Charlie McCoy Interview (Part 1 of 2) [Listen 26:00] Discovering Unique Talent With Charlie McCoy S04 Ep08
Special Guest: Charlie McCoy (Part 1 of 2) might be one of the most honored and revered guests in my roster. His impact on music (both Country and Rock) is immeasurable. To bringing up the fact that he played on Bob Dylan’s Highway 61, Blonde on Blonde, Nashville Skyline, and John Wesley Harding, Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer,” or Roy Orbison’s “Candy Man” would overlook some of the other amazing achievements of this great musician. It should be noted that he also played with Elvis Presley throughout his career, including his early RCA sessions, and put out 35 great solo albums of his own. He is a Country music legend and has played with Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Flatt and Scruggs, Chet Atkins, Patsy Cline, and Johnny Paycheck. He was in the Nashville’s super group, Area Code 615, as well as being part of the Nashville A-team, he was the musical director for the ground breaking television show Hee Haw for 14 years and was inducted into the Country Hall Of Fame in 2009 with Roy Clark and Barbra Mandrell (and if you had to ask he recorded with them too).
In this podcast Charlie and I talk about his Southern beginnings, getting to Nashville and his barn dance radio days, McCoy's big Grammy winning album, The Real McCoy, his involvement in the songs “He Stopped Loving Her Today” with George Jones, and “Today I Started Loving Her Again” with Merle Haggard and Roy Orbison, we talk about Fred Foster, Sam Philips, Archie Bier, Charlie McCoy's work with Elvis, Ray Price, we get into Hank Williams and much, much more.
The Nashville sound, sometimes called by the ugly portmanteau, Countrypolitan, is the name for the sub-genre of country music that sprang up arguably around 1957. The Nashville sound is believed to be the reaction of country to combat the booming popularity of rock n' roll, ironically, it is argued that the Nashville sound was largely influenced by the one who was bolstering the popularity of rock 'n roll, Elvis Presley, but the Nashville sound was primarily orchestrated by Chet Atkins, Owen Bradley, Bob Ferguson, and Steve Shoals.
Why exactly Nashville became a music centre of the U.S. is still a matter of debate. Besides the people involved, on which there is even greater debate about who held the greatest impact, the location is considered to be a large reason behind the emergence of Nashville as a music centre. Both close enough to New York and the music that came from that way, but also far enough away from New York to not be so greatly influenced by it. And south enough to be rooted to the sounds emerging from the south and the rural areas. Also, a great deal of traffic traveling East and West went through Nashville, making it a harbour for the musical influences the travelers brought with them.
Of, course, this musical crossroads birthed one of the most reputable and revered stages by bringing these influences into the culmination of the Grand Ole Opry. The Grand Ole Opry grew out of the National Barn Dance radio program that showcased old-timey and down-home music. Noted as "the home of American music," The Grand Ole Opry is still a massive draw and is the highlight in many careers of notable country musicians that span several generations now.
Jan St. Werner of Mouse On Mars Interview (Part 2 of 2) [Listen 36:42] Melting the Tension and the Drama with Jan St.Werner S04 Ep07
Special Guest: Jan St.Werner (Mouse On Mars) (Part 2 of 2) can put his name to an elite group of electronic musicians who move through time pushing musical boundaries, exciting dance floors, and bending minds. He has done this by the difficult but necessary journey of searching out new sounds, considering unconventional uses for the objects and technologies that surround him, and (possibly most important of all) not sticking to a formula - keeping his music exciting, innovative, and relevant. Jan St. Werner has been twisting, modding, and manipulating his musical environment for the past 20 plus years. After six years away, he and his longtime collaborator, Andi Toma, have teamed up again to put out two new amazing albums.
In this podcast we talk about the album Parastrophics and the song Chordblocker, Cinnamon Toasted, we get into a really interesting discussion on Karl Stockhausen, and get into the track “Along the Time Axis,” and much more. Press play.
