follow us in feedly
‘Evil’: Aliens, synchronicity and world peace, the world catches up to the outsider sounds of Konrad
07.28.2014
10:14 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
outsider music
Konrad


 
As for who discovered Konrad, I believe that honor belongs to Mike Ascherman, one of the mostly east coast vinyl collectors who coalesced around their interest in psych records in the early 1980s, gradually expanding the search to embrace all manner of private press and outsider music, psychedelic or otherwise. These were the gold rush days, the early recognition of the primacy of the handmade in records, the handmade cover, the home recorded blast from the fringe.

Without a doubt, psychedelics lend themselves to an atemporal, long view of art. That is to say, taking mushrooms can only improve one’s chances of discovering, ahead of its time, music with something resembling the clarity of hindsight.

The appeal of outsider music seems obvious in retrospect, but hardly anyone in the Reagan era knew or cared about the thing we now call “private press.” The term for artist-financed records made outside the label system for most of the 20th century says it all—in those days it was called a “vanity pressing.”

It wasn’t vanity that compelled Konrad to make his 1982 album Evil, which manages to blend cosmic grandiosity and working class sympathies in equal measure. Konrad ends the record with an plea for world peace sung from outer space, and clearly wants the world to listen to what he has to say, but you never get the sense he actually expects that to happen. He comes off less as an ego tripper than as someone with an impossibly large heart, almost childlike. Once you get past the cover, there’s absolutely nothing menacing about Evil.
 

 
Sometime around 1987, Ascherman found a copy and decided to investigate. He wrote about it in the comments section of a post about Evil at the present day mafioso collector website Waxidermy.

The copy I found in a local NYC store had a business card for the label inserted under the shrink wrap.

I called and spoke to the label owner, Barry Konarik. He was friendly and spoke at length about Konrad’s music, though he told me no personal info about the man. He never really talked about the lyrics, but only about how Konrad was making dance music… To that point, he had only released Konrad’s music (the LP + 2 45s), but waxed poetic about a forthcoming cassette-only release, an album by a nephew of Jim Morrison. He didn’t divulge the nephew’s name or any other info except that it was to be an album of dance music.

It seemed that our conversation always led back to dance music. No info about who Konrad was, why he was dressed in satanic-looking robes or what any of the lyrics meant. Just it was about dance music.

As we wound down, I ordered a box of the LPs and a few of the 45s. At the agreed upon time, a man showed up carrying a box. I asked if he was Barry. He said there was a picture of Barry in the box. The only picture in the box was the photo of Konrad on the cover.

 

 
It would be two decades before anyone else contacted Barry Konarik about his music. No one knew where he was. Aside from Ascherman no one even knew his real name. Enjoy The Experience author Johan Kugelberg obtained a copy from Ascherman in the early 90s and played it for anyone who would listen. Interest snowballed, with copies eventually trading hands for as much as $300 apiece. All the while, people wondered what it all meant. No one knew why the album was called Evil, and no one knew what to make of its fixations on alien intelligence and the importance of synchronicity as described in the track “Only A Matrix.”

Konarik saw the Waxidermy post and on the afternoon of December 23, 2008 did something quite unexpected—he posted his phone number in the comments section and invited fans to “give me a yell and let me know that you are a konvert.”

That posting would change Konarik’s life forever. After a quarter century of carrying a sense of failure and regret not uncommon with artists who thought they might just set the world on fire, pre-Internet—Konarik spent the rest of the day answering the phone and talking to fans and/or people looking for cheap copies to grip and flip.

I was one of the lucky ones who got through, and struck up a relationship with Barry, and eventually was given the chance to bring Evil back into the world and revive Ethereal Sequence. In 2012 I met up with my good friend and album co-producer Niels Alpert in Boise, where Konarik now lives, and shot the video below premiering here at Dangerous Minds.

This is a guest post by Douglas Mcgowan, proprietor of Ethereal Sequence and Yoga Records, and the producer of I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age Music In America 1950-1990. The restored and remastered Evil is out now and distributed by Light In The Attic. The limited edition first pressing includes a bonus 45 of additional tracks.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
‘March of the Juggalos’ narrated by Morgan Freeman
07.28.2014
08:58 am

Topics:
Amusing
Kooks
Music

Tags:
Juggalos
Morgan Freeman


 
Obviously this video was made from a mishmash of different footage and Juggalo documentaries like American Juggalo. It’s still very funny nonetheless with Morgan Freeman doing the voiceover (and no, Freeman didn’t do the voiceover for this, it’s from March of the Penguins, but it works.)

