Miles and Miles of Decisions aka Help Me Make a Decision

So I’m contemplating, debating really, about discontinuing my Vinyl Me, Please subscription. For a few reasons, really, but mainly because my personal wantlist is so vast and varied, I feel the $30 / month price tag can be better suited on other, needed releases. That being said, I just received Miles Davis’ 1967 Sorcerer last night, this month’s Vinyl Me, Please release, and I instantly fell in love with the minimalist art by Santiago Carrasquilla (an art print and drink pairing come with each month’s record, for those of you unfamiliar with VMP). The debate to stay a subscriber was predominantly one-sided, until I saw this print. Most exceedingly frame-worthy, this print is single-handedly forcing another thoughtful evaluation of this monthly service. To be continued, I suppose…

One Nation, Under Ian

Nation of Ulysses, my latest audio crush, arrived twofold yesterday in the shape of 7″ 45s (they may not have been 45s now that I think about it, but really, who’s keeping score?). The first, pictured here, was 1990’s self-titled, three tracker (Sound of Young America, Channel 1 Ulysses, and Atom Bomb), while the second was of the 1991 persuasion with The Birth of the Ulysses Aesthetic (The Synthesis of Speed and Transformation). Tracks contained therein are The Sound of Jazz to Come, N.O.U.S.P.T.D.A, and Presidents of Vice. For you hardcore-garage-art-rock-types, these are exceptional, and surprisingly inexpensive finds. Raise the flag and drop the needle. Tell ’em The Groove sent ‘ya.

Touch Dancing…

Well, it’s back, at least, according to this International Jazz release by Enoch Light and His Orchestra. It’s hard to imagine that touch dancing ever really went away, but that’s just, you know, my opinion. Appropriately titled Touch Dancing is Back, Enoch Light (and his crew) bring 10 tracks of pure, lustful touch dancing favorites like, Laughing on the Outside, I’ll Get You, and I Get Ideas. Whether you’re in the mood, or trying to plan a soft, rhythmic evening with your touch partner, consider Touch Dancing is Back. You won’t be disappointed.

Dusty Spin

Just received my, wait for it, “doublemint w/ purple haze” colored vinyl version of The Bouncing Soul’s 2nd studio album, Maniacal Laughter. Happy to have stumbled across this when I did (3x weeks ago) because this 125 record release is now officially sold out. I will note, though it’s no consequence, that my sealed copy arrived very, very dusty. Perhaps tiny polyvinyl crumbs were left over from the pressing machine. Either way, a good cleaning is definitely in order before the windows start shaking and the neighbors start banging on the walls.

Find it All on Decca

From “Children’s Music” like Danny Kaye and Winnie the Pooh, to “Movie and Broadway” with Oklahoma and Song of Norway, you can bet that Decca Records really does offer “a new world of sound.” Perhaps popular vocalists like Rick Nelson or Brenda Lee is more your bag, or escape the continental US with a handful of great “Hawaiian Music” with Alfred Apaka or The Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. Whatever your flavor, Decca has you covered.

I’ve Got A Plan

This is what I told my wife… I’ve got a plan. No, it’s not a secret plan to fight inflation, but instead a plan to emerge from chaos with strict, binary organization. The plan worked, I’ll have you know, but please notice a few things during this, my “transition” period… an age that lasted something like four hours. The most obvious is the Dead Cross LP. I’d just finished spinning that when this moment was stolen from time. There’s a TMBG Flood CD, Rocket from the Crypt dice, the Boss DR-5, two unopened sixers of NOFX’s punk in drublic beer, and of course, the Alternative Tentacles “What would Jello do?” bumper sticker. All things, somewhat music related, that have now found a new home. Cheers to being OCD!

Best of the Best

Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra released a riveting collection of Afro-Cuban-infused jazz  for Mercury Records on his / their 1961 album, The Best of Cugat. Having been recording and releasing material since the early 1940s (Rumbas, released in 1941), it must have been painstakingly difficult to find only 12 tracks from Cugat’s vast, hip-swaying catalog to fill this compilation. If you haven’t heard of Xavier Cugat, climb out from under your rock and check out this “best of” comp. It’s a great place to start, and can be had for under $3.

Colorful Percussions

Arthur Lyman’s 1962 classic, The Colorful Percussions of Arthur Lyman, is a festive little listen that showcases, yet again, the many and varied talents of this Space Age Pop legend. Sandwiched between 1960’s Percussion Spectatular! (a reissued as Yellow Bird) and Many Moods of Arthur Lyman (also 1962), The Colorful Percussions of Arthur Lyman is as vivid and explosive as the title and cover art suggests. This, like with any Lyman album, comes highly recommended.

‘Torn Curtain’

Torn Curtain, Hitchcock’s 1966 classic starring Paul Newman and Julie Andrews, has slowly become one of my favorite Hitchcock films, in no small part due to John Addison’s riveting soundtrack. Released by Decca the same year, this 12-track record clocks in at just under 30 mins, and serves as a perfect mini adventure for the ears as well as the imagination. If you haven’t watched it in while, I suggest taking some time during the holiday, and if you find a copy of the soundtrack on vinyl, I highly recommend picking it up.