I want to highlight some of the monuments from the early influences of electronic music from Morton Subotnick, the first composer to have an electronic work commissioned by a record company, to our latest band in focus, Mouse On Mars. There' s much more to get into on the matter, and this list is subjective and truncated, so bear that in mind. But this is a gateway of compositions up to this point in time. Not to say that these are Jan St. Werner's particular influences, but you can hear the influences in his music. These are some of the touchstones that have brought us to where we are today in the genre of electronic music.
First off, to start with Morton Subotnick. Not the first electronic composer, nor the first to produce a piece, but the first to have a work commissioned by a record label. Monumental, and forged a path for others to follow.
Vladimir Ussachevsky, started out composing using traditional instruments, then began using electronic equipment, eventually becoming one of the leaders in the genre. Also a pioneer experimenting with audio tape.
Pierre Schaeffer. Father of Musique concrète; he fractured the staid comprehension of the day.
Can. Musical innovators. Absorbed influences from everywhere, chewed up and spit out something manifestly brilliant and original.
Talking Heads: Pushed music further with "Remain In Light" It made several best of lists when it came out in 1980, and still places on best album ever lists.
Herbie Hancock: Advanced sound and turntableism with Rockit off of Future Shock.So much music might not have been, if not for it.
Oval: Electronic music project. Pioneers of glitch. Took to ruining their cds as an implementation to their music.
Mouse On Mars: Reworking electronica in form. Each album in itself a new departure from convention.
Jan St. Werner of Mouse On Mars Interview (Part 1 of 2) [Listen 30:15] Getting My Disorder Assessed By Jan St. Werner S04 Ep07
Special Guest: Jan St.Werner (Mouse On Mars) (Part 1 of 2) can put his name to an elite group of electronic musicians who move through time pushing musical boundaries, exciting dance floors, and bending minds. He has done this by the difficult but necessary journey of searching out new sounds, considering unconventional uses for the objects and technologies that surround him, and (possibly most important of all) not sticking to a formula - keeping his music exciting, innovative and relevant. Jan St. Werner has been twisting, modding, and manipulating his musical environment for the past 20 plus years. After six years away, he and his longtime collaborator, Andi Toma, have teamed up again to put out two new amazing albums.
In this podcast we talk about the band’s name, a strange early connection between Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner, how the two work together, understanding technology, and how Mouse on Mars treats it, working with Mark E Smith of The Fall (and I kind of butcher the name Von Südenfed), we talk about the track Chagrin and much more.
The Glitch in the System
Wikipedia describes glitch music as "a genre that adheres to an "aesthetic of failure," where the deliberate use of glitch based audio media, and other sonic artifacts, is a central concern." This description is taken from Kim Cascone's entry in the Computer Music Journal published by MIT press THE AESTHETICS OF FAILURE: 'Post-Digital' Tendencies in Contemporary Computer Music. But there's another view to be taken by the genre, and one that may have progressed in the genre since the genre grew to wider popularity in the early 90's and that view is that glitch deconstructs noise and pieces the random elements back into some assemblance of order, some degree of melody (although, it could be said, loosely) and Cascone goes on to explain this in the article: "Another German group, which called itself Mouse on Mars, injected this glitch aesthetic into a more danceable framework, resulting in gritty low-fidelity rhythmic layers warping in and out of one another." This, I believe, is referring to their earlier work, perhaps Vulvaland in particular (released 1995). Some other later works by Mouse On Mars bear much less of a resemblance to a "danceable framework." But Vulvaland is a great early example of glitch music that is also somewhat melodic and atmospheric.
One could say that glitch music is the quickest to bring the exclamation from the uninitiated, "Turn OFF that Noise!" turning the deliverer of the exclamation into a parody of a curmudgeon from the 1950's protesting an Elvis Presley record. there's more behind the noise that is readily apparent; several artists credit the futurist composer Luigi Russolo as an influence. And some glitch strips down to only dissonant clicks and grinds, arrhythmic stops and starts, a wall of sound to silence, and no established tempo to speak of, but there's much more to it than noise. In fact, some glitch, take Autechre, Oval, or Ryoji Ikeda for example, gets to be so removed from a recognized musical structure that you get the feeling that you witnessing the inner workings of a computer, that you are an entity inside the computer, seated inside, hearing all the elements at work-- taking in the digital mystery as an unwitnessed observer, or perhaps an incognizant part of it. Whatever your approach to music, and acceptance of old forms of structure, Glitch can be one of the quickest ways to shatter your conceptions of music and your expectations of it.
