For a little over $1500, you can own a machine that will cut vinyl records in the comfort of your own home. This machine, the Phonocut Home Vinyl Recorder, is being promoted as a way to make your own analog "mixtapes," for musicians to record on demand, and for "people in love" to woo their beloved. But, primarily, they think pro studios will want it to "produce unlimited amounts of super affordable test cuts of recording sessions." From the look of their already-funded Kickstarter campaign, they're probably right on all accounts.
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The Phonocut’s interface is as simple as possible by design. You plug into the device via an audio cable, connecting it to a music source like your computer or your phone’s headphone jack... Then you hit play, and the 18-pound vinyl lathe uses a diamond-tipped needle to cut 10-inch records in real time to the music. These records are small and are only able to hold about 15 minutes of music per side...
The idea of creating custom vinyl at home might sound too good to be true, but its founder, Flo Kaufmann, is a record specialist with over two decades in the business. He’s partnered with Florian “Doc” Kaps, who has already successfully brought back another analog technology thought lost to the ages—Polaroid film—with his Impossible Project. So if anyone can pull off the Phonocut, it’s probably this team.
Enjoy this beautiful song "Everyone Hides" from Wilco's forthcoming 11th album, Ode To Joy, out on October 4.
The album is also available in a limited-edition vinyl box set designed by my Grammy-winning pal Lawrence Azerrad who co-produced the Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition with Tim Daly and me. Check out the specs on this extravagant and exquisite objet d' art:
Exclusively available through the Wilco store, the Ode to Joy Deluxe Vinyl Box Set features a limited edition hand-numbered slipcased pop-up art book which includes:
• Ode To Joy LP on 180 gram vinyl
• LP jacket and inserts exclusive to this edition
• A 22-page clothbound hardcover embossed book printed on 100 point archival paper. The book features collages and unique hand assembled paper constructions that animate and reveal album lyrics including pages engineered with pull out die cut pockets, spinning wheels, paper doors, and unfolding gatefold spreads.
• Autographed by the band.
Produced in Chicago, IL with six color printing, metallic inks and collages designed by Wilco’s long-time collaborator Lawrence Azerrad, the limited edition Ode To Joy art book is a rare archive of this work.
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New York City's ARChive of Contemporary Music
(ARC) is a cultural treasure packed with actual treasures. Inside the walls of this not-for-profit private research library in TriBeCa are 3 million physical audio recordings, many on vinyl records. The ARC's founder, Bob George, is also a cultural treasure -- warm, obsessive, kind, committed, and a walking encyclopedia of popular music -- from obscure folk to the avant-garde. In recent years, Bob's been working closely with the Internet Archive to digitize many of the ARC's scarce 78s for broader access and, yes, preservation. Bob launched ARC in 1985 when his own record collection outgrew his apartment. Now the ARC needs help. They've launched a GoFundMe
to raise $100,000 to keep the ARC alive. From Rolling Stone
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Far from the kind of crackpot hoarding that sometimes happens in cities, George’s archive has been supported by powerhouses in music and entertainment. It houses Keith Richards’ blues collection. Their current board is varied enough to include both Youssou N’Dour and Paul Simon (Lou Reed and David Bowie were both once members). It consulted for Tom Hanks on the making of That Thing You Do. It’s the go-to repository for album art for everything from Grammy exhibits to Taschen books...
George’s commitment is dogged. When Martin Scorsese wanted an obscure Italian song in Goodfellas, George roamed Little Italy humming the tune until someone recognized it (“You can solve every problem in New York if you just walk through it,” he says).
At a time when some in the city were scrubbing Keith Haring murals off subway platforms, George was welcoming every genre, including then-unpopular punk and hip-hop (among the archive’s greatest collection is a trove of punk 45s).
In 1984, Kid Stuff Records & Tapes released "2001: A Space Odyssey" as a book/7" record set for children along with "2010: The Year We Make Contact" to coincide with the latter's release that year. Audio of the "2001: A Space Odyssey" adaptation above. Photos of book pages here. Spoiler: HAL still won't open the pod bay doors.
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On this 1966 LP, British actor Roddy McDowall -- later known for playing Dr. Cornelius and Caesar in the original Planet of the Apes films -- delivers a wonderful reading of HP Lovecraft's classic short story "The Outsider." First published in Weird Tales in 1926, this nightmarish gothic-inspired tale is arguably one of Lovecraft's finest pieces of psychological horror.
The B-side is a reading of Lovecraft's "The Hound" (1922) featuring the very first mention of the infamous Necronomicon:
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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:
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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.
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"
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Sonic Youth is selling a couple hundred pieces of music gear and a slew of rare vinyl records including test pressings of their own LPs and other fine platters. The Official Sonic Youth Reverb Shop opens for business today. From Reverb.com:
One of the guitars included in The Official Sonic Youth Reverb Shop is a '70s Fender Telecaster Deluxe used by Ranaldo, Jim O'Rourke, and Mark Ibold from 1987 to 2009, and Ranaldo's Travis Bean TB1000A Artist. The Travis Bean was stolen in 1999, but Ranaldo got it back in 2002 and continued to play it until 2011.
After that same theft, Kim Gordon used a replacement blue Fender Precision Bass until 2004. This P-Bass, as well as a copper sparkle Ibanez Talman, was used by Thurston Moore and Gordon from 1999 to 2010, throughout Gordon's solo SYR5 gigs.
Befitting a band that helped popularize offsets—a candy apple red Fender Jazzmaster used by Moore for more than a decade and a sunburst Jazzmaster used Ranaldo will also be available in Sonic Youth's Shop. In addition, there are more than 100 vintage and used effects pedals used by all members of the band, including Ranaldo's Klon Centaur Silver Overdrive.
