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’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.
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.
The only problem with acquiring a Volume 2 prior to a Volume 1, and this is a small problem, all things considered, is that you also have to acquire Volume 1… at least, that’s how my brain works. Super Oldies of the 50’sVolume 2 is jam-frickin’-packed with 50’s staples from The Heartbeats to The Charts, and a little Frankie Ford in between.
Did some late RSD Black Friday shopping and nabbed this groovy 10″ by At the Drive In. Apparently there exists a black / doublemint version limited to only 100 copies, but I’m happy to settle for this coke bottle clear w/ bone splatter version (but seriously, who comes up with these vinyl color names?!).
By 1951, RCA Victor Records had released enough records to fill a 280 page catalog. This is a fact. From “A” You’re Adorable (47-2899, 1949) by Perry Como to Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20 (LCT-1002, year unknown), RCA’s entire production could be found in clear black and white, and as the catalog itself suggests, “The records in the Request Catalog (not pictured here) your dealer will order for you, gladly and promptly.” So dig in and mosey on down to your brick and mortar for some great RCA Victor releases!
Good things come in small packages. If you don’t believe me, take for example this 45rpm by Perez Prado on RCA Victor Records (1958) titled, “Prez.” Only four tracks, but this little 7″ packs a heavy Space Age Pop punch in full, living stereo. ESP-4314 for those keeping score.
A few months ago, The Bouncing Souls rereleased their 2006 album, The Gold Record, on a very limited pressing of 250 “random blended” colored vinyl. This was preordered some months back, forgotten about when the package was received, and has been sitting in the jenga closet until its rediscovery last week. Currently sitting in the “next to spin” pile, one can never go wrong with New Jersey’s The Bouncing Souls, regardless of the record color.
Sing the Big Hits was The Statler Brothers’ 2nd studio album, released in 1967, and it contains two tracks that would make their 1972 double LP compilation album, The World of the Statler Brothers, with Ruthless, a fun play on words track about a former lover, Ruth, no longer being around, and another playful tongue-twister, You Can’t Have Your Kate and Edith, Too. Flowers on the Wall, the band’s first album, still remains no. 1 on my “to-get” list, but I’ll enjoy their sophomore effort in the meantime.
It’s nice to see that in some corners of the world (the frozen Midwest), factory sealed full length LPs such as this Buddy Holly compilation, Buddy, can be had for a cheap $12. That’s a brand new record, with 23 tracks, for $12. Buddy, at 180 grams, takes full advantage of the 12″ format by combining Mr. Holly’s first two albums into one LP (1958’s Buddy Holly and That’ll Be the Day). Pressed and released in the UK, I strongly suggest finding a Buddy near you.
Now, There Was A Song! was Johnny Cash’s 9th studio album and was originally released in December of 1960. This is a reissue from an unknown year. It’s easy to spot these reissues as the blue-gray background was originally army green. Reissue or not, she’s a steal for $3.99!
Ladies and gentlemen, the Vinyl Me, Please 2017 Holiday Gift Guide… is… HERE! For record collectors, this foldout, 8-page catalog is like a Sears Christmas catalog from yore (1985, I’m looking at you). I strongly suggest becoming a member if you aren’t already. Exclusivity for the holidays makes for a great gift.
First of all, take a long look at that 1987 hair. You didn’t look long enough… have another glance. Now, just think that there were only two artists in history, that being recording history, to reach the Billboard Hot 100’s top three with four singles from a debut album (Is the Billboard Hot 100 still a thing?). The first, Whitney Houston, and the second, Mr. Mullet, Richard Marx. This album was essentially the soundtrack to the summer of 1987! Don’t Mean Nothing, Should’ve Known Better, Endless Summer Nights, and Hold on to the Nights. I mean, k’mon! One man, one album, his debut, four singles, top three. History. Just like that.
I was strikingly unaware, back in some foggy 1998 day, that my purchase of Don McLean’s American Pie was actually an abridged version of the original album. Often one to overlook the tiny print, this glaring indicator is now unmissable on the back sleeve, and stands as a reminder that one should always at least attempt to scan the fine print.
This is Henry Mancini is a dynamite double LP “best of” release from RCA Victor. Released in 1970, This is contains the finest cuts from Mr. Mancini’s esteemed resume: Peter Gunn, Moon River, My One and Only, Mr. Lucky, March of the Cue Balls, Midnight Cowboy, and of course, The Pink Panther Theme. If you’re the casual Mancini listener and are looking for a catch-all release, This is Henry Mancini is exactly what you’re looking for.
I just caught wind that the elusive To the 5 Boroughs, the much-needed and surprisingly rare 2004 album from the Beastie Boys, is now available for pre-order at their official store. Head on over to secure your copy today!
Though not as well received as either 2003’s Animositisomina or 2006’s Rio Grande Blood (a play on ZZ Top’s 1972 album, Rio Grande Mud), 2004’s Houses of the Molé proved that 1) Ministry could sustain without Paul Barker, and 2) there would be, in fact, new Ministry music. Good, but not great, I’m just happy I can start filling in the much-needed Ministry discography gaps.