Sunday, April 30, 2006

american 195x

what happens when you give a guy with too much time on his hands some really cool widescreen videos to hack and a program to make a bit of really neat sounds?

sometimes these things kinda build themselves. this wasn't one of 'em. '195x' took a few months of meticulous bumpin' and grindin', shuckin' and a'groovin', and cutting and pasting, with a few sleepless nites tossed in to get it into a presentable state.

i wanted to try somthing new with this one, to write the song to fit the video. usually it's the other way around, just chop and move viddy bits to an established soundtrack. this time i built a rough viddy using a few widescreen technicolor wonders of film by the handy organization found in the internet archives measured to a simple drum pattern. from there it was only a matter of making the music fit the rough draft video, then tweaking the video itself to make it tight. sounds easy, eh? pretty much, but just so damn time consuming. it's a shame i don't get paid to do this anymore... then again, i'd probably be working on something really banal like weddings, bar mitzvas and births. tho not monetarily rewarding, for now, this just so much more fun. and all the money in the world can't replace the feeling of creating just for the feel of it.

the (jam) handy organization produced a slew of educational and product films from the 30's thru the 60's. some of the projects done for chevrolet during the 50's are the slickest, most stylish examples of advertising ever made. feature-like films such as 'american look' from 1958 document the explosion of gadgets and how design plays a major role in the way we ,as a consumer, comsume. it is a visually stunning look at america during the late 50's and tho it is narrated, it really just great eye candy. this is what the prelinger archives has to say about 'american look';

A "tribute to the American stylist," American Look shows families at leisure, children dressed in cowboy and cowgirl outfits watching television, a father shooting home movies of his picnicking family, Fifties-modern home interiors graced by formally dressed models, furniture (including designs by Herman Miller), kitchens and kitchen equipment, packaging (including designs by Donald Deskey), appliances, textiles, offices and office furniture, office machines, industrial machines, lawn mowers and sprinklers, domestic and institutional architecture, people at leisure and enjoying recreation, children playing baseball, a mother and child in a transparent rowboat being observed by the snorkeling father, automobile styling and design and the work of the design staff of the new General Motors Technical Center at Warren, Michigan. The story behind the design of the 1959 Chevrolet Impala is shown, with dramatized moments in the design and modeling process.
The film lumps industrial, interior and product design efforts together as "styling," and characterizes them as responses by industry to insistent consumer demands for the most modern products and environment. During the last third of this twenty-eight-minute film, it becomes clear that it was produced to celebrate modern design as exemplified in the "look" of the 1959 Chevrolets, the year that tailfins stretched to their greatest extent. Since, in that year, many General Motors models shared similar mechanical components, the film promotes the many alternative design options available to car buyers, stating that "America's greatest freedom [is] the freedom of individual choice." This visually dazzling and technically excellent film presents a great variety of clean and antiseptic late Fifties products and environments, and those interested in design history would do well to listen closely to its narration.

so, the bulk of '195x' comes from 'look', but there are bits of other 'handy' films as well. the scenes in these films of vast highway systems and city scenarios blended with people using the latest technology paint a moving picture of america after world war II, spreading out to the 'burbs and utilizing it's newfound strength as consumers. i tried to convey that optimistic feeling that we had then, and that is shown in these 'handy' films. kinda like a portrait of 50's americana done to a mutant, contemporary, sub-urban soundtrack.

of course this has nothing to do with the world as we know it today, sad to say...

if ya want the tune (in all it's late 50's stereophonic glory) here it is...

