Led Zeppelin – The song remains the same vinyl

The Song Remains The Same and Mothership : 4 LP-180 Gram Vinyl Box Sets

June 27, 2008

Led Zeppelin
The Song Remains The Same
(Expanded & Remastered Soundtrack)

(4LP-180 Gram Vinyl Box)

Led Zeppelin’s Landmark Concert Film—Originally Released in ‘76 Captured Highlights From The Band’s 3-Night Stand At Madison Square Garden In 1973 — Is Remastered & Expanded With Six Additional Historic Song Performances On A Deluxe 4-LP Reissue Featuring Liner Notes By Cameron Crowe.

Available: July 22nd

The power of Led Zeppelin live is communicated full-force in the updated, 4-LP reissue of the soundtrack to their concert film THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME. First released in ‘76, the recording captures a celebrated three-night stand at NYC’s Madison Square Garden in July 1973.

The newly updated edition now contains six songs not featured on the original release. The entire project was overseen by the band members and was remixed by Jimmy Page with Kevin Shirley.

Product Overview:

  • 4-LP edition of the soundtrack to the landmark concert film originally released in 1976, on 180 gram
    audiophile vinyl.
  • Deluxe archival 2-piece box with foil-stamping includes 12-page oversized full-color booklet with dozens of previously unpublished stills from the film and 4 individual jackets with new and unique artwork.
  • Features performances from the band’s three-night stint at Madison Square Garden in July 1973.
  • Remixed by Jimmy Page and Kevin Shirley, and overseen by the band members.
  • Updated soundtrack includes six songs that were not on the original release: “Black Dog,” “Over The Hills And Far
    Away,” “Misty Mountain Hop,” “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” “The Ocean,” and “Heartbreaker.”
  • New liner notes by Cameron Crowe.
  • Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering.


Led Zeppelin
Mothership (The Very Best Of Led Zeppelin)
(4LP-180 Gram Vinyl Box)

Comprehensive 4LP Collection Featuring 24 Classic Songs Chosen, Sequenced & Remastered Under The Band’s Direct Supervision. This LP Box Features The Same Track List As The Globally Successful “Mothership” CD, Released In November 2007.

Available: August 26th


This is the first time that Mothership has been available on vinyl, and the mastering, pressing and artwork are all of the highest standard possible. Spanning their epic career, the unprecedented collection pulls immortal songs from all eight of the band’s classic studio albums, one of the 20th century’s most enduring bodies of musical work.

Product Overview:

  • New 4LP comprehensive collection on 180 gram audiophile vinyl.
  • Deluxe archival 2-piece box includes 12-page oversized full-color booklet with photos and 4 individual jackets with unique artwork.
  • 24 tracks chosen and sequenced by the band members.
  • Remastering overseen by the band members (produced by Jimmy Page).
  • Features key Led Zeppelin tracks “Good Times Bad Times,” “Communication Breakdown,” “Dazed And Confused,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “Heartbreaker,” “Immigrant Song,” “Rock And Roll” “Black Dog,” “Stairway To Heaven,” “D’Yer Maker,” “Kashmir,” and “All My Love.”
  • Features new liner notes by David Fricke and cover designed by noted Los Angeles artist Shepard Fairey.
  • Mastered by John Davis at Alchemy Studios, London, UK.


Visit the web promo




Welcome to the World of VinylVideo™!

This website presents to you a new and fascinating product that will revolutionize your daily TV viewing.
With VinylVideo™, you can now transform your old record player and your TV set into a brand-new home movie medium – quickly, conveniently, and without complicated instruction manuals. With the revolutionary VinylVideo™ Picture Disks, for which numerous top-name artists have already produced exclusive works, you can now design your own TV viewing program featuring picture quality that is truly extraordinary.

VinylVideo™ is: moving image from LP records.
VinylVideo™ is: much easier to operate than comparable home video systems.
VinylVideo™ is: simply a fun new way to watch TV!

>>do you want to know more? 


The following from


Vinyl Video

     Based on the obsessive-compulsive nature of my previous postings on all aspects of vinyl technology, several people have recommended that I check out Vinyl Video, an artistic venture by a collective of European artists, who encode black and white video data into the grooves of vinyl records, and play them back through a custom-built set-top box. The box, which decodes the video data and transmits the signal to an ordinary television set, is available from the Vinyl Video website for approximately $2500.



