Back to the Land. Urban homesteads. Sustainable cooperatives. The movement that swept the nation in the 70s is back with a new passion. Economic, permaculture, and social concerns have drawn thousands across the country to rediscover the benefits of collective living. The new Process book The Modern Utopian is the definitive examination of the alternative communities in the ‘60s and ‘70s, documented by those who knew it and lived it—from the fabled Drop City to Morningstar Ranch, Timothy Leary at Millbrook to Detroit’s Translove Energies and the still-thriving Stephen Gaskin’s Farm.
Join Process Media’s Jodi Wille as she leads a conversation with members of a new generation (mostly in their 20s and 30s) of intentional communities in Los Angeles. Afterwards, Process presents a rare screening of the 1972 documentary/concert film RAINBOW BRIDGE. This gem of occult/commune 70’s cinema features Warhol stars Pat Hartley and Chuck Wein, Dr. Bronner, cosmic surfers, black power soul sisters, clairvoyant shamans, Jesus freaks, and the actual inhabitants of a chic mansion commune in Maui called the “Rainbow Bridge Occult Research Meditation Center.”
Then Jimi Hendrix drops in, and on the slopes of the Haleakala volcano, he performs for his penultimate live concert in the U.S. before his departure from the planet only two months later.
Rainbow Bridge is is a mind-blower. It was directed by a guy named Chuck Wein who palled around with Andy Warhol in the 60s and who “discovered” Radcliffe debutante Edie Sedgwick (at their mutual therapist)
Cinefamily, 611 N Fairfax Avenue, 7pm, but if you get there early, there is a meet-n-greet with snacks thing on the patio with the special guests.
If you are STILL stuck for things to do before Rapturization, why not try your hand at remixing the band Zombi? It seems rather apt, doesn’t it? Remix Zombi now, and get to meet a real live zombie later on today. If you are one of those people unfortunate enough to get left behind that is. Unlike me - it may have passed the 6pm deadline over here but I am hedging my bets on an EST ascension now.
Ok, enough of the rapture jokes.
Zombi are a most excellent doomy synth act from Pennsylvania comprised of the members Steve Moore and Anthony Paterra. I posted on Steve Moore a few weeks ago, as one of his numerous spin off projects is the equally excellent synth-pop act Miracle. Zombi take things in a much more John Carpenter direction, with arpeggios full of authentic late 70s B-Movie atmosphere and a vibe that brings to mind the work of Fabio Frizzi for Lucio Fulci, and some of Mororder’s earliest scoring forays. This kind of retro-soundtrack/space-rock thing seems quite voguish now (not that I’m complaining) but Zombi are one of the pioneers having been on this tip for almost a decade now.
The band have just released their new album Escape Velocity on the respected metal label Relapse, and in conjunction with Self-Titled magazine and Soundcloud are giving folks a chance to remix “Slow Oscillations”. The prize is a Soundcloud pro-account for a year, your very own Steve Moore remix (boom!!) and a whole heap of Zombi-related goodies. And at the very least it’s a chance to hear all those gorgeous classic synths separated. To download the song, and the individual tracks, go here. To buy Escape Velocity and other Zombi releases go here.
In the late 1970s into the 80s, before its disintegration into a magnet for prostitutes and crackheads,The Lincoln Motel, located on the Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel, was a powerful vortex in the disco universe. While downtown Manhattan had the Paradise Garage and Midtown had Studio 54, Newark had Club Zanzibar.
Located in the second floor ballroom of the Lincoln, Zanzibar took over the space formerly known as Abe’s Disco. Under the creative direction of Al Murphy and with its formidable line-up of massively influential deejays, starting with Hippie Torrales and Gerald T, the club became the laboratory from which was spawned some of the best dance music to appear on the planet. Many of the deejays became influential producers like the mighty Tony Humphries, some started record labels like Francoise Kervokian. Others, like the late Tee Scott and Larry Levan, went on to pioneer new styles of club music that incorporated garage and house and eventually techno.
Music historian Bill Brewster describes Club Zanzibar’s lavish debut:
The opening night of Club Zanzibar was on August 29th, 1979. Newark had never seen anything like it. Local television filed reports from the club; there was a live feed from radio station WNJR. There were jugglers and magicians, Le Clique-style dancers adorned in paste-diamond jewelery and showered in glitter. To top it off, Murphy and Berger had installed real lions and tigers in cages. The whole of New Jersey’s musical royalty turned out, with Kool & The Gang, Tasha Thomas and the All Platinum stable hanging out in the DJ booth. Remembers Hippie Torres: “[All Platinum’s] Joe Robinson came up to me saying, ‘Look, we have this record. The first it was played was last week on a radio station in Texas. Nobody else has played it in the New York area. I want you to play it.’ It was ‘Rappers’ Delight’. Those were the kinds of things happening on opening night. It was a really amazing night.”
Zanzibar was close enough to New York to pick up on the Manhattan vibe, but far enough to create its own sound, often referred to as Zanzibar music or the “Jersey sound.” In addition to its own brand of flavor, Zanzibar deejays were known for dropping songs into the mix from bands like The Rolling Stones, B-52s, ESG and Talking Heads. The crates were not segregated. No song was exempt, as long as it shook the dance floor. Latin, rock, garage, house and disco shuddered the boards.
Mix master Tony Humphries
Despite superficial differences, Club Zanzibar was to dance music, what CBGB was to punk - a raw space where young artists could freely explore their creativity, experimenting in front of open-minded and enthusiastic crowds. In both clubs the D.I.Y. spirit thrived. Zanzibar was a testing ground for new sounds that would eventually pop up on the shelves of record stores in the form of 12 inch dance mixes. The turntables at Zanzibar launched many one-hit-wonders. It was almost impossible to keep up with the amount of vinyl that was piling up in places like Manhattan’s legendary Vinyl Mania.
I think the reason clubs like [the Garage and Zanzibar] were such an experience was because the records weren’t just of one type,” reflects Tony Humphries of that lost era. “It wasn’t like going to a house club or a techno club or a classics club, everything was intertwined. The hours were long so obviously you didn’t want to hear ten hours of straight house music. If you’re going to pay $15-20 to hear this guy, you want to hear the whole damn spectrum and whatever it is, it better be quality. And, believe me, you had to come with everything possible. Talking Heads and The B-52s don’t sound like Zanzibar/Garage records but they were. They were just funky records. I think that’s what the appeal was.”
The Lincoln Motel was demolished in 2007, long after Club Zanzibar had closed. It had become, in the words of The New Times, “a depressing symbol of Newark’s downfall” and, as described by one real estate developer, “a blemished, rat-infested drug-haven eyesore.”
Like so many of the seminal music venues of the 1970s and early 80s, Club Zanzibar’s influence has outlived its brief red hot history. Some things are etched in the memory, others, like Zanzibar, work their way down to the bone.
DJ Punch reminisces about the glory days of Club Zanzibar. Plus, video of Vinyl Mania’s closing day after the jump…
The Jacket Lunch Box is a Japanese blog dedicated to turning album covers into bento boxes. He’s done so many of them. This enterprise looks time-consuming. All hail our arts and crafts otaku overlord!
It must be Terry Riley week. How else to explain the sudden emergence of this pristine footage, which I’m sure some smarty-pants will shortly point out to me is actually from some DVD or such, this week along with revelations about the fine composer’s questionable eating habits. Terry Riley’s all night organ and tape loops concerts are the stuff of legend and it’s pretty marvelous to finally have a bit of filmed evidence to gawk at.
Even more interesting is this sadly brief little clip of the quartet of Riley, La Monte Young, Pandit Pran Nath and Marian Zazeela playing live in Rome. Riley doing a respectable job on the tablas:
And just for good measure and because it sounds great to me at the moment, here is a portion of La Monte Young’s The Second Dream of the HighTension Line Stepdown Transformer for your listening pleasure:
Nothing groovier than go-go dancing. And Linda Rogers is sublime in this 1970 video from Atlanta-based TV show The Now Explosion.
The Now Explosion broke new ground for broadcasting music on television, programming music in a free-flowing style and experimenting with video in a format that pre-dated MTV by 10 years. Check out their website. It’s a gas.
The special effects used in The Now Explosion were crude but state of the art for the early 1970 era. Video was shot with heavy, non portable studio cameras on large rolling tripods. The music videos were recorded on two inch magnetic tape. The video editing required the use of 3 massive and costly “quad” tape recorders allowing only simple transitions such as cuts and dissolves.
Most performers were young amateurs recruited from the Atlanta audience. Many appeared with home-grown costumes - often after midnight when station facilities became available - and were recorded dancing extemporaneously as rock rhythms were piped into an almost bare and darkened studio. The lighting often placed performers “in limbo” so that only the illuminated dancers were seen against darkened studio walls. Extensive special effects were added in post production as images were combined and distorted to form what production people often called “eye candy.”
Linda Rogers (Albritton) went on to have a career as a dancer and dance teacher. She continues to teach dance to this day.
In this segment from The Now Explosion, Rogers is simply dreamy as she does a sultry go-go to Bread’s 1970 hit “Make It With You.”
Taken from the upcoming New Order/Joy Division greatest hits album “Total,” this rocky track has been played on Irish radio and since found its way onto the web. This brings up two questions in my mind - how can this be described as a “leak” if it has been played (presumably officially) on the radio? And why the hell do these two different bands need a combined “best of”?