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Einstürzende Neubauten attacks its audience with Molotov cocktails, 1983
02.26.2015
06:01 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Einstürzende Neubauten


Neubauten at The Cat Club in NYC, 1986, via Seele Brennt
 
Everyone and her uncle should seize the opportunity to see Einstürzende Neubauten play. Both of the shows I’ve seen were spellbinding. When it comes to jamming on air conditioners, those “cats” can really “blow,” and theirs is a singular beauty; it’s not like you can just go see the tribute band at the county fair instead.

While there are many historic Neubauten shows I would give a tooth to have attended, their November 19, 1983 gig in Oslo, Norway is not one of them. At that particular fun hootenanny, member Andrew (“N.U.”) Unruh threw Molotov cocktails into the crowd, like as in directly aimed them at human beings in the audience (“with a tight safety margin,” Blixa is careful to add). Here are Blixa Bargeld and FM Einheit’s memories of that show from the now scarce band-sanctioned oral history, No Beauty without Danger:

FM EINHEIT In Oslo, Norway, we played a gallery and chased people with Molotov cocktails. They also defended themselves: for instance, by trying to attack us with the ship turbine, which was actually one of our instruments. It was a pretty good riot in Oslo. That was fun.

BLIXA BARGELD For this show Andrew had prepared 20 Molotov cocktails. And Andrew actually made the audience run by throwing Molotov cocktails aimed right at them. They kept trying to escape but he followed them around the hall and, with a tight safety margin, threw burning gasoline bottles at them. That was great. One of the reasons I got kicked out of school was because I had started a fire. My expulsion had already been decided upon anyway, so I didn’t have anything to lose. But I was still the student body president, and tried to enforce my pseudo-democratic rights by decorating a “Schülermitverwaltungsversammlung”, a kind of student council assembly, with a fire bombing - in which no one was hurt - because I was no longer allowed to take part in the assembly. Fire is a medium of transformation. Fire, as an element of our lyrics and as part of the Einstürzende Neubauten stage show, accompanied us for quite a while. It was mainly Andrew who lit fires on stage. And then at some point we had to stop, because we realized that our audience practically expected this incendiarism from us. That’s when it started to get dull. But it was good, as long as we didn’t control it and so long as it wasn’t expected from us. It was normally Andrew’s job to set fires, and it began on his initiative.


Icelandic TV broadcast a couple minutes of that night’s performance of “Sehnsucht.” You can’t see any Molotov cocktails, but the show sure does look like it’s heading in that direction.

Einstürzende Neubauten’s most recent album is 2014’s Lament.

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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Teeny-tiny models of early synthesizers and analog recording equipment
02.25.2015
01:19 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
synthesizer


 
I’m smitten with these tiny models of vintage synthesizers called “Analogue Miniatures” by artist Dan McPharlin. You know how something is so cute you kind of want to squeeze it to death. Yeah, I’m feeling it with these.

“Produced between 2006 and 2009, the “Analogue Miniatures” series was my attempt to pay tribute to early synthesizers and analogue recording equipment. Rather than replicating existing machines, the focus was on creating a revisionist history where analogue technology continued to flourish uninterrupted,” says Dan.

Each musical instrument is handmade using “framing matt-boards, paper, plastic sheeting, string and rubber bands.”

Here’s an idea for Mattel: They need to create a Moog synthesizer savvy Barbie doll, perhaps an homage to electronic musician Delia Derbyshire and include these tiny synths as apart of her kickass accessories. Seriously, how cool would that be? A DELIA DERBYSHIRE BARBIE DOLL, DAMNIT! I want one.

Please Mattel, make this happen.  And if not Mattel, some doll maker with an Etsy shop!

You can view more of Dan’s work here.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Below, a 2009 documentary on Delia Derbyshire:

 
via Bong Boing

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘We use the music as an exorcism’: Cabaret Voltaire takes over ‘Night Flight,’ 1985
02.25.2015
08:49 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Cabaret Voltaire
Night Flight


 
For many ‘80s teens, the dearly beloved USA Network program Night Flight was a gateway to a whole wide world of cool shit that wasn’t being played anywhere else. There were definitely plenty of Friday or Saturday nights I spent gaping at J-Men Forever or a full Neil Young concert. In some ways Cabaret Voltaire was a perfect Night Flight band, both finding inspiration in European experimental art of the early twentieth century: Night Flight was named after an Antoine de Saint-Exupéry book, and Cabaret Voltaire was named after a legendary dada nightclub in Zurich.