     The collective has commissioned video and animation from a wide variety of artists, whose submissions have been encoded into the proprietary format and pressed onto vinyl in extremely limited runs. You can view a gallery of the video playback produced by the artists here, and listen to samples of what encoded images sound like when played back on an ordinary turntable here. The product of all this work has toured as an installation through a number of galleries around the world. Below is an excerpt from French animator Cecile Babiole's contribution to the series – '100 Loops,' which consists of 100 loops of tiny skeletons dancing.


babiole.gif ~*~

     The most interesting thing I discovered while looking around for the Vinyl Video website is that it isn't the first technology used to encode video data into the grooves of records. In fact, there was a 'format war' of sorts that broke out amongst companies encoding video onto grooved discs, well before the VHS / Beta wars were waged. CED's appear to have been the dominant iteration of this technology, though I've found reference to a number of similarly imagined formats, including VHD videodisc system, Magnavision/DiscoVision, phonovid, and teldec.

     CED's (Capacitance Electronic Discs) were produced by RCA. The actual discs were housed in plastic 'caddies,' which were inserted into the player. Once inserted, the player automatically extracted the disc from the caddy and began playback. To remove the disc from the player, the caddy was reinserted. There are some handy video clips depicting this process in a variety of formats available courtesy of the CED magic website.



Some great quotes I stumbled upon in my browsing:

     "Why Collect RCA VideoDiscs? American Technology. The CED system was envisioned and manufactured (all discs and the RCA players) entirely in the U.S.A., and it was the last major electronic entertainment format to have this distinction. It was also RCA's splashiest product introduction, and the last major thing the company did before its disposition by GE in 1986."

     Some people embrace the CED format for the very reason others have deplored it – the grooved, stylus-read media. CED represents the final chapter in grooved media that began with the Edison Cylinder in the 19th century. In an odd twist of history, LaserDisc and Audio CD were cool back in the early 1980's due to the newness of lasers in consumer products. But with the passage of time, the unusual capacitance pickup in the CED system has a retro appeal lacking in the commonplace laser pickups of today."

     I decided I needed a closer look at one of these discs, so I spent $3.99 of my hard-earned wages on a copy of (the un-altered cut of) Star Wars. The caddy is easily opened with a pencil, and the disc can then be examined. Below is a side-by-side comparison photo of a de-caddied CED and a regular LP.



     There's a good explanation of the actual mechanics involved in this technology here.

     "One of the great misunderstandings about the CED's is around this point. The "needle" stylus rides in a groove. The information is is recorded in pits beneath the groove and varies the capacitance in the pickup. The groove was nothing more than a way to guide the stylus. It is NOT at all similar to LP's. The stylus would move in the track, an angle change in the stylus carrying mechanism was sensed, and a motor would move the arm. Very similar to tangetial arm phono pickups."

     "The plus side of using the groove to guide is that you had to only have an information track, and the physical groove replaced a servo track. The other capacitance system, the JVC VHD system, used a flat disk (no grooves). Two capacitance tracks were underneath the surface of the disk. One to guide the "sled" as it it was called, the other picked up the information. JVC was able to get 1 hour per side on 10" disks. While it enjoyed success in Japan it was never introduced here. I saw a JVC demo of the unit about 1980 or so."



     As I find a way to relate nearly everything to videogames in some way, it should come as no surprise that I have sniffed out just such a connection in the case of CED's. While there was a spate of Laserdisc-based games in the 80's that are revered as classics and actively emulated (See the daphne project), it turns out there was one lonesome arcade game that was developed to use CED technology: NFL Football.


Bonus trivia:

  • NFL Football was the first arcade game to accept $1 and $5 bills
  • The CED portion of the NFL Football contained two commercials for Miller Beer, which would play randomly while the machine was in 'attract' mode. Videogames advertising beer. Awesome.
  • Audio and video samples of the game can be found on this page, part of a larger repository of data on this particular game.
  • This page on the CED Magic site discusses the CED aspects in depth.