'american 195x' (mp3 - stream)

and new pop ditty, quite new, quite wordless and lookin' for some words, (if ya got any ideas, i am open for offers):

'waiting for the revolution' (mp3 - stream)

Friday, April 28, 2006

america's beatles in 1965

in 1965 the beatles released 4 albums in america. nowadays that would be incomprehensible. of course capitol records used a bit of sleight of hand to pull it off. as soon as capitol realized the golden goose they had with the beatles they began manipulating the albums as to gain the most sales. up until around 1967 albums in england were relased with 14 cuts per lp, 7 on a side and the american standard was 12 tracks an lp, 6 on each side. capitol switched tracks, running orders and created completely new albums from the official british lp's. but no one cared back then, as long as we had a beatle lp in our paws.

it wasn't until the beatle cataloge was released on cd during the 80's did i even realize the vast difference in the u.s. and british records. it took awhile to get used to hearing the albums as they were intended. the american versions were quite burned into my brain by then, as i am sure many others that had grown up listening to the boys in the 60's can attest.

in yet another sure-fire money-making move the powers-that-be at capitol decided a few years ago to repackage the (so far) 8 lp's created for the american market. 2004 saw the first four lps, from 1964, released in both stereo and mono versions on four discs with the original sleeves. a very nice package that brought back a flood of memories and a great sound (no scratches!) to all those that can remember and a bunch that never knew.

last month the second volume, the 4 lp's from 1965, was unleashed. and as soon as it hit the shelves it was in trouble. it seems that the mono mixes on two of the lps were just stereo folds. that is to say, they were mixed using the stereo version to make the mono version, which almost anyone can do at home these days.

a bit o' history is needed here i guess... george martin always worked the mono mixes first, as at the time stereo was not widely seen as the standard format. the beatles very rarely even showed up for the stereo mix downs at all until sgt pepper in 1967. as any major enginneer, and quite a few audiophiles, will tell ya, each mix has things that are different. slight level adjustments, minor editing thingys, and just enuff stuff to make ya listen a bit harder.
so, this dj in philly finds a major glitch with the new box set, alerts capitol and begins a damage control to spare the public from getting a deal it wasn't offered. it appears some idiot sent the stereo-to-mono mixes of two of the new boxset cd's (beatles VI and rubber soul) to the pressing plant. i am pretty sure that most that got the bogus cd's weren't even aware. ahhh, but to those that know, this is borderline criminal. as of now it seems the prob is fixed, the updated sets have an 'sk1' on the outer sticker and are said to be the real mono mixes, i guess i'll wait and see.
what i really want is the white album mono mix. if i wait for apple to get it out i may be too old to remember it, anybody got one?

npr has a great show up on the new beatles capitol albums volume 2 box set featuring mr bruce spizer (the lawyer, new orleans native, beatle know-it-all and author of quite a few great books on the evolution of the beatles and their records). it is an informative and entertaining few minutes. and if ya look around the site there is alot more beatle-related shows for streaming. (if ya ask, i got 'em all on mp3)...

the snafu with the new beatle box set.
the snafu with box set fixed?

in 1966 robert whitaker photographed the cover below, this was the beatles response to the 'butchered' albums released by capitol in america. it was yanked before it hit the shelves but the company took the butchered copies and glued a new cover on them, then let them out. as soon as word got out thousands of kids were spending valuable time standing over a boiling pot of water trying to reveal the banned original. some had it, most didn't. i knew a girl in vegas in 1968 that was so proud of her ripped up, badly peeled copy (looked like shit, but i was soooo jealous)... i wonder if she still has it...

to finish off this, yet, another beatle post, i submit as much of 'tomorrow never knows' as i have found in my travels... i know, i know, this is from the first of the revolver sessions in 1966, but since there is one more american lp left outta the boxsets, i wonder how they will handle 'revolver', perhaps a very nice cd of alternate mixes of all the 1966 beatle output, how could they not do something really nice for their 2nd to best album?

