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  Leave a Comment  
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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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And in the end…

After a brief discussion with a friend today comparing and contrasting the merits of print vs eBooks, I began to re-examine my obsession with record collecting (and with materialism of any form).  I’ve been grappling with both sides of the collectibility coin for years, but the end of a calendar year seems a fitting time to look back and reflect on exactly what I’m doing and at what cost.

My purchasing of printed books has become more selective and refined in the past year (as it has for much of the public with eBook sales still on the rise.)  Statistia.com forcasts that ePub sales will exceed those of printed books by 2017.  This has been my most active year ever for book purchases – the same year I built myself a virtually-departmentalized library of eBooks.

eBooks vs Print Chart

Similarly, my vinyl purchasing has become specialized as well.  2014 has been Innerspace’s most-active for both digital and vinyl acquisitions, with each directly inspiring activity in the other.

107 LPs (accounting for each of the discs in multi-disc box sets) were purchased in the last 5 months alone, making the second half of 2014 our busiest purchasing period in the history of the Innerspace Library.  Actual spending for album acquisition in 2014 (purchases between Jan 13 and Nov 26) totaled $1,140.30, including all spending for overseas shipping and other courier services, with a mean monthly expenditure of $103 for the 11 months of activity.  The vast majority of these purchases were special-edition, limited releases, and original-pressings of milestones from my favorite genres.

Comparatively, 4,138 of my digital album folders were added or modified in 2014, (though this number includes folders in which tag maintenance or restructuring occurred during the last calendar year.)  The increase in digital album “consumption” had a direct impact on my vinyl-ordering activity.

But increasingly, the reasons I’ve used to justify my LP purchases are being eroded by the changing landscape of the FLAC community.

And so I thought I’d take each head-on.

beethoven-with-headphones
CLAIM 1: Vinyl often features better mastering and production quality than their digital counterparts

The genres I collect, particularly avant-garde, modern classical, ambient, and experimental electronic music have an audiophile fan base dedicated to the digital preservation of these recordings.  Where once fans had to rely on pirate remastering work by Purple Chick and Dr. Ebbetts (among other legendary engineers), the democratization of recording technology has made home-archiving inexpensive and easy without having to chase down shiny black discs.

And for albums previously only available on wax, we have claim #2.

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CLAIM 2: You can’t find these recordings anywhere else

Thanks to archival technology, there has developed a large and well-networked community of collectors eager to share their rare vinyl recordings with the rest of the world.  The community has evolved to the point where vinyl-only issued and limited-press recordings are now readily available in the form of community-generated digital lossless archives.  While commercial networks like Spotify offer only a tiny fraction of these recordings (I think there are six) due to their limited commercial interest and costly rights negotiation, actual fans of the music have stepped up to the plate and made the albums available where a commercial market has not.

"Armand De Brignac" Champagne Party at the VIP Room

CLAIM 3: Supporting the artist

This is a moot argument in my specialized case and in the case of those like me.  99% of the albums I buy are used records pressed forty years ago.  The used market has little to no impact on composers and artists, (with a few special exceptions like that of Rodriguez).  One exempt title which comes to mind is Thom Yorke’s Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes LP.  Yorke made headlines when …Boxes became the first album ever to be sold through a commercial torrent channel, demonstrating the viability of the sharing medium.  I saw my purchase of the deluxe LP as a contribution to a cause I supported.  But those two exceptions aside, I don’t think Ludwig or Karlheinz need my money that badly.

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CLAIM 4: It’s all about the experience

The experience is one of the outstanding merits of vinyl albums with which digital music cannot compete.  Selecting the album, removing it from its artful gatefold cover, dropping the needle, and so many other elements of the vinyl experience remind us of the value of music in an age of digital gluttony.  The experience is what still motivates me to purchase records, but with greater selectivity than before.

REAL FRIENDS HELP YOU MOVE RECORDS

With the erosion of the above arguments in vinyl’s favor, the reasons against collecting grow larger than ever.

REASON 1: They weigh a ton.

Ask anyone who’s been generous enough to help me move.  Collecting records requires the dedication of space and the enlistment of an army should you ever need to relocate them.  I know it’s part of vinyl’s charm – they are Objets d’art, but they’re admittedly a burden at the same time.

REASON 2: The stuff I’m after costs a fortune.

That $100 a month is over a grand at the end of the year that I could put toward living more comfortably and taking care of my beautiful partner.  I’m grateful that I am able to accommodate the limited disposable income I have for a fulfilling hobby and as a means of social interaction, but greater selectivity may yield a greater reward in the end.  Contrariwise, the only available digital resource for these vinyl-ripped and rare recordings is the file sharing community, which is 100% free.  And there isn’t much that can compare with free.

REASON 3: Accessibility and Organization

What I love most about our Digital Library is that it is meticulously organized and instantly indexable by multiple points of metadata.  With just a few clicks I can export charts and visualizations of library data for my annual reports.  And with 100% of the content on my home server, I can access any track wherever I go.  My unlimited data plan grants me uninhibited access to my content in FLAC without needing to transcode to stay below a corporate-determined threshold of data.  I take several TB of content to work each day, enjoy it on the walk there and back, and DJ my office for the 8 hours in between.