On this particular summer night in 1985—the commercials for John Candy’s Summer Rental and Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II indicate the timing—Night Flight turned over a half hour of programming for what it called an “exclusive documentary” about the Sheffield postpunk masters.

Truly, hats off to the people at Night Flight for executing this in a way that the band itself might have dreamt up. The interview portions consist entirely of footage of Stephen Mallinder and Chris Watson speaking to the camera—there’s no stilted Q&A with a network stooge, it’s all suffused in an ashen b/w mode that is entirely in keeping with the videos we see, of “Just Fascination,” “Crackdown,” and “a special 8-minute version of ‘Sensoria’.” (I’m not sure, but I think this is the 12-inch version that was later included on #8385 Collected Works (1983-1985).)
 

 
In the interview bits, Mallinder says, “If we tried to be straightforward and direct, then it would be contrary to what we are as people, and music’s just an extension of what we are as people,” later saying, “We use the music as an exorcism.” Cabaret Voltaire was never a cheery bunch, and if you’re not into postpunk this entire half-hour will seem not much different from a dreary Sprockets imitation. If so, your loss, dummy!

Also heard during the segment are chunks of “Nag Nag Nag,” “Seconds Too Late,” and “Diskono.”
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘You jive white motherf*ckers!’: Jazz legend Freddie Hubbard spectacularly blows his cool onstage
02.25.2015
08:10 am

Topics:
Music
Race

Tags:
jazz
Freddie Hubbard


 
The year is 1966 and legendary jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard is onstage in Graz, Austria as a sideman for Sonny Rollins.

Distracted by whistling and heckling, Hubbard furiously castigates the audience:

Fuck you white motherfuckers! FUCK YOU white motherfuckers! Well, okay. I’ll go home. If you don’t like me, kiss my ass! That’s right, cuz you jive. You jive. You jive. You white MOTHERFUCKERS! You the ones who started this shit! Lemme tell you - you the ones. Fuck you! FUCK YOU, you jive white motherfuckers! If you don’t like me, KISS MY BLACK ASS! You motherfuckers! Fuck it, I don’t care!

Johannes Probst writes on Big O:

I was talking to James Spaulding, who was in that group, and he remembered the night vividly. Hubbard was drunk and started cussing out the audience. So in the intermission the police kicked in the dressing-room door and took both Hubbard and Spaulding into custody. James was very angry with Freddie, because he had to spend the night in jail.

 

 
Below, hear the influential bebop trumpeter completely lose his shit on a room full of jive white Austrian motherfuckers:
 

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Discussion
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Forget that shitty ‘CBGB’ film, ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ from 1978 takes you inside the real CBGB


 
Three aspiring musicians: Richard Hell, Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd were looking for a place “where nothing was happening” for their band Television to play. If nothing was happening then the bar owner had nothing to lose. One day, down in the Bowery, Verlaine and Lloyd spotted a place initialed CBGB-OMFUG. They sidled across, went inside and talked to the owner a former singer and musician Hilly Krystal. As Lloyd recalled in Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain’s essential oral history of punk Please Kill Me, Hilly wanted to know what kinda music they played. They answered with a question:

‘Well, what does ‘CBGB-OMFUG’ stand for?’

He said, ‘Country, Bluegrass, Blues and Other Music for Uplifting Gourmandizers.’

So we said, ‘Oh yeah, we play a little of that, a little rock, a little country, a little blues, a little bluegrass…’

And Hilly said, ‘Oh, okay, maybe…’

 
01blitzramonebop.jpg
 
In fact, the only real stipulation for appearing at CBGB’s was to play new music, and although Suicide and Wayne County had already appeared at CBGB’s (after the demise of the Mercer Arts Center), it was not until Television, Patti Smith, The Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads and The Dead Boys started taking up residency that CBGB’s changed from something where nothing happened to somewhere it all happened.
 

 
If you were disappointed by the shitty CBGB’s movie made a couple of years back starring Alan Rickman, then you will get a better sense of the energy, talent and musical revolution that took place at CBGB’s in the mid-1970s with this hour-long TV documentary Blitzkrieg Bop . Focussing on The Ramones, Blondie and the The Dead Boys, Blitzkrieg Bop mixes live performance with short interview clips and a racy newscast voiceover. It’s recommended viewing.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘He’s a Woman, She’s a Man’: The Scorpions’ transgressive transgender lust anthem
02.25.2015
06:27 am

Topics:
Music
Queer
Sex

Tags:
heavy metal
Scorpions


 
Sure, everyone knows Germany’s Scorpions from their 1980’s (thinning) Hair Metal hits “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and “There’s No One Like You,” but The Scorpions career goes back much further. Their first album, 1972’s Lonesome Crow is (surprisingly great) proggy Krautrock. Over the course of the bands next four releases they shifted their approach to more of a hard rocking, proto-metal sound—a sort of Deep Purple on speedball. By the release of 1977’s Taken by Force, The Scorpions were in full-on assault mode.

