40 Years of Underworld – The Innerspace Collection

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a tremendous fan of the electronic duo Underworld.

At age 15, their album Dubnobasswithmyheadman was my very first exposure to the world beyond Top 40 radio pop, and its award-winning typographical packaging created by the band’s critically acclaimed Tomato design collective directly inspired my pursuit of a design degree and an 18-year career in the field.

Checking my latest stats, my Underworld collection now comprises 77 physical releases and artifacts, memorabilia, subway posters, books, prints, magazine articles, DVDs, VHS tapes, etc, as well as over 600 digital albums, EPs, mixes, concerts, and other materials – over 8100 tracks including concert videos. With new material being released every week, they’re showing no sign of slowing down, and they continue to expand my scope of musical appreciation with each new release.

Here is the physical portion of my collection to date. (For scale, the green print at the center is a subway poster from the UK measuring five feet in height.)

Underworld Physical Collection Complete 02-22-2020

Below is an itemized inventory of the physical collection. The 8100-track digital library is too large to post here but is itemized in the Innerspace Labs Workbook previously published in this journal.

Artist Title Format
Screen Gemz Teenage Teenage b/w I Just Can’t Stand Cars 7″ single (sleeve reproduction) 7″, Single
Freur Matters Of The Heart 7″
Freur Get Us Out Of Here LP, Album
Freur Look In The Back For Answers 12″
Freur Doot Doot CD
Freur Doot-Doot 7″, Pic
Freur Doot-Doot 12″
Freur Doot-Doot 12″
Freur Runaway (Dun Difrunt) 12″
Freur Doot-Doot LP, Album
Underworld Going Overground Melody Maker Magazine January 22, 1994 Magazine
Underworld Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future LP, Album
Underworld Spikee / Dogman Go Woof 12″, Single
Underworld Beaucoup Fish 2xLP, Album
Underworld A Hundred Days Off 2xLP, Album
Underworld A Hundred Days Off 2xLP, Album
Underworld Born Slippy 12″, Single
Underworld Dark & Long 12″, RE
Underworld Two Months Off 12″
Underworld Second Toughest In The Infants 2xLP, Album
Underworld Rez / Cowgirl 12″
Underworld Stand Up 12″, Maxi
Underworld Glory! Glory! 12″, Single
Underworld Underneath The Radar Cassette
Underworld Underneath The Radar 7″, Single
Underworld Change The Weather LP, Album
Underworld Long Slow Slippy / Eventually But 12″, Ltd, S/Edition
Underworld Barking 2xLP, Album
Underworld Dubnobasswithmyheadman 5CD Box Set
Underworld Underneath The Radar LP, Album
Underworld Underneath The Radar LP, Album
Underworld Cowgirl / Rez 12″, Ltd, Whi
Underworld Pearl’s Girl 12″
Underworld Jumbo 12″, Single
Darren Emerson Global Underground 020: Singapore 2CD
Darren Emerson & Tim Deluxe Underwater, Episode 1 2CD
Underworld Videos 1993-97 Footwear Repairs By Craftsmen At Competitive Prices VHS
Underworld tomato: onyx pearls DVD
Underworld Underworld Live – Everything Everything DVD
Underworld Barking (Super Deluxe Edition 2CD+DVD+book+autographed print) 2CD+DVD Box Set
Underworld 1992-2002 2CD
Underworld Born Slippy CD
Underworld Change the Weather CD
Underworld Dinosaur Adventure 3D (US) CD
Underworld Dinosaur Adventure 3D (JAPAN) CD
Underworld Dubnobasswithmyheadman CD
Underworld A Hundred Days Off CD
Underworld King of Snake CD
Underworld Pearl’s Girl CD
Underworld Second Toughest in the Infants CD
Underworld Underneath the Radar CD
Underworld Underworld Singles Box Set 3CD Box Set
Underworld Limited Edition Barking Art Print (Hand numbered #64/650) Art Print
Underworld Dubnobasswithmyheadman A2 sized Promo Poster Poster
Underworld Dubnobasswithmyheadman Concert Tour Memorabilia Keyring Keyring
Underworld Dubnobasswithmyheadman T-Shirt (unofficial) T-Shirt
Underworld Dubnobasswithmyheadman Coffee Mug (unofficial) Coffee Mug
Underworld Dubnoboasswithmyheadman Custom Chromebook Skin and Keyboard Inlay Laptop Skin (Custom)
Underworld Everything Everything 150cm x 100cm UK Subway Poster Poster
Underworld Underworld Press Photo Photo
Underworld Rowla/Juanita 12″
Underworld Oblivion With Bells 2xLP, Album
Underworld Dubnobasswithmyheadman 2LP, Album
Underworld Second Toughest in the Infants Remastered Super Deluxe Edition 4CD Box Set
Underworld Beaucoup Fish Remastered Super Deluxe Edition 4CD Box Set
Underworld and Iggy Pop Teatime Dub Encounters LP, EP, Limited Edition, Clear
Underworld Drift Series 1 7CD+Blu-Ray DVD Box Set
Tomato mmm.. skyscraper i love you: A Typographical Journal of New York Art Book
Tomato Process: A Tomato Project Art Book
Eno • Hyde Someday World 2xLP, Album, S/Edition
Eno • Hyde Someday World 2xLP, Album, S/Edition
Eno • Hyde High Life 2xLP, Album
Eno • Hyde Someday World 12″ x 12″ Art Print Art Print
Eno • Hyde Brian Eno and Karl Hyde with Flowers in Vase Against White Background Postcard Postcard
Eno • Hyde Brian Eno and Karl Hyde on Stage Before a Concert Postcard
Karl Hyde Edgeland 2xLP, Album, 180
Karl Hyde Personal Live Photograph Photograph

Supplemental Note:

Following the acquisition of the final four Underworld multi-disc super-deluxe box sets for my archival project, I found that my collection had outgrown its space in my record room and I wanted a storage solution which would blend seamlessly with my vintage decor. I took careful measurements and trekked to my city’s antique mall and found a large antique wooden crate the exact dimensions (to the very inch!) that I was hoping to find.

