Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The World's First Recording Engineer

Today the science section of the New York Times described the process of "bringing back to life" a group of wax cylinders recorded between 1889 and 1890. The cylinders were originally from Edison's lab (apparently he kept them stowed away in a box underneath a cot he took naps on), and until recently no one had any idea what was on them. The origins of the recordings include one Adelbert Theodor Edward Wangemann, who based on the Times description, is basically the forefather to George Martin, Eddie Kramer, and Rick Rubin:
The lid of the box held an important clue. It had been scratched with the words “Wangemann. Edison.”

The first name refers to Adelbert Theodor Edward Wangemann, who joined the laboratory in 1888, assigned to transform Edison’s newly perfected wax cylinder phonograph into a marketable device for listening to music. Wangemann became expert in such strategies as positioning musicians around the recording horn in a way to maximize sound quality.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Is Ray Manzarek a Closet Spin Doctors Fan?

In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Ray Manzarek said about his collaboration with Skrillex (an up-and-coming electronic musician):
"We’ve talked to him about doing more stuff," he said. "I was amazed. He’s a little pocket full of dynamite."

Monday, January 23, 2012

Blow your mind to "bits"

Apparently there's a whole community of people who like to use the 8-bit Nintendo music chip to create music. A subset of these people like to cover classic rock songs using the technology. These people are my heroes.

The link below is what might have played on your Nintendo if Mario found a pipeline that descended to a secret room full of LPs:


For more of these gems, check out this article:


Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Inside Scoop on the Brown Acid

Legendary Denver rock-promoter Barry Fey recently published a memoir in which he mentions a conversation he had with Chip Monck, the man who became famous for repeatedly warning the audience at Woodstock to stay away from the brown acid. Why was Monck warning people to avoid it?
"Because I was making the blue acid."

Monday, January 16, 2012

"She Smells So Nice"

Next week Rhino Records is set to release a 2-disc 40th anniversary reissue of the Doors' L.A. Woman album (apparently there aren't enough Doors fans still alive to support a 5-disc version, and plans for that had to be scrapped). The buzz is that the reissue features a recently unearthed, previously unreleased Doors track - "She Smells So Nice" (like pretty much anything else these days, you can find it on youtube). The track is a pretty standard 12 bar blues, nothing exciting, the sort of chord progression which you've heard a million times before. It has the advantage of having  Morrison's baritone growl and nicely weird lyrics on top of it, and the distinctive sound of Ray's keyboards, but what I can't get over is the name. What the hell is this? My junior high school journal?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tell That To Fat Pat

Last week the Science Section of the New York Times debunked the contention that musicians are more likely than the general population to die at age 27: