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Blank slate: Hundreds of ‘White Albums’ take up residence in LIverpool art gallery
08.15.2014
06:59 am

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
The Beatles
White Album
Rutherford Chang


 
Dismissing claims by critics that the Beatles’ sole LP from 1968 would have worked better had the songs been curated into a tighter, single-disc release, Paul McCartney commented: “It was great. It sold. It’s the bloody Beatles’ White Album. Shut up!”

Amen to that. I’m a “late Beatles” guy, and, for me anyway, The White Album is utterly central to the Beatles’ allure. Artist Rutherford Chang appears to be a “late Beatles” guy too, and he’s making a decent bid to be regarded as the world’s number-one fan of The White Album and its decidedly minimalist cover by Richard Hamilton. He’s been buying up as many first pressings of the album as he can (the first pressing numbered more than three million). He now owns more than 1,000 first pressings of it, which he exhibits in spaces that are set up to resemble record shops: you can flip through the “inventory” just like at any record shop, and you are permitted to play any of the albums there on the provided record player. Unlike a record shop, however, the relation of consumer to establishment is reversed: You cannot buy anything there, but you can sell a first pressing of The White Album if you have one. The show is called “We Buy White Albums.”
 

 
Chang has exhibited the always-growing collection of albums for the last couple of years. “We Buy White Albums” has appeared in several locations in the United States as well as Shanghai, Denmark, and Ireland.
 

 
Last year, from January to March,  “We Buy White Albums” was exhibited at Recess, 41 Grand Street, New York. I was a resident of New York City during that time, but unfortunately I was out of town the entire period this show was on. I wish I’d been able to see it. Eilon Paz of Dust and Grooves interviewed Chang during that show, and it richly merits its status as the essential Rutherford Chang/White Album interview. Here are a few excerpts:
 

Q: Are you a vinyl collector?

A: Yes, I collect White Albums.

Q: Do you collect anything other than that?

A: I own some vinyl and occasionally buy other albums, but nothing in multiples like the White Album.

Q: Why just White Album? why not Abbey road? or Rubber Soul?

A: The White Album has the best cover. I have a few copies of Abbey Road and Rubber Soul, but I keep those in my “junk bin”.

Q: Why do you find it so great? It’s a white, blank cover. Are you a minimalist?

A: I’m most interested in the albums as objects and observing how they have aged. So for me, a Beatles album with an all white cover is perfect.

Q: Do you care about the album’s condition?

A: I collect numbered copies of the White Album in any condition. In fact I often find the “poorer” condition albums more interesting.

-snip-

Q: Are you collecting as an artist or as a music fan?

A: I’m collecting them as cultural artifacts.

Q: Do you listen to vinyl records on regular basis?

A: I listen to the White Album every day.

-snip-

Q: I’m trying to figure out if you’re a vinyl collector, or a music aficionado or an artist making an art piece with an object that happens to be a Beatles White album? Can you expand on that?

A: I’m making an art piece using White Albums as material. But the process also very much involves collecting vinyl and listening to music.

Q: Do you buy records other than the White Album for your art project?

A: I occasionally buy other records, but I don’t consider these part of my collection. I “collect” only White Albums.

Q: How did you come up with the idea of collecting first edition white albums? and why just first editions?

A: I got into collecting multiple White Albums because every copy tells a story. Each one has aged uniquely over the course of the last half-decade. The pressings from 1968 were numbered, implying that it is a limited edition, although one running in excess of 3 million.

 

 
Today, August 15, 2014, the show opens in England for the first time. Fittingly, the location is the birthplace of all four Beatles, Liverpool: “Presented by FACT and Liverpool International Music Festival, We Buy White Albums will take over FACT’s loading bay space on Wood Street from 15 August – 16 September.” On August 28, at 6pm, Chang will be on hand for a Q&A with FACT director Mike Stubbs.

The true subject of “We Buy White Albums,” it seems to me, is entropy, albeit entropy in the highly pressurized environment of the mass music marketplace. Issue more than three million albums with an almost completely white cover by the world’s favorite rock and roll band and see what happens. Things will happen to them, they will inevitably diverge from one another. The records will get scratched and warp, the covers will get water-damaged, the creamy, inviting white cover will become the home for doodles and graffiti. Chang revels in the strange forms the White Album can take, more than 45 years after its release. Anyone who’s spent any time plundering LP bargain bins can surely relate.