It’s a perfect vintage solution to house my collection of nearly eighty Underworld releases! The sturdy wooden crate features weathered stamping for 120lbs of (Ben) Franklin brand sugar. Here it is in my home, fitted appropriately beneath a framed promotional print of my favorite album by the duo.

Ben Franklin Wooden Crate with Underworld Collection Inside 02-22-2020

An Ambient Milestone – The First-Ever Vinyl Issue of Oliveros’ Deep Listening

Exciting news to start off the new year! A classic recording of the ambient genre has been issued for the very first time on vinyl by Important Records. The Massachusetts-based label has issued special releases from artists including Daniel Johnston, Boris, Coil, and Japanese noise musician Merzbow and specializes in indie rock, electronica and avant-garde music.

The label’s official website posted the news in early December and quickly sold out of the gold edition on the evening of Wednesday, December 18th. The official release date is January 31, 2020 but pre-ordered copies shipped January 6th to arrive well in advance of the official date. (This copy arrived Friday, January 10th.)

From their announcement:

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Deep Listening, we offer you the definitive double LP combining the classic, complete original 1989 release with selected tracks from the Deep Listening Band’s 1991 album The Readymade Boomerang.

This elegant double LP is packaged in a gatefold sleeve with original and updated recollections from the performers, the recording engineer and a mesostic from John Cage, to which these recordings are inextricably linked.

Recorded in a cistern, this double LP reverberates with brilliant sonic clarity and masterfully improvised performances combining live electronics, vocals, trombone and accordion. Deep Listening is a classic in the fields of improvisation, minimalism, ambient/drone and modern classical.

Listen with attentiveness, listen while lying down, listen with headphones – as recording engineer Al Swanson entices the listener to become a virtual performer in selecting the many different ways to perceive these phenomenal tracks. Whatever you do, listen deeply.

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A quick summary for those not already familiar with the band – 

Deep Listening Band was founded in 1988 by Pauline Oliveros (accordion, “expanded instrument system”, composition), Stuart Dempster (trombone, didjeridu, composition) and Panaiotis (vocals, electronics, composer). Oliveros was a central figure in the development of experimental and post-war electronic art music and a founding member of the San Francisco Tape Music Center. Wikipedia notes that:

[Oliveros] coined the term “deep listening,” a pun that has blossomed into “an aesthetic based upon principles of improvisation, electronic music, ritual, teaching and meditation. This aesthetic is designed to inspire both trained and untrained performers to practice the art of listening and responding to environmental conditions in solo and ensemble situations”

Pauline’s mantra, exquisitely realized on this recording, was to “Listen to everything all the time and remind yourself when you are not listening”. 

Deep Listening Band recorded the album in the 2-million-US-gallon Fort Worden Cistern in Port Townsend, WA on October 8, 1988. The cistern has a 45-second reverberation time. AllMusic describes the unique sonic characteristics of the recording as follows:

The unlikely instruments — primarily accordion, trombone, didjeridu, and voice — produce sustained tones that are subtly modulated by the extraordinary acoustics, making it often seem as if there were more instruments present, or as if this music has been electronically processed — neither of which is the case. All the music was improvised on site, with the musicians banging on metal pipes and found objects on the final track. The effect is remarkable, immersing the listener in a hypnotic field of shifting resonance, in a truly profound experience of deep listening.

This pivotal and iconic recording was originally only issued on compact disc in the US on New Albion records in 1989 so it is a great honor to finally have it receive the double-LP vinyl treatment just in time for the album’s 30th anniversary. The bonus selections from The Ready Made Boomerang and the mesostic from John Cage are wonderful additions for this special release and an exciting way to begin 2020!

Pauline Oliveros - Deep Listening 2LP 01-10-19 01.JPG

Pauline Oliveros - Deep Listening 2LP 01-10-19 02.jpg

Published in: on January 11, 2020 at 12:34 pm  Comments Off on An Ambient Milestone – The First-Ever Vinyl Issue of Oliveros’ Deep Listening  
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SPECIAL FEATURE: Pieces—A Thousand Albums At The End Of America

Bill Boulden - Pieces - A Thousand Albums At The End Of America (Vinyl Rip - Each of 1000 Copies is Unique)

I’m honored to share an extraordinarily unique recording for this installment at Innerspace Labs. This is Bill Boulden’s (aka Spruke’s) innovative project, Pieces—A Thousand Albums At The End Of America.

From his Kickstarter page:

Spruke’s previous Kickstarted ambient music album Music To Die Alone In Space To featured the same album being rerecorded 310 times with unique variations for every backer. On Pieces, he will expand on this concept by adding an innovative new system of distributed storytelling.