DC

Super excited for a few reasons here. One, that my copy of Dead Cross came in record time (no pun intended). Two, because I’m able to spin yet another collab between Slayer mainstay Dave Lombordo and golden throat magician Mike Patton. And finally, three, because Ipecac Recordings (Patton’s label) releases their records with digital download cards. Lots to be excited about.

On This Day, 61 Years Ago

Storms of rumors surround this “historic” day in Memphis, TN some 61 years ago. It is alleged, with some photographic evidence (take the cover, for example), that during a Carl Perkins recording session at Sun Records, Jerry Lee Lewis (then a young-fresh-fellow on the brink of superstardom), Elvis Presley, and the Man in Black, Johnny Cash recorded 30+ minutes of (mainly gospel) material for what turned out to be dubbed, The Million Dollar Quartet. The recording is heavy Elvis, and sounds much more like an unscripted, haphazard practice session of studio musicians than anything resembling a million dollars ($9,068,492.65 today). Johnny Cash’s presence is all but nonexistent, which raises questions to the album photo’s legitimacy (the official Sun Records release from 1981 has Marilyn Evans, Elvis’ then girlfriend, removed from the photo altogether). This bootleg version was released a year earlier by OMD, and is the only known release by the unknown label. Regardless of the recording’s legitimacy, it’s an educational spin and a gem of a find. Take it with a grain of salt, but enjoy nonetheless.

Dirt Music

Another day, yet another Johnny Cash acquisition. This one, Songs of Our Soil, comes all the way from 1959. Look how young he is! Anyway, we’ve been slicing a sizable chunk out of our needed J.R. Cash discography lately, so this weekend, we’re going to try and keep that train a’rollin! (Heading to an old stomping ground for some cheap, quality, used records.) Wish us luck!

SPECIALISTS IN THE PHYSIOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS OF MUSIC

So, I was about to briefly touch upon this jazz-pop compilation exemplifying and showcasing the visual interpretation of music, or in their words, “The Physiological and Psychological Applications of Music” until I started reading the blurb on the front cover. This is some fascinating shit! So please bear with me as I transcribe this captivating write-up. I hope you enjoy. (Year unknown. Cat. #H-I (1) 35A. Released by MUZAK.)

New Dimensions Volume 2

MUZAK – SPECIALISTS IN THE PHYSIOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS OF MUSIC

The original oil painting on this album is attractive modern art but it is far more than just that. Artist Ray Harrow was commissioned to develop a pictorial representation of MUZAK programming using colors, forms, and values.

Psychological experiments have shown that people associate mood-tones with definite colors. Wexner found that exciting or stimulating moods remind many of us of red. Calm, peaceful, serene, or soothing moods, on the other hand, suggest green and blue.

Since MUZAK arranges and programs selections into a rising or ascending order – giving more stimulation to offset sagging performance – the painting begins (at the left) with muted colors that suggest calm, peaceful moods. Then, moving to the right, the colors become brighter and lighter to mirror the program’s greater stimulation value.

Vertical strokes rise more gently at the beginning of the program (at the left), to depict milder stimulation. Later in the program, the vertical strokes that are used more steeply represent music that gives workers a stronger boost.

Even the painting’s “focus” ties in with the ascending MUZAK program. The program begins with soft, fuzzy strokes, progressing smoothly to a sharper, almost crystalline quality as the program gains stimulation value.

Far from being purely decorative, then, Harrow’s painting describes the science of MUZAK in capsule form – functional art to show you how functional work music helps workers in office and industry do their jobs better than ever.

Here is a collection of today’s fresh new sounds recorded by MUZAK featuring some of the world’s top music arrangers. Each selection has been recorded to MUZAK’S specifications and sequentially programmed to produce a predetermined physiological and psychological response. Each 15-minute segment of MUZAK contains a rising stimulus which provides a sense of forward movement. Notice the difference in stimulation value between segments A and B. This is accomplished by a variation of tempo, rhythm, instrumentation and dynamics.

RAMATAM

Ramatam’s 1972 debut album first caught my eye from an early 70’s Atlantic Records insert. The almost modern simplicity of the cover (red, white, and blue text over black background) stood out to me, mainly as I’d never heard of the band, but also because I thought the all-caps boldness of the art demanded some exploring. I filed that image away and went on about my day, which turned into a few months, then finally to little over a year where I (just recently) found a copy for a cool $4.98 at my local b&m (brick and mortar). This, their first album (of two) contained some heavy, early 70’s names (Mitch Mitchell, drums, having spent time with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Mike Pinera, guitar and vocals, from Blues Image). It’s sad that Ramatam’s stint only spanned two albums over two years (1972-1973), but with such a small discography, they’re certainly worth checking out.

One in a Million

Another fantastic Mary Tyler Moore cover, this time touting Lew Raymond and the Hollywood Studio Orchestra. From what I can quickly gather, Mary appears on 7+ album covers from the late 50’s to the early 60’s. Million Sellers is our third, behind Cha Cha Cha and Miguelito Valdez Plays His World Famous Latin Rhythms. Always an exciting find, Mary covers are a sign of space-age-rhythmic-eruptions only the late 50’s can provide. RIP Laura Petrie.