 
The track we’ll be examining today is so musically (and lyrically, as we’ll see) ahead of its time, that I dare call it proto-thrash. The performance here from a German television show (how did this get on TV?) rocks so unbelievably hard that you can almost forgive Klaus Meine’s interpretive jazz-hands dancing.

What makes 1977’s “He’s a Woman, She’s a Man” so breath-taking is the stark way in which it deals with the subject of transgender that’s light years beyond what The Kinks were ambiguously laying out in 1971’s hit “Lola.” Granted, The Scorpions’ 1977 English-as-a-second-language is not necessarily sensitive to the titular character referred to as “it” throughout the tune; but a breakdown of the lyrics reveals the storyteller encountering a person of indeterminate gender, at first expressing shock and disbelief, but ultimately essentially saying “fuck it, I’m horny and attracted to this person regardless of my Teutonic heavy metal dude confusion.” The first two verses express bewilderment, the second two express acceptance.

I saw it walking lonely down the street
Cool like a cat and like a crazy dream
I’m looking twice again and can’t believe
It turned around and then it looked at me

I thought, “Oh, no”, it really couldn’t be
It was a man and was a woman too
He’s a woman, she’s a man

I think it really came from far away
I’m feeling hypnotized, I have to stay
It takes my hand and says, “Come on, let’s go”
We’re going home there’s nothing more to say

He starts to move, she starts to play
I need a body, why not you?
He’s a woman, she’s a man

The Scorpions were no strangers to being sexually confrontational in their art. The album which preceded this one, Virgin Killer, featured in its shocking original cover art a nude prepubescent girl with slivers of cracked glass just barely covering the area over her pelvic girdle. The cover, which frequently makes “worst LP cover of all time” lists, was banned in the US, as was the Hipgnosis-designed cover for their Lovedrive LP.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Discussion
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‘Moog Plays ABBA’: Australian synthesizer record rarity is fantastic goofy fun
02.25.2015
05:26 am

Topics:
Music
Superstar

Tags:
Moog
ABBA
Robin Workman


 
The mini-craze for Moog synthesizer albums that Switched-On Bach launched in 1968 yielded a bumper crop of kitschy delights, plenty of which are still waiting for you to rescue them from thrift stores. Some of them remain classics—Moog: The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman, with its indelible “Topless Dancers of Corfu,” is a keeper, as is Gershon Kingsley’s Music To Moog By, which features the ridiculously catchy “Popcorn,” but plenty of lesser-known efforts in the genre are larded with fun listens.
 

 
Specifically: in 1976, when international ABBA-mania was nearing its height, a wonderful Moog tribute to that band was released on the Australian label TeeVee Records, titled Moog Plays ABBA. The album was made by one Robin Workman, who largely built the songs around traditional rock instruments and played synth leads as stand-ins for vocals. Available biographical data about Workman is mighty scanty, though someone by that name is the longtime director of a company in Sidney called “Keyboard Koncepts.” Amazingly, within a year, following the release of ABBA’s completely HUGE album Arrival, Workman released the album anew—retitled Moog and Guitars Play ABBA: 20 Golden Instrumentals, and given a much less inspired cover—at almost double the original’s length, to accommodate remakes of almost every song from that new ABBA LP! So I guess he really liked it. Here are a few examples, and if this version of “Mama Mia” doesn’t make you smile, you have NO heart.
 

“SOS”
 

“Dancing Queen”
 
More Moogy ABBA after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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At first you’ll think this is the SHITTIEST demo ever put on tape, but give it a little more time…
02.24.2015
08:00 am

Topics:
Kooks
Music

Tags:
outsider music


 
Back in 2003, I temp-worked as a secretary in a recording studio. One day the boss comes by my desk and says “you have to hear this.” What he played then changed my life forever. You don’t come back from a song like “A Little More Time.”  It sinks its lamprey teeth into your mind.

The artist, “McFlee,” with his backing singers, “Photosynthesis,” had just finished a demo session in which they created this visionary masterwork of…uh… let’s call it Vibratospiritual Casiohop.

According to my former boss, who remains nameless to protect his innocence:

I remember [McFlee]  came by and wanted to hear himself on the mic one day so we let him put on headphones and hear himself. He was super stoked. [The engineer] called me in the middle of the session absolutely stunned at the weirdness of the whole thing.