The Doors

     A decidedly less technologically advanced coupling of moving pictures with records can be found built into the liner notes to the Doors' first post-Morrison album: 'Full Circle.' The record's cover contains cardstock punch-outs that allow the listener to assemble a zeotrope depicting the evolution of man.



     The idea is that the ardent Doors fan (ie Bruce McCullogh) will assemble the zoetrope, place it atop their copy of 'Full Circle' as it spins, and have their MIND BLOWN by the resultant animation of the human life cycle (…and presumably, its synchronicity with the music). The function of a zoetrope is slightly beyond the scope of this glorified weblog installment, but as is custom, I provide the following link to further information so that you may sate your curiosity (link). In short: light shines through circles punched out of the top of the device, and observers watch the evolution come to life through the spaces on the side.



     I took it upon myself to track down an affordable copy of this record with the zeotrope intact and assemble it. Thankfully, they appear quite frequently on eBay, so I didn't feel bad about taking one off the market for the express purpose of mutilating it.

     As the photos below depict, I assembled my zoetrope, and tested it out for myself. My findings were that it's not all it's cracked up to be. You can get a faint glimpse of the motion occurring, but I wasn't able to discern enough detail to tell what exactly was going on. This may have a lot to do with the fact that I have horrendous vision and the lighting of the room in which I conducted my 'experiment,' so your milage may vary.






     You might be wondering how the CD reissue of 'Full Circle' deals with the reduced ability to blow minds caused by the limitations of the CD format. My research into the matter has proven inconclusive, and by 'inconclusive,' I mean that my experiences with the LP copy I own did not instill in me the desire to purchase the same music in another format. In the event that Elektra's marketing department saw fit to prune the zoetrope from the CD edition, I offer the following digital version of the animation, so that a new generation of overly-devoted Doors fans can have their minds adequately blown.





Red Raven

     While doing the research for my initial spate of vinyl articles, I happened upon a few references to records that could be played back with an animation effect. No label name or title information was given in these references, so I thought I had hit a dead end. A few weeks ago, while shopping at Stormy Records, Co-owner Windy showed me a Red Raven release, which I immediately recognized was an example of what I had been looking for. Subsequent consultation of eBay and Google have yielded a wealth of information on the label and its products.



     It turns out that there are two varieties of Red Raven records. The earliest were small picture discs, with the frames of animation visible beneath transparent grooves. An example of an early Red Raven picyure disc can be seen here. These picture discs, in my opinion, are flimsier and less visually interesting than the later Red Raven releases, which are unique in that only the outer half of the surface area that is typically used for storing audio data is grooved. The inner half consists of 16 frames of looping animation, printed on an oversized label. When the record is placed on a turntable, a special 16-sided mirrored carousel is placed on the spindle. The rotating frames of animation are reflected up into the faces of the mirror, and an animation effect is achieved.




     As is often the case with toys that induce fond childhood memories, the functionality hinges upon a piece that is easily lost, broken, or both – the mirrored carousel. While Red Raven records can still be purchased relatively cheaply, the real obstacle to examining this phenomenon first hand is acquiring one of the custom-made 16-sided mirrors, which usually go for around $150.00 when they surface on eBay.

     Through the magic of the internet, we can see several examples of the (surprisingly high-quality!) animation loops used on Red Raven releases. Four of these animations can be seen below (Click each image to view the page from which they were taken, with further information):



     In all, 16 records were released, making for a total of 32 unique animations, each containing the titular Red Raven in some way. Each record was pressed on vivid color vinyl (at 78 rpm), so they're pretty fun conversation pieces even without the mirror (If you like dorky conversations, that is). A complete listing of all known Red Raven sides is available here. It's also worth noting that these 78's were released in Sweden under a different name – "Film-Karusell". More information on these alternate versions is available here.




Nasa's grooved video

     Even NASA got in on the grooved-video-encoding action, developing their own proprietary format for sending video of the Earth up into space. In this case it was still images, but whatever, it counts.




     "Grooved records containing images and sounds of Earth were placed on the two NASA Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977. The Voyager Interstellar Records were not CED's, but gold-plated Audio LP mothers made of copper, which normally would be used to make stamping molds for vinyl LP's. The records were specially mastered to spin at just 16 2/3 RPM and needed several seconds to play back each still image. Playback directions and a stylus cartridge were included with the records. RCA was involved with the production of the Voyager records, and the image reconstruction uses multiple scan lines similar to television."

