. It's a gift sure to spark the imagination.

The sale ends tonight, November 26, at 11:59pm PST.

We also have limited numbers of the Voyager Golden Record 3xLP Box Set, diagram pins, gold foil art prints, and turntable slipmats. Please order by December 9 for delivery in time for Christmas.

Ad astra!

Read the rest

THE BUREAU: Part Four, "The Appearance and Assassination of President Jung Thug"

From the weekly series The Bureau.

Godot, the musical

Seth Kaufman sends his video for "Godot the Musical," saying: "It is, I venture, the funkiest promotional book video ever made. The script appears in my new book Metaphysical Graffiti: Rock 'n' Roll & the Meaning of Life. So I decided to shoot it as a video. It recasts Vladimir and Estragon as hype-men waiting for 'The Master G' to come and rap." Read the rest

Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple released a pre-Jonestown gospel album

On November 18, 1978, more than nine hundred members of the Peoples Temple, under the guidance of cult leader Rev. Jim Jones, killed themselves or were murdered in the jungles of Guyana. Five years before the mass suicide-murder though, Jones was a pillar of the San Francisco community, hobnobbing with government officials and other big-shots while leading his adoring congregation in religious, social, and political activism. It was during those sunny days that Jones and the Peoples Temple released "He's Able," a soulful gospel album featuring the congregation's choir, band, and of course their fearless leader. Rolling Stone's David Chiu shares the history of this private press LP that took on a whole new life after its creators' tragic deaths:

In a way, the Temple choir and the band were a microcosm of the church: a group of performers of different races, age groups and social backgrounds who came together to advance progressive and social causes, such as helping the underprivileged. “These are voices that no longer are here,” says Leslie Wagner-Wilson, a former Temple choir member, of the album. “And they were singing because they had hope. They had a hope for a better world.”..

Jim Jones himself appeared on the record, singing lead on the hymnal “Down From His Glory,” a reworking of the Neapolitan song “O Sole Mio.” (Listen below.) “He came in with a couple of his guards that were with him,” (music director James) Beam recalls of that particular session with Jones. “Everybody in the recording studio that worked there looked at this guy and went, ‘Whoa, what’s going on with this?’ He had his sunglasses on at 12 at night.

Read the rest

Billie Eilish asked same interview questions, one year after becoming a much bigger star

2018 was a big year for 16-year-old singer/songwriter Billie Eilish. Her rise to stardom can be measured in numbers. Last year at this time, she had 257,000 followers on Instagram and she now has 6.3 million. The most people she had performed in front of was just 500, and now that number's at 40,000. The jump to fame has had a price though and I think you'll be surprised at how tenderly she mourns the less-famous, more innocent "Billie" of just last year.

On October 18th, 2017, after a busy day of promotional interviews in New York City, Billie Eilish met with Vanity Fair to discuss the 15-year-old’s breakthrough success. On October 18th, 2018, after a long day of pre-tour rehearsals, Billie spoke with VF again to answer the exact same questions and look back at a time capsule of her answers from last year.

Read the rest

Listen to Tiny Tim's unreleased cover of "House of the Rising Sun"

In 1994, pop artist, songwriter, and filmmaker Martin Sharp produced a covers album for legendary singer/ukulele maestro Tiny Tim. The album, "Tiny Tim's Pop Album," was never officially released but it's really quite something. Below, from those recording sessions, is Tim's take on the traditional folk tune "The House of the Rising Sun."

"Tim's appropriation of song is very much like my appropriation of images," Sharp said. "We are both collagists taking the elements of different epochs and mixing them to discover new relationships."

(via /r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

THE BUREAU: Part Three, "Assessing Others" — with a Metasonix D-2000 Vacuum Tube Drum Machine

Your supervisor would like to speak with you today at 10:53am. Good thing you have a great tasting sandwich to deal with that unreasonable feedback.

Video: Gangstagrass's first live video: authentic bluegrass/hip-hop mashup

Rench writes, "Relix magazine just premiered this live video of Gangstagrass (previoulsy), the pioneers of authentically mixed bluegrass and hip-hop. The energy crackles on this captivating stage performance. Can't decide which is hotter, the emcees dynamic flow or the banjo and dobro players going into overdrive on the solos. Read the rest

Watch: Trent Reznor and Shinya Tsukamoto's MTV Japan commercial from 1993

In 1993, Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails composed music for the first station ID for MTV Japan created by the inimitable Shinya Tsukamoto, director of cyberpunk/horror films like Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989). Of course, Reznor later penned the below theme song for Tsukamoto's 2010 film "Tetsuo: The Bullet Man."

(via r/ObscureMedia)

Read the rest

New anthology of Michele Mercure's 80s synth music from the cassette underground

In the 1980s, Pennsylvania-based Michele Mercure was composing music for theater, film, and TV animation. After a trip to the Netherlands, she became inspired by the German kosmiche music scene of Kluster, Tangerine Dream, and the like. But Mercure cut her own path into experimental electronic music, weaving her synthetic, rhythmic soundscapes with strange samples and cut-up vocalizations, resulting in tracks that move between abstract and ambient dreamscapes and mechanized intensity. For decades, Mercure's self-released cassettes (under the name Michelle Musser) moved through underground trading circles but many of those recordings will now reach a wider group of heads. Beside Herself is a gorgeous 19-track Michele Mercure retrospective released today by the esteemed curators at RVNG Intl. and Freedom To Spend labels. To celebrate the release, Mercure and Mary Haverstick created the wonderful "Electronumentary" above. Below, one of the album tracks. From RVNG:

Mercure’s artistic path never ran through creative meccas New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles. Raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, and then moving to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in her twenties, Mercure was already an adept musician when she encountered a local and lively theater scene, and was asked to score an unorthodox performance of Waiting for Godot. The experience was pivotal in marrying music and image for Mercure, and so she began making music for film, television, dance, and theater. It wasn’t until a long sojourn in Eindhoven, however, that she became transfixed by electronic music (ala Conrad Schnitzler, whom she would correspond with for years) that would inform her music to come.