The engineer on “A Little More Time” recollects:

I remember he set up right in the middle of the room with his keyboard and he had about five or six different beats he would cycle through,  and he was running everything live, and didn’t want to pre-record anything. We had the girls set up in the hallway for backing vocals. I just remember when he started the song I was waiting for the ending around the four minute mark, and was looking for Candid Camera around the seven minute mark of the eighth or ninth(?) chorus. I knew this was a classic in the making, and regret not having a camera rolling! It seemed like watching him, every “yeaaaaaaaaa” would get a little more animated, and he was getting comfortable about halfway through the song, with more and more vibrato.

“A Little More Time” hits all the criteria for the truest of “Outsider Music.” It’s an earnest effort to create something real and meaningful that breaks every possible musical and lyrical convention with zero self-awareness. It’s challenging in every way, yet holds its own as an impossibly unforgettable earworm. The track was recorded in September of 2003 and I was luckily able to sneak a copy out of the studio. This is a chopped/screwed edit which excises approximately eight minutes of instrumental passages. If you think this is “difficult music” in its present form, imagine it with an extra eight minutes of keyboard preset instrumental breaks!

Some have noted a striking resemblance between McFlee’s vocal stylings and those of Antony Hegarty (Antony and the Johnsons). Um, sure, why not?

Only a handful of people who were gifted dubbed copies have heard “A Little More Time,” but it’s worth exposing to a greater audience. The video, unrelated to the song, approximates what one imagines a live McFlee performance might possibly entail, and is provided to give the listener a visual to enhance the experience. Follow along with the lyrics or don’t. It doesn’t matter. Soon “A Little More Time” will be jammed into your head like a mental tapeworm, sucking out IQ points while lifting your soul to the heavens. 

Ladies and gentleman, prepare yourselves for the vibrato stylings and astonishing language liberty-taking of the one-and-only McFlee and Photosynthesis.
 

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Discussion
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Noise music is for the children: The Shoreditch Experimental Music School, 1969


 
My education in experimental music came in my college years. Between volunteering at the campus radio station and living in a cheap apartment building in a neighborhood that had historically been a freak magnet, I hooked up with a cadre of students from a nearby music school who were into the weird stuff, and were cool enough not just to clue me in on 20th Century classical, the New York School, atonality, musique concrète, et al, they even invited me to make music with them. Over the course of two or three years, we filled up a metric shitload of blank tape and killed a lot of innocent cannabis plants, and it was all time very, very well spent. But seeing this BBC documentary on a late ‘60s experimental music program in the schools of Shoreditch, London, UK, made me wish I’d been from a time and place where I could have had many of those experiences (likely minus the cannabis, or maybe not) in elementary school.

The doc puts student works on display, starting with a piece exploring “heat, radiation, relentlessness, intensity, stillness,” with instructor Brian Dennis (the man who literally wrote the book on Experimental Music in Schools), who then gives a conducting demonstration, and a demonstration of tape effects. There’s a lengthy, edifying, truly wonderful visit to a class of very young children learning the creative use of tape recorders, and a science fiction story by one of the students, scored with music and sound effects made by his classmates. Then we’re treated to a lively and cacophonous student composition, scored with an invented notation. The program concludes with a genuinely creepy piece of drama, written, scored and acted by the students, wouldn’t you know it, about a cholera epidemic.
 

 
The sophistication on display here, even from some of the much younger students, makes me weep for the ultrashitty way US public schools treat arts education. (While athletics, naturally, are the inalienable milieu of young gods…) To keep myself from indulging in a rant about this—and I’d say nothing that hasn’t been said better by others, really—I transcribed my two favorite quotations from teachers in the program. There IS great educational value in difficult music, to wit:

“The children in this school have a great variety of creative experiences, musically, and we do try to make sure that the music is part of activity. All children are very interested in tape recorders, televisions, radios, in fact that is nearer their experience than are a great many nursery rhymes. Creative tape recording teaches them self-discipline, because they soon realize that if they talk at the wrong time it spoils somebody else’s work.”

“The children do have bizarre noise-making sessions as play, but I think this is quite a valuable experience. They soon learn that once they get used to the sounds, they need some other form of organization if they’re going to get more enjoyment. So naturally they progress to electing a leader or conductor, and they find there’s some need for notation of a sort, so they invent one, and they’ve progressed then from play to composition without actually being taught.”

