Quick News, Links, Bits: (1) Ike Turner, the rock’n’soul legend who will forever be remembered as Tina Turner‘s abusive husband, passed away earlier this week (November 5, 1931 ”“ December 12, 2007). I’ll never forget standing in the refurbished Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, and being told the story of the chance damage to a speaker, the sound of which reportedly permeated Turner’s “Rocket 88,” thought by many to be the first rock’n’roll song (abcnews.go.com, guardian.co.uk, sunherald.com). What I didn’t know until today is there’s a brand of home-entertainment cables called “Rocket 88,” and they’re billed — with no apparent intended irony — as follows: “Solid conductors prevent strand interaction, a major source of cable distortion.” Maybe the marketing department at audioquest.com.au should take a field trip to Memphis. (Image at left from a timeline of recording-technology history at history.sandiego.edu — which borrow it from tefteller.com.) …
(2) It isn’t just that the album as a format is dying; it’s that the whole idea of a multi-song release as an even somewhat constant entity is dying. Case in point, the new EP of remixes of Amon Tobin‘s song “Kitchen Sink” (pictured left) off his excellent album Foley Room (both released on Ninja Tune). It contains four different mixes, one each by Clark, Sixtoo, Nosia and Boxcutter — but if you buy it digitally through ninjatune.net itself, there’s a fifth track, a special vocal mix by Sixtoo. (Complicating things further — that fifth track is available on the emusic.com edition of Kitchen Sink Remixes.) … (3) Among the remixers on Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D, an album of takes on Nine Inch Nails‘s Year Zero: Ladytron, Bill Laswell, Kronos & Enrique Gonzalez Müller, Fennesz and Saul Williams (nin.com). NIN’s Trent Reznor produced Williams’s recent The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust, which, in light of said liberation, is available for free download in its entirety at niggytardust.com.
(4) Alex (therestisnoise.com) Ross proposes that today, December 17, 2007, marks the 100th anniversary of atonality: “On that date in 1907, Arnold Schoenberg sketched the song “Ich darf nicht dankend” (“I must not in gratitude [sink down before you]”), music in which conventional tonal harmonies grow exceedingly scarce.” … (5) Composer and critic Kyle Gann buys a scanner for his computer and treats readers to a 1989 photo of him with the late Conlon Nancarrow — no player piano in sight (artsjournal.com/postclassic). … (6) Also via Gann, Peter Cherches‘s new “Downtown Music” blog, downtownmusicguide.blogspot.com, focused on the years 1971-1987. … (7) Review of one of Matmos‘s first concerts since the formerly San Fransisco Bay Area duo relocated to Baltimore (citypaper.com). … (8) In a spin on its own “Who Flipped It Best?” series, the great hip-hop blog soul-sides.com pits two uses by Cut Chemist (both for the group Jurassic 5) of the same sample against each other. … (9) How a “bass trap” speaker (from bagend.com) can make your space quieter: wired.com. … (10) Post sounds, geo-code ’em, and share: soundtransit.nl. … (11) A 21st-century kalimba, Thumbtronics: thummer.com. … (12) Another “Lemon”? U2‘s next record, produced with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, said to be “trance” (launch.yahoo.com).
(13) Speaking of Lanois, I’ve received some thoughtful responses to the essay I published at newsmusicbox.org last week (“Juiced In It: Bob Dylan and the Consequences of Electricity”). I finally, last night, caught the new Todd Haynes film, I’m Not There, in which six actors play variations on Dylan over the course of his career. I noticed that Moondog, the maverick blind composer (and himself the subject of a new biography, albeit in book form), appears during the opening credits — and that there appears to be a little boy playing a young version of Moondog (complete with horned helmet) in what are most easily termed “the Richard Gere sequences.” Also early on, the subject of the film — who is and is not Dylan — is described in a voiceover (by Kris Kristofferson) as a “star of electricity” and later, a British TV host (played by Bruce Greenwood) interrogates the Dylan figure Jude Quinn (played by Cate Blanchett) about his embrace of “electronic music.” The movie is a messy jumble, all in all, and my favorite part is the haunting drone of a harmonica solo just before the end credits roll, as Dylan appears to melt into an alien from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Oh, and totally off topic, David Cross does a mean Allen Ginsberg.