It seems appropriate to post this today as the annual Gathering of the Juggalos has taken over Thornville, Ohio. Those poor, poor souls who live there. You’re in my thoughts.

The video below is NSFW. You’ve been warned.

 
Bonus: Someone used a GoPro in the pit during Cannibal Corpse’s performance. I’m just tryin’ to give ya feel for the Faygo-chugging festivities. Don’t hate me.

 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
follow us in feedly
‘My World Fell Down’: The oddest song The Beach Boys never recorded


 
Yesterday I was listening to a Glen Campbell greatest hits collection (The Capitol Years 1965-77, the one compiled by Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, it’s excellent) and in the liner notes, it mentions that Campbell sang and played guitar on a Gary Usher-produced single called “My World Fell Down” by Sagittarius, that was included on Jac Holzman and Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets collection, which I have, so I checked it out. It’s odd that I had this song in my possession—I’ve played the Nuggets box set many, many times all the way through—but never took much note. How could I have missed it?
 

A be-quiffed Glen Campbell backstage at the Grammy awards with the Beach Boys
 
“My World Fell Down” is the closest thing we’ll ever get to “Good Vibrations”-era Beach Boys meets LSD-soaked psych rock. Sagittarius was basically a supergroup of session musicians under the direction of Gary Usher, a staff producer at Columbia who had also “discovered” The Firesign Theatre and produced The Byrds. Aside from Campbell, who was, of course, briefly in the Beach Boys himself, the secondary vocalist on the track is none other than Beach Boy Bruce Johnston. Also worth pointing out is that Usher had written several songs with Brian Wilson (”409” and “In My Room” among them) and included in the backing group were powerhouse session players Hal Blaine and Carol Kaye, who had both recorded with the Beach Boys. If someone played this for you and told you it was an unreleased—and especially odd—Beach Boys demo, you’d believe them, no problem.
 

Gary Usher
 
Dig the musique concrète bridge section of carnival (bullfight?) noises and a slamming door. This part sounds like something straight off of Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Rolling Stones album that came out the same year, 1967, but is not included in the album version.
 

 
When “My World Fell Down” got to #70 on the Billboard chart, the label wanted Sagittarius to tour, at which point he revealed that Sagittarius didn’t actually exist as a real group and that it was his song, too. Usher moved forward with Sagittarius and recorded a full album leaning heavily on the talents of a young Curt Boettcher. Prior to the release of that record, Present Tense, in 1968, Usher and co. released a second Sagittarius single titled “Hotel Indiscreet” that had another musique concrète bridge section that utilized Peter Bergman of the Firesign Theatre ranting about… something:

“What for and how long my children? How long will we be made to suffer the utter degradation of everything we hold sacred? My fellow flowers, the time is upon us to open the door and purify the foul and pestilent air within, standing naked before the eternal judge and proclaiming we are all hip! Two three four… Hip! Two three four… zwei drei vier… Sieg Heil! SIEG HEIL!”

That bit was only on the mono version of the song, on the single. Clive Davis didn’t like the weirdo breaks in “My World Fell Down” and “Hotel Indiscreet” so he had Usher cut them out for Present Tense.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Animated sheet music for Miles Davis’ ‘So What’
07.25.2014
11:33 am

Topics:
Animation
Music

Tags:
Miles Davis


 
Mesmerizing animated sheet music for Miles Davis’ “So What” by Dan Cohen on YouTube.

If I had seen something like this around when I was younger, it would have made piano lessons and learning to read music oh so much easier…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
follow us in feedly
The Hawkwind sci-fi trilogy
07.25.2014
07:45 am

Topics:
Books
Music

Tags:
Hawkwind
Michael Moorcock


 
There are lots of ways to have fun with Hawkwind albums, but one of the more wholesome is to pretend that the members of the band are real live outer space aliens. Weigh space anchor and hoist the star mizzen? Aye aye, Cap’n Brock! We were born to go! But if you find it hard to fantasize in this vein, there exist three official tie-in products that relate Hawkwind’s adventures in the far reaches of the cosmos.

In 1976, a sci-fi novel called The Time of the Hawklords appeared in the UK and US, crediting Michael Moorcock and Michael Butterworth as co-authors. Aside from Dik Mik, all your favorite members are there: Lemmy (“Count Motorhead”), Stacia (“the Earth Mother”), “Baron” Dave Brock, and Nik Turner (“the Thunder Rider”). Even Moorcock, who had collaborated with Hawkwind since the early 70s, plays a part in the story as “Moorlock the Acid Sorcerer.”

Moorcock immediately disowned the book, according to Carol Clerk’s band biography The Saga of Hawkwind: “While the saga was based on concepts of Moorcock’s, he vehemently denied being involved in the writing and fell out with the publishers.” Nevertheless, his famous name also featured prominently on the cover of the following year’s sequel, Queens of Deliria, which bore the lawyerly credit “by Michael Butterworth based on an idea by Michael Moorcock.”
 

 
The back cover of Deliria promised that the third volume of the trilogy, Ledge of Darkness, would be published in 1978. As it happened, Ledge of Darkness was not published until 1994, when it turned up as a graphic novel in Hawkwind’s scarce 25 Years On box set (not to be confused with the 1978 Hawklords album of the same name).

In the decade-plus that has passed since I purchased my copy of The Time of the Hawklords, I have never yet made it past this sentence on page eleven: “Next came Lord Rudolph the Black, most recent champion sworn to the ranks of the Company of the Hawk.” It seems better suited for bibliomancy than reading. Since the jacket copy on the back might be superior to the actual contents of the book, here it is in its entirety:

Rocking on The Edge of Time

From a ruined London on a burnt-out Earth, the Hawkwind group beams out its last, defiant concert. The Children of the Sun, the tattered remnants of the Hippies, gather to listen. But when the music ends, withdrawal symptoms begin—a dreadful, retching illness only the Hawkwind sound can allay.

This new malady may be more than debilitated mankind can withstand. Desperately the rock group begins research: first, with the few electronic instruments miraculously still intact; then with a book whose existence is an even greater miracle—an ancient, magical tome, The Saga of Doremi Fasol Latido, whose prophecies seem to be coming true.

And here’s the sales copy from Queens of Deliria:

Earth had already been devastated by the Death Generator.

Then the Red Queen meddled with the very laws of Time to advance her evil ambitions. She transmogrified the planet into a world stalked by decaying ghouls and policed by satanic Bulls, their amplifiers meting out the punishing music of Elton John.

Only the Hawklords could save the remnants of humanity – only the Hawklords could restore the forces of Good.

Their sole ally Elric the Indecisive; their sole weapon their music; they fought to the death with their awesome enemies, the macabre Queens of Deliria.

ROCK AND ROLL SCI-FI

This is the second volume in the trilogy which began with The Time of the Hawklords.

The final volume Ledge of Darkness will be published in 1978.

Below, the BBC’s excellent Hawkwind documentary. That’s Michael Moorcock seen in the still frame:

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
follow us in feedly
The strange, but true, story behind the Beatles’ ‘She’s Leaving Home’
07.24.2014
11:29 am

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:
Beatles

image
 

John and I wrote “She’s Leaving Home together.” It was my inspiration. We’d seen a story in the newspaper about a young girl who’d left home and not been found, there were a lot of those at the time, and that was enough to give us a story line. So I started to get the lyrics: she slips out and leaves a note and then the parents wake up ... It was rather poignant. I like it as a song, and when I showed it to John, he added the long sustained notes, and one of the nice things about the structure of the song is that it stays on those chords endlessly. Before that period in our song-writing we would have changed chords but it stays on the C chord. It really holds you. It’s a really nice little trick and I think it worked very well.

While I was showing that to John, he was doing the Greek chorus, the parents’ view: ‘We gave her most of our lives, we gave her everything money could buy.’ I think that may have been in the runaway story, it might have been a quote from the parents. Then there’s the famous little line about a man from the motor trade; people have since said that was Terry Doran, who was a friend who worked in a car showroom, but it was just fiction, like the sea captain in “Yellow Submarine”, they weren’t real people.

—Paul McCartney to Barry Miles in 1997

The Daily Mirror story that inspired “She’s Leaving Home” was about Melanie Coe, then aged 17. “Wild child” Coe snuck out of her parents’ comfortable North London home in February of 1967. She was pregnant and afraid of what her mother might do, but had not run off with the father of her unborn child—or “a man from the motor trade,” for that matter—but rather with a croupier she’d just met. They shacked up for ten days before her parents found her. She returned home and had an abortion.

But here’s the weird part: three years earlier Coe had actually met Paul McCartney when he was the judge of a miming contest that Coe won on Ready, Steady, Go! Coe mimed to Brenda Lee’s “Let’s Jump The Broomstick” and Macca gave her the award. Winning the contest meant Coe would be a dancer on the show for an entire year.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Just a few really cool photos of Silver Apples’ homemade electronics rig, 1968
07.24.2014
10:31 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Silver Apples


 
WFMU on Twitter hipped me to these insanely cool photos of psychedelic electronic music group Silver Apples’ homemade electronic gear. Holy hell these are great!


Silver Apples live in Los Angeles, 1968. “In this shot you can see I have the oscillators mounted horizontally in plywood along with echo units, wah pedal, and so on. Here I am playing the ‘lead’ oscillator with my right hand, keying in rhythm oscillators with my elbow on the telegraph keys, changing the volume on an amp with my left hand, and singing. This was typical.”
 

 

This photo was taken at an earlier, outdoor concert in New York City, again in 1968, “before the plywood configuration, where I just had all my oscillators, amps, pedals, and so on piled onto a table. There were 30,000 people in the audience — we were terrified!”
 

Photo by Syeus Mottel
 
These electronics in action on “Lovefingers” (1968):

 
via SOS, WFMU, HZ

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
follow us in feedly
‘Recurring Dreams’: Homemade 1982 album sounds like Brian Eno playing the ‘Forbidden Planet’ theme
07.23.2014
03:53 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Yoga Records
Matthew Young


 
Yesterday marked Drag City/Yoga Records re-release of “New Age” outsider musician Matthew Young’s 1982 album Recurring Dreams. To call Young a “cult” artist is probably overstating the case—Jandek is a household name in comparison—but that may change when, say, NPR picks up on this 32-year-old obscurity. (Yes, this is one of those things with a bit of an exotic backstory that NPR absolutely loves, like The Langley Schools Music Project or the Ghetto Brothers.)

The album begins with a number called “Mistrial,” an ambient fantasia which calls to mind Brian Eno playing the theme to Forbidden Planet. That’s what a lot of it sounds like to my ears and I pronounce this a very good thing. Recurring Dreams is quite unusual. Although it’s not necessarily “foreground” music that demands your attention, I don’t know if I would exactly call it “New Age” so much either—it’s got much more in common with Morton Subotnick than with Yanni—as I would try not to categorize it at all. The self-released album has a “homemade” low-fi sound and was, in a sense, technologically hand-crafted utilizing EMS Synthi A and Roland synthesizers, piano, guitars, log drums, voice and tape manipulation. (Young took the Computer Music Seminar courses at Princeton. He knew what he was doing.)

Yoga Records is the label that released the (deeply fascinating) set I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age In America, 1950 - 1990 as well as Young’s Traveler’s Advisory. There’s only so much I can really write about an instrumental album like this, but Yoga’s Douglas Mcgowan made a charming short video introducing Young, shot at his home in New Jersey.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
‘Pig Pile’: Big Black live on their final tour, with members of Wire, 1987
07.23.2014
09:23 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Big Black
Wire
Steve Albini


 
In 1992, five years after their breakup in the wake of their amazing LP Songs About Fucking, the influential and scathing post-hardcore pioneers Big Black released a boxed set called Pig Pile, which featured a shirt, a poster, a VHS tape, a vinyl LP, and a clear-vinyl 5” single. The LP and VHS were documents of the band’s July 1987 concert at London’s Hammersmith Clarendon, and the 5” was a totally incongruous cover of the Mary Jane Girls’ “In My House.”
 

In My House by Big Black on Grooveshark

 
Yyyyyyyep.