(Oh yes… and 13,000+ albums don’t take up any real estate on the shelf.)

And so…

Moving forward into the new year, I’m going to significantly pull the reins on my vinyl-buying impulses.  I might attempt to quantify my purchasing decisions with a 3-question qualifier before buying (as I’ve a fondness for doing things mathematically.)  There will still be incredible albums here, and there is no reason I can’t talk about a FLAC vinyl-rip and throw up a shot of the LP… (it’ll be our little secret.)

I welcome your thoughts.  Please feel free to share your support for or against this notion.  And I’ll see you in the new year.

Innerspace Video Introduction

Last week I put the new Nexus 7 tablet to the test and filmed my first-ever video as my official introduction to the Youtube Vinyl Community – perhaps the Web’s largest active record group with over 5200 members.   It seemed only appropriate to utilize the same clip as an introduction to my readers here at The Innerspace Connection as well.

This intro features essential recordings for listeners beginning to explore the early electronic sounds of the late 1950s to the early 1970s.

I enjoyed putting it together and I am currently preparing my next two features, so stay tuned for more!

Or view this video on in HD here.

A Thought Piece on Retiring My Physical Library

I’ve had a humbling revelation, and I’m honored to be able to share it with my audience.

A few days ago, I prepared multiple discographic digital FLAC archives to upload to the finest private tracker on the net.  I posted an inquiry to the moderators of the site – asking if there was any way to preserve the folder structures of the megatorrents I’d created thusly:

– Studio Albums
– Live Albums
– Soundtracks
– Remasters
– Compilations
– Singles
– Solo Projects
(etc)

I had tagged each disc’s %album% and named each corresponding folder with:
[%YEAR%] %TITLE%.  

My core belief was that artists and labels should be experienced in the full context of their discographies.  I’d labored to create resources for those researching the evolution of a composer’s sound and to help listeners track the development of a genre through the chronology of releases on its primary record label.

But the harsh realization came when it was explained to me that the system in place by the tracker with which I’d elected to share my files already had a superior archival method in place.  Namely – all artists’ work is auto-populated in chronological order of release, and sub-categorized by commercial recordings, live recordings, singles, etc.

But more importantly, the site’s torrents grow better with each upload.  Users can choose to download one album or all albums at any bitrate they desire, whether 192CBR, 320VBR, or FLAC.  And as members upload new releases or superior torrents (such as FLAC + .log), the previous entries are automatically replaced.

The site maintains a strict file naming convention and organizational structure, which was the reason I joined their network in the first place.  Shockingly, this realization shattered the labor of love I’d be building for the past five years.

My local archive was old hat.  It was no longer relevant.  The new system already in place is an ever-evolving organism, superior to my method in nearly every way.  I was old and in the way.

Recursively archived torrent systems composed of magnetic links comprise the greatest library of media, literature and human knowledge ever assembled.  The user-constructed collage system of this particular tracker allows members to collaborate and design maps to help new listeners navigate and discover these wonderful recordings.

And perhaps most importantly, this magnificent system will survive long after my modest archive has long been forgotten.

Will I stop collecting records?  Surely not.  Though I will likely be more conscious and selective about which gems I select for my personal archive going forward.  As an independent archivist, I will adapt and re-direct my efforts toward perfect, FLAC + log archives of exceptional and rare recordings.

Please do not misinterpret my words – by no means am I abandoning my life-long affinity for dusty old bookshops and record libraries.  I am only shifting my methods for the sake of practicality and preservation.

My goal has always been to archive for the enlightenment of the generations to come, for the sake of great music that should never be forgotten.  This goal remains unchanged.  It is simply the means to that end which begs revision.

I welcome your thoughts.  Thank you, friends for letting me share.

dusty-library

Published in: on January 26, 2014 at 10:46 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Mega-Box-Set Post

Recently, while exploring the early Miles Davis recordings, I discovered the Miles Davis Quintet LPs released on the Prestige label in the years before his signing with Columbia.
For the past several months I’ve been enjoying the 72-disc Complete Columbia Recordings Collection so I picked up a digital archive of the Miles Davis Quintet albums and enjoyed the sessions very much.

Their final four albums released on the Prestige label were Cookin’… (57), Relaxin’… (’58), Workin’… (1959), and Steamin… (’61) …with the Miles Davis Quintet.

cookin

relaxin

workin

steamin

A quick scan of discogs.com made it clear that original pressings were out of my budget, but that remasters were pressed throughout the 80s and early 90s and readily available, still sealed, for around $20 apiece.  The total with shipping would be $86 for the remasters, so I spent a few extra days investigating a cheaper option.

The following Saturday I found my answer!  In 1972 and 1974, Prestige released two double-LPs with matching artwork and typography remastering all four of the albums I was after.  Better still, I acquired both sets in VG+ for a total of $21.

R-595825-1166182613

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Proud additions to my Miles Davis collection!

