The video was shot by Sara’s mother, singer and song writer Jackie Messenger: youtube.com/JackieMessenger. Sara is part of a beautiful family who have always been wonderfully supportive of me.
This track came about almost immediately when I found Sara’s channel. I wondered what her song would sound like with a beat, so I spent around 10 minutes knocking together a drum sequence before layering in her song. 45 minutes later, I seem to have spontaneously put together a complete track.
“It’s Gonna Rain” was composed in San Francisco in January 1965. The voice belongs to a young black Pentecostal preacher who called himself Brother Walter. I recorded him along with the pigeons and traffic one Sunday afternoon in Union Square in downtown San Francisco. Later at home I started playing with tape loops of his voice and, by accident, discovered the process of letting two identical loops go gradually out of phase with each other.
In the first part of the piece the two loops are lined up in unison, gradually move completely out of phase with each other, and then slowly move back to unison. In the second part two much longer loops gradually begin to go out of phase with each other. This two-voice relationship is then doubled to four with two voices going out of phase with the other two. Finally the process moves to eight voices and the effect is a kind of controlled chaos, which may be appropriate to the subject matter – the end of the world.
“It’s Gonna Rain” is the first piece ever to use the process of gradually shifting phase relations between two or more identical repeating patterns. The second was “Come Out.” Composed in 1966, it was originally part of a benefit presented at Town Hall in New York City for the retrial, with lawyers of their own choosing, of the six boys arrested for murder during the Harlem riots of 1964. The voice is that of Daniel Hamm, now acquitted and then 19, describing a beating he took in Harlem’s 28th precinct station. The police were about to take the boys out to be “cleaned up” and were only taking those that were visibly bleeding. Since Hamm had no actual open bleeding he proceeded to squeeze open a bruise on his leg so that he would be taken to the hospital.
“I had to like open the bruise up and let some of the bruise blood come out to show them.” More…
The Grand Rapids LipDub Video was filmed May 22nd, with 5,000 people, and involved a major shutdown of downtown Grand Rapids, which was filled with marching bands, parades, weddings, motorcades, bridges on fire, and helicopter take offs. It is the largest and longest LipDub video, to date.
This video was created as an official response to the Newsweek article calling Grand Rapids a “dying city.” We disagreed strongly, and wanted to create a video that encompasses the passion and energy we all feel is growing exponentially, in this great city. We felt Don McLean’s ‘American Pie,’ a song about death, was in the end, triumphant and filled to the brim with life and hope. – Rob Bliss, Director & Executive Producer, Status Creative
NASA recently helped launch the net radio channel Third Rock Radio, playing questionable to good rock n’ roll along with NASA news updates.
But Rich Rarey of NPR Labs pointed out (on Pubradio) there’s already a fine NASA-centric, space music channel on SofaFM called Mission Control, “Celebrating NASA and Space Explorers everywhere.”
The feed is full of ambient music well-mixed with astronaut transmissions from space and conversations with Earth. Warning: the real-time reality feel and ambi/astro synchronicity is a bit addicting. Suggest you sample their 128K stream; other bitrates and a popup player are also available.
Sez Mission Control DJ (& SomaFM co-founder) Rusty Hodge :
A while back, on a whim I decided to mix in live audio from a Space Shuttle launch with our Space Station Soma music. I got a lot of great feedback on it, and did it again for the next launch.
I’ve always been fascinated by space exploration, since I was a very young kid watching the Moon landing on a 9″ black and white TV. So when NASA celebrated the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 by rebroadcasting the mission audio in real time, but 40 years delayed in July of 2009, I knew that SomaFM had to add a soundtrack to it. That’s how our Mission Control channel started.
Now whenever the Space Shuttle is up, I mix in the real-time audio feed from NASA with ambient music. When it’s not up, we mix in historical recordings of he Apollo missions. I hope you like it as much as I do!
I’ve heard of movie SFX folk using mutli-layers of disparate sources to contruct one great composite sound effect — such as an elephant’s trumpets as part of a car tire squeal. But who knew the same amount of overlay could go into a single guitar chord?
From Musicians in their own words, an NPR series produced by David Schulman: The French singer Camille Dalmais, better known as Camille, has many voices inside her. She makes her music by overlaying everything from a sniffle to a growl to an operatic F-sharp. She speaks about the intimacy of the French language, spirituality and finding a natural music in the sound of everyday speech.
From Hidden Kitchens, an NPR series by the The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & NIkki Silva): Imagine a Mozart Festival without a note of Mozart. Instead, more than 60 artists from around the world were invited to Vienna by director Peter Sellars and asked to pick up where the musical and social visionary left off, to create new works of art. Called “New Crowned Hope,” for the free-thinking Masonic Lodge in Vienna of which Mozart was a member, it was a month-long, genre-spanning event linking agriculture and culture, with food at its heart. It featured a Maori dance troupe; a Venezuelan street chorus singing a new opera by John Adams; new films from Chad, Iran and Paraguay; Mark Morris’ dance company; Chez Panisse founder and culinary activist Alice Waters; lunch ladies from across Europe; and farmers, chefs and seed-savers from throughout Austria. Aired on NPR Morning Edition. Mixed by Jim McKee of Earwax Productions. Music: John Adams, David Williamson, Frances Nelson, Sarah Folger & harmonia mundi, and Wieslaw Pogorzelski.
From Musicians in their own words: Beyond-Brazilian musician Cyro Baptista is fluent in the musical languages of samba, cabela, and yoyoma. Also, squirrel. He proves it in this piece, and demonstrates how he narrowly averted disaster during a recording session with the fearsome-to-some-people soprano Kathleen Battle. Cyro’s secret weapon? A vacuum cleaner hose. (More at PRX).
Sam is a talented and articulate young jazz musician, brought to the United States at age 5 by his Mexican parents. He stayed out of trouble, was drum major of his high school’s marching band, fell in love with playing jazz on the tenor sax, and got his diploma with honors — only to find that for an “illegal,” graduation marks a dead end. Though Sam dreams of attending college to study jazz performance, he hides his status from even his closest friends. He can’t legally work, drive, get financial aid, or even gain admission to some colleges. “American Dreamer” follows him from his high school graduation, through the following summer, as he struggles to raise money to continue his education and weighs the risks of working and driving illegally against his own desire to achieve his American dream. Aired on NPR Latino USA and All Things Considered.. A one-hour version is at PRX and Long Haul Productions (Dan Collison & Elizabeth Meister). Produced with help from the Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media and the National Endowment for the Arts.
W.H.O. World AIDS Day
The 1st of December A Day Without Art
Sister Agnes Ramashiga makes her rounds at Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto; 2000 patients check in daily, half are HIV positive. It’s “Just Another Day At the Biggest Hospital In the World,” