White stripes Icky thump 7″ sales

http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,2106373,00.html

The White Stripes have become the champions of a vinyl revival by notching up the highest weekly sales for a seven-inch single for more than 20 years.

The single Icky Thump – at no 2 in the charts – took just two days last week to break through the 10,000 sales barrier across two seven-inch formats, according to research by industry magazine Music Week.

That vinyl sales tally — comfortably more than what the single was selling on CD and download combined at the start of last week – is unmatched by any other release on seven-inch since the late 80s.

Wet Wet Wet's Love Is All Around, which spent 15 weeks at no 1 in 1994, was the last no 1 to sell more than 50,000 seven-inch singles in total, but its best tally in any one week was only 4,770.

The American duo's vinyl success is partly thanks to a tie-in between record label XL and NME. The music magazine put out a free cover-mounted seven-inch copy of the White Stripes track Rag & Bone in a double sleeve, to be completed by one of the seven-inch formats of Icky Thump.

The strong vinyl sales for Icky Thump also reflect the growing popularity of the format in the UK. Seven-inch record sales topped 1m last year, up more than fivefold in five years, according to industry data.

Physical format singles – CDs and records – have had to contend with the growing popularity of digital downloads from stores like Apple's iTunes, but the music industry says vinyl has managed to hold its own.

Vinyl's share of overall singles sales is still small – around 1.6%, according to the most recent data – but it has been growing over recent years and has kept pace with a recent doubling in the overall market thanks to downloads.

The UK's record labels association, BPI, says that as cassette singles have died out, record companies have put more money into vinyl.

Recent hits have lent themselves to the format, with such bands as the Libertines and Arctic Monkeys enjoying vinyl-inclined fanbases. Meanwhile, a number of new bands have started using vinyl releases in specialist retailers to break into the music market.

http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,2106373,00.html

Round sound on a rebound

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/baltimore_city/bal-md.hs.vinyl18jun18,0,4759200.story?coll=bal-local-headlines

Flipping through a section of Jimi Hendrix albums with slightly worn covers, Mike Moffo of Lansdowne stopped to consider the album Band of Gypsys, with a familiar photo of the rock legend in his kaleidoscopic glory.

"I've got so many copies of this I don't really need another one," said the 44-year-old roofing contractor, wrapping up a visit to True Vine, a sliver of a store on The Avenue in Hampden that caters to vinyl record enthusiasts.

"And it's a green Capitol label, anyway."

To collectors like Moffo, who said he owns six or seven copies of the 1970 Hendrix recording, "green" means the fourth or fifth pressing – so far removed from the original that the album has little monetary value.

Still, he insists that the allure of vinyl has little to do with money, and almost everything to do with the senses. Vinyl records mean cover art large enough to be framed, liner notes meant to be read again and again, the feel of a plastic disc held with hands a foot apart, the pop of the needle landing on vinyl, and the crackle of dust particles riding above the warm sound of bass and horns.

"You put the needle on, and, God, it's great," Moffo said.

Barely more than three years old, True Vine is among a handful of local stores whose owners refuse to believe that vinyl is dead. Never mind that compact discs drove long-playing albums into near-oblivion in the 1980s, and that downloadable music now threatens CDs.

Collectors also flock to shops such as Normal's in Waverly and Own Guru Records in Fells Point, as well as the monthly record show at the Arbutus firehouse, famous among aficionados up and down the East Coast.

True Vine, wedged between a funky jewelry store and an old-fashioned shoe repair shop, attracts hard-core collectors who buy original pressings for upward of $60 and constantly upgrade to find the "cleaner, crisper copy," says Jason Willett, 39, one of the store's three owners.

But it also draws more casual fans who are happy to purchase a vinyl repressing for a few dollars as long as it's in good condition.

"The sound does have that charm, though sometimes the pressings are terrible," said Willett. "It's kind of like using a rotary-style telephone. I'm getting this amazing sound from this? It seems almost impossible."

Rock history greets all who enter the store. There's a Little Feat album still bearing its E.J. Korvette tag, a Firesign Theatre cover with opposing portraits of Marx (Groucho) and Lennon (John) and a copy of There is Only One Roy Orbison with a portrait of the eerily smiling vocalist, his dreamy eyes just visible through dark glasses.

In contrast, Normal's provides a feast of visual and aural treats for lovers of jazz. The shop, on East 31st Street, also contains meandering rooms filled with old books, as well as a performance space called The Red Room for live, improvisational music. Displayed in the window are curiosities including a vintage rubber figure of Mad magazine's Alfred E. Neuman and a tin clown beating a drum.

But the jazz crowd huddles in two front rooms featuring row after row of albums that represent over a half-century of recorded music. Included are popular artists such as Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Lee Morgan.

Co-owner Rupert Wondolowski is particularly proud of titles by offbeat artists such as Sun Ra, the avant-garde keyboardist, composer and bandleader whose music ranged between swing and bedlam – and who claimed to have been born on Saturn.

Normal's opened 17 years ago, just as CD technology was completing its dominance of the record industry. The timing could not have been better.

"People were dumping their vinyl because they thought it was worthless," said Wondolowski, 46, who sports a lone strip of hair on his chin.

"None of us felt there was any reason for vinyl to become obsolete," he said. "There were those who mocked us, but it's only gotten hotter in the last five years."

The hip-hop culture has helped because turntables lend themselves to the percussive "scratching" technique favored by dance-hall disc jockeys. Young adults in their 20s are beginning to discover the historical appeal of jazz on vinyl. Also, rock groups such as U2 are pressing limited runs of vinyl to maintain "their street cred," says Wondolowski.

And there are always stalwarts like Leo Douville of Cross Keys, who never abandoned the recording medium of his youth.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/baltimore_city/bal-md.hs.vinyl18jun18,0,4759200.story?coll=bal-local-headlines

White stripes rock on vinyl

http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2007/06/19/buzz-watch-the-white-strips-new-album-rocks-on-both-digital-cd-and-vinyl

The American duo The White Strips transcend time. Not only do they sound like they made their music in the 60s or the 70s, they have people standing in line for the new album at the now closed Tower Records store in Hollywood, reopened just for this! Plus they break new records in sales of vinyl. Yes, that’s right, seven-inch black vinyl discs. The White Stripes is a band that just sounds better on vinyl. It's as simple as that.

The White Stripes are not only bringing a classic rock’n roll sound back, they are also leading a vinyl revival by reaching the highest weekly sales for a seven-inch single for more than 20 years, as the British newspaper The Guardian points out.

The single Icky Thump – at no 2 in the UK charts – took just two days last week to break through the 10,000 sales barrier across two seven-inch formats, according to research by industry magazine Music Week.

The strong vinyl sales for Icky Thump also reflect the growing popularity of the format in the UK. Seven-inch record sales topped 1m last year, up more than fivefold in five years, according to industry data.

This is a form of old school marketing that is very effective in a digital age. As I noted in an article earlier this year, musicians these days need to be creative in building buzz about their band, both in Europe and in the US. The White Strips have proven masters at that art.

So, why are all these people lined up outside the old Towers record store? Well, it is not just to be the first to get a physical copy of the new album released June 19th. The first 200 to buy it also get a ticket to a free performance by the band at the old record store on June 20th. Now, that is something worth waiting for.

Joakim Baage

http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2007/06/19/buzz-watch-the-white-strips-new-album-rocks-on-both-digital-cd-and-vinyl

Vinyl Data (Computer programs encoded in vinyl)

http://www.kempa.com/blog/archives/000053.html

<< >> March 9 / Vinyl Data

One strategy that major record companies have been employing lately to deter downloading is adding bonus computer content to new CD releases. I recently discovered that this technique is not unique to CD's, but had in fact been practiced in the vinyl era as well. That's right: there were a handful of records released in the late 70's and early 80's that contained computer programs as part of the audio. This is totally insane, and totally great.

Most of these programs were written for the Sinclair Spectrum home computer series. The Sinclair Spectrum was a relatively cheap home computer system that used a television set as a monitor and loaded programs from tapes. It thrived in England in the early 80's:
"If the PC is the great electronic product of the 1990's, the Sinclair Spectrum was the great electronic product of the 1980's. The Sinclair ZX Spectrum (nicknamed the Speccy) was invented by Sir Clive Sinclair, a British Inventor. "

In the case of these programs on vinyl, the user would have to play back the proper portion of the record, record the resultant chatter to tape, and load the tape into the spectrum. Some users have mentioned playing certain games so much that they could recognise the loading sounds.

The Spectrum is emulated, so you can download the data files and an emulator and view the programs / play these games. Failing that, you can play most of these games directly in your browser (provided you have java enabled). All of the data files are available in the archive at worldofspectrum.org, and there are tons of emulators available for both the PC and mac (I used Spectaculator for Windows and Fuse for OS X).

The most ordinary of these vinyl-encoded programs are purely informational. Inner City Unit, a spinoff from Hawkwind, released an album called 'New Anatomy' in 1984. The last song on side two – 'Hectic Electric' consists of the audio pulses of a program that can be recorded to cassette and loaded into a 48k Sinclair Spectrum. When run, the program reportedly displays "a comprehensive description of the band, their recordings and tour schedules, etc." I was unable to find this program data online, but the track has been included on the CD reissue.

Similar, though slightly more involved was a program included on a record called 'XL-1' by Pete Shelly, former leader of The Buzzcocks, in 1983. The last song on the record – 'ZX Spectrum Code' – contains the audio pulses of a computer program for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Again, the technically savvy listener was expected to copy the audio to tape and "play" it to their home computer. When properly input, the program was to be run while listening to the rest of the album.

If all of the above was executed properly, the program displayed rudimentary graphics and printed lyrics in time with the music for the duration of the album. Only the U.K. pressings of the album have this track. There's a silent lockgroove before 'ZX Spectrum Code' so you can't play it by accident (and deafen yourself). I've only found mention of one poor soul who has claimed to have successfully accomplished this feat – they mentioned it tangentially in a newgroup posting. If you have any further information, please contact me.

~*~

A gigantic step up from encoded text files were actual games included in the grooves of records. In 1984, The Thompson Twins released 'The Thompson Twins Adventure Game' in both regular vinyl and flexi disc formats.

This one has survived the ravages of time and is available for download online. You can play it in your web browser by clicking this link. The game is a bizarre text-based adventure in which you guide the Thompson Twins around a land of beaches and caves. If you didn't grow up playing these games, in which you have to keep a map on paper and guess which key verbs the programmers used for certain actions, you may find it a bit frustrating. I poked around a little, but I haven't played it enough to see how it ends. If you go north from the first screen, the Thompson Twins drown en masse. As always, the British say it best:
"And, what a surprise, having deafened my family recording it onto tape on our dodgy stereo, when the game finally worked, it was crap. Bloody stupid Eighties floppy haired inumerate Chesterfield talentless ponces."

~*~

Another spectrum game included on vinyl was found on the B-side of Chris Sievey's 'Camouflage' 7" single. The game is called 'Flying Train' and was coded by Sievey himself. It's a pretty horrible game, notable only for the explosions, which throw a stickfigure engineer from the wreckage of the train.

You can download 'Flying Train' here, or play the game in your browser by clicking this link. Note that the instructions will ask you to hit 'Cyan' to begin, and no matter what you hit you'll get an error. I've found that hitting the 'C' key three or four times at that point gets you by to a screen where you enter your last name, and you can proceed from there.

So who was this guy who wrote computer game B-sides to his pop singles? Chris Sievey led 80's new wave popsters The Freshies. According to one newsgroup poster, "the most interesting fact (possibly the only interesting fact) about The Freshies is that all their instruments and equipment were painted pink. This is true."

This history of the Freshies, from the liner notes of their greatest hits album is an entertaining read. They had mild success with one single: "I'm In Love With The Girl At The Manchester Virgin Megastore Checkout Desk" (which later had its name changed to "I'm In Love With The Girl At A Certain Manchester Megastore Checkout Desk").
"Sievey and Ryan approached the one record company not to be featured in Sievey's expanding rejection folder, MCA. A licensing deal was swiftly completed, and 'I'm In Love With The Girl On The Manchester Virgin Megastore Check Out Desk' spent a solid thirteen weeks on the Radio One playlist, remaining stubbornly in position throughout the heavily enladen Christmas chart and selling over 40,000 copies. With dark and cruel irony however, a postal strike prevented the chart return statistics from the north of England from reaching the central computing heart of London. Despite this agonisingly frustrating setback (The Freshies really wouldn't have been The Freshies without being constantly blighted by such surreal slabs of plain bad luck), the band remained on stand-by, literally, with all the equipment stacked in the back of a Transit van for Top Of The Pops on three separate occasions, while the single bobbed and dipped with infuriating uncertainty."
"I'm In Love With The Girl At The Manchester Virgin Megastore Checkout Desk" ended up on a soundtrack cassette to a Spectrum game called 'The Biz'. This game wasn't included on a vinyl release, but it too was coded by none other than Chris Sievey, and can easily be seen as a sort of venting of his frustrations with the music industry.

The player inputs information such as name, band name, class, and hometown to begin the game. From then on, the 'band' is offered a dizzying array of options, all affecting variables used to determine your 'Overall Star Rating.' Players must schedule each week's shows and rehearsals; hire managers; record, press and market singles; film videos; and pay attention to what genres the kids are buying on the weekly charts. I ended up playing it for way too long when I 'tried it out.' You can download 'The Biz' here, or play the game in your browser by clicking this link.

Sievey ended up making a living wearing a paper mache head, playing a character called Frank Sidebottom. Frank Sidebottom was originally conceived by Sievey as the Freshies' number one fan, but he soon grew to be infamous in his own right (Or so I'm told, I'd never heard of him). He's apparently released albums under the name, and become something of a celebrity soccer (football) fan.

~*~

Rockabilly revivalist Shakin' Stevens – one of the best-selling artists in Europe in the late '80s – also had a Spectrum game included on a vinyl release. 'The Shaky Game' is variously reported to have been included as the B-side of the 'This Ole House' single, and at the end of side 2 of "The Bop Won't Stop" album, possibly both.

The program audio is preceeded by a message from Shakin' Stevens himself, explaining the concept to less computer literate fans. The goal of 'The Shaky Game' is to drive Shakin' Stevens' car to the center of a maze while avoiding bats, who bite you.

You can download 'The Shaky Game' here, or play it in your browser by clicking this link.

~*~

Though not released on Vinyl, the cassette version of The Stranglers' 'Aural Sculpture' album included the audio pulses of a game called 'Aural Quest.' The game, a text adventure in which you controlled the band's tour manager, was written by their Keyboard player, Dave Greenfield.

From the newsgroups:
"Sorry, Mr. Greenfield, if you read this, but it's true..the game's so bad I took my copy of Aural Sculpture back to the shop to exchange for the version without the game on the end of the tape (which they had to order specially!)..it just wasn't worth the aggro of falling to sleep with the tape on and being woken by a Spectrum 48k loading noise!"

You can download the file here or play it in your browser by clicking this link. There's a walkthrough here.

~*~

There's a bit of Spectrum audio code in the song 'Thank You' on Scottish band Urusei Yatsura's 'Everybody Loves Urusei Yatsura' album, released on their own Oni records. Successfully importing the code produces a program that, when run, displays the following screen:

Examining the source for the program reveals the following comments:
"Hi Nick, is Robin there?"

"Judas Priest Satanic Message #3"

"What is sadder: a.) finding this b.) writing it"

You can download the file here.

~*~

The last song on side two of 'Peace and Love Inc' by 80's synth popsters Information Society is an approximately three minute long modem transmission.

The title of the song – '300bps N, 8, 1 (Terminal Mode or ASCII Download)' – gives all necessary information for importing the message. The message revealed upon playing the transmission into a properly configured computer is:
"SO WE'RE SUPPOSED TO PLAY IN CURITIBA IN 18 HOURS, BUT OUR BUS IS BEING HELD HOSTAGE BY THE LOCAL PROMOTERS. THEY'VE FORMED SOME UNHOLY ALLIANCE WITH THE BRAZILIAN COUNTERPART OF ASCAP; THE PRS. APPARANTLY THE PRS HAS THE LEGAL POWER TO ARREST PEOPLE, AND THEY WANT A PIECE OF THE NATIONAL TOUR PROMOTER'S MONEY. THE LOCAL SECURITY FORCE, "GANG MEXICANA", HAS BEEN BOUGHT OUT FOR 1800 CRUZADOS AND A CARTON OF MARLBOROS EACH. THE ONLY FACTION STILL OPERATING IN OUR DEFENSE IN "BIG JOHN", OUR PERSONAL SECURITY MAN, AND HE'S HIDING IN HIS ROOM BECAUSE A LOCAL GANG IS OUT FOR HIS BLOOD BECAUSE OF A 1982 KNIFING INCIDENT IN WHICH HE WAS INVOLVED. OUR 345-POUND ROAD MANAGER, RICK ONLY HAD THIS TO SAY: "YOU WANTED THE LIFE OF A ROCK STAR!". PAUL, JIM AND I REALIZED THAT THIS WAS ONE SITUATION WE WERE GOING TO HAVE TO GET OUT OF OURSELVES. WE CONVENED A HASTY CONFERENCE IN THE NOVOTEL LOBBY. PAUL SUGGESTED CONTACT- ING OUR NATIONAL TOUR PROMOTER IN SAO PAULO, BUT WE REMEMBERED THAT HE WAS IN RECIFE WITH FAITH NO MORE, WHO HAD JUST ARRIVED FOR THEIR BRAZILIAN TOUR. WE THOUGHT ABOUT CONTACTING OUR BRAZILIAN RECORD COMPANY IN RIO, BUT THEY WEREN'T HOME. OUR EVER-DILIGENT AMERICAN MANAGER WAS ARRANGING HELP OF NUMEROUS FORMS, BUT HE WAS IN NEW YORK, AND JUST TOO FAR AWAY TO GET ANYTHING MOVING IN TIME.

AND THERE WERE 6000 KIDS IN CURITIBA WHO JUST WOULDN'T UNDERSTAND.

WE KNEW IT WAS TIME FOR ACTION. PAUL WENT UP TO THE PRS GUYS AND INVITED THEM INTO THE BAR TO DISCUSS IT LIKE CIVILIZED MEN OVER A FEW BRAZILIAN DRINKS, OFFERING EACH OF THEM A CIGAR ON HIS WAY. THE AMUSED PRS HEAVIES SEEMED TO LIKE THE IDEA OF A FEW FREE DRINKS, EVEN IF THEY KNEW THEY WOULD NEVER GIVE US OUR BUS BACK. WHEN PAUL WINKED AT JIM AND I ON HIS WAY IN, WE WENT INTO ACTION.

I STOLE OFF TO MY ROOM TO PREPARE WHILE JIM WENT INTO ACTION. CREEPING CAREFULLY THROUGH A SERVICE DUCT, HE MANAGED TO GAIN A VANTAGE POINT SOME THREE METERS ABOVE THE BUS, AND DROPPED CAREFULLY ONTO THE ROOF. AFTER USING HIS ALL-PURPOSE SWISS ARMY KNIFE (AFFECTIONATELY KNOWN AS THE "SKIT KNIFE") TO JIMMY OPEN THE ROOF HATCH, HE WENT THROUGH THE DARKENED INSIDE OF THE BUS AND REMOVED THE INSIDE ENGINE SERVICE PANEL. USING SOME SPARE ELECTRONIC PARTS HE FOUND WHILE ON AN ISLAND IN THE AMAZON, HE WIRED THE ENTIRE BUS FOR REMOTE CONTROL, NOT UNLIKE A REMOTE CONTROL TOY CAR.

AT THIS POINT, HE ASKED HIMSELF "NOW HOW SHALL I GET OUT OF HERE?!?"

PAUL WAS HAVING DIFFICULTIES OF HIS OWN.

"COULDN'T YOU SEE YOUR WAY CLEAR TO LETTING US FULFILL OUR CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS IN CURITIBA? THINK OF THE KIDS!"

THROUGH OUR TRANSLATOR, FABIO, THE PRS MAN, ALDO, SAID:

"NO. YOU AMERICANS THINK YOU OWN THE WORLD. HAH! WE'LL BURN DOWN OUR RAIN FOREST IF WE DAMN WELL PLEASE. WE NEED ROOM FOR COWS!! WE WANT A MACDONALD'S ON EVERY… OH, SORRY, YES ANYWAY, NO. WE NEED 40% OF YOUR CONCERT RECEIPTS TO GIVE TO DAVID BOWIE." HE SAID, WINKING TO THE LOCAL PROMOTER, PHILLIPE.

AS PAUL CONTINUED THIS ELABORATE DISTRACTION, JIM EFFECTED AN ESCAPE FROM THE HEAVILY GUARDED BUS BY CRAWLING DOWN INTO THE CARGO BAY, CUTTING A HOLE IN THE FLOOR WITH THE SWISS ARMY KNIFE'S ARC-WELDER, SLIPPING INTO THE MANHOLE COVER SITUATED UNDER THE BUS, AND WALKING UP INTO THE HOTEL'S BASEMENT FROM THERE. JIM CALLED UP TO ME IN MY ROOM AND GAVE THE SIGNAL. WE WERE NOW TO MEET AT THE BACK ENTRANCE, WITH OUR TECH GUYS. BUT FIRST, PAUL WOULD NEED SOME HELP GETTING AWAY FROM HIS UNWELCOME GUESTS, AS THINGS WERE GETTING UGLY.

"HE SAYS HE HAS LOST HIS PATIENCE, AND THAT HE CAN THINK OF OTHER WAYS OF EXACTING PAYMENT FROM YOU KURT AND JIM PHYSICALLY." OUR TREMBLING INTERPRETER SAID.

THE MOMENT HAD COME. JIM BEGAN OPERATING THE BUS FROM HIS BACK ENTRANCE VANTAGE POINT. AS THE REMOTE-CONTROLLED BUS LURCHED TOWARDS THE PARKING LOT EXIT, THE SUPERSTITIOUS SECURITY YOUTHS FLED IN TERROR. PAUL WAS PULLING ANXIOUSLY ON HIS COLLAR AS THE PRS MAN BEGAN DESCRIBING HIS COLLECTION OF WORLD WAR II NAZI CERIMONIAL KNIVES WHEN A SUDDEN CRASH SPLIT THE TABLEAU.

JIM HAD PURCHASED ME THE GIFT OF A COMPLETE BLACK NINJA STEALTH ASSASSIN OUTFIT IN ARACAJU. I HAD BEEN GEARING UP AND CRAWLING THROUGH THE AIR CONDITIONING DUCTS ALL THIS TIME. AS I CRASHED THROUGH THE CHEAP IMITAION- STYROFOAM HUNG CEILING TILES, SKATES FIRST, I FLASHED NINJA STARS ALL ABOUT ME. IN THE ENSUING PANIC, PAUL ESCAPED TO THE PRE-ARRANGED BUS PICK-UP POINT. UNFORTUNATLEY, MY SKATES WERE A POOR CHOICE OF FOOT GEAR FOR ESCAPING OVER THE BROKEN GLASS. OF THE TABLE I HAD LANDED ON. WERE IT NOT FOR THE CONFUSION AND THE NINJA-STAR-INFLICTED WOUNDS DELIVERED TO THE BAD GUYS, I WOULD HAVE BEEN SET UPON WHILE FOUNDERING ON THE GLASS-STREWN CARPET. AS IT HAPPENED, HOWEVER, I LEAPT THROUGH THE OPEN DOOR OF THE CAREENING BUS AS IT DEPARTED THE CITY OF MARINGA FOREVER.

IF ONLY WE HAD MANAGED TO GET OUR EQUIPMENT IN THE BUS, TOO . . .

EVERY WORD OF THIS STORY IS TRUE.

– KURT HARLAND

~*~

Japanese composer and synthesizer expert Isao Tomita released an LP called 'The Bermuda Triangle' on RCA records in 1979. A paragraph on the sleeve says "Each side of this Lp contains coded data in the form of sound effects. The message can be recovered if the electrical signal from the Lp is interfaced with the input of a micro computer programmed to the Tarbel system." I found the decoded messages on Tomita's site:
Side A: "THIS IS THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE, OVER. SLOW DOWN. TARGET 50 MILES OFF SOUTH FLORIDA, A GIANT PYRAMID AT OCEAN BOTTOM."

Side B: "THIS IS THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE, OVER. LOOK OUT! THE CYLINDRICAL OBJECT JUST LIKE THE ONE EXPLODED OVER SIBERIA AND CRASHED INTO TUNGUSKA IN 1908, HAS JUST COME INTO THE SOLAR SYSTEM."
Amazing. Tomita appends the following comments to his notes on the 'Bermuda Triangle' album:
"Ocean explorers have found scientific evidence that a collosal pyramind – more immense than any other known – sits beneath the sea in the Devil's Triangle. Sonar tracing reveals massive and symmetrical structure. Says author Charles Berlitz: "I believe we have found a pyramid where Atlantis may have existed!". Pyramid as shown in artist's sketch is in 1,200 feet of water and reaches incredible height of 780 feet. Undersea researcher found it 50 miles off South Florida."

~*~

A few others that I haven't found many details on:
A Space Invaders clone on the B-side of the 'Google' single by Atomic Robo Kid. ' '
Polish group Papa Dance released a 12" called 'Ponizej krytyki' in 1987. It contained a program in two parts. The program was info about the group and some kind of quiz.
"Carter USM put a program at the start of a song on thier "101 Damnations" album. 'A Perfect Day to Drop the Bomb'. It starts with about 15 seconds worth of loading screeches. It's just code, though (the blue and yellow bit), with no header, so you can't load it in, unless you know what you're doing. "

~*~

Other Articles in this 'Series:'
Flexo / Flexi
Parallel Grooves
Lock Grooves
Oh, Inverted Grooves!

~*~

Home

Comments
Great info –

The 8-Bit Constuction Set did something similar with their record.

some info is here:

http://beigerecords.com/artists/8bitcs.html

(scroll down to the bottom for the data part)

and here

http://www.petitemort.org/issue01/02.shtml

(I think he gets into it on the second page)

Michael Bell-Smith / Tuesday, Mar 9 / 6:59 PM

check google groups "carter usm spectrum" and you'll find all sorts of inconclusive stuff about what that code might be on 101 Damnations. "Geoff Capes Strongman" comes out as a strong contender!

Alan Trewartha / Thursday, Mar 18 / 5:23 AM

AFAIK that burst of code on the Carter USM album is just standard SMPTE Timecode (which, admittedly, sounds remarkably like Spectrum data). SMPTE is used to synchronise hardware devices to a multitrack tape machine. One track of the multitrack reel is "striped" (i.e. incremental code is recorded onto that track) and compatible devices (sequencers etc.) can read that code to determine where in the song the tape is, what tempo the song is at, etc.

Anthony Chapman / Thursday, Mar 18 / 9:36 AM

Sorry forgot to add – this is why there's no header. SMPTE just goes straight to data.

Anthony Chapman / Thursday, Mar 18 / 9:38 AM

A FLock Of Seagulls had a BBC B Microcomputer "video" on a B-side, I remember it being demoed on Saturday Superstore.

Pete / Thursday, Mar 18 / 11:50 AM

A Flock Of Seagulls had a BBC B Microcomputer "video" on a B-side, I remember it being demoed on Saturday Superstore.

Pete / Thursday, Mar 18 / 11:50 AM

Nice, but Commodore 64 will always be better / cooler than the Spectrum.

x2sys / Thursday, Mar 18 / 12:36 PM

Your face.

J / Thursday, Mar 18 / 2:23 PM

SYS 64738

Dave / Thursday, Mar 18 / 4:48 PM

"Nice, but Commodore 64 will always be better / cooler than the Spectrum."

The above comment distills, I think, the very essence of the geek nature. I find that essential techie inability to see the forest for the trees to be so very endearing. <3

HK / Thursday, Mar 18 / 5:23 PM

Cool! I saw your page described on Boing Boing and thought "I bet they haven't got the Inner City Unit New Anatomy spectrum program ("load it don't hold it"). And… well, I was right, but at least you know it exists.

I've had that record nearly 20 years and still haven't seen what the program does.

Dan / Thursday, Mar 18 / 5:26 PM

There's more on the Pete Shelley XL-1 program here – http://www.headen.com/XL1.htm – written by the programmer. He also has versions of the original and an improved version of the program in emulator format – just email him 😉

JH / Thursday, Mar 18 / 11:11 PM

I have one by "Kissing the Pink"

It's a 12" record and the program on the B side is for the BBC Micro. It produces visuals to go along with the music.

It's in storage atm. and I'm off out for breakfast.
I might dig it out later for the details.

Matt / Friday, Mar 19 / 4:14 AM

I have a 12" with ZX code on one side and music on the other – it's by a band called la lu lu's – does anyone know anything about this?

Emily / Friday, Mar 19 / 2:39 PM

This is amazing. Almost unbelievable. Please keep a running discography of all known Sprectrum-enhanced recordings. Wow.

Jake / Friday, Mar 19 / 3:36 PM

This is incredible. I've actually had an import copy of XL-1 for years and had no idea that was hidden on there.

Karoshi / Friday, Mar 19 / 3:53 PM

What about Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music"?

The whole 2 record set sounded like machine code (as I recall)!

Jason Rainbows / Friday, Mar 19 / 4:37 PM

The Stranglers keyboardist is Dave Greenfield, not Mark as you have stated above. Fascinating article, thanks.

Jude / Friday, Mar 19 / 9:11 PM

Radiohead's Let Down (off OK Computer) has ZX Spectrum beeps in it. I think it's just programmed music from the thing though, not an encoded program or anything.

Alex / Friday, Mar 19 / 11:56 PM

It's all very nice but the Commodore 64 is way cooler

zuko1 / Saturday, Mar 20 / 2:33 PM

Also check out Jega's album "Spectrum", has a song called Manic Minor !!

Hacked Speedlock when I was a kid. Great fun.

msd / Sunday, Mar 21 / 7:04 AM

Wonderful. And here I was thinking that bonus PC material was developed with the advent of the CD-ROM; how wrong I was!

Tobriand / Wednesday, Mar 24 / 8:12 AM

In a strange inversion… some games tapes used to come with music on the other side. It was terrible.

See http://www.stairwaytohell.com/music/bonustracks.html

Kim / Friday, Mar 26 / 11:18 AM

Hey I bought the magazine with the Thompson Twins adventure game on it at age 11 … and it never bloody worked!

Thanks for the link. Can't believe I spent so long rerecording that foul noise again and again (to no avail) for such a bunch of arse!

Martin / Friday, Mar 26 / 11:25 AM

Another of the "Saturday Superstore"-demo'd tracks, I seem to remember, was from Art Of Noise. I don't remember the name of the track (it was very mechanical/electronic, Dummm—Dummmm, DaDumDumDumDum Dummm—-. Dummm— Dummm— Dummm. La La Laaaah) but they definitely had a BBC Micro in the background, animating to the music.

David / Friday, Mar 26 / 3:03 PM

Quote: "I seem to remember, was from Art Of Noise. I don't remember the name of the track (it was very mechanical/electronic, Dummm—Dummmm, DaDumDumDumDum Dummm—-. Dummm— Dummm— Dummm. La La Laaaah)."

Sounds like "Close (To the Edit)" from 1984.

Bill / Friday, Mar 26 / 6:01 PM

I have actually got the Thompson Twins record !!
Seeing it here reminded me !!
Cor bet its worth loads of money ! (NOT!)
Spectrums were proper Bo ! C64s had better sound but the currah microspeech sorted it !
Oh I feel all old now !! 34 is not old but…
Wkd site!

George Grylls Jnr / Saturday, Mar 27 / 11:39 AM

Ha! Great read. My friend just passed me this link. I released a dance record in the mid nineties with spectrum data on it. And up until now I was unaware that anyone else had included promotional Spectrum data on vinyl (I even promoted it as 'the first' at the time). The record was BrainFuel 2 on PH1 Records, I used to program the Speccy when I was very young, then a number of years later I released the BrainFuel series. 'multimedia' was the buzz word of the time so I decided to dust off my old spectrum manual and make a "vinyl multimedia" release.
My spectrum programing was pretty crap, and all it was (as far as i remember) was a promotion for the next BrainFuel release.
A surprising amount of people took the effort of loading it into their old Spectrums though, I felt a bit embarrassed as I kinda never thought anyone would bother, and so never put much effort into it as I could.
I thought about doing a sequel with modem data, but i'm not sure it's technically possible due to the information handshaking that goes on, anyone?

Ben Milford / Sunday, Mar 28 / 6:50 PM

Great site!

One correction on the Information Society track – another line after where you have it end reads "NO CARRIER" (quotes mine.)

Al least, it would have if some clueless record engineer hadn't performed a standard musical "fade out" on the track. Thanks to that, the finished product usually ends with "NO CAR".

Information Society also did this on the next album, "Don't Be Afraid." The album's final track, "White Roses 1.0 300 8-N-1," was a modem-tone transmission of a text file as above, which provided hints that fans connected to the early Internet (in 1997) could download a wav file of the track. These fans were encouraged to share the track freely, making Information Society possibly the first band to do that.

The track is as follows:

————-Begin Transmission————–

For reasons that will become obvious when you hear it, the song "White Roses" is not found on this disc. This is just an audio recording of a modem spitting out this text. "White Roses" is, however, an actual InSoc song, and you CAN obtain it. It will not be easy. You must use your web browser to access the following document:

http://InSoc.org/rose.htm

When it asks you for a user ID and password, enter the following:

userid – roses

password – barbara

This will bring you to the next step. When and if you ever succeed in obtaining this 10th InSoc song, it will be YOUR responsibility to make copies of the song and distribute it to other people. Feel free to charge money for it, if you can. Spread the song around as much as you can.

Good luck.
2�^U&

Rob / Wednesday, Mar 31 / 11:51 PM

Bill, the Art of Noise were using the Fairlight CMI, one of the first commercially available samplers which famously cost about 20 grand at the time.

I remember seeing six of them playing a Fairlight EACH on top of the pops – show offs or what?! They had a black and green monitor with a light pen and would usually be seen with a 3D spectrum analysis bobbing about on screen.

Kate Bush was another early adopter.

More info: http://www.obsolete.com/120_years/machines/fairlight/

Chris / Friday, Apr 2 / 4:10 AM

Then there is of course the more recent case of Aphex Twin including a picture of himself on thew Windowlicker EP, as detailed in Wired here:
http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,52426,00.html

matt

Matt / Friday, Apr 2 / 10:53 AM

I found this little intro to a link to this site, interesting:

Few people know that "modem" stands for "modulate/demodulate" — and only true geeks actually know what that means. It's a description of how modems work: They take digital data and turn all the 1s and 0s into sound, so that it can be transmitted over an audio device like a phone. Back in the early days of computers, when nobody had hard drives, the only way to save a program was to actually shove it out your computer's modem and store it on a cassette tape as sound. Back when I was a kid, I used to occasionally "listen" to the programs I had stored on a tape, to see if I could actually hear any patterns in the data.

collision detection / Sunday, Apr 4 / 4:22 PM

Actually no, the sounds recorded on data cassettes were not modem tones, nor did they come from a modem. Close though.

joe mama / Tuesday, Apr 13 / 10:44 PM

does anybody know if kraftwerk did this? any of their songs are ideal for this kind of trick

perc / Thursday, Apr 15 / 7:26 AM

Some machines did use modem tones to save to tape, the Tandy Model 100 notably. You had to buy an extra cable to connect it to a phone line but the hardware was all there.

Once in a while I debate grabbing one to use as a portable terminal. But then I realize now my phone has a computer built into it rather than building a phone into a computer.

crypt(3) / Sunday, Apr 18 / 11:17 PM

Anyone but me remember Radio One (I think..) actually broadcasting Spectrum software? I remember at least twice trying to patch the radio into the computer and it almost worked. Probably we were expected to tape the thing and load it later but I was too impatient…..

Jonathan / Monday, Apr 19 / 9:46 PM

Great stuff! I'm extremely nostalgic for the Spectrum. It still seems amazing to me that the entire computer can be compressed into one Java applet which runs within a webpage!

Arthur Butler qx / Friday, Apr 23 / 9:57 PM

Super! I'm extremely nostalgic for the Spectrum also.

Mark / Saturday, Apr 24 / 4:00 AM

Hi there, I played in Inner City Unit for the NewAnatomy album (their/our worst) and am the person responsible for the data track, the main things I remember about it are: it was 48k to the byte long, there was a competition to win the acetates of the album on it but no-one entered (I still have the acetates), we mastered the data track straight onto the record lathe from the spectrum itself, there was no tape between the computer and the record. I've managed to get it running on Spectrum emulators on the PC in the pat, but don't have a copy any more, I'll have another go at it and if I get it working I'll send you a copy. It was really just glorified sleeve notes, lyrics, a guide to the best on the road food places, a lightshow, band history etc..
Oh, and if people looked at the source it had a postal address for more goodies.. but alas, no-one found that either 🙂 (useless now, I've moved..) oh, and the track was submitted to the PRS as "Electronic music, avant garde" so I could collect publishing on it! Thanks for including us, -Steve

Steve / Saturday, May 1 / 2:57 AM

I believe that Information Society's "HACK" album also contained an encoded track in the same format… but I don't really remember.

Their original CD had CD+G graphics, which were really cute, unfortunately the reissues don't include this, which really sucks.

Dave S. / Monday, May 3 / 12:29 AM

Bah. My Atari 800 > your C-64. That is all.

David / Thursday, May 6 / 11:20 PM

http://www.kohina.com/
demos music 😉

Dan / Thursday, May 13 / 11:12 PM

I prefer Amiga 🙂

hotel / Friday, May 14 / 3:33 AM

Very intresting,however one small gripe.
The Stranglers keyboard player, is Dave
Greenfield. & not Mark.I do seem to remember
one of The Stranglers albums, (The Raven ?)
which contained a load of beeps/tones sounds,
which fans had to decipher into something.
I never found out if anybdy ever managed it.
And i am wondering know if it was some sort of
early programme for a computer.However as the
album was released in 1979, it would have had
to be a very early programme

Ian Speight / Friday, May 14 / 1:50 PM

Anyone remember Mazogs on the ZX81, good thing about the ZX81 was that it made the Spectrum look good.

Scot / Tuesday, Jun 8 / 8:58 AM

some thing about notebook PC!

笔记本 / Monday, Jun 21 / 9:04 PM

I think the record companies should know this: NOBODY BUYS MUSIC CD'S TO GET COMPUTER PROGRAMS!!

If anybody knows the person who came up with idea, please direct them to this post.

John / Sunday, Jun 27 / 8:54 AM

The album "�ver tid och rum" by "Adolphson & Falk" contains a program for Atari machines.
See http://www.efd.lth.se/~e96an/vintage/af/af.html
(only in swedish, sorry, but there's a picture of the album, the program code and the running program)

Ola / Tuesday, Jun 29 / 4:36 AM

I have a 12" with ZX code on one side and music on the other – it's by a band called la lu lu's -does anyone know anything about this?

Mario / Thursday, Jul 15 / 11:17 AM

Fascinating…. but the Commodore 64 was much cooler 😉

chris / Friday, Jul 30 / 10:45 PM

"but Commodore 64 will always be better / cooler than the Spectrum"

word.

Steve / Tuesday, Aug 3 / 11:52 PM

NICE SQUARED COLORS IN THE C64 I GUESS…… NICE SOUND HORRIBLE GRAPHICS……..

Lois / Wednesday, Sep 1 / 12:40 PM

Hallo friends! Really nice place here. I found a lot of interesting stuff all around. Just what I was looking for. Great joy!

Janice Lee / Tuesday, Sep 14 / 3:02 AM

Ah, the Sinclair Spectrum. Good memories. Unfortunately I was one of those that could recognize loading by the sounds.

Vitesse / Wednesday, Oct 13 / 12:23 AM

good site!Unfortunately I was one of those that could recognize loading by the sounds.

china soft / Wednesday, Oct 20 / 11:02 PM

Hey… just read your spectrum games on records piece… a
few years ago I bought a 12" ep of electronica on a uk
label called plastic phantom (maybe) imaginately titled
"the spectrum ep" with a funky yellow plastic sleeve and a
paper label pic of a spectrum on the top. the last track is
called "brand new games" and it sounds like more of the
same allthough I always assumed they'd done the reverse
of what you'd mentioned and put audio data from an
existing games tape onto vinyl. I used to buy c64
cassettes just to listen to those noises sometimes… crazy
sounds.

Anonymous / Monday, Nov 14 / 1:13 AM

Computer programs on records apparently originally came out in July 1977 (according to old-computers.com). Here's the link to the article which is quite humorous:

http://www.old-computers.com/history/detail.asp?n=30&t=2

I also sent him a link to your site on the records with the Sinclair programs on them.

Ben / Monday, Nov 14 / 1:22 AM

OMG I just found my old Thompson Twins Adventure flexidisc in a cleanout. Wish I hadn't thrown out my record player now. LOL

Justice / Wednesday, Feb 1 / 9:29 AM

Nice output. remind me the old times.
——————————
kifaru says.

jamire / Monday, Apr 3 / 6:18 AM

adventure games find at

http://www.yaodownload.com/games/adventure-rpg/

andy / Wednesday, Apr 12 / 9:27 PM

fuck

fdhjdfj / Tuesday, May 16 / 1:23 AM

I LIKE YOUR SITE! I bookmark it:)

Victor

Viktor Losevski / Saturday, May 20 / 5:31 AM

Awsome site !! keep up the good work. really liked it .
check out concert artist Review site, it has music artist review along with dates of concerts in future.

concert artist / Wednesday, May 31 / 11:01 PM

Big thanks for great site. I like spectrum. I have programmed for spectrum for myself.

Go Go / Wednesday, Aug 9 / 1:50 AM

Exelent

liz / Friday, Aug 25 / 8:16 PM

Yep – good site.

I've got the Pete Shelley album and the Thompson Twins advanture. Completed it too – its actually not that bad, although some of the actions are obscure to say the least – use the walkthruogh.

Do any of you remember a game called "The Extricator"? It was a mid 80's adventure with a dance track on side B of the tape made up from spectrum loading noise. Not sure what to make of it, but I do remember bits of it even now.

Mattybennett / Monday, Sep 18 / 9:21 AM

Jatropha Curcas Seed exporters in India. Supplying Jatropha Curcas Seeds for cultivation of fuel crop Jatropha.

David / Friday, Dec 8 / 4:12 AM

Jatropha Curcas Seed exporters in India. Supplying Jatropha Curcas Seeds for cultivation of fuel crop Jatropha.

David / Friday, Dec 8 / 4:13 AM

I had my first job at Fairlight. I must have built and tested a hundred of them. Packing them up for shipping was hard work – it took two men to lift the main unit (seriously). Ahhh . . . those were the days.

Dave / Monday, Jun 18 / 10:57 PM

I was the programmer for the Thompson Twins adventure on the Spectrum 🙂

Fond memories….

Dave / Tuesday, Jun 19 / 7:59 PM
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Arcade Fire – Neon Bible

Another hugely anticipated album is Neon Bible. After the massive success of Funeral, the debut by this Canadian band, expectations were high for this one.

I finally received this after a delayed vinyl release and then waiting for my own finances to catch up.

A suitable darkly themed sleeve heralds the music within. Although this album is not called 'Funeral' or even 'Funeral II' the music within is similarily tainted with the depression, the occult, the other worldliness of the first album.

We start off  with 'Black Mirror', a claustorphobic intense but reasonably reserved piece of darkness. A repeated simple piano refrain makes us feel as we're in a Hitchcock movie waiting for the attack.

'Keep the car running' is classic Arcade Fire. A massive clattering of drums and huge choruses to …well perhaps not sing along to. But you could certainly bounce along to this at your local goth hangout.

'Neon Bible' sounds a bit like the Russian Death March. The one you used to hear playing when a Soviet president popped his clogs. Its really good though. Goregous strings on this one. Possibly a cello. And the vocals don't sound like the singer is bawling his eyes out.

This one's a cathedral classic. Massive organ. 'Intervention' is again similar to classic Arcade Fire. Except! Even Better!!! God I love this tune. And just in case it wasn't quite majestic and OTT for you, there's a whole Bulgarian choir waiting to join in. Only disappointment is the lack of a cannofire salute at the end.

'Black wave/Bad vibrations' presumably sung by Sarah Neufield isn a wondeful grower. Staring off as a very 80's indie style it switches most abruptly halfway though and utterly wrenches away any hope you might have had left. 'A bib black wave in the middle of the sea' Apparently. And there's some thunder too.

'Ocean of noise' starts out as anything but. One of the quietest Arcade Fire songs ever. Probably. Lovely horn section. joins in the string and vocal crescendo.

things liven right up for 'The well and the lighthouse'. More familiar territory altogether with funny high pitched noises throughout. Sounds a bit like close encounters of the third kind. Chiming, driven guitar and bashed drums. Beautifully miserable duet. Its got it all. Except a massive organ. Then things slow down while we hammer in the point. Word by word, plenty of pauses for effect. 'res….urr….ected…..living in the lighthous….if …you….leave…..them….ships are gonna wreck'. Lovely!

'Antichrist television blues' is such a lovely name for a song. Reminds one of 'The sound of music' or perhaps Sesame Street. no such luck. 'Don't wanna work'……'planes keep crashing'….when they scream, they make no sound'……'the black of a starless sky'….nothing tastes good'…..'little bird in a cage'….'Am I the antichrist?'. Having a good day are we?

'Windowsill' is a slow burner and seems to be about teenage blues. Or possibly early 20's blues. Lyrically it all sounds a bit mundane, but I guess its the everyday things that get us all down. It does of course build into a manic climax and ends up all terribly exciting.

'No cars go' will probably be as familiar to you as it was to me. Again its simply brilliant. Sounds a bit like we're in the army. Staccato drumbeat and joint shouts of 'Hey'. And we can all go, 'where no cars go'. A bit like the teddy bear's picnic.

Allmusic suggests that this album is more world weary than the first and implies that this is a bad thing. I disagree. I think it suits them perfectly. This is a marvellous record. A contender for best of the year. Its more varied than the debut and on vinyl is more listenable too. Although not for its audiophiliac qualities. For such a young group of people they're remarkably depressed but it does their music no harm. Its affecting, exciting, majestic and thrilling. Its solemn but impressive. You do need this album.

Although there should be loads of detail and there is an awful lot going on, it all sounds muffled. Like its being recorded under several blankets or in a dungeon. So it lacks the clarity and detail of the best records. But it is not irritating. One could even argue that the muffled sound somehow suits the music. I for one though, would love to hear this in the best sonic splendour possible.

An organ carries the final song, 'My body is a cage' in restrained fashion before a wall of sound hits us. All at funereal pace. Seems to be about shyness. Its a comedown(from what? Ed) song to end the album. The last line is 'Set my body free'.

Its fairly well pressed and packaged. 2 slabs of 180grm vinyl. three sides with the fourth etched. (Not particularly interesting etch) Records are very flat and slightly noisy(but not enough to hamper sound) It also comes with a code for a free download of mp3s of the album. Matt cardboard gatefold outer with matt paper inners. Both inner sleeves are printed with lyrics and credits. They're quite weak though and could do with replacing.

Vinyl records live on with Mo. couple

 http://kob.com/article/stories/S105152.shtml?cat=500

A Missouri couple works hard running their own business, but they happen to have a little rock and roll in them.

Other than the bustling business Jack Quade and his wife Anne run in their home, they're your typical good looking family of three.

They both work very hard.

"I don't have any trouble separating myself from my home office. I can close my door and when I go downstairs it's a completely different life," says Jack Quade.

The Quades find special times to escape down to their basement.

"Jack and I, this is a hobby that we both share. We love music," says Anne.
"Well we're kinda known as the people that listen to a lot of music around here," says Jack.

And the reputation is understandable.

They don't just listen to the radio or newfangled CDs — they have one serious collection of vinyl.

"The collection we have is pretty good size. I figure we have about 3500 albums," says Jack.
"It helps us to relax," says Anne.

And they're not just rocking with the oldies.

They've got every kind of music you could want.

This isn't just some collection for show.

All that matters to them is the music, not a dollar symbol.

"We really enjoy it. It's something we share together, the love of music," says Anne.

"It was almost like a part of your personality…like who you are," says Jack.

http://kob.com/article/stories/S105152.shtml?cat=500

For collectors, grazing vinyl is always a hit

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-oldrecords_30may30,1,6924100.story?coll=chi-newslocalchicago-hed

For collectors, grazing vinyl is always a hit

By Steve Schmadeke
Special to the Tribune
Published May 30, 2007

Mark Quinones wasn't using a PDA, an MP3 player, or even an iPod. His idea of listening to music and keeping track of his favorite songs is much more old school.

Opening up a blue notebook, the airline pilot from Chicago looks down at the pages brimming with handwritten notes about his vinyl record collection.
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"This book right here … this is basically my bible," says Quinones, leafing through the book he's filled with the names, some scribbled out, of about 3,000 albums he's seeking to add to an already vast record collection.

A collector since the 1970s, Quinones is not only a gatherer of records — rare in itself — but he's constantly on the prowl for rare discs by obscure bands like Stonewall and Bolder Damn. He has traveled across the country on his quest, but recently went no farther than west suburban Hillside.

Quinones was one of hundreds who plunked down $5 one recent Sunday for the privilege of sifting through thousands of vinyl records at perhaps the oldest and largest such event in the region.

The Chicagoland Record Collectors' Show, based at the same Holiday Inn since the early 1980s, has weathered the compact disc, a large bootlegging bust in the 1990s and, so far, the growing popularity of downloaded music.

In fact, nearly one-fourth of the vinyl junkies at the May 20 show were members of the so-called iPod generation, some of them disc jockeys carrying small record players.

While new vinyl records still account for less than 1 percent of all album sales, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, sales of turntables are up and vinyl dealers say demand for used records is growing fast. Mary Tomlinson, a longtime vinyl junkie who once owned a record store in upstate New York but turned to Internet sales in recent years, plans to open a brick-and-mortar store in Elmwood Park in July. At one point Sunday morning, retired claims authorizer Eric Ricks had four people younger than 30 browsing through his collection of soul and funk records.

"I pulled out some stuff you all need to deal with, man," Ricks said to a man in his 20s, pressing some soul 45s into his hand. "If you feel you can't handle it now, just give it a listen. You gotta check that out."

Ricks, who hosts an R&B flashback show on WNUR-FM 89.3, said vinyl gives music a tactile appeal the younger generation won't find sitting in front of a computer.

"You get that feel to the vinyl — you get the labels, you get the cover," he said, rubbing hands together and grinning. "It's the first thing that spawned CDs or iPods or whatever it is. This is the original. The original got more funk to it. This is the real deal."

A 25-year-old man about to purchase a 1968 Lou Donaldson album and a Jack McDuff 45 agreed.

The Chicago man, who would only give his name as DJ Mental, said searching for records turns up music he might not otherwise find. He recalled buying an album several years ago because it had a picture on the cover of a Hammond B3 organ similar to the one his father played at their Detroit home. After listening to the album — Jimmy Smith's "Root Down" from 1972 — he realized it had been sampled for a Beastie Boys track.

It was, he says, a transformative experience, a surprise discovery that clearly illustrated the threads connecting different generations of music.

"IPods are just convenience," the disc jockey said. "There's something about buying records — you really have to have that drive to go out there, look through records, get dirty, waste money. It's changed my life."

Dr. Gary Bowman, a 62-year-old Geneva physician, has been collecting vinyl for decades. He's amassed what many at Sunday's event called a spectacular collection, with everything from first records by The Beatles ("My Bonnie" by Toni Sheridan and the Beat Brothers), Grateful Dead ("Stealin'") and Nirvana ("Love Buzz"). He estimates the Beatles album is worth $20,000.

His passion for vinyl started as a child growing up in a Joliet family without much money.

"I said, 'When I grow up I'm going to have the biggest record collection in the world.' And I probably do," he said, recalling his first 45 — "Since I Don't Have You," a 1962 release by The Skyliners.

"A beautiful song," he said, starting to sing: "Since I don't have you-ou, you-ou-you-ou."

On Sunday he bought music from Judas Priest, New Edition, Soundgarden and Donovan along with an album of theme music from "Dallas," the 1980's TV series.

"I just bought that for the pictures," he said. "Look at this compared to a CD — you can hang this on your wall."

Like almost everyone at this show, Bowman had a Holy Grail that he's never been able to find. In his case, it's a sleeve for the 1968 Rolling Stones single "Street Fighting Man" with an image from the 1968 Democratic National Convention riots. Bowman said the sleeves were recalled after Mayor Richard J. Daley complained. Only about 12 copies are known to exist.

Though no one interviewed at the recent show made a find like that, Quinones said he recently uncovered a 1969 psychedelic rock album for which he'd searched for years by a group called Kak.

"I found it in a church basement in St. Louis for 25 cents — the album goes for $200, OK?" he said. "I screamed out when I found that one. You never know; I spent all day long looking through albums and I found that one that made it worth the trip."

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-oldrecords_30may30,1,6924100.story?coll=chi-newslocalchicago-hed

ANALOG VS. DIGITAL (from a recording perspective)

The following is reprinted from Electrokitty

ANALOG VS. DIGITAL
From the article in Rock, Paper, Scissors, Aug 2, 2001

I thought that this week I'd tackle the infamous Digital Vs Analog debate. I've found that this can be a religious argument for people on both sides of the fence so please take the time to read the entire article before jumping up, and perhaps out a window.

In the past I've owned a 100% analog studio as well as a 100% digital studio. Let me start by saying that I firmly believe that in a perfect situation both should exist hand in hand. I think the debate can be compared to the difference between film and video. Shoot on film, edit on video. Same goes for music. Shoot it on analog and edit it on digital. I use both and have for some time.

The main strength of digital is it's ability to be easily manipulated. This is a huge strong point and is unequaled by analog. With digital, theoretically, you can have an unlimited number of tracks. You can easily edit, change, and experiment with arrangement and then "undo" or "revert to saved" if you screw up. You can align drum hits, substitute sounds, make bug noises out of electric guitar parts, the list is endless. It's easy to compile vocals together to make the best take possible. Digital is the great turd polisher! In a DAW like Pro Tools or MOTU you can automate and then recall mixes exactly how they were months or years ago. Digital is clean and transparent, what goes in comes out a technically faithful representation of the performance.

Mastering is another huge digital strong point. Compiling song lists together, switching orders, level adjustment, changing the time between tracks, fixing bad fadeouts and getting rid of unwanted noises before and after tracks would all be a major pain in the ass, not to mention time consuming, with out digital.

Then there are plug ins. The least expensive way to get a rack of compressors, eqs, reverbs, synths etc. The digital world is proliferated with an armory of these non tangible gadgets. When doing a mix and in need of a quick fix they usually get the job done.

Analog is the world we live in. The way a sound wave travels is analog. Your ears are analog. A live rock band is analog. Analog is romantic. Analog is sexy like a foreign sports car. It's forgiving yet rock solid when you need it to be. Analog is romantic. Analog is sexy like a foreign sports car. It's forgiving yet rock solid when you need it to be. There are no 1's or 0's floating around in the never land of a computer. Your music is safely imprinted on a reel of tape tucked away in a closet for years and years to come.

You hear the squeal of the breaks and the squiggle of the cue as your rewinding to the head of the take. You've seen them, those antique machines that heat up the room and look like they are straight out of an early Star Trek episode. These have been and still are the back bone of the recording industry. I'm not referring to the consumer 1/2 inch 8 track or other swag. I'm speaking of the 2-inch 24-track. Don't do a rock session with out one. Period.

In the hybrid studio the two inch analog tape deck is the best piece of outboard gear money can buy. Analog tape is not transparent and that's good. It gives you back more than you put into it. It captures feeling, delivery and attitude. The Sex Pistols anger could not have been captured by any other means.

Mixing through a great analog console is the shit. Now when I say great analog console I'm not talking about Mackie. I'm talking about Neve, API, Trident, Helios, and Quad Eight. There is a certain depth and richness to the sound that comes from an analog desk. The sound of analog eq is unparalleled in the digital world. Analog functions well and is easy to use. Everything is overbuilt for reliability. If something goes down in the middle of a session, a channel can be swapped out in less than 2 minutes.

In the end, track to analog, bounce to digital, edit and mix through a great analog console.

Wilco – Sky Blue Sky

There's been a lot of expectation and talk about this record. So far a lot of the reviews have been disappointed. Supposedly a return to the days of AM and Being there. Sky Blue Sky does indeed present a more stripped down sound. The lead electric guitar of Nels Cline is often to the fore, and what's different about this Wilco record seems to be mainly based around him.

So far then, it seems to have been a disappointment for the critics while many fans love it. It also appears to be a grower. Listen more than once, don't be judgmental and you'll probably grow to love it.

The album starts off with 'Either way', and we're introduced to Sky Blue Sky in particularly mellow fashion, with the comforting familiar tones of Jeff Tweedy. Its almost dreamy, and the guitar, bass and piano spine lend it a jazzy feel. The percussion is soft and beguiling. Apart from Jeff's voice I'm reminded of Nick Drake. ANd yes, there are some strings. 'Maybe you still love me. Maybe you don't'. Tell you later Jeff.

'You are my face' sounds similar enough initially. With a glimpse of quieter U2. SOme gorgeous guitar work, and at a certain point, things get a bit stronger, a bit louder.
 An electric guitar jam with backup from the drums. A stretched Tweedy, and could that be a hammond organ?

'Impossible Germany' starts off as a straight song, good melody. It ends up as a gorgeous bluesy, jazzy jam. But mellow of course. Actually its gorgeous.

Title track next. 'SKS' talks about the 'drunks ricocheting the old buildings downtown'. Sounds like a hazy summer evening. Its too hot to rush. Better to relax; to chill out; to strum a guitar over a cold beer. Ever heard of Jack Johnson?

Some guitar playing breaks up a rather monotone 'Side with the seeds'. Then again with a name like that what do you expect?  I've seen this record described as Wilco's jam record and this song lends credence to that.

'Shake it off' is not doing much for me at all. Slightly grungey. Loud…quiet… loud. Seems to all have been done before. And it doesn't really go anywhere.

'Please be patient with me', presumably being sung to a partner/lover. Its a bit Jack Johnsonish again, but far more touching. You couldn't ignore that cracked fractured voice. We'll be patient Jeff. Promise.

We take off again in 'Hate it here'. Its not exactly head bashing but it is head nodding. It gets bluesier and more Beatlesish circa Abbey Road. Think 'Oh! Darling' or 'I want you'.

'Leave me(like you dound me)' is gorgeously delicate and touching.

'Walker' is more of a rocker. In the old style. Nice bluesy guitar and a strong piano lead. Overall quite bouncy and reminds one of Ben Folds. But rockier.

'What light'? Indeed. Lyrically this seems to be a message to each of us, folow your path, do what comes naturally and don't let anyone tell you that its wrong. Sounds a bit like James taylor. Not exactly Velvet Underground.

Album closer, 'On and on and on' is not in fact a threat. The song and album do end. Its actually one of the best songs on the album. More emotionally uncertain and worried 
than the rest of the album, it touches in a way that the other songs haven't. This is the one to 
make you cry. The one that reminds us all of those times in our relationships. Where we 
broke up or where we became stronger. A song and a subject that Tweedy's vocal, always 
seeming on the edge, is perfect for. It also builds beautifully from a very sparse vocal and
backing into a crescendo full of hope and future.

Overall then quite a melloy melodic album. It does have its bluesier elements. Not much rock going on. But a very enjoyable listen with a few lapses. Its not a challenge to listen to. It is a pleasure.

Stunning recording and mastering by Stan Ricker. Its not a long album, probably just over 50 minutes and its spread over 4 sides of extra high quality 180grm vinyl. In protective plastic lined sleeves. A extra strong cardboard gatefold sleeve and an lyrics insert. And of course a free cd copy of the album.

Hugh Masekela – African Breeze

Hugh Masekela is a jazz trumpeteer and flugelhornist  from South Africa. He's had a long and varied career with a variety of western and african
 musicians. Most recently he recorded an album on the audiophile label, 'Straight Ahead' 
with Bernie Grundmann. This is a standard jazz album.
African breeze is something completely different. Released on the Jive Afrika imprint it is aimed squarely at the dancefloor. Of the four tracks the middle two are a mesmerising collage of beats and horn with insanely catchy vocals. They are a dance mix of the marvellous 'Don't go lose it baby' and a megamix of 'Don't go lose it baby, 'Lady', and 'Politician'.

African Breeze itself is a summery delight spiced up with plenty of dancefloor rhythm.

The final track, 'Coal Train' is a slow burner with a rich baritone narration about a train that crosses Africa.

If you're after relaxed jazz, check out his other releases. If you're into bass heavy dance music with a strong melody and vocals, check this out. Excellent stuff.

I feel that this must be an early digital mix but really, it doesn't sound harsh at all. It does sound impressive. Bass and brass are perfectly rendered. Clean quiet vinyl pressing. Outer picture sleeve(soft) with plain inner.