Next I jumped at the opportunity to order a copy of Moondog’s second self-titled LP from 1969.  It was my first exposure to the legendary blind avant-garde classical street performer and Odin-impersonator, and I knew I had to have it for my library.  The LP was reissued in 2003 but I secured a clean original pressing for $50, so I was happy.

R-1078494-1190462193

Later, while discussing early German avant garde-music with a coworker, he mentioned The Second Viennese School, which I investigated as soon as I was home from work.  There is a digital Collection available which includes Webern: The Complete Works (a 6-disc set), Schoenberg: The Piano Music, and the 1909-1935 Berg Collector’s Edition, (an 8-disc set).  I will be exploring these recordings while reading about the composers more in the coming weeks.

Out of curiosity I searched for the term “avant-garde” in the digital marketplace and found a wonderful set to further my education.  The Progressive/Kraut/Avant Garde/Psych Collection contains 753 albums totaling over 517 hours of material, most of which are out of print on vinyl.  Resources like these are excellent starting points for those taking their first steps into progressive rock and who learn best by actually listening to these rare recordings before ordering the original pressings.

Also on the subject of volumous box sets, there is a magnificent 8-DVD collection which I can’t recommend enough for listeners looking to explore the psybient genre I featured in my previous post.  The discs are expertly organized – the first disc compiling the works of Simon Posford (Celtic Cross, Dub Trees, Hallucinogen, Shpongle, The Infinity Project, etc.)

And DVD #6 is a compilation of fourty official psybient various-artists collections.

In all, the set contains over 329 hours of psychill albums and is an essential collectable for archivists or for anyone in need of some meditative chill-out music to spin while they’re working.

And the final multi-disc set of the week is the limited-edition Klaus Schulze: Ultimate Edition which compiles 50 CDs of previously unreleased or limited-release recordings into one massive set of ambient bliss.

I’ll be playing each of the collections highlighted above at the office for certain.

And to celebrate my new career (and having my own office for the first time in my life), my girlfriend presented me with a 24×36 framed print of a young Miles Davis to hang behind my desk.

Miles Prints sm

I added a framed original pressing of Birth of the Cool to the adjacent wall and picked up a new pair of speakers for my desk.

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I’m going to like it there.

The Birthday Vinyl is in!

Hello again!

While I am still anxiously awaiting my limited run reissue of Cinematic Orchestra’s Motion (ordered back in early March!) I can at least report that some special favorites turned up for my birthday and have arrived safely at my new apartment.

I had a beacon out for a copy of the Orb’s legendary Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld in case a copy ever turned up in the United States.  This 1991 ambient house-concept debut album marked the official transition from works by The KLF (and Jimmy Cauty’s ambient project under the moniker “Space”) into what became The Orb.

If you ever track down this milestone album for yourself, you’ll want the original UK pressing, as the first US pressing was edited down from the double-disc 109:41 minute UK release down to a one disc 70:41 minutes – a crime against the world of ambient music.

Orb - Orb's Adventures Ultraworld
The album is best-known for the track, “Little Fluffy Clouds,” but should truly be enjoyed in its double disc glory.

It was an absolute joy to finally own this LP, but what I stumbled upon next really floored me.

I had been itching for the most memorable ethereal post-rock records of the late 90s and early 2000s.  I put together a list of my favorites – albums which immediately come to mind years after I first heard them.  Then I poured over my favorite web sources for hard-to-find wax.  On my second day of searching, I was delighted to find one seller on a particular site who had three of the six records I was looking for!  Better still, they were in the USA, and would ship any number of LPs for a total of $5!

Then I realized what seller I was dealing with – it was The Lakeshore Record Exchange in my old home town of Rochester, NY.

I immediately grabbed my phone and called the owner of the shop.  He had just sold one of the discs but said that he’d already re-ordered a store copy and would ship all three as soon as it came in.

What a treat it was, 5 days later to receive three elusive albums from my first years in college all from the shop where I spent some of my earliest vinyl-purchasing days!  (This, by the way, was the shop where a very beautiful record clerk played me Lemon Jelly for the first time and lead me on a 100-album binge for their complete recordings!)  Thank you, Marta.

Here are the three albums which arrived last night –

The first is múm’s first release on FatCat Records from 2001, Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today is OK.

mum - Yesterday was Dramatic

The next disc was another essential FatCat LP from Iceland –  Sigur Rós’ Ágætis Byrjun. Recorded in 1999, this is the 2013 UK DMM Remaster from Abbey Road on 180gm vinyl.

Sigur Ros - Agaetis Byrjun Ltd Ed RSD 2013 (stickered version)

And the third record was the wonderful collaboration between Adam Wiltzie (Stars of the Lid) and Dustin O’Halloran (who released his Lumiere LP on FatCat in 2011).

A Winged Victory For The Sullen was released on Kranky Records that same year.

A Winged Victory - A Winged Victory

The remaining three albums from my Contemporary Ambient list are Telefon Tel Aviv’s Fahrenheit Fair Enough, The Album Leaf’s In a Safe Place, and Pantha Du Prince’s This Bliss from Germany.

Hopefully I’ll pick them up by Christmas time.

Thanks for listening and THANK YOU, Lakeshore!