Read the rest

No digital effects were used to animate this indie band's stop-motion music video

Vancouver indie rock band Said The Whale spent over 80 hours putting together the music video for their song "UnAmerican." Impressively, zero digital effects were used to stop-motion animate the 2,250 different photos. The band painstakingly did that all by hand. Wow!

(Nag on the Lake) Read the rest

THE BUREAU: Part Two, "The President Is Visiting at Noon!" — with Soma's Lyra-8 Organismic Synthesizer

THE BUREAU by Ethan Persoff - with the Lyra-8
Welcome back. This second installment of The Bureau has you out of your Morning Meeting. It is now 10:03am.

Listen carefully to the AB6700 Broadcast System for an important announcement, followed by instructions for administering your compulsory joy to the GB12-B Sincerity Monitor.

Aretha Franklin's "Amazing Grace" concert film will finally be released

In January 1972, Aretha Franklin performed at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles' Watts neighborhood. The LP of those performances is an absolutely breathtaking celebration of soul gospel. It won a Grammy, became the biggest selling live gospel record in history, and remains the highest selling record of Franklin's career. Filmmaker Sydney Pollack documented the performance and the plan was to release the concert movie as a double feature with Super Fly during the summer of 1972. The problem though is that Pollack hadn't used a clapper board during the filming that would enable him to sync the audio and footage from the five cameras. With no way to properly edit the film, the project was shelved until about ten years ago. And in a few months, the world will finally see it. From the New York Times:

(Alan) Elliott, who had been obsessed with the lost footage since working as a music executive in the mid-1980s, ultimately persuaded Warner to sell him the reels in 2007. (He mortgaged his house.) By 2010, digital technology had evolved to a point that syncing film and sound was finally possible....

As a planned release date approached in 2011, however, Ms. Franklin sued Mr. Elliott for using her likeness without her permission. That started years of legal wrangling, with Ms. Franklin and her lawyers blocking Mr. Elliott and the Telluride Film Festival from showing “Amazing Grace” in 2015 and 2016, even after deals for her compensation seemed to have been worked out.

Read the rest

Haruki Murakami donating his huge record collection to university

Author Haruki Murakami is donating a large collection of his personal materials -- original manuscripts, letters, foreign language editions of his books, and 10,000 vinyl records -- to his alma mater Waseda University. From the Japan Times:

The donation “is a very important thing for me, so I thought I should explain clearly” by holding a news conference, said Murakami, 69. “I don’t have any children, and it would cause trouble for me if those materials became scattered or lost..."

Using the donated materials, the university in Tokyo is considering setting up an international study center featuring the author’s works. It also plans to create a space that will resemble a study room with bookshelves and music records...

In the envisioned facility to house his documents, Murakami said if possible he wants to organize a concert using his collection of vinyl records, which total more than 10,000 copies.

Murakami, who opened a cafe for jazz enthusiasts in Tokyo while still a student at Waseda University, has said music is an essential component of his career in literature.

Previously: "A Murakami playlist" Read the rest

Listen to Dischord Records' entire catalog for free

Dischord is to punk and indie rock what Def Jam and Death Row Records are to rap. Read the rest

Scientists study the psychology of death metal

Psychology professor William Forde Thompson of Australia's Macquarie University and his colleagues have published a series of scientific papers about the appeal of death metal. The scientists were surprised to learn that death metal fans aren't particularly angry or violent people and actually in a happy place whilst head-banging to the likes of Morbid Angel (above) and Cannibal Corpse (below). The research reminds me of how my dad was always so surprised at my love for goth music even though I was a generally happy teen. From Scientific American:

“It’s the paradox of enjoying a negative emotion that I was interested in,” says Thompson, a professor at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. “Why are people interested in music that seems to induce a negative emotion, when in everyday life we tend to avoid situations that will induce a negative emotion?” A number of studies have explored the emotional appeal of sad music, Thompson notes. But relatively little research has examined the emotional effects of listening to music that is downright violent.

Thompson’s work has produced some intriguing insights. The biggest surprise? “The ubiquitous stereotype of death metal fans—fans of music that contains violent themes and explicitly violent lyrics—[is] that they are angry people with violent tendencies,” Thompson says. “What we are finding is that they are not angry people. They’re not enjoying anger when they listen to the music, but they are in fact experiencing a range of positive emotions...."

Chris Pervelis, a founding member and guitarist of the band Internal Bleeding (whose songs include Gutted Human Sacrifice [below] and The Pageantry of Savagery), is confident that the positive emotions he experiences when he plays and listens to Death Metal are the real thing.

Read the rest

A fantastically fun looper pedal cover of The Cure's "Close To Me"

I've been researching looper pedals for my 12-year-old guitarist son and happened upon this video of Mick Bishop using his Boss RC-300 Loop Station to create a very fun cover of "Close To Me," perhaps my favorite song by The Cure.

Read the rest

More posts