Friday, March 28, 2008

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 03/28/08

I returned several days ago from a truly wonderful trip back to the bay area, but I still feel as though I'm playing 'catch-up'. Maybe that's just my normal state these days?

Still, a few things caught my attention amidst the blur...

1. 'Be Seated?' - - A gathering of unusual chairs, like Livio De Marchi's
Sedia da sera,
cartoonist Gerald Scarfe's
'Chairman Mao' and a few others.

- Found at, via the appropriately-named Slideshows for your Website & Blog.

2. From the New York Times this past week: 'Researchers Play Tune Recorded Before Edison'
- - Read this article!

It's a fascinating bit of audio archaeology, in which new technologies are used to make audible a visually represented sound recording from 1860.

Though never intended for audio playback, French inventor Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville's murky 10-second recording of a human voice singing the folk song 'Au Clair de la Lune' created on his 'phonautograph' predates Thomas Edison's invention of the phonograph by 17 years, and Edison's earliest successful sound recordings by 28.

Adding to the fun of the tale of this artifact's discovery is that of the efforts of scientists at Lawrence Labs in Berkeley, California.

They used "...optical imaging and a 'virtual stylus' on high-resolution scans..." of the original 'phonautogram' - - the graphic sound-wave image captured by Léon Scott's device.

The odyssey and unlocking of this relic is made all the more profound merely by the action of having the brief 19th-century song snippet made available as an archived soundfile embedded in the text of the web article.

(Thanks to Joe Sixpack for sending along the link!)

3. Speaking of arcane noises, I can't say enough good things about a CD compilation I stumbled onto while I was on vacation:

'Intoxica! Strange and Sleazy Instrumental Sounds From the SoCal Suburbs' - - It made for great driving music!
Britain's Ace Records released this assortment of 1960's tracks from the Downey label back in '06.
The collection includes 'Comanche' by The Revels (which you might recall from the
'Pulp Fiction' soundtrack), along with 25 other 'boss' tracks by different lesser-known bands.

Ranging from gutty, raw & rocking, to quirky, outré, or just plain silly, the disc provides a good time!

- Read a CD review at E Man Grooving.

- You can read more notes and sample a couple of tracks at the Ace Records website.

4. As previously mentioned, here's a reminder that coming to one of the few remaining independent record stores that's hopefully still near you here in the U.S.;

It's RECORD STORE DAY - - April 19, 2008 !!

"On Saturday, April 19, 2008, hundreds of independently owned music stores across the country will celebrate 'Record Store Day.'

"On this day, all of these stores will simultaneously link and act as one with the purpose of celebrating the culture and unique place that they occupy both in their local communities and nationally.

"Plans are underway to set up special events at all of the stores on this day, as well as provide customers with a goodie bag that promotes new formats, new releases, and exciting information on music, theatrical, and gaming releases."

Click over to www.RecordStoreDay.Com for all the info you need!

5. As stated by Coudal Partners
(where I found this link), it's "...a huge gallery of VHS Cover Art from completely forgettable movies".

They neglected to mention (perhaps intentionally) that the gallery page is Swedish, and the cover art is often to the Swedish-released edition of an American film.

They didn't say '- - and it rocks', either. (Which it does.)

Golan-Globus, anyone? Vestron?

(click on rad images to ENLARGE in a new window)

6. A small update I should mention: The tail end of my previous blog post on 'The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T.' (The 1953 live-action Dr. Seuss musical epic cult film) now includes a review of the latest version of the film to come to Region-1 DVD here in the US.

It shows up on the recently-released 'Stanley Kramer Film Collection' DVD box set, and includes some wonderful interviews and behind-the-scene photographs not previously available.

Those curious should follow the links...

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