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
Langley Schools Music Project: children’s choruses sing Beach Boys, Bowie, Fleetwood Mac
 
With thanks to WFMU on Twitter

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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How your pretentious local record store asshole got that way
02.23.2015
08:38 am

Topics:
Idiocracy
Music

Tags:
morons
clerks
record stores


 
The smug, judging record clerk is a sad cliche, but the stereotype exists for a reason. Not all of them start out that way. Sometimes it’s a process of grinding down that takes place over several years. I’ve been working in and around record stores since 1991. Anyone working retail knows dealing with morons and nutjobs comes with the territory, but music retail people will tell you they deal with a completely different breed. There’s something special about a record store that attracts a fringe class one might never encounter any other place, save the emergency room or the DMV. Ask anyone who has worked in music retail, especially the old-timers, and they’ll tell you. We all have a story to tell.

In 2002 I stashed a notebook behind the counter of the shop where I work, something I wish I had had the foresight to think of years earlier. Anytime we got a dopey phone call, boneheaded comment, or generally batshit customer experience we’d log it into the book with the date and time of occurrence. We’ve got a few volumes filled at this point. Earlier today I flipped through some back pages and noted favorite entries. I have omitted the date stamps for the sake of brevity, but these entries span from February 2002 to November 2014. There’s so much more where this came from, but ideally this begins a dialogue with other battle-scarred shop grunts. We want to hear your stories. If you have favorite quotes or tales, especially ones that top these, post them to the comments and share with others who’ve lived the struggle.

Enjoy these hand-selected quotes from the music retail front

 
 
Customer: “Why are there only 12 songs on this CD?”
Clerk: “Uh, that’s just how many songs are on it.”
Customer: “So, there’s six songs per side?”

*

Customer: “I’m looking for an old song called ‘The Monster Mash’. I think it’s by Kris Kristofferson.”

*

(phone call)
Customer: “Are you the manager?”
Clerk: “Yes.”
Customer: “OK. There’s a Beatles album… it’s really rare… it’s worth a whole lot of money… Do you know which one it is?”
Clerk: “No.”
Customer: “OK. How much would it be worth?”

*

Customer: “Do you have a Christmas album by Aryan Neville?”

*
 
Customer: “Do you have any Van Morrison? I didn’t see any under ‘V’.”
Clerk: (politely) “Well, it would actually be under ‘M’.”
Customer: “NEVERMIND!” (customer storms out)

*

(phone call)
Customer: “Is this the record place?”
Clerk: “Yes.”
Customer: “Could you tell me how to get a record deal? I do rap.”

*
 
Customer: “I’m looking for a Country singer. The last name is ‘Redding’. I think the first name is ‘Otis’”

*

(phone call)
Customer: “Do you have any… uh… Gospel… uh… I mean… uh… tape… on… video… uh… I mean… (screams) DO YOU HAVE ANY HALLE BERRY MOVIES?

*

(phone call)
Customer: “Do you have constellation music?”
Clerk: “Constellation music?”
Customer: “You know… A variety.”

*

(phone call)
Customer: “There’s this lady that just put out a song. I don’t know what it is.”
(statement ends here with customer expecting an answer)

*

(phone call)
Customer: “I have some… I don’t know what they are… uh… (moment of silence) Do y’all buy 26 inch records?”

*

Customer: “Do you guys have any Kenny G posters?”
Clerk: “No, I’m sorry we don’t.”
Customer: “Well, if I get two then I’ll give you guys one.”

*

Customer: “I know that the Beatles Red, White, and Blue albums are the best, but are there any other good copulations by the Beatles?”
 

 
Customer: “Do y’all have ‘Old Mount Zion’?”
Clerk: “Um, who is it by?”
Customer: “The New Years song everybody sings!”
Clerk: “Auld Lang Syne?”
Customer: “I dunno, maybe.”

*
 
Customer: “Are all your CD’s made?”
Clerk: “...?”



Customer: “I’m looking for ‘Theme From a Summer Place’.”
Clerk: “Do you know by who? About 100 different artists have done that song.”
Customer: “There’s no ARTIST! It’s an INSTRUMENTAL!”

*

A guy comes in and wants to order a TV-only-offer CD. He brings in the 1-800 number from the commercial and asks if we can call it in for him.

*

Two sorority girls come into the shop.
Sorority girl #1: “Do you guys have any Beatles DVD’s?... no… wait… I guess they didn’t have video cameras back then.”

*
 
A young white woman’s inquiry about Reggae:
“Y’all got that Reggae guy? ...He’s black.”

*

Customer: “Y’all got any Ronald McDonald?—You know that guy who used to be with the ‘Doobie Boys’”

More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Discussion
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