... in 1967 sgt pepper was released and every lp after fell in line with the british releases.

here, by the power of yousendit, (for a short time), some mp3s from various people of that beatle song ....
guided by voices - tomorrow never knows
king crimson - tomorrow never knows
utopia - tomorrow never knows
the helio sequence - tomorrow never knows
our lady peace - tomorrow never knows
les claypool's flying frog brigade - tomorrow never knows
govt mule - tomorrow never knows
living colour - tomorrow never knows
david lee roth - tomorrow never knows

Sunday, April 23, 2006

jazz fest '06

well, it looks as tho we won't be home for the jazz fest. daggnnabbitt!
it seems that this house is still in need of this and that. just enuff stuff to drag it all out a bit longer. just long enuff to make us miss the jazz fest.
i swear the winter here never ends... we had a few inches of snow easter sunday with the mountains getting pounded pretty good. they look like big marshmallows right now. the people that would know such things tell me that houses sell faster in the warm months. if that is true we will be here til august. and we were so looking to get back by the end of the month, ha!

i was on a roll for awhile there. i made every jazz fest (either working, partying or both) from 1972 until the mid 90's. heard a buncha of great music, ate a lot of great food and saw quite a few bizarre things in that time. but if i wasn't making more money elsewhere or just plain outta town, i was there. memories good and bad. like when i was on t.v. dancing in the mud in front of dr john around '77 and my mom went nuts calling everyone she knew to turn on the news, or the time my very best friend glennski died of a stroke standing in line for an iced tea. and him only 32. been there on glorious spring days where the breeze blows the clouds across the sky like wisps of smoke and the flags and banners, to mark the spot, wave in unison doin' their funky fey-do-do around the fairgrounds and on shitty, muddy, wrecked days, under dead skies that drop rain in torrential fists that pound the grounds into sludge. but it was always worth it, whether to sneak in or walk in with the band, or pay like the lessers.

this year's fest line-up is incredible;
Fats Domino, Bruce Springsteen with the Seeger Sessions Band, Jimmy Buffett, Dave Matthews Band, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Lionel Richie, Keith Urban, Yolanda Adams, Herbie Hancock, La India, The Meters, Allen Toussaint w/ Elvis Costello, Etta James, Dr. John, The Ohio Players, Irma Thomas, Ani DiFranco, Keb’ Mo’, Hugh Masekela, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Koko Taylor, Pete Fountain, Doug Kershaw, Little Feat, Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr., The Radiators, Sam Moore, Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick, Warren Haynes, Angelique Kidjo, Yerba Buena, Chris Owens, Irvin Mayfield, Buckwheat Zydeco, Galactic, Deacon John, Rebirth Brass Band, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Donald Harrison w/ Eddie Palmieri, Snooks Eaglin,Cowboy Mouth, Clarence “Frogman” Henry, Kermit Ruffins, Roland Guerin w/ Marcus Roberts, Sonny Landreth, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Terence Blanchard, the subdudes, Ellis Marsalis w/ Lew Tabackin, Nicholas Payton, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and many, many more... and there are rumors comin' in hinting at bigger things.

i think sunday the 30th would be a great day to hit the 'grounds'... springsteen, elvis, meters, (i try to catch ziggaboo and the meters when ever i can, but bruce don't come thru town much these days, any town really).

a few vital jazz fest links:
jazzfest radio
first weekend
second weekend

and now a few mp3's concerning the big easy roots and food fest brought to you via yousendit for less time than it takes to catch the whole dang thing ...

snooks eaglin - by the river
allen toussaint - riverboat
allen toussaint - on your way down
the meters - pungee
dr john - jump sturdy
dr john - walk on guilded splinters
dr john - life

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

the way we get by

this is a great sounding show made from the soundboard. the band is tight and seems to be enjoying themselves. well worth a listen, 'specially if you are a fan or if ya just wanna see how they do live. we haven't had the chance to catch them but that should change when we get closer to austin,tx than reno.
spoon is probably our favorite new band and we are glad to see them getting a bunch of exposure ... like the songs turning up on t.v. for the odd commercial or two. each of their records is a progression to what seems to be superstardom. this is gonna be fun to watch.

here in reno we are speeding along getting ready to move. the wreckroom, in a physical sense, is all but gone. it's been repainted a drab industrial color (the better to sell fast i'm told) and the garage is to the bursting point with boxes filled up from the w'room. ahhh, can smell the gumbo from here.

official site for spoon