     Below is a photograph of the gold-plated aluminium case for the Voyager records. The images on this 'sleeve' are pictogram instructions for playback. To me this is the most interesting part of the whole package, but I'm obsessed with usability and boring shit like that. For maximum appreciation, I suggest you play a little game: imagine you found the case pictured below. Click the image to view a close-up, and try to decipher the significance of each image. Then visit this (non-NASA) Voyager Record site and read the solution (About half-way down the page). Puzzle-rific! Hint: It's WAY more complicated than you think. Come on, this is NASA. You'll either see the solution and go: "BLAH BLAH BLAH BORING," or you'll be like "Dude. DUDE." Yep. I know you, and I'm pretty confident it'll be one of those two reactions.


     Just when you thought this record couldn't get any better, there's this:

     "The cover of the Voyager record also contains an ultra-pure source of Uranium-238 to serve as a radioactive clock for determining the record's age."

It's official: Best liner notes ever.

     NASA has an official page on the "Golden Record" here. From this site, you can hear samples of the audio we chose to send into space (highlights include "A Tame Dog is Barking," "Agricultural Sounds Including a Tractor," "The Voice of a Chimpanzee is Heard Above the Others," "A Horse and Cart Starting on a Dirt Road and Progressing to a Paved Area," and "The Sounds of a Bus;" along with greetings in 55 of Earth's languages), as well as samples of the images encoded.

     Below you'll see one of these images, carefully chosen as the most likely to appear bizarre out of context (The NASA site explains that the photo's purpose is to illustrate how "the mouth performs a variety of functions in eating and drinking"). The full listing of the musical compositions included can be found here, and of images here. The story of the collection of the audio greetings in 55 languages is here.



John Baird

     Finally, there's John Baird. For some reason, this was the last bit of Vinyl Video triviality I managed to unearth, but it's turning out to be the most interesting. Baird recorded 30 line video onto 78rpm records in 1928. He also demonstrated a 600 line HDTV colour system in 1941. Mindblowing? Yes.

     The best starting point for learning about Baird and his accomplishments seems to be his wikipedia entry. For those looking to delve into the intracacies of Baird's experimentation with video recording, TVDawn.com has lots of great information on Baird's efforts here, including "a results summary for tired executives", a summary of which discs have survived the decades, and images recovered from phonovision discs.


R115Aftb.Gif      There is a pricey ($55) book on the actual process of restoring the video recorded by Baird, which seems IMPOSSIBLY interesting to me. It's called Restoring Baird's Image, and it's on my amazon wishlist should any independently-wealthy well-wisher wish to wish me well. There's a .PDF of a September 2000 article that led to the publication of the book available for perusal here. Here's a pull-quote from the .PDF – RIFE with intrigue:

     "In 1996, a privately recorded aluminium disc, with just the cryptic words "Television 1933" written on the label, was discovered to contain the earliest-known recording of a television broadcast – in fact, a television special (Figure 5). Featuring the Paramount Astoria Girls, the recorded fragment was discovered by the author to be from the first television revue broadcast on 21 April 1933, just eight months after the start of the BBC Television Service. The non-stop action on the disc overturns the established views on the 30-line BBC programmes of staid amateurish performances. The camera technique, lighting technique and production features are all unusual, unique and professional. The rapid pace of the performance is stunning and provides us today with a true measure of Britain's heritage of television programme making.

     In early 1998, another discovery was made. A set of unmarked privately recorded aluminium discs has been revealed to contain high quality original 30-line vision recordings from the BBC's 30-line service. One of the singers on the discs is almost certainly Betty Bolton (Figure 6), a well-known contralto, who performed over a dozen times in front of the 30-line cameras. Her vision-only performance on disc is exceptional. After 1500 programmes, the BBC 30-line service closed on 11 September 1935. In November 1936, the BBC re-opened its Television Service with high-definition television. The massive technology leap that television had made left recording technology far behind. It would be nearly 20 years before direct video recording could catch up."