In that vein, Chang has also released a track in which 100 of his White Albums are played simultaneously (side 1 only, alas). The music starts off pretty much in sync; you can hear “Back in the USSR” just fine but the divergence soon sets in with a vengeance. As Allan Kozinn writes:
 

The albums, as it turns out, have also aged with some variety. Some played cleanly, others had scratches, noise from embedded dirt, or vinyl wear. And though the recordings are identical, variations in the pressings, and natural fluctuations in the speed of Mr. Chang’s analogue turntable, meant that the 100 recordings slowly moved out of sync, in the manner of an early Steve Reich piece: the opening of “Back in the U.S.S.R.” is entirely unified, but at the start of “Dear Prudence,” you hear the first line echoing several times, and by “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” the track is a nearly unrecognizeable roar.

 
For me, the high point—by far—is “Wild Honey Pie.” Enjoy.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
MoMA and Warhol Museum to digitize all of Warhol’s films and videos
08.15.2014
06:45 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
Andy Warhol


 
Yesterday the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh announced a joint project to digitize all of Andy Warhol’s film and video work, including his 60 feature-length movies and his 279 screen tests. The undertaking is projected to a “multi-year project.”

On October 15th, fifteen notable works that have never had public screenings will be presented in Pittsburgh.

According The Art Newspaper,
 

The epic project—there are around 1,000 rolls of films to capture frame by frame, and 4,000 videos—is made possible by the technical expertise and sponsorship of the special effects company MPC. The technology company Adstream will provide digital asset management. The partnership will be a “multi-year project”, according to MoMA’s press statement.

The artist’s films have been cared for by MoMA since the early 1990s, and are among the most requested works in its circulating film library. Fifteen of his films, which have never been screened in public before, have already been digitised by MPC. They are due to be shown in Pittsburgh on 17 October during “Exposed: Songs for Unseen Warhol Films”.

In a statement, Eric Shiner, the director of the Warhol Museum, said the artist’s films “are as significant as his paintings”, adding that the project will mean scholars and the public will be able to see his total output.

 
It’s not stated that the movies will be available online, but we can hope that that is implied. If so, it will be a chance for movies like Chelsea Girls, Bike Boys, Flesh, Lonesome Cowboys, Trash, Since, Blue Movie, Space, Empire, Sleep, Blow Job, and many others to find a new audience (or indeed, in some cases, their first audience).

Here’s a gander at Nico in a clip from I. A Man:
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The time John, Paul, George and Ringo took a ‘trip’ to buy a (fascist) fantasy island
08.15.2014
06:38 am

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:
The Beatles
Magic Alex

gree67beat.jpg
 
The Summer of Love 1967: John Lennon was tired of Britian, tired of living a life in public, tired of the relentless clamor of fans, and the dreary British weather.

The Beatles had stopped touring in 1966 and were now focusing their energies on being a studio band. Lennon wanted some peace and quiet—somewhere he could have a life of privacy.

At a meeting The Beatles held to discuss plans for their next film The Magical Mystery Tour in July 1967, Lennon raised the suggestion of the band buying a Greek island for them all to live on. As Lennon said at the time:

We’re all going to live there, perhaps forever, just coming home for visits. Or it might just be six months a year. It’ll be fantastic, all on our own on this island. There some little houses which we’ll do up and knock together and live communally.

They would build four villas on the island to provide accommodation for The Beatles and their families. An entertainment complex and a recording studio would be built in the middle, and there would also be homes for staff and friends.
 
beatles67.jpg
 
Amusingly, the idea may have been inspired by Gerry Anderson’s kids puppet series Thunderbirds, where the fictional Tracy family lived on a specially altered island from which they operated. The Beatles had lived together before when learning their trade in Hamburg, and of course, memorably on screen in Help!, where they shared a home in four connected houses.

According to Beatles publicist Derek Talyor in his autobiography 20 Years Adrift:

The four Beatles would have their network at the centre of the compound: a dome of glass and iron tracery not unlike the old Crystal Palace over the mutual creative/play area, from which arbours and avenues would lead off like spokes from a wheel to four vast and incredibly beautiful separate living units. In the outer grounds, the houses of the inner clique: Neil (Aspinall), Mal (Evans), Terry (Doran) and Derek, complete with partners, families and friends…

Lennon may also have been talked into it by Yanni Alexis Mardas, better known as Magic Alex, the Greek electronics whizzkid who impressed Lennon with his Kinetic Light Sculptures at the Indica Gallery. As Paul McCartney later said in a biography by Barry Miles’ Many Years From Now:

Alex invited John on a boat holiday in Greece, and we were all then invited. There was some story of buying a Greek island or something. It was all so sort of abstract but the first thing we had to do is go to Greece and see if we even liked it out there. The idea was get an island where you can just do what you want, a sort of hippie commune where nobody’d interfere with your lifestyle.

