This Just In: Forbidden Planet

Tomorrow’s Halloween, so here’s a spooky and interesting record to fit the mood. The Forbidden Planet OST was composed by Louis & Bebe Barron, the same people credited with being the first American composers of electronic music for magnetic tape (Heavenly Menagerie, 1950). Not only is this thing eerie as hell, it’s also an improvisation with circuit-generated sound, using them to their capacities, burning them out and never being able to recreate the same sounds again. Clever and painstaking editing and mixing got the sounds to their final form, yielding a breakthrough piece of electronic music, or as the Barrons referred to them, “electronic tonalities.” Read more about their process below and check out this week’s in-stock list below that. Happy Halloween!!! -MLE

Louis & Bebe Barron – Forbidden Planet OST LP
Listen: Forbidden Planet OST playlist

“The 1948 book Cybernetics: Or, Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, by mathematician Norbert Wiener from MIT played an important role in the development of the Barrons’ composition. The science of cybernetics proposes that certain natural laws of behavior apply to both animals and more complex electronic machines.

By following the equations presented in the book, Louis was able to build electronic circuits which he manipulated to generate sounds. Most of the tonalities were generated with a circuit called a ring modulator. The sounds and patterns that came out of the circuits were unique and unpredictable because they were actually overloading the circuits until they burned out to create the sounds. The Barrons could never recreate the same sounds again, though they later tried very hard to recreate their signature sound from Forbidden Planet. Because of the unforeseen life span of the circuitry, the Barrons made a habit of recording everything.

Most of the production was not scripted or notated in any way. The Barrons didn’t even consider the process as music composition themselves. The circuit generated sound was not treated as notes, but instead as ‘actors’. In future soundtrack composition, each circuit would be manipulated according to actions of the underlying character in the film.

After recording the sounds, the couple manipulated the material by adding effects, such as reverb and tape delay. They also reversed and changed the speed of certain sounds. The mixing of multiple sounds was performed with at least three tape recorders. The outputs of two machines would be manually synchronized, and fed into an input of a third one, recording two separate sources simultaneously. The synchronization of future film work was accomplished by two 16 mm projectors that were tied into a 16 mm tape recorder, and thus ran at the same speed.

While Louis spent most of his time building the circuits and was responsible for all of the recording, Bebe did the composing. She had to sort through many hours of tape. As she said, “it just sounded like dirty noise”. Over time, she developed the ability to determine which sounds could become something of interest. They may also have invented the tape loop. The tape loop gave the Barrons’ sounds rhythm. They mixed the sounds to create the otherworldly and strange electronic soundscapes required by Forbidden Planet.” -Wikipedia

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This Just In: Glass Ceiling Universe

When I first heard about Apprentice Destroyer’s Glass Ceiling Universe, I expected a rock-ish record. Seeing as it was “secretly recorded” at Guitar Center, I went myopic and thought “OK, guitars, drums, rock, blah, blah, blah.” But I’m always happy to prove myself wrong, especially when it’s with a great album. Even though GCU was recorded at GC (see what I did there?), it’s not the shreddy wank-fest typically associated with entering a Guitar Center. In fact, it’s the dead opposite. Repetitive, psychedelic electronic rhythms, kraut-beats and disorienting meditations comprise this universe. And for what it’s worth, the concept is really funny considering how serious the music is, so bonus points there. Check out a track below and this week’s in-stock list below that, and don’t judge a book by its cover (or album by it’s recording process). -MLE

Apprentice Destroyer – Glass Ceiling Universe LP
Listen: “Chrome”
“Recorded completely in secret, one track at a time at Guitar Center, Apprentice Destroyer’s debut Glass Ceiling Universe transcends its immediately intriguing concept to highlight a hyperactive and omnivorous talent within. These are wide ranging, kaleidoscopic instrumental compositions, veering from disorientingly complex to achingly and delicately beautiful, but always with a metallic, misanthropic edge, as if these are computers playing to each other across the Guitar Center sales floor, laughing at the puny humans attempting to create harmonics in air as they can do so perfectly in the vacuum of binary. It’s lifestyle music for all you cyborg assassins out there.” -Castleface

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This Saturday: DRACULA + DIM PAST LIVE@SWEAT

Live@Sweat Series No. 1 continues this Saturday night! Read more about the series in this great piece over at the KnightBlog. Come out for a pre-Halloween show featuring two fantastic local acts: multi-lingual gothic troubadours DRACULA, and dark techno wizard DIM PAST Watch: Dracula Live at the City of Miami Cemetery Watch: Dim Past “Spectre …