While glitch carries the notion of being on the cutting edge, and there's truth in that, there is quite a lot of history behind it. Aside from Luigi Russolo, the United States Library of Congress credits the first sung by a computer to "Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)," Max Mathews (1961) "This recording, made at Bell Laboratories on an IBM 704 mainframe computer, is the earliest known recording of a computer-synthesized voice singing a song. The recording was created by John L. Kelly, Jr., and featured musical accompaniment written by Max Mathews. Arthur C. Clarke, who witnessed a demonstration of the piece while visiting friend and Bell Laboratories employee John Pierce, was so impressed that he incorporated it in the novel and film script for "2001: A Space Odyssey."1 You could say that the first glitch music is from Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, when HAL is being shut down, he ends up singing Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two), but, in his limited way, with logic circuits shut down. The first electronic work commissioned by a record company was in 1967: Morton Subotnick's Silver Apples of the Moon. While this may not seem so long ago, bear in mind that this was when The Beatles were putting out Sgt. Pepper's. Come to think of it, it's remarkable that glitch has maintained it's own through an era so dominated by polished studio sound and songwriting. Thanks to those who go against the grain.
Aiming for the Simple and Innocent Things with Alex Paterson of The Orb (2 of 2) [Listen 22:37] S04 Ep06
Special Guest: Alex Paterson (The Orb) (Part 2 of 2) is a major player in the Electronica genre, splashing on to the scene at a transitional time in the genre's history: the period when European musicians were just starting to pick up on the new Techno revolution happening in Detroit and the Acid House scene from Chicago. The Orb were one of the leading bands playing their own form of Electronica at the beginning of the biggest electronic music explosions--the UK Rave scene in the late 80’s to early 90’s--and were fundamental in the direction that Acid House took; spawning "Ambient House" in the new "come down" or chill-out rooms of the rave clubs.
In this podcast, we continue from where we left off, and get into the details of sampling and all the fuss therein, what he's been doing with Lee Scratch Perry, and what he might like to do next. Have a listen
Chiptune: What's Old is New Again . . . And It's Really Old
As some musicians are striving to get the latest sounds and technology, other musicians are turning to old technology and hacking, modding, and stripping things away to make something new, something better. And they're using technology more than 20 years old.
It can be fairly technical, from adding additional chips, to just ripping some of the parts out haphazardly to see what kind of noises it'll make. It comes from several sources, but most often from old video game technology such as Gameboy and old pc's such as the Commodore 64.
Chiptunes and modding has always had a large place in the computer demoscene, but the exact origins are debatable. They could be attributed to Eno from the days of Roxy Music fiddling at the controls of the board on stage, and with The Yellow Magic Orchestra, more closely with sampling computer game music.
But the interesting thing about it is that it hasn't died. The advancement of technology has only promoted the love and furthered the interest. And to show that everything is circular, it's made it's way back to vinyl. I'm mot talking about converting classic albums to 8 bit chiptunes--although that's been done--I'm saying that the format has gone from being the "new medium" that was going to knock vinyl off it's throne, to being discarded as refuse and come full circle to be revived to earn a place in the history of music on vinyl.
While Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, and Leafcutter John have been known to put elements of hacked and modded synths in their music, the indie artist, Jim Guthrie, might be the one who's been infected to the highest degree of chiptune into his music. You might have to call it "Chipfolktronicatune," if you weren't afraid for another lame subgenre label coming into usage. What a long strange trip it's been for the medium that was to be the killer of vinyl, to the bottom of the technological scrapyard, and back into vinyl again. What's next; videos of astronauts covering Bowie classics in space?