This follow-up project tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic near future – a story spread over 96 LPs. Boulden partnered with Meep Records, a single-run lathe-cut vinyl manufacturer, to make it possible for the first time to own literally the only copy of an album in existence.

Boulden describes the album-within-an-album concept he employed for this record:

When America falls, the musicians of the time period don’t sit around and let it happen. These albums contain fragments of the music of this alternate future. They appear in fits and starts between other tracks; ten seconds as a lead-in to a piano piece, or a thirty-second interlude between two tracks, or maybe fifteen seconds of radio static between ambient passages where you can hear a radio station almost tuning into this song but not quite finding it.

I’ve hired hip-hop artists, barbershop quartets, folk singers, grrl garage punk, country singers, and more from this hypothetical future that may never come to pass, to come back in time and put their songs in tiny pieces on this album.

[The album presents a dystopia where] America is broken and abandoned. Relics from humankind’s brief stay are slowly being reclaimed by nature, and one damning question lingers: What happened here?

Boulden explains “Distributed Storytelling” thusly:

Cassettes. Handheld recorders. Radio broadcasts. Voicemails. When Americans saw their country dissolve around them, they left all of these and more lying everywhere, and you’ll hear fragments of them as you move through a unique copy of the album… but never the whole story.

He leaves it up to the backers of the project to collaborate and piece together the full narrative. The LPs are not numbered, so there is no official chronology or oversight of the 96 segments. They were engineered through Boulden’s generative compositional process, and once the rules were set in motion the story unfolded on its own. The unique one-off discs were priced at $80-110 apiece and all copies sold out to the original backers of the project.

The social participatory factor here is exciting. Some of the backers shared their uniques on twitter as #BitsOfPieces. You can search that hashtag to find people swapping uniques and new material comes up on every copy.

The canonical edition was a randomly selected copy from the series, (Boulden believes it to be #36 or so), that was the copy chosen to print en masse and put on Spotify, iTunes, etc. Approximately 200 LPs were pressed of this edition.

The opening minutes of the canonical (wide-release) edition of the record set the stage with disembodied beeps and somber off-key sour synths. We are quickly introduced to curious smatterings of disconnected conversations about the dismal chaos that has come of America. These fractured dialogues are fast-forwarded and rewound from dusty old cassettes and fade in and out from distant radio signals on an imagined archaic analog tuner. We are wandering through the smoldering aftermath seeking signs of survival in a bleak 1980s vision of a dark near-future.

Musique concrète with a beat, this album offers captivatingly voyeuristic post-apocalyptic field recordings and static-laden AM / Ham / shortwave radio broadcasts with a bizarre displaced out-of-time personae.

Pieces… is richly hauntological and brimming with digitally-processed but authentic sounding artifacts of characteristically analog phenomena, including radio broadcasts, snippets of sorrowful minor-key piano melodies, retro television commercial segments, station-tuning and detuning, vinyl crackling, and tape wow and flutter. It features an impressively wide dimensional soundstage ranging from distant and lonely vocal echoes to vintage answering machines to in-your-face distorted guitar shredding, with looming drones and sustained synths to tie it all together with brilliantly seamless finesse. And the mastering quality is top-notch with a zero noise floor to let the artistry take front and center stage.

Pieces… is a work of 21st century studio wizardry richly in the spirit of classic Musique concrète and Eno’s generative methodology. (I also can’t resist its recollection of perhaps a Gothic incarnation of The Firesign Theater’s Bozos LP, particularly reminisced with the clapboard opening and fractured radio adverts.) And there is undeniably a hearty dose of John Carpenter’s desolate and foreboding 80s synths present here. But the record isn’t just the score to such a film. With all the scattered original vocal samples it effectively conjures the visual of an unmade motion picture as well.

There are no verses or choruses. There is only the persistence of the constantly-shifting ambient foci with strange new sounds vying for the listener’s attention at every turn. The album is a highly-engaging dystopian dramatization reminiscent of War Of The Worlds with the enhancement and magic of modern production which rewards dedicated listening. Pieces… is easily the most fascinating and impactful recording I’ve heard this year.

Five stars for its progressive concept, for its vision, for its implementation, for its production, for its social participatory element, and for music that truly deserves some attention.

How Record Collectors Find Lost Music And Preserve Our Cultural Heritage – A TED Talk By Alexis Charpentier (2018)

Ted Talk FB Note Image.png

This is a wonderful 14-minute talk about my most impassioned life’s work.

Charpentier shares a fascinating tale about a record digger discovering an unknown independent artist’s music in a dusty flea market – an artist who had never experienced fame in his time. This discovery and the determination and passion of the digger directly led to the artist’s music being reissued by a major label and inspiring the artist to begin performing again for the first time in decades. This is the magic that can come of crate digging and cultural curatorship.

And he describes how our collections become an autobiographical legacy meant to be passed on to future listeners.

He says, “Beautiful art deserves to be cherished, shared, and rediscovered.”

“We are alternative voices to the mainstream music channels, digital or otherwise. Go beyond the algorithm.”

“This music will change your life.”

Watch this short segment and understand my motives and my passions just a little better. ❤

More Minimal Ambient Classics

A visit to the legendary Bop Shop in my old home town of Rochester, NY yielded two delightful surprise acquisitions. The first was one of the three of Harold Budd’s 1970s and 80s classic output missing from my vinyl collection – Abandoned Cities. (I now need only The Pavilion of Dreams and The White Arcades to complete my collection.)

Harold Budd - Abandoned Cities

The other was an equally unexpected but similarly important work of early ambient music – a German import from Grönland Records combining two classic recordings of Can’s co-founder, Holger Czukay with the great David Sylvian.

Plight & Premonition / Flux & Mutability is a double reissue and remaster of their late-80s collaborations experimenting with abstract ambient soundscapes which are sparse, sombre, and atmospheric. Pitchfork contributor Robert Ham remarked that these recordings laid “the groundwork for years of ambient music that would follow.”

David Sylvian & Hogler Czukay - Plight & Premonition and Flux & Mutability

“Each feature two long instrumental works built around drones from a synthesizer or guitar interrupted by random shortwave-radio intrusions and occasionally disorienting tape edits.”

The first disc, Plight & Premonition, originally released in March of 1988, comprises drones of harmonium, synthesizer, piano, and guitar. The second disc, Flux & Mutability followed in 1989. Allmusic describes its ambience as “deep, expansive atmospheres with eerie samples and vacuous walls of sound” and calls the album “an important selection for fans of electronic minimalism.”

Both the Budd classic and this new remaster from Grönland are exquisite additions to my library of pioneering early ambient music. My next ambition is to secure a copy of the Editions EG 1981 reissue of Budd’s debut on Eno’s magnificent Obscure Records label in 1978. The Pavilion of Dreams is ethereal, holy, and exquisitely beautiful and has been a long-standing favorite recording of mine in the realm of the genre’s origins.

The Voyager Golden Record 40th Anniversary Edition – A Gift to the Cosmos

On September 20, 2016, a Kickstarter project was launched in celebration of the Voyager Golden Record. The response was tremendous. 10,768 backers pledged $1,363,037 to help bring this project to life. And Ozma Records met their goal – shipping the result of the project to its contributors on September 5th, 2017 – 40 years to the day of the original 1977 Voyager launch.

Ozma Records did a magnificent job in producing the first-ever “Earthling edition” of this historic gift to the cosmos. The Voyager Interstellar Record may be the last vestige of our civilization after we are gone forever, and this 40th Anniversary Edition is a wonderful tribute to humanity and our place in the universe.

Original concept illustration for the set:

Concept 1

Audio Tracklisting:

  1. Greeting from Kurt Waldheim, Secretary-General of the United Nations
  2.  Greetings in 55 Languages
  3. United Nations Greetings/Whale Songs
  4. The Sounds of Earth
  5. Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, BWV 1047: I. Allegro (Johann Sebastian Bach) – Munich Bach Orchestra/Karl Richter
  6. Ketawang: Puspåwårnå (Kinds of Flowers) – Pura Paku Alaman Palace Orchestra/K.R.T. Wasitodipuro
  7. Cengunmé – Mahi musicians of Benin
  8. Alima Song – Mbuti of the Ituri Rainforest
  9. Barnumbirr (Morning Star) and Moikoi Song – Tom Djawa, Mudpo, and Waliparu
  10. El Cascabel (Lorenzo Barcelata) – Antonio Maciel and Los Aguilillas with Mariachi México de Pepe Villa/Rafael Carrión
  11. Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry
  12. Mariuamangɨ – Pranis Pandang and Kumbui of the Nyaura Clan
  13. Sokaku-Reibo (Depicting the Cranes in Their Nest) – Goro Yamaguchi
  14. Partita for Violin Solo No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006: III. Gavotte en Rondeau (Johann Sebastian Bach) – Arthur Grumiaux
  15. The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte), K. 620, Act II: Hell’s Vengeance Boils in My Heart (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) – Bavarian State Opera Orchestra and Chorus/Wolfgang Sawallisch
  16. Chakrulo – Georgian State Merited Ensemble of Folk Song and Dance/Anzor Kavsadze
  17. Roncadoras and Drums – Musicians from Ancash
  18. Melancholy Blues (Marty Bloom/Walter Melrose) – Louis Armstrong and His Hot Seven
  19. Muğam – Kamil Jalilov
  20. The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du Printemps), Part II—The Sacrifice: VI. Sacrificial Dance (The Chosen One) (Igor Stravinsky) – Columbia Symphony Orchestra/Igor Stravinsky
  21. The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II: Prelude & Fugue No. 1 in C Major, BWV 870 (Johann Sebastian Bach) – Glenn Gould
  22. Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Opus 67: I. Allegro Con Brio (Ludwig Van Beethoven) – Philharmonia Orchestra/Otto Klemperer
  23. Izlel e Delyu Haydutin – Valya Balkanska
  24. Navajo Night Chant, Yeibichai Dance – Ambrose Roan Horse, Chester Roan, and Tom Roan
  25. The Fairie Round (Anthony Holborne) – Early Music Consort of London/David Munrow
  26. Naranaratana Kookokoo (The Cry of the Megapode Bird) – Maniasinimae and Taumaetarau Chieftain Tribe of Oloha and Palasu’u Village Community in Small Malaita
  27. Wedding Song – Young girl of Huancavelica
  28. Liu Shui (Flowing Streams) – Guan Pinghu
  29. Bhairavi: Jaat Kahan Ho – Kesarbai Kerkar
  30. Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground – Blind Willie Johnson
  31. String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major, Opus 130: V. Cavatina (Ludwig Van Beethoven) – Budapest String Quartet

Each Voyager Golden Record 40th Anniversary Edition vinyl box set includes a high-quality enamel pin of the Golden Record diagram and a custom turntable slipmat featuring NASA/JPL-Caltech’s heliocentric view of the Voyager spacecrafts’ trajectories across the solar system!