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This Just In: Spooling Down

Tomorrow is International Cassette Store Day! Yeah, the name is still a little strange to me too – were there ever stores that just sold cassettes? Regardless, we’ll have an array of exclusive CSD releases available, alongside some new local cassette releases from the likes of Chris Donaldson, Johnny Ledez, and Yankee Roses. Seems like there’s a mixed-bag reaction to cassettes in general these days, but allow me to put forth the argument that the format has remained and will remain alive and well because it’s best suited to small/independent/experimental releases. When you consider that making vinyl costs 10x more, and even making CDs is 3x more, cassettes are a no-brainer. With the addition of a download code, the cassette is the best bang-for-your-buck format for bands and fans alike – you get a physical thing and a digital non-thing for only $5 (in most cases). Come hang on CSD, buy some tapes, listen to Team Sweat play some tapes, and get 10% off vinyl since tapes can’t have all the fun! -MLE

Listen: Chris Donaldson – Rhythm Nation
Listen: Yankee Roses – Dreamless Winter
Listen: Johnny Ledez – /ˈmôrniNG/ /ˈsämbə/

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This Just In: I Should Coco

Woooooooo! Supergrass’ debut album is finally available on vinyl again. It’s been 20 years (wow – I feel old), since I Should Coco dropped, and it definitely stands the test of time. What’s even cooler is that this reissue is contains a bonus 7″ with a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Stone Free” and an unlisted “mystery” b-side (mystery solved in the description below). Plus, this version comes with a full download because it’s the future. So be young, run free, keep your teeth nice and clean, and buy this record!!!!

Supergrass – I Should Coco LP+7”
Listen/Watch: “Caught By The Fuzz”
“To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Brit-pop forerunners Supergrass’ chart-topping platinum 1995 debut full-length, I Should Coco, Parlophone Records is reissuing the time honored classic on 180g vinyl with remastered audio complete with a copy of the 7” single ‘Stone Free’ / ‘Odd?’ which was originally released with the album.

Supergrass burst onto the UK music scene in 1994 with the hit singles ‘Caught By The Fuzz’ and ‘Mansize Rooster.’ Their infectious blend of power-pop melodies, youthful punk attitude and wicked sense of humour set them apart from their Britpop contemporaries. Their sound was not tied to a particular artist or era, so has allowed their music to remain timeless. When I Should Coco hit the shelves in 1995, it was an immediate smash, reaching the #1 spot on the UK album chart making it the biggest selling debut album for Parlophone since The Beatles’ Please Please Me.

The album featured two Top 10 hits: ‘Lenny’ and ‘Alright,’ the latter becoming one of the defining songs of their career. These young men devoured a lot of music in their youth; combining the melodicism of The Kinks and The Beatles, the ferocious rhythms of The Who, the Anglo-centric vocals of Madness with the punk/pop energy of The Buzzcocks into a musical stew that sounded like no one but Supergrass. They delivered a nearly perfect album to kick-start their career; a record that still resonates and charms two decades on.”

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This Just In: Down To The Bone

A few weeks ago, while listening to Lolo’s awesome covers mix on Spotify, I went on a rant about some of my favortie covers, particularly a collection of Depeche Mode songs reworked by Sylvain Chauveau in 2005. Part of the rant was wishing the album was released on vinyl (it was only CD and digital). A week later while browsing through upcoming releases, my jaw dropped as I saw a listing for Down To The Bone, Chauveau’s brilliant covers collection, finally on vinyl. Synchronicity is a thing, and it’s marvelous. So now you and I can own some softer, yet somehow darker takes on Depeche Mode favorites, which in my opinion, are some of the most thoughtfully-arranged cover versions ever made. Take a listen to the entire thing via the link below and check out this week’s in-stock list below that. -MLE

Sylvain Chauveau & Ensemble Nocturne – Down To The Bone: An Acoustic Tribute To Depeche Mode LP
Listen: Full album
“Just 10 years ago, Down to the Bone was released by Les Disques du Soleil et de L’Acier – a Depeche Mode tribute album on which Sylvain Chauveau sang on record for the first time. 11 tracks that the musician reclaims in the sober style he is known for leaving just the bare bones of the originals. With the Nocturne ensemble, Chauveau redefines the contours of these hits we all know to provide an intimate and highly personal vision. This critically acclaimed album is an essential records for lovers of Chauveau’s minimalist works (‘The Black Book of Capitalism’, ‘Nocturne Impalpable’) as well as Depeche Mode’s hardcore fans. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the album’s release, Ici d’ailleurs reissue it on CD and for the first time as a vinyl LP, with a new artwork. A decade and several albums later Down to the Bone still sounds as one of Chauveau’s biggest success, not only a simple tribute which means taking distances from the original tracks. Pop inspiration is still there, but these pieces bring a mediative, even melancholic touch through an acoustic treatment which offers an unique contemplative experience. Let be sure that the care provided to these eleven elegant tracks was the best way for Chauveau to declare his love to Depeche Mode music.”

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