Talking to NME about the show, the band’s singer/guitarist Steve Albini had this to offer:

We made a splash immediately before we broke up; now a band starts shopping its demos to majors after its third rehearsal. By the end, I think we improved; on the live record and video we were probably as good as we were ever gonna be. That gig was exciting—there was this giant belch and everyone involved in this giant belch felt immensely relieved afterwards.

 

 
It was indeed a hell of a belch. The band at its height was known for a relentlessly concussive and scarifying musical blitz—Albini’s guitar tone alone could practically sever limbs—paired with true-story lyrics that unflinchingly detailed the most reprehensible of human behaviors, often to genuinely chilling effect. The videotape and album show the band slaying an excoriating best-of set, and for their encore, a cover of Wire’s “Heartbeat,” they were joined onstage by Wire’s Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis in what must have been a fan-fantasy score of a lifetime. The LP was rereleased as a CD in short order, and inevitably came out on vinyl again in the ‘oughts, but the video has never been reissued in any format. Per the band’s label, Touch and Go records,

In 1992, Touch and Go released a Big Black live album and video, titled Pig Pile, that were recorded (mostly) in 1987 during Big Black’s final tour. Someday, we might release the video on DVD. Until then, please don’t ask us about it.

As of this writing, used copies of the complete set are being offered on discogs.com for between $60 USD (box condition fair, shirt worn) and well over $200. But if you’re really that hot to watch it, and you don’t mind tiny and fuzzy, here it is.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
‘Shellac Pistols’: Shellac and David Yow do the Sex Pistols, 1998
Awkward, hilarious interview with Steve Albini
Absolute Nirvana: new Steve Albini mixes push in utero anniversary set into essential territory

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
follow us in feedly
See Laibach’s almost terrifying final performance with Tomaž Hostnik, 1982
07.23.2014
08:00 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Laibach


 
Tomaž Hostnik, who was one of Laibach’s first lead singers, gave his final performance with them on December 11, 1982 in Zagreb. Ten days later, he committed what Laibach describes as a “ritual suicide,” hanging himself from a kozolec—an ancient iconic Slovene hayrack, as was depicted on the cover of Laibach’s Rekapitulacija 1980-1984 box set, the group’s first album to obtain release worldwide.

Though laibach.org tells us that “Laibach disapproved of his act of suicide and posthumously expelled Hostnik from the group, returning him to his private identity,” the bloody-but-unbowed image above and Hostnik’s theoretical contributions remain of foundational importance to Laibach and the NSK State, Laibach’s country without territory.

Amok Books’ beautiful, long out-of-print catalog, Neue Slowenische Kunst, reprints several of Hostnik’s writings. In “The Origin of the Source of the New People’s Creativity,” he diagnoses the terminal illness of “so-called contemporary popular production” in a few oracular, Laibachian paragraphs: “the ceremonial and ritual elements are eliminated and automatically transformed into an affiliation to industrial and political life, which is again merely a state of continuous dependence.” Asked by a Slovenian organization called the Music Lovers Club to comment on the New Romantic fad, Hostnik penned “On the Delicateness of New-Romanticism (An instigation to reflection),” which, as promised, offers old answers to old questions. His 1982 poem, “Apologia Laibach,” is counted among the group’s manifestos:

Since when, sons of truth, are you the brothers of night?
What colors your hands with the redness of blood?

The explosion in the night is the flower of woe,
nothing can be justified by it.
The altar cannot be destroyed,
the altar of lies, that multiplies shapes.

The spotless picture, the painless lights,
the only harbors of the terrible night.

We are the children of the spirit and the brothers of strength,
whose promises are not fulfilled.
We are the black ghosts of this world,
we sing the mad image of woe.

The explanation is the whip and you bleed:

Break the mirror of the world for the hundredth time, —
all your efforts are in vain. We have overcome the night:
our debt has been paid
and the light is ours.

This footage of Hostnik’s last performance, first released on Vinyl-on-Demand’s Gesamtkunstwerk box set in 2011, is now available for all the world to see on Laibach’s YouTube. Has an unmanned drum set ever looked so sinister?
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Page 10 of 541 ‹ First  < 8 9 10 11 12 >  Last ›