Concept illustration for the box set extras:

slipmat.artprint.pin

From the official Kickstarter page:

The Voyager Golden Record contains the story of Earth expressed in sounds, images, and science: Earth’s greatest music from myriad cultures and eras, from Bach and Beethoven to Blind Willie Johnson and Chuck Berry, Senegalese percussion to Solomon Island panpipes. Dozens of natural sounds of our planet — birds, a train, a baby’s cry — are collaged into a lovely audio poem called Sounds of Earth. There are spoken greetings in 55 human languages, and one whale language, and more than one hundred images encoded in analog that depict who, and what, we are.  (To hear those greetings and Sounds of Earth and see a handful of the images, visit NASA/JPL-Caltech’s Voyager site!)

Concept illustrations for the tip-on jackets:

jacket 1jacket 2jacket 3

An exquisitely-designed objet d’art, this limited edition Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition vinyl box set was available exclusively through this Kickstarter. It was described as “the ultimate album package of the ultimate album package.”

Exploded concept graphic of the vinyl edition:

exploding graphic.jpg
True to the Kickstarter’s proposed description, the cloth-covered box with gold foil inlay houses three, heavyweight translucent gold vinyl LPs protected by poly-lined paper sleeves. The LPs contain all of the same magnificent music, greetings, and sounds as contained on the original Voyager Golden Record – nearly two hours of audio. The LPs slip into old style tip-on, black ink and gold foil jackets. And accompanying the music is a beautifully-designed hardbound book of captivating images from the original interstellar message, glorious photos of the planets returned to Earth from the Voyager probes, compelling essays, and ephemera from the project’s history.

Concept illustrations for the companion book:

book 1book 2book 3

The set also features a plastic digital download card with a code to access all of the audio in MP3 or FLAC format. A lithograph of the iconic Golden Record cover diagram, printed with gold metallic ink on archival paper, high-quality enamel pin of that same diagram, and a custom turntable slipmat featuring NASA/JPL-Caltech’s heliocentric view of the Voyager spacecrafts’ trajectories across the solar system complete the box set.

Concept image of the lithograph:

lithograph
Incredible attention was paid to ensuring that the audio content was the best it could be. Timothy Ferris, the original producer of the Golden Record, worked with the production team to remaster the audio for vinyl, drawing from the highest-quality sources available.

Below are actual photos of the completed box set which just arrived at my doorstep.

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Of the 8,815 backers who pledged enough for the vinyl set, I received copy #00018. (I wasted no time pledging the moment this release was announced!)

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The set is of exceptional quality – you can feel in your hands how impressively sturdy the whole package is.

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Here is the final version of the slipmat.

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And the beautiful hardcover book brings the breathtaking photographs from the record to life…

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The discs, dust jackets, and sleeves are just as impressive as the extras. No corners were cut on this production project.

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And finally – the enamel pin. I’ll wear it proudly!

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From OzmaRecords.com:

It was a gift from humanity to the cosmos. But it is also a gift to humanity. The record embodies a sense of possibility and hope. And it’s as relevant now as it was in 1977. Perhaps even more so.

The Voyager Interstellar Record is a reminder of what we can achieve when we are at our best—and that our future really is up to all of us.

 

Published in: on September 9, 2017 at 6:38 pm  Comments (1)  
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A Day Full of Wonderful Music!

This morning I took a trip to my old hometown of Rochester and made my routine pilgrimage to my favorite record store – The Bop Shop. The owner, Tom put a record in my hands and told me that I had to own it.

Tom has always been a wonderful source for musique concrete, minimalist works, early experimental electronic recordings and other lovely treasures of the avant-garde. Many of my favorite LPs are original pressings from his personal collection.

Cage.JPG

The LP he held was John Cage • Christian Wolff, a 1963 album featuring Cage’s side-long “Cartridge Music” – one of Cage’s earliest attempts to produce live electronic music by manipulating turntable cartridges. I’ve known Tom for years and he has never steered me wrong and this latest LP is no exception. Wonderful stuff!

I also spotted a box set in his shop which I snatched up without hesitation. Readers may recall my copy of Cyril Ritchard reading Alice in Wonderland which included a facsimile clothbound hardcover copy of the 1865 first edition with all of the original illustrations. Today in store, I discovered that Ritchard had produced a reading of Through the Looking Glass as well! And it too included a copy of the 1872 hardcover. How could I pass it up?

Alice.JPG

Upon returning home I was struck by a recollection that a Kickstarter project had been initiated for a first-ever “Earthling Edition” of the historic Voyager Golden Record, (our message to the stars). As the Kickstarter page describes:

The Voyager Golden Record contains the story of Earth expressed in sounds, images, and science: Earth’s greatest music from myriad cultures and eras, from Bach and Beethoven to Blind Willie Johnson and Chuck Berry, Senegalese percussion to Solomon Island panpipes. Dozens of natural sounds of our planet — birds, a train, a baby’s cry — are collaged into a lovely audio poem called Sounds of Earth. There are spoken greetings in 55 human languages, and one whale language, and more than one hundred images encoded in analog that depict who, and what, we are.

