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


Not so forbidden fruits – new releases, reissues & restocks…
2 Live Crew – Greatest Hits Vol. 2 2LP
2Pac – All Eyez On Me 4LP
Alt-J – This Is All Yours 2LP
Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness LP
Ariel Pink – pom pom 2LP
Ata Kak – Obaa Sima 12”*
B.B. King – Easy Listening Blues LP*
Babes – Untitled LP
Babes In Toyland – Fontanelle LP
Bad Brains – Bad Brains LP
Battles – La Di Da Di 2LP, CD
Beach House – Thank Your Lucky Stars CD
Big Grams – S/T LP*
Blur – The Magic Whip 2LP
Bonobo – Black Sands 2LP
Bon Iver – Blood Bank 12″, For Emma, Forever Ago LP, S/T LP
Born Ruffians – Ruff LP*
British Sea Power – Sea Of Brass 2LP*
Built To Spill – There’s Nothing Wrong With Love LP*
Buena Vista Social Club – S/T 2LP*
Burial – Street Halo 12”
Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Style LP*
Cheetahs – Mythologies 2LP*
Circuit Des Yeux – In Plan Speech LP
Darkside – Psychic 2LP
David Lynch – Big Dream 2LP+7″
Deerhunter – Fading Frontier CD
Destruction Unit – Negative Feedback Resistor LP
Depeche Mode – Music For The Masses LP
Dr. Dre – The Chronic 2LP
Eels – Daisies Of The Galaxy LP*, Electro-Shock Blues 2LP*, Shootenanny! LP*, Souljacker LP*
Elliott Smith – An Introduction To… LP, Elliott Smith LP, From A Basement On The Hill 2LP, Roman Candle LP
Explosions In The Sky – The Earth Is Not… LP
Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear 2LP
Flaming Lips – Yoshimi LP
Flying Lotus – Pattern + Grid World EP 12”
Florence & The Machine – Lungs LP
Flying Lotus – Pattern + Grid World EP
Foo Fighers –S/T LP
Fred McDowell – Lord Have Mercy LP
Gang Of Four – Solid Gold LP
Gilles Peterson Presents Sun Ra & His Arkestra 2LP*, 2CD*
Goo Goo Dolls – Dizzy Up The Girl LP*
Gotan Project – La Revancha Del Tango 2LP
Gorillaz – S/T 2LP
Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest 2LP
Hugo Massien – Kontrol EP 12”*
HTRK – Psychic 9-5 Club LP
Iggy & Ziggy – Sister Midnight Live At The Agora 2LP*
James Blake – James Blake 2LP,CMYK EP 12”, Klavierwerke EP 12“, Love What Happened Here 12”
Jamie xx – Loud Places Remixes 12”*
Jeff Beck, Tim Bogert & Carmine Appice – S/T LP*
Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts – Manhattan LP*
Joan Osborne – Relish 2LP*
John Coltrane – Giant Steps LP, Lush Life LP
John Lennon – Rock ‘N’ Roll LP
Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy 3LP
King Krule – 6 Feet Beneath The Moon 2LP
King Midas Sound / Fennesz – Edition 1 LP
LCD Soundsystem – 45:33 2LP, Losing My Edge LP, S/T LP
Lee Perry – Roast Fish Collie Weed & Corn Bread LP
Loren Connors – Blues LP
Lushes – Service Industry LP*
M.I.A. – Kala LP
Majical Cloudz – Are You Alone? LP
Martin Dumas, Jr. – Attitude, Belief & Determination 12”
Marvin Gaye – I Want You LP
Maserati – Rehumanizer LP*
Maximo Park – A Certain Trigger LP*, Missing Songs LP*
Metric – Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? LP
Metz – II LP
Mogwai – Rave Tapes LP
Morcheeba – Big Calm LP
Motorhead – Bomber LP, Iron Fist LP
Negative Scanner – S/T LP
Neon Indian – Vega Intl. Night School 2LP, CD
New Order – Music Complete 2LP
Nina Simone – At The Village Gate LP
Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral 2LP
Nirvana – MTV Unplugged In New York LP, Nevermind LP, Bleach LP
ODESZA – In Return 2LP, Light EP 10”*
Olafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm – Loon LP
Pantera – History Of Hostility LP*
Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel I 2LP*, Peter Gabriel II 2LP*, Peter Gabriel III 2LP*, Peter Gabriel IV 2LP*
Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon LP, The Division Bell 2LP, The Wall 2LP
Pinkinsh Black – Bottom Of The Morning LP*
Pixies – Bossanova LP, Come On Pilgrim LP, Doolittle LP
Prodigy – Fat Of The Land 2LP
Rabit – Communion LP*
R.E.M. – Green LP
Rim & Kasa – Too Tough 2LP*
Rolling Stones – Hot Rocks 2LP, Some Girls LP, Sticky Fingers LP
Roots Manuva – Bleeds LP*
Ryan Adams – 1989 CD*
SBTRKT – SBTRKT LP, Wonder Where We Land LP
Serge Gainsbourg – Serge Gainsbourg Et Le Cinema LP*
Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majesty 2LP
Shannon & The Clams – Gone By The Dawn LP
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – It’s A Holiday Party LP*
Shigeto – Intermission EP 12”*
Shlohmo – Dark Red 2LP
Special Request – Modern Warfare I 12”*, Modern Warfare II 12”*, Modern Warfare III 12”*
Son Volt – Trace LP*
Stan Getz – Quartets LP
Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell LP, Illinois 2LP, Michigan LP, Seven Swans 2LP
Tame Impala – Currents CD, Innerspeaker 2LP
The Blues Brothers – OST LP*
The Brian Setzer Orchestra – Boogie Woogie Christmas LP*
The Budos Band – Burnt Offering LP
The Chills – Silver Bullets LP*
The Clash – London Calling 2LP
The Cure – Disintegration 2LP, Three Imaginary Boys LP
The Internet – Ego Death 2LP*
The Postal Service – Give Up LP
The Smiths – Meat Is Murder LP
The Wake – Here Comes Everybody + Singles 2LP
The Who – Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970 3LP*, My Generation (Mono) LP, Who Are You LP
Thom Yorke – The Eraser LP
Tool – Opiate 12″
U.S. Girls – Half Free LP
Ugly Casanova – Sharpen Your Teeth 2LP*
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II LP, Multi-Love LP
Unwound – Empire 4LP
Various – Brazil Classics At 20 LP
Various – Christmas Cocktails 2LP
Various – Ork Records: New York, New York 4LP+Book*
Various – Private Wax Vol. 2 3LP*
Various – Rastafari: The Dreads Enter Babylon 1955-83 2LP
Various – Studio One Dancehall 3LP
Various – Trevor Jackson Presents: Science Fiction Dancehall Classics 3LP
Various – We Love Disney 2LP*
Velvet Underground – White Light/White Heat LP
Vince Guaraldi Trio – Charlie Brown’s Holiday Hits LP*, Peanuts Greatest Hits LP
Wand – 1000 Days LP
White Fang – Chunks LP*
White Stripes – Icky Thump 2LP
Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 2LP
World Psychedelic Classics 4 – The Existential Soul Of Tim Maia 3LP
World Psychedelic Classics 5 – Who Is William Onyeabor? 3LP
Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) LP
Yo La Tengo – Fade LP, I Can Hear The Heart Beating… 2LP, Stuff Like That There LP
Yumi Zouma – EPs 1 & 2 LP

*Indicates new release or new reissue