     For those who would rather watch television about television than read about television, there is a lecture based on the book available for download in the (hopefully) soon-to-be antiquated realvideo format here. ~*~  


The first video-recording ever was done while the BBC was experimenting with Nipkov-discs in the 30's. Late at night, when the regular radio broadcasts were over, the BBC would send moving image signals over those frequencies. Some hobbyists recorded those signals on wax. So the first ever tv recordings were in fact videodisc. Magnetic tape was only available from 1948, you see.

Dave / Monday, May 16 /  3:04 PM



Will / Wednesday, May 18 / 10:35 AM


Ebay's got a couple of the carousels up right "now"….

the Other michael / Wednesday, May 25 / 10:58 AM


I am interested to purchase the Carousel and the red raven record your write-up records. Can you help me ? Thank you.

David Row / Thursday, May 4 / 10:50 PM


I have that very machine in my house with the forbidden planet ced plus others but I'm not selling it! But you are welcome to have an olivia newton john ced…

moxie / Thursday, Jun 14 / 11:23 AM


My mother gave me a box of Red Raven movie records with the "magic mirror" that she got in a box of stuff at an auction. These are printed on different colors of vinyl, with the oversize label. I guess that makes them the later version. Anyway, I have 19 different records, in excellent shape. Only one is missing the paper sleeve and none have any obvious marks or damage. I am trying to figure out the value of the set. I read somewhere that 20 records were made so I guess I'm missing one. What do you think?

Amy / Friday, Dec 28 /  6:54 PM




Vinyl days, Hayes, Middlesex



Vinyl destination

The Honest Jon's label has been rooting around in an incredible archive of recordings discovered by EMI. Alexis Petridis listens in

Friday July 11, 2008
The Guardian

Hayes in Middlesex doesn't offer much to the sightseer, but the town itself may well be the world's biggest metaphor for the decline of the music industry. EMI starting building factories here in 1906, when it was still called The Gramophone and Typewriter Company. In the 60s, its factories covered 150 acres and it employed 14,000 people. Today, however, the factories and recording studios are gone or in the process of being demolished. EMI's Hayes workforce is in single figures, all of them employed in the company's last remaining building, a vast archive.

From the outside, the archive looks as melancholy as the rest of Hayes. Inside, it's just bizarre, an apparently endless steel vault containing not just records and master tapes, but aged recording equipment, gramophones, memorabilia and files of press clippings. "They've kept everything," notes Mark Ainley, co-founder of Honest Jon's, the acclaimed record label born out of the legendary Notting Hill record shop.

Ainley estimates he has spent around 20 months working in the archive's temperature-controlled environs, sorting through shelf after shelf of forgotten 78s, recorded across the world in the early years of the 20th century: he was alerted to their existence by former EMI CEO Tony Wadsworth. Honest Jon's has become famous in recent years not just for the involvement of Damon Albarn – who credits Ainley and business partner Alan Scholefield with exposing him to Malian music – but for digging up and releasing impossibly recherché music. However, even Ainley seems slightly overwhelmed by what was lurking on the Hayes archive shelves. He has found recordings of Tamils impersonating motorised transport in 1906, Bengali beggars singing and utterly chilling records from the first world war, intended to inform the British public of the different bells that would be rung in the event of a poison gas attack. "It's basically a load of records on a shelf without very much other information. They've never been inventoried, they're not even stored by artist or country, but catalogue prefix, so there's nothing for it but to just go through all of them, just listen to everything." He sighs. "It's daft."

The intention, he says, was to release a series of albums themed around different countries – as well as the newly released Give Me Love: The Brokenhearted of Baghdad 1925-1929, projected volumes include albums devoted to Turkey, Caucasia, Lebanon, Greece, Iran, Egypt and the Belgian Congo – but the situation has got so out of hand that in addition to the albums, he's thinking of starting a website to try to marshal the archive's apparently bottomless supply of aged world music: "I was staggered by what we found, in terms of the raw quality of it, the diversity of it, the condition of it and the volume of it. When the recording engineers went abroad, they recorded huge quantities. In just a couple of Iraq sessions, they recorded about 1,000 sides." Yes, he concedes, it is a funny thing to be working on at the moment. The Hayes series is the last project Honest Jon's will undertake under the auspices of EMI: its six-year contract with the major ran out in May: "And now we're going to find out if we can subsist."