I suppose the main motivation for that would probably be that no one could stop you smoking. Drugs was probably the main reason for getting some island, and then all the other community things that were around then… it was drug-induced ambition, we’d just be sitting around: “Wouldn’t it be great? The lapping water, sunshine, we’d be playing. We’d get a studio there. Well, its possible these days with mobiles and…” We had lots of ideas like that. The whole Apple enterprise was the result of those ideas.

The plan was serious enough for Alex to strike a deal with Greek government giving The Beatles diplomatic immunity—this allowed the band to carry drugs into the country. As part of the deal to obtain diplomatic immunity, the Fab Four had to pose for pictures for the Ministry of Tourism, this was arranged without the band’s knowledge.
 
greecearrivaljpjj1.jpg
 
greecebeatlesrgjp.jpg
 

 
H/T Beatles Bible & All Things Beatles
 
More fantasy island and Beatles holiday snaps, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The (almost) unknown art of Miles Davis
08.15.2014
06:32 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Miles Davis


 
 
Although his art would adorn one of his record releases from time to time, Miles Davis didn’t begin to draw and paint in earnest until he was in his mid-fifties, during the early 1980s and a period of musical inactivity. Miles being Miles, he didn’t merely dabble, but made creating art as much a part of his life as making music in his final decade. He was said to have worked obsessively each day on art when he wasn’t touring and he studied regularly with New York painter Jo Gelbard.

His style was a sharp, bold and masculine mixture of Kandinsky, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Picasso and African tribal art. I also find his work puts me in mind of the output of painter Phil Frost.

Davis’ paintings weren’t exhibited much during his lifetime, but since his death in 1991, his estate has mounted several traveling gallery and museum shows. Quincy Jones is known to own a number of Miles’ canvases.  In 2013, Miles Davis: The Collected Artwork was published.
 

 

“I’ve been painting and sketching all my life. Also, for my tailor I used to draw my suits, ‘cause he couldn’t speak English.”

 

 

“It’s like therapy for me, and keeps my mind occupied with something positive when I’m not playing music.”

 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Robin Williams immortalized in street art
08.14.2014
03:25 pm

Topics:
Art
R.I.P.

Tags:
Robin Williams


 
A nice Robin Williams tribute spotted in Belgrade, Serbia. The artist at this time is unknown. If you know who did this I will update the post.

Apparently Williams was in early stages of Parkinson’s disease according to his widow’s statement.

via ANIMAL

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Bukowski, it’s going to be sickening’: Charles Bukowski uncensored and animated
08.14.2014
12:44 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Animation
Heroes

Tags:
Charles Bukowski


 
A candid conversation between Charles Bukowski, his then-wife Linda Lee Beighle and his co-producer John Runnette (the one asking the questions) from the 1993 Run With The Hunted recording session. Although this is just a short snippet of a conversation, it’s a perfect moment that reveals so much about the writer’s private self, which, in fact, doesn’t seem all that different from the version of himself that he presented in his autobiographical novels. I suppose imbibing as much alcohol as Buk did on a daily basis might erase that public/private dividing line quite a bit!

Bukowski: I just don’t love my stuff that much. You know what I’m interested in? What I’m going to type tomorrow night. That’s all that interests me… the next poem, the next fucking line. What’s past is past I don’t want to linger over it, and read it and play with it and jolly it up. it’s gone, it’s done. If you can’t write the next line, well, you’re dead. The past doesn’t matter.

~snip

Bukowski: I think my writing is really pretty fucking powerful stuff but I think after I’m dead and safe, they’re going to trot me out, I’m going to really be discovered you know.

Animation by HarperAudio.
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Listen to ‘Transform!!!’ Electric Würms’ wild cosmic jam, exclusive premiere
08.14.2014
12:23 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Wayne Coyne
Electric Würms
Steven Drozd


 
Today’s track premiere from Electric Würms’ Musik, Die Schwer Zu Twerk (“Music that’s Hard to Twerk to”) is “Transform!!!”

Electric Würms is the side project of Flaming Lips multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd and Wayne Coyne (who steps away from his normal frontman role here and plays bass) working with Nashville-based psych-rockers Linear Downfall. It’s a spacey, raw cosmic jam that Pitchfork called a “Live-Evil-era Miles (by way of Yoko Ono’s Fly) psych-funk shriek.”

Musik, Die Schwer Zu Twerk comes out on CD, vinyl and iTunes via Warner Bros. Records on August 19th.
 

Posted by Electric Würms | Leave a comment
‘Prog Is A 4 Letter Word’: Exclusive Flaming Lips prog rock playlist


 
Enjoy this exclusive mix compiled for Dangerous Minds readers by Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips.

