Christmas Lecture Goodies

It’s been a very busy season this past month!  I’m developing six multimedia lectures (and all are music-related, of course.)  The first will take place at the city’s finest bookshop in January, and is free to the public.  Locals are encouraged to attend.

I have also been approached by a local university professor who is interested in me bringing the series to their American Music class.

The more technical talks on subjects like Managing Personal Servers With 10k+ Files will be offered to an area Meet Up group and will detail handy functions such as on-the-fly real-time trans-coding to best suit the DAC of the end user and to ensure smooth playback at any speed.

Thankfully just in time for my first lecture I received the last two albums I needed for my debut presentation.

The first is that glorious cult classic, that godfather of industrial noise – Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music.

It’s a mesmerizing listen.  This 2012 edition is a new stereo mix of the original 1979 quadrophonic release.  And finally holding it in my hands I read the notes on the back which confirmed my supposition that Reed was inspired by the work of La Monte Young.

Lou Reed - Metal Machine Music

And the other wishlist item came as a total surprise.  It’s Raymond Scott’s 1946+ recordings from Manhattan Research Incorporated, released as a triple gatefold 3LP set in 2001 in the Netherlands.  My copy turned up in Malaysia and arrived in time for Christmas.

If you haven’t heard these fantastic snippets of futurama space-age electronic musique concrete, hop over to the Tube and have a listen.  Scott developed a stockpile of electronic noise generators decades before the synthesizer, and in the 50s every company wanted his futuristic sound for their advertising.

My favorite vocal samples from this collection:

“Don’t beat your wife… every night… chew Wrigley’s!”

and“Someday, science tells us… we’ll be able to clean our walls… electronically.”

Raymond Scott - Manhattan Research Inc

Also picked up a German import of A Clockwork Orange OST, and I’ve just recently developed a fondness for the downtempo stylings of deep house.  (Don’t think floorstompers or heavy bass… think 120BPM with a focus on smooth mid-tones and jazz chords.)
I’ll try to post a few prime cuts in the coming weeks.

See you at the lecture!

They Just Keep on Coming!

My pre-ordered copy of Brian Eno’s latest generative work, Lux has arrived at my record shop which I should be visiting next week.

In the meantime here are a few groovy titles that I’ve found in the wild.

This first album appeared on r/vinyl and I couldn’t get my wallet out fast enough.  I’ve been watching auctions for original copies of Beck’s Sea Change for months.  Every copy sells for about $40.  Then I found out about the special limited edition Black Friday release of the Mobile Fidelity 180g remaster and knew I had to act fast.  This is the first Mobile Fidelity release on a colored vinyl – marbled pink wax in this case.  And it sounds absolutely magnificent.

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Next I found two John Cage LPs in the trade-in boxes a customer dropped off at my local record shop.  They were a little musty so I may look to upgrade my copies later down the line.  They were Folkways Records’ Sound of New Music featuring Cage, Varese, Ussachevsky and others, and Indeterminacy by Cage and David Tudor.

Smithsonian Folkways - Sounds of New Music (Cage, Ussachevsky, Varese)

John Cage - Indeterminacy

Later that week I checked out Buffalo’s largest bookstore and took a chance on their small record section in the back.  Behind about 50 Elvis records I lucked out and found a sealed John Cage and David Tudor record!  It still had it’s $2 price sticker from 1966, which the shop kindly honored!

John Cage w David Tudor - Variations IV

Next up at my local Antique Mall I absolutely struck gold in the area of New Music.

I almost passed up this next disc because I knew I had the soundtrack to A Clockwork Orange at home.  But the vendor explained to me that this was a different album, entirely.  Most importantly it includes the full 13 minute version of “Timesteps,” one of the most famed in the history of early electronic recordings.  (The soundtrack version of the album trimmed it down to 4 minutes.)

Walter Carlos - Clockwork Orange

They also had a classic ambient album from Harold Budd – a Belgian import of Serpent in Quicksilver.

Harold Budd - Serpent in Quicksilver

Then I spotted this legendary Nonesuch release – Time’s Encomium.  Wuorinen won a Pulitzer Prize for this recording, making it the first all-electronic album to win the Prize and making Wuorinen the youngest-ever recipient.  It’s a wonderful milestone in early electronic sound.

Wuorinen - Time's Encomium

And finally there was this incredible LP which I had been after for weeks.  The Columbia-Princeston Electronic Music Center was founded in 1958 and this mono LP was released in 1964.  The only electronic record I’ve found that pre-dates this release is my copy of Forbidden Planet which was recorded in 1956.

Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center

That’s all for this week, I’ll post the new Eno album as soon as I pick it up!