Honest Jon's archaeology has thrown up a fascinating, forgotten history of world music, packed with extraordinary figures, not least Fred Gaisberg, an American who worked with the inventor of the gramophone, Emil Berliner, before emigrating to England to work as a recording engineer for the Gramophone Company in 1898. Gaisberg is best remembered as a classical music talent-spotter – he was the first person to record Enrico Caruso – but in the early years of the 20th century, he embarked on a series of adventurous field trips abroad to record indigenous music: Russia in 1901, India in 1902, China and Japan the following year.

Gaisberg, it's worth noting, was not always hugely impressed by what he found. In Calcutta, he was horrified by English colonials, who "might as well be living on another planet for all the interest they took in Indian music", as he complained to his diary, and more horrified still by one female singer's habit of chewing betel nuts while performing: "It necessitated the presence of bearer following her about with a silver cuspidor into which she would empty her mouthful," he shuddered, "much to the distraction of her charms." Things got even worse in Shanghai. "The Chinaman's idea of music is a tremendous clash and bang … the din so paralysed my wits I could not think," protested Gaisberg, who was clearly no Edwardian Andy Kershaw, adding that he'd thus far made 325 records there, but couldn't tell the difference between any of them.

Nevertheless, it's hard not to be slightly awestruck by the conditions under which he and his fellow engineers worked. Gaisberg's trip to the far east was considered so perilous that he made out his will before leaving England. "Sometimes they would travel hundreds of miles on horseback, carrying boxes and boxes of elaborate and delicate equipment, in order to make these quite tentative rendezvous with musicians," says Ainley, who found letters and notes from Gaisberg among the 78s. Indeed, Ainley thinks the engineers' lack of local knowledge may have been to their advantage: "When they went to Iraq in the 1920s, they recorded Kuwaitis, Kurds, women, Jewish hymns, city music country music. It's a snapshot of the city, it's more diverse because they hadn't decided in advance what they wanted."

It's all grand, swashbuckling stuff, bolstered by photographs of the extravagantly moustachioed Gaisberg recruiting potential artists while sporting a pith helmet, or looking slightly perturbed in a kimono. But Ainley cautions against taking too romantic a view of the pioneering sound engineers: for one thing, the records they were making were never heard in England, but exported back out to the places where they were recorded: "I don't think they were trying to memorialise this music, I think they were trying to make money." By the time EMI's engineers went to Baghdad, they found themselves engaged in that most 21st-century of record company practices: a bidding war for the most popular singers with a rival German company. "It's good, innit?" chuckles Ainley. "Brings a bit of honesty into it. And it worked, they sold tons of records. The session they did in 1925 in Baghdad, they sold 11,000 records just from that one."

Nonetheless, he says, "when you read what Gaisberg saying the colonials were on a different planet to the people whose music he actually wanted to hear, I don't think it would be right to say they were only interested in the money. There is something really optimistic and kind of … something that's gone. There's just a gentle idea of how you can make a change, how you can affect ideas about the world."

· Give Me Love: The Brokenhearted Of Baghdad 1925-1929 is out now


Learning to DJ


Middle-school children get introduction to skills used by club DJ in free program

July 12, 2008

RANCHO BERNARDO – Some of the kids who walked into Laura Bolokoski's class in the summer enrichment program at Bernardo Heights Middle School had never touched – or even seen – a vinyl record before.


But here they were, learning the first steps of “scratching and mixing” on 12-inch, 33 1/3-rpm platters from a DJ who does the real thing at San Diego clubs.

“Find the very first sound on the whole record,” Bolokoski told 11-year-old Kamryn Neighbors, who was working one of the two turntables set up on a teacher's desk. “When your hand lets go, this” – the control switch on a cross-fader – “should come all the way over.”

It was an introduction to the skills used by club DJs, put on for three weeks during the summer version of a free after-school program. Kids wandered in from more traditional offerings such as cooking and sports.

Bolokoski, who goes by Dj Pnutz in her professional life, has worked with children before. She was recruited to lead the offbeat course in music appreciation, which ended Thursday.

“I wanted to try to expose these kids to something new and try to open up their minds to other realms of music and arts,” said Rogene Cerillo, site director for the summer program at Bernardo Heights, part of the Poway Unified School District.

Kids were welcome to drop in on the class for as much or as little as they wished – it met Tuesdays and Thursdays for three weeks – but those willing to spend at least two hours with Bolokoski left with at least a foundation in what she calls “the fundamentals of club DJing.”

For the iPod generation, everything old is new again. Bolokoski said she tried to pass along her passion to kids who may have heard hip-hop, but don't understand the role that sampling and scratching play in the creative process.

“We teach them how to cue up the records, how to find that first note and drop it in in time with another record,” said Bolokoski, whose blond hair sometimes dangled onto one of the turntables as she leaned in for a demonstration.

Scratching records was a particular hit in the Rancho Bernardo sessions. For the uninitiated, it's a technique to produce sound by moving a short segment of a record back and forth on a turntable, cutting in and out with a cross-fader.

If you've heard Herbie Hancock's 1983 hit “Rockit” or the recent credit-card commercial that borrowed a snippet from it, you've listened to a prime example.

“Make sure you're looking at the sticker on top of the record,” Bolokoski told one boy, teaching him how to keep his place with the segment being scratched. “Imagine a clock at 7, back to 6.”

demonstrated a “crab scratch” he learned in the class, but he was surprised by the amount of coordination needed to get everything just right.

“It actually takes more work than I thought it would,” Tyler said.

Zachary Gibson-Black, 13, whose music tastes run from rap to country, said he wanted to experience how music comes together. “I really wanted to try it,” he said.

Bolokoski, who dropped out of UC San Diego to pursue her career as Dj Pnutz, teaches DJing at the San Diego Turntable Institute.

She has her students work mainly on instrumental or radio-edit versions of hip-hop records, since lyrics from the genre are notoriously raw. She uses vinyl as much as possible, even though computer programs now duplicate production techniques with ease.

With 21st century technology, “you kind of lose that same sort of touch, of being able to feel exactly where that beat is on the record,” Bolokoski said. But with a record, “you're connecting your sense of touch … with your sense of hearing.”

For the kids lining up for a firsthand effort, it was easy to be off a bit. Many hesitated just a moment before moving the cross-fader switch or pulling the record back.

But Bolokoski offered even a struggling novice the summer equivalent of an easy A: “That was awesome for your first try!”


Boise rediscovers vinyl



Music lovers rediscover the timbre of the turntable and return to vinyl

BOISE, Idaho — Travis Dryden spent his childhood listening to his parent's records. And then he left them behind with the other detritus of his pre-college years to be sold for pennies at a yard sale.

Lured by the portability of cassette tapes, the iridescent gleam of compact discs, then the miniaturized wonder of MP3 players – who needed the fragile, antiquated technology of an LP?

As it turns out, Dryden did.

Now, like thousands of other reborn vinyl addicts, he scours record stores around the country, trying to get those lost records back.

"I abandoned a lot of my collection, unfortunately," Dryden said. "I started at record stores, thrift stores, garage sales and estate sales. When I travel for business I seek out record stores and thrift stores at the cities I visit."

Right now, Dryden said, his collection is small with only about 500 albums. But it might as well be 50,000 – as co-founder of the Vinyl Preservation Society of Idaho, a rapidly growing group in Boise, Dryden gets the opportunity to listen to selections from thousands of records at the organization's monthly meetings.

The group started last year with a handful of people. They brought CDs, MP3s and records, meeting in each their homes to talk and listen to music. Again and again, Dryden said, the group found themselves choosing the warm hum of the turntable over the cold precision of digital formats.

"We found our love of vinyl overtook the others," he said. "We knew there had to be others like us."

They were right. Word spread about the group that gathered to listen to vinyl, and Dryden and his brother Chad spent three months coming up with the structure that would form the skeleton of the Vinyl Preservation Society. Eight months later, the group has more than 100 members. And Dryden hopes to see chapters spring up around the nation, and eventually the world.

At a recent meeting Dryden said a typical member "is just someone who can embrace a Pink Floyd song followed by Bobby Darin. It's mercurial, it's a big social experiment, and it's probably the only place you can stand up and play a piece of music you had nothing at all to do with creating and people will honestly clap for you."