Prog Is a 4 Letter Word

“South Side of the Sky” - Yes
“Siberian Khatru” - Yes
“Knife Edge” - ELP
“Watcher of the Skies” - Genesis
“Archangel Thunderbird” (proto prog-punk) - Amon Düül II
“Darkness” - Van der Graaf Generator
“Yours Is No Disgrace” - Yes
“Cygnus X-1 book 1” - Rush
“The Inner Mounting Flame” - Mahavishnu Orchestra
“Thick As A Brick” - Jethro Tull

The pair’s Flaming Lips sideproject, recorded as Electric Würms with Nashville-based psych-rock band Linear Downfall, is called Musik, Die Schwer Zu Twerk. The EP is comes out on CD, vinyl and iTunes via Warner Bros. Records on August 19th. Later today we’ll premiere the Miles Davis-influenced track “Transform” from the new release.
 

 

Posted by Electric Würms | Leave a comment
‘Mission: Impossible’ vs ‘Norwegian Wood:’ the world’s first mashup, 1968


 
There was a time I would have gone to the mat in defense of the idea that the first ever mashup release was 1996’s “Whipped Cream Mixes” single by Columbus, OH’s Evolution Control Committee, a marvelous collision of Public Enemy a cappella tracks with music beds by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. If you don’t know them, my God, take a few minutes out of your life to properly dig some awesomeness:
 

 

 
Though that single is an acknowledged influence on the UK bootleg scene, I was mistaken in my Ohio-proud belief that the ECC invented the now-standard “Band vs Band” form. But I was educated. By the graces of Regretsy creator April Winchell’s amazing MP3 share page, I was alerted to the existence of composer/arranger Alan Copeland’s 1968 work “Mission: Impossible Theme/Norwegian Wood,” whereon Copeland’s chorus sang the lyrics to the Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood” over an orchestral performance of Lalo Schifrin’s indelible theme music from the secret agent TV series.
 

 
Copeland was already known for his work in The Modernaires, and on television with Your Hit Parade and The Red Skelton Show when ABC records released his weird hybrid as a single. That single won a Grammy award in the Best Contemporary Pop Performance, Chorus category. According to several sources I’ve found, The Alan Copeland Singers actually performed “Norwegian Wood” on the Skelton show, but frustratingly, I can find no indication of whether it was performed with the “Mission: Impossible” music, nor can I find any video of the appearance online. Frankly, for a Grammy-winning major label single, the tune is an elusive motherfucker. The 7” photo above is of my copy—can you make out the 98¢ price sticker? The idea of finding it that cheaply nowadays is, um, wishful. (To be clear, I paid way, WAY less than the eBay seller at that link is asking—no 7” is worth a shopping cart full of groceries.)

The song resurfaced in 1997 on a compilation from Rhino Records (naturally!) called Golden Throats 4: Celebrities Butcher the Beatles, a comp that is itself out of print and rare now. I managed to find it on Grooveshark, but that site’s embeds evidently don’t work on mobile devices, so for readers who browse DM on a phone or tablet, I’ve also included a YouTube link to a faithful cover version, by an Australian vocal group called the Unisounds. Somehow, you will hear this song, dammit.

Per IMDB, Alan Copeland is still living, and teaching choir in Berkeley, CA.
 

Mission Impossible Theme Norwegian Wood by Alan Copeland Singers on Grooveshark

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
Led Zeppelin vs Beatles: ‘Whole Lotta Helter Skelter’
Mashup: Donna Summer and Booker T & the MGs: ‘I Feel Love’ / ‘Green Onions’
Beck on the butcher block: Illegal Art’s ‘Deconstructing Beck’
Bunnymen vs White Stripes, Bee Gees vs Killing Joke and more: new mashups from Go Home Productions

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Miles Davis and John Lennon were shit at basketball
08.14.2014
09:32 am

Topics:
History
Pop Culture

Tags:
John Lennon
Miles Davis


Miles smiles. The Lennons look on.

John Lennon and Miles Davis shooting a game of H-O-R-S-E and both failing miserably. Lennon is particularly bad, missing the backboard, even, but any commenters blaming his lack of game on Yoko will be banned from DM for life!

A crappy looking version of this has made the Internet rounds for a while, but it was so blurry that it was too hard to watch and ultimately uninteresting considering what’s actually there under the layers of VHS video murk. Here’s a superior version where you can actually see what’s happening.

This was apparently shot by Jonas Mekas at a party at Allen Klein’s house in the Bronx in June 1971. Ringo Starr, Allen Ginsberg, Phil Spector, Phil Ochs and Andy Warhol were also said to have been in attendance. The gorgeous woman with Davis is actress Sherry “Peaches” Brewer, who was in Shaft! and later married Seagram’s heir Edgar Bronfman, Jr.
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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