Manhattan Research Inc: The Magic of Raymond Scott

 

Tonight’s magical listening comes following a heartwarming post by The Bob Moog Foundation and The Raymond Scott Archives. The Archives had recently published a recording of Bob Moog talking about his time with Raymond Scott in the 1950’s when Bob was barely 20 years old. Scott was one of the first musician clients that Bob had direct exposure to, and the experiences with Scott marked Bob’s early thinking about the expansiveness of the musical universe.

It inspired me to pull my copy of the Manhattan Research Inc 3LP set issued by Basta Records in The Netherlands to revisit the wonders of Raymond Scott’s work.

For those unfamiliar, you may know Scott from the recording, “Powerhouse” famously used in several classic Rube Goldberg machine sequences in Merrie Melodies cartoons. The track was also sampled in the intro of Soul Coughing’s “Bus to Beelzebub.”

Here is the original recording:

And here is an official “machine montage” cut by Warner Bros and hosted by The Ramond Scott Archives:

And Soul Coughing’s classic track:

Here’s my copy of the 3-volume set.

Fortunately, the entire set is archived on YouTube – check it out!

It is also worth mentioning that the set features a collaboration with a young Jim Henson from around the time of Henson’s existential college film, The Cube. You can watch the full film here –

The short was titled, LIMBO: The Organized Mind and an animation sequence was produced for it in the early 60s.

Enjoy!

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!