The closest I’d come to the Voyager disc was the limited edition “A Glorious Dawn” single from Third Man Records. The single was composed and performed by Symphony of Science and credited to an auto-tuned Carl Sagan singing about the magnificence of the universe. And etched upon the second side of the disc is the image of the Golden Record.

carl-sagan-a-glorious-dawn-by-symphony-of-science-single-sided-7%22-reverse-etched-with-the-image-of-the-voyager-golden-record

As a tremendous fan of Carl Sagan’s work and his legacy, and as a “cultural curator” of historically significant recordings, this anniversary Voyager project was something I knew I had to support, and to claim a copy for my library if at all possible.

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The beautiful box set is being remastered by Timothy Ferris – the original producer of the Golden Record, and will include:

  • A cloth-covered box with gold foil inlay
  • Three translucent gold, heavyweight vinyl LPs in poly-lined paper sleeves
  • Three old-style tip-on jackets, black ink and gold foil
  • A hardback book showcasing the photographs and art featured on the original disc
  • A lithograph of Voyager Golden Record cover diagram, gold metallic ink on archival paper
  • A full-color plastic digital download card for all audio of the record in MP3 or FLAC

What a wonderful way to celebrate our message to space!

And it turned out that my hunch was aptly timed, as I found there were only five days remaining in the Kickstarter campaign, and pledging to the project is the only way to claim a copy of this special release! I pledged immediately and look forward to the album’s launch in 2017.

Check out the short official video for the project and pledge while you still can!

Some Love For My Neglected Albums

It happens to just about every collector – you reach a point where you realize you’ve acquired more albums than you’ll be able to listen to in your lifetime. Or, in the earlier stages, you may find yourself with hundreds of albums you’ve purchased… you know you’ve listened to for maybe for one initial spin… but then they were shelved as you refocused your energies on your next acquisitional conquest.

I’ve arrived at that realization several times over the past year, and in an effort to right that wrong I began a running list in Google Keep of albums I need to revisit or those deserving of a focused and dedicated first-listen. Unfortunately, the list quickly outgrew the app and became cumbersome to navigate, so this morning just after midnight I took a few hours to reconstruct the list as a uniformly-formatted spreadsheet for easier reference. All catalog numbers are noted beside each artist and title, and all entries are vinyl unless otherwise stated.

Below is a roster of the top 125 neglected albums and box sets that I’ve purchased but not taken the time to enjoy in 2016. My goal is to curb my investments in additional material for a while and to really dig into these classic titles that I already have.