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In 1969, Capitol Records released this incredible double LP set (and double 8-track tape) from Vincent Price titled "Witchcraft-Magic: An Adventure in Demonology." Hear the whole thing above. The nearly two hours of spoken word includes sections on the history and culture of "witchcraft" and helpful guides such as "How To Invoke Spirits, Demons, Unseen Forces" and "How To Make A Pact With The Devil." I certainly wouldn't vouch for the factual accuracy or research rigor of the material, but hearing horror icon Price's silky narration about such topics as necromancy and the "Witches Sabbat" is a joy.
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The new record for most eliminations in a single match by a squad is now 61. Watch Fortitude_Fqrbes, Nexjs, tactjc, and TTV NadeXC take down most of the lobby.
There is a lot of swearing, as there should be. Read the rest
Jenn D'Eugenio is a badass record collector, indie label maven, and vinyl industry veteran who now works at the esteemed Furnace Record Pressing company in Virginia. Recently, Jenn started interviewing her peers in the record scene "to empower and highlight the women that are working in the vinyl / music industry to create, preserve, improve and enhance the art of music on vinyl."
Check out Women In Vinyl for interviews with the likes of Katy Clove of Merge Records, Italians Do It Better label president Megan Louise Doyle, audio archivist Amanda McCabe, and designer Kate Koeppel who makes fantastic products for vinyl collectors.
"Not enough of the female + vinyl focus is on the women behind the record stores, labels, manufacturers, vinyl accessories, etc. and I hope to change that with interviews and stories about these women," Jenn says.
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Wang Xiaolong has set the new Guinness World Record for the "highest vocal note by a male." His E in the eighth octave is a half step higher than Adam Lopez Costa's record set in 2008.
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Kosmic is the first human to beat Super Mario Bros in 4 minutes and 55 seconds, a time so good it is less than a second slower than the best tool-assisted speedrun. Mashable:
When Kosmic says he's tied with the [tool-assisted] run at 4-1, that means his inputs are matched up exactly with the program's and he can't physically do any better.
From there, Kosmic continues to nail everything almost perfectly, slipping up so minorly that most viewers who aren't familiar with the nuances of Super Mario Bros. speedruns won't even recognize when it happens.
As YouTuber and speedrunning historian points out in his thorough analysis of Super Mario Bros. speedruns, speedrunners have been whittling down the world record for well over a decade. Top runners are at a point where they can only hope to improve their times by shaving off milliseconds.
Supreme pixel-precise coordination is not enough: you have to know all the game's technical extremities to get close. Here's an explainer video (featuring one of Kosmic's earlier record runs) describing all the bugs and tricks exploited along the way. Read the rest
In April, Moby sold a slew of his vintage synthesizers to benefit the anti-animal testing organization Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Now he's parting with 1,000 of his vinyl records with the proceeds going to the same group. The collection ranges from test pressings of his own albums to post-punk classics to 12-inches that he spun during his rave and club DJ days in the early 1990s. The sale launches Thursday on Moby's Reverb LP Shop.
“These are all the records that I bought and loved and played and carried all around the world,” Moby says. “I would rather you have them than me, because if you have them, you’ll play them, you’ll love them, and the money will go to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. So everybody wins. Well, except me, because now I don’t have any records.”
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With episode 636 on Sunday, The Simpsons finally outran Gunsmoke as America's longest-running TV show, as counted by scripted episodes. It overtook it about a decade ago in terms of how many seasons it's been on TV. That said...
“Gunsmoke,” however, was an hourlong program for about half its run, while “The Simpsons” is half-hour, and so the former retains the record for most hours of television. As well, the Western series had begun on radio in 1952.
The closest other scripted prime-time series, the family drama “Lassie,” about an ingenious collie, ran on network and then in first-run syndication from 1954 to 1974, for 591 episodes.
In a welcome coda to the Apu imbroglio, Hank Azaria (who also voices other characters on the show) is planning to let a South Asian actor take over the role and help transition the character to a less stereotypical portrayal. Read the rest
In 1973, the National Association Of Progressive Radio Announcers released "Get Off," a 1973 vinyl record featuring dozens of musicians delivering anti-hard drug warnings. Along with personal warnings from Grateful Dead, Alice Cooper, the Doobie Bros., BB King, Ravi Shankar, the Staple Singers, and Frank Zappa, the crew of the starship Enterprise visits a planet ravaged by hard drugs. Just say know.
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Ursula K. Le Guin's "Always Coming Home" (1985) is a combination novel and anthropological study of the Kesh, a culture that "might be going to have lived a long, long time from now in Northern California." Early editions of the book included a cassette of faux "field recordings," indigenous songs, and other audio of the Kesh. Now, the good people at Freedom to Spend are bringing the Kesh experience to vinyl in a lovely limited edition that includes an LP containing the audio of the original cassette, "a deluxe spot printed jacket with illustrations from Always Coming Home, a facsimile of the original lyric sheet, liner notes by Moe Bowstern, multi-format digital download code and a limited edition bookmark letterpressed by Stumptown Printers in Portland, OR." From Freedom to Spend
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For Music and Poetry of the Kesh, the words and lyrics are attributed to Le Guin as composed by Barton, an Oregon-based musician, composer and Buchla synthesist (the two worked together previously on public radio projects). But the cassette notes credit the sounds and voices to the world of the Kesh, making origins ambiguous. For instance, “The River Song” description reads, “The prominent rhythm instrument is the doubure binga, a set of nine brass bowls struck with cloth-covered wooden mallets, here played by Ready...”
The songs of Kesh are joyful, soothing and meditative, while the instrumental works drift far past the imaginary lands. “Heron Dance” is an uplifting first track, featuring a Wéosai Medoud Teyahi (made from a deer or lamb thigh bone with a cattail reed) and the great Houmbúta (used for theatre and ceremony).