The Boise group isn't alone in its love of vinyl. Coffee houses and lounges in cities like Portland, Ore., are featuring vinyl record listening sessions. Stores like Urban Outfitters are selling portable record players. Last fall Amazon.com started a vinyl-only section. Vinyl record pressing plants are ramping up production, and some musicians are selling albums primarily on vinyl, including coupons for MP3 downloads of the songs for portability's sake.

Independent record stores are seeing more people turned on to vinyl, said Michael Bunnell with The Record Exchange in Boise. Events like Record Store Day, held annually in April to celebrate independent record stores and the vinyl culture, are gaining popularity, he said.

Still, for vinyl revivalists its more about the ethos than the trend. Proponents applaud the expanse of cover art, so decadent compared to the tiny screen of an iPod. Those with a finely tuned ear laud the warmer sound, compared to digital music's brighter, louder and compressed tones.

And the nostalgia is a draw even to those who weren't around to remember the records the first time they were played.

"I like the sound – it's intriguing, not so perfect," said Alina Schimpf, 21, who first began listening to records after seeing a turntable and vinyl collection at her 25-year-old boyfriend's apartment. "It's kind of cool, a novelty. I'd really like to get a turntable but it's kind of an investment."

Her boyfriend, Morgan Davis, remembers the thrill of sneaking into his father's vinyl collection.

"It's like a historical document," Davis said. "When I was younger I'd listen to my father's vinyl . . . He'd get mad if I scratched them up, so I'd listen when they were not around."

Boise collector Jim Leonard prefers vinyl for its "warmer sound" and convenient play length – about 20 minutes to a side.

"I never felt that the introduction of a new format meant you had to abandon the old one," Leonard said. "When you play an acoustic record on a Victrola, it's an indescribable, magical sound."

Listening to a record forces you to listen, said Don Jewell, a 60-year-old member of the group.

"It just seems more human to me, more human and direct. When you're listening to it you need to get up and change the record, flip it over. There's no playing 4,000 songs like in an MP3 player," Jewell said.

The physical involvement somehow makes the medium more precious, said David Hale, who gave a presentation at a Vinyl Preservation Society meeting about his grandfather's role as a promoter for Atlantic Records.

"It's music in the raw: You're pulling the vinyl out of the case, making sure you get that needle in the exact spot, making sure you lift it clean so you don't scratch it," Hale said. "There's definitely more reverence there."

WASP – Headless Children

WASP – Headless Children


            Certainly not bad for a quid! To begin with I was attracted by the album cover, which can be compared to The Beatles Sergeant Peppers. It shows some great illustrations of various evils and faces, such as the Ku Klux Klan and Adolf Hitler, followed by a giant skull in the background. Very interesting to look at for a while.

            The album also has one of those cool card dust covers that I always like to see. Definitely better than the thin: ‘Home taping is killing music’ sleeves (ha).

            Before buying this album I hadn’t really heard anything about WASP, or their music. Just thought I’d experiment with some new bands. Whilst I admit the songs are all painfully similar, they’re well put together and a good listen. The opening track ‘The Heretic’, is one of the best album openers you are likely to hear in metal. It builds up a marching suspense and quickly erupts into the distorted guitars that countinue throughout the album. Very imaginative, and it’s the song that you always seem to remember after listening. It also somehow matches the album art if that makes sense. Probably not, but oh, well.

            I normally like to hear a wall of sound from metal bands and this is a great example of it, especially in the track ‘Real Me’. The vocalist, Blackie Lawless does a great job of using the ‘screamy’ style, but in a way that is subtle and sounds half melodic at the same time.

            ‘Forever Free’, the ballad of the LP, also greatly matches the vocalist. Forever Free also breaks the album nicely, as it does begin to become slightly monotonous by this stage. I’d imagine the CD version would emphasize this, with no definite side one and two. Not only that, but you couldn’t admire the full album cover.

            To conclude on that, I would say the music is great, but needs variation to avoid becoming ‘Motorhead like’. I think most people would know what I mean by that.

            The record itself is in very good condition, so I have no idea why it ended up in the reduced bin alongside Mike Oldfield and Jazz Britania. The record is very thin but doesn’t have many scratches that are sometimes associated with this. The cover and dust cover are also in great condition and would go well for a pound anytime. I would pass this on to any fellow metal fan.