So for the remainder of the summer, this is what I’ll be spinning…

A Winged Victory For The Sullen – A Winged Victory For The Sullen (Kranky,Kranky – KRANK 157, KRANK157)
Amon Düül II – Phallus Dei (Revisited Rec. – SPV 304181 LP)
Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works Volume II (1972 – if11)
Archie Shepp – The Magic Of Ju-Ju (Impulse!, Universal Music – A-9154, B0016005-01)
Brian Eno – Lux (Warp Records – WARPLP231)
Cage, Varèse, Cowell, Ussachevsky, & others – Sounds of New Music (Folkways FX 6160)
Can – Ege Bamyasi (United Artists Records – UAS-29414)
Can – Future Days (United Artists Records – UA-LA213-F)
Can – Peel Sessions (Strange Fruit – SFRLP-135)
Can – Tago Mago (United Artists Records (2), United Artists Records (2) – UAS 29 211, UAS 29 211 X)
Charles Dodge – Earth’s Magnetic Field (Nonesuch – H-71250)
Charles Wuorinen – Time’s Encomium (Nonesuch – H-71225)
Cluster – Cluster II (Lilith ‎– LR335)
Cluster & Eno – Cluster & Eno (4 Men With Beards – 4M 141)
Duke Ellington And Count Basie – First Time! The Count Meets The Duke (Columbia – CL 1715)
Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong – The Duke Ellington – Louis Armstrong Years (Roulette – 9045-108)
Edgar Froese – Epsilon In Malaysian Pale (Virgin, Virgin – V 2040, v2040)
Eno – Another Green World (Island Records – ILPS 9351)
Eno – Moebius – Roedelius – After The Heat (4 Men With Beards – 4M163)
Eno – Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) (Island Records – ILPS 9309)
Eno, Moebius, Roedelius, Plank -Begegnungen II (Sky Records – SKY 095)
Frank Zappa – Hot Rats (Bizarre Records,Reprise Records – RS 6356)
Fripp & Eno – Evening Star (Editions EG – EGS 103)
FSOL – Lifeforms 2CD (Astralwerks ‎– ASW 6113-2, Virgin ‎– 7243 8 39433 2 6)
George Harrison – Electronic Sound (Apple Records, Zapple – EAS-80696, ZAPPLE 02)
Harmonia – Complete Works Box Set – Deluxe (LPGRON150)
Harmonia – Complete Works Box Set – Documents 1975 (LPGRON150)
Harmonia – Complete Works Box Set – Live 1974 (LPGRON150)
Harmonia – Complete Works Box Set – Musik Von Harmonia (LPGRON150)
Harmonia & Eno – Complete Works Box Set – Tracks and Traces (LPGRON150)
Herbie Hancock – Empyrean Isles (Blue Note, Blue Note, Blue Note, Blue Note – ST-84175, 84175, B0022238-01, BST 84175)
Jean Michel Jarre – Oxygene (Polydor,Polydor – PD-1-6112, 2310 555)
John Carpenter – Lost Themes (Sacred Bones Records – SBR123LP)
John Carpenter – Lost Themes II (Sacred Bones Records ‎– SBR-150)
Karl Hyde – Edgeland (Universal – 3729832)
Klaus Schulze – “X” (Sechs Musikalische Biographien) (Brain, Brain – 0080.023-2, 0080.023)
Klaus Schulze – Body Love – Additions To The Original Soundtrack (Island Records – ILPS 19510)
Klaus Schulze – Body Love (Metronome, Metronome – 0060.047, 60.047)
Klaus Schulze – Irrlicht ‎(Brain 0001 077 , 1077)
Klaus Schulze – Mirage (Brain – 60.040)
Klaus Schulze – Timewind (Brain, Brain – brain 1075, 0001.075)
Klaus Schulze – Trancefer (Innovative Communication, Innovative Communication – KS 80 014, KS 80014)
Klaus Schulze, Pete Namlook – The Dark Side Of The Moog Vol. 1-4 (MIG – MIG 01382)
Kraftwerk – Kraftwerk (Crown Records- CR 0423-1)
Kraftwerk – Kraftwerk 2 (Crown Records – CR 0424-1)
Kraftwerk – Ralf & Florian (Vertigo – VEL-2006)
Louis and Bebe Barron – Forbidden Planet (Poppydisc, Rev-Ola – POPPYLP012)
Miles Davis – ‘Round About Midnight (Columbia – CS 8649)
Miles Davis – A Tribute To Jack Johnson (Columbia – KC 30455)
Miles Davis – Agharta (Columbia – PG 33967)
Miles Davis – Big Fun (Columbia – PG 32866)
Miles Davis – Birth Of The Cool (T-762)
Miles Davis – Bitches Brew (Columbia – GP 26)
Miles Davis – Black Beauty / Miles Davis At Fillmore West (CBS/Sony – SOPJ 39-40)
Miles Davis – In A Silent Way (Columbia – CS 9875)
Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue (CS 8163)
Miles Davis – Miles At The Fillmore (Music On Vinyl – MOVLP1051)
Miles Davis – Miles Davis (Prestige, Prestige, Prestige – PR 24001, P 24001, 24001)
Miles Davis – Miles Davis At Carnegie Hall (CL 1812)
Miles Davis – Milestones (PC 9428)
Miles Davis – Porgy And Bess (CS 8085)
Miles Davis – Sketches Of Spain (Columbia – CS 8271)
Miles Davis – Somethin’ Else (BLP 1595, 1595, B0020156-01)
Miles Davis – Workin’ And Steamin’ (Prestige – P 24034)
Miles Davis ‎– Miles At The Fillmore 6LP Box Set (Music On Vinyl ‎– MOVLP1051)
Miles Davis Quintet – Jazz Tracks – The Original Soundtrack Recording From “Frantic” (Columbia Special Products – JCL 1268)
Miles Davis Sextet – Jazz At The Plaza Vol. 1 (CBS – C 32470)
Morton Subotnick – Silver Apples Of The Moon(Nonesuch – H-71174)
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless (Creation Records – crelp 060)
Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts I-IV (FLAC)
Pink Floyd – Meddle (Harvest – SMAS-832)
Pink Floyd – Obscured By Clouds (Harvest – ST-11078)
Raymond Scott – Manhattan Research Inc. (Basta – 30-9045-1)
Robert Fripp – Exposure (EG ‎– EGLP 101)
Robert Fripp – God Save the Queen & Under Heavy Manners (FLAC)
Robert Fripp & Andy Summers – I Advance Masked (SP-4913)
Sigur Rós – () (XL Recordings ‎– xlcd611)
Sigur Rós ‎– Ágætis Byrjun (FatCat Records ‎– FATLP11)
Silver Apples – Silver Apples (Kapp Records – KS-3562)
St Germain – St Germain (Warner Music France, Parlophone – 0825646121984)
Stan Getz / Eddie Sauter – Focus (Verve Records – V6-8412)
Stereolab – Aluminum Tunes: Switched On Vol 3 3LP (Drag City ‎– DC159)
Stereolab – Dots & Loops (FLAC)
Stereolab – Emperor Tomato Ketchup (FLAC)
Steve Reich – The Desert Music (Nonesuch,Nonesuch – 79101, 9 79101-1 F)
Sun Ra – Space Is The Place (Blue Thumb Records, The Verve Music Group – BTS 41, 06007 53627631)
Sun Ra – Space Is The Place (Sutro Park – SP1004)
Sun Ra And His Intergalactic Research Arkestra – It’s After The End Of The World (Live At The Donaueschingen And Berlin Festivals) (MPS Records, BASF – 20748, BASF 20748)
Tangerine Dream – Alpha Centauri (Relativity – EMC 8066) 6LP In the Beginning… box set
Tangerine Dream – Atem (Relativity – EMC 8066) 6LP In the Beginning… box set
Tangerine Dream – Electronic Meditation (Relativity – EMC 8066) 6LP In the Beginning… box set
Tangerine Dream – Zeit (Relativity – EMC 8066) 6LP In the Beginning… box set
Terry Riley – Songs For The Ten Voices Of The Two Prophets (Kuckuck – KUCK 067)
The Black Dog – Music For Real Airports (Soma Quality Recordings – Soma TBD003)
The J.B.’s – Doing It To Death (People Records, People Records – PE 5603, 2391 087)
The Orb – Moonbuilding 2703 AD (Kompakt – KOMPAKT 330 SE)
The Orb Featuring David Gilmour – Metallic Spheres (Columbia – 886977604416)
Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes (Landgrab – GRAB001)
Throbbing Gristle – 20 Jazz Funk Greats (FLAC)
Tom Waits – Alice (Anti- – 86632-1)
Tom Waits – Big Time (Island Records – 90987-1)
Tom Waits – Blood Money (Anti- – 86629-1)
Tom Waits – Blue Valentine (Asylum Records – 6E-162)
Tom Waits – Bone Machine (Island Records- ILPS 9993)
Tom Waits – Closing Time (Asylum Records – SD5061)
Tom Waits – Foreign Affairs (Asylum Records – 7E-1117)
Tom Waits – Franks Wild Years (Island Records – ITW 3)
Tom Waits – Glitter And Doom Live (Anti- – 87053-1)
Tom Waits – Heartattack And Vine(Asylum Records – 6E-295)
Tom Waits – Mule Variations (Anti-, Epitaph – 86547-1, 86574-1)
Tom Waits – Nighthawks At The Diner (Asylum Records – 7E-2008)
Tom Waits – Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards 7LP Box Set (Anti- – 86677-1)
Tom Waits – Rain Dogs (Island Records, Island Records – 7 90299-1, 90299-1)
Tom Waits – Real Gone (Anti- – 86678-1)
Tom Waits – Small Change (Asylum Records – 7E-1078)
Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones (Island Records – 90095-1)
Tom Waits – The Heart Of Saturday Night (Asylum Records – 7E-1015)
Tom Waits – Tom Waits Live Glitter And Doom Tour (Anti- – 87018-7)
Vangelis – Blade Runner (Audio Fidelity (3) – AFZLP 154)
Various – Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center (Columbia Masterworks – MS 6566)
Various ‎– Die Welt Ist Klang: A Tribute To Pete Namlook 8CD Deluxe Box Set (Carpe Sonum Records ‎– SEIZE-I)
Walter Carlos – Sonic Seasonings (Columbia – KG 31234)
White Noise – An Electric Storm (FLAC)
William Basinski ‎– The Disintegration Loops 9LP+5CD+DVD Box Set (Temporary Residence Limited ‎– TRR194)
Zappa / Beefheart / Mothers – Bongo Fury (DiscReet – DS 2234)

It should be a good time.

 

 

Published in: on July 23, 2016 at 1:16 am  Comments (1)  
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A Tour of the Listening Room!

My birthday is fast-approaching, and as you would suspect, I am impossible to shop for.  Despite this challenge, my fiance has successfully surprised and delighted me with her creative gifts more and more with each passing year.

This year I had more than once wondered aloud how much I would love a 2-row record bin to flip through my collection record store style.  But, as other household expenses have always taken precedence, I’d never gone ahead and ordered one.

But yesterday, my fiance with her thrifty eagle eye spotted a wood-framed beer cooler roadside with a large rectangular aluminum-lined cavity that, as luck would have it, measures precisely wide enough for two deep rows of polybagged LPs!  It even has an additional shelf underneath for oversize box sets!

It’s been so long since I’ve done a video, and this new acquisition seemed the perfect opportunity for an updated tour of my listening room.

Note: I neglected to mention in the video – Underworld’s quintessential album, Dubnobasswithmyheadman is not missing from the collection I present – it is framed on the wall opposite the Eno • Hyde Someday World art print!

A few of the unmentioned items featured include:

Atop the Bookshelf:
William Basinski – The Disintegration Loops Box Set
Cyril Ritchard Reads Alice in Wonderland + Facsimile Clothbound HC of the first edition
Tangerine Dream – In the Beginning…
Tom Waits – Orphans
Underworld – Dubnobasswithmyheadman Super Deluxe Anniversary Ed.
Underworld – Barking Super Deluxe Ed.
20 Years of Jethro Tull: The Definitive Collection
The Motown Story: The First Decade
Miles Davis at the Fillmore Box Set
Harmonia – Complete Works

Atop the Jazz/20th Century Avant-Garde/Funk & Soul/Blues/ and Proto Electronic Shelf:
Klaus Schulze + Pete Namlook – The Dark Side of the Moog Vol I-IV
Music From Some Guys in Space (Fan-Made Box Set)
FAX +49-69/45046 / Carpe Sonum – Die Welt Ist Klang: A Tribute to Pete Namlook
Lemon Jelly – lemonjelly.ky
Lemon Jelly – Lost Horizons
Lemon Jelly – ’64-’95 DVD box
The KLF Recovered & Remastered Collection (with new titles I’ll be featuring soon!)
and the Buckner & Garcia – “Pac-Man Fever” square pic disc

As for the contents of the record bin; I think I covered each of these in the vid… but let me know if you’re wondering about any titles in particular!

Thanks so much for watching and extra-special thanks to my dear fiance for doing the impossible year after year!

 

Published in: on June 4, 2016 at 11:31 am  Comments (1)  
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The Innerspace Hot 100

Although the site has been up for some time, Topsters.net has seen a massive surge of activity recently, as the site’s personalized top album lists went viral across several Facebook vinyl communities this week.

I was happily swept up by the craze, and this afternoon assembled The Innerspace Hot 100!

These are the first 100 LPs I’d grab in a fire… followed by another 100 LPs… and so on.

And if you dig even half of the records on this chart… we’ll get along swimmingly.

I’ve reduced the image here for mobile compatibility, but double-tap/click the image below to view it in its full-res glory.

All of these albums are highly recommended!

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Published in: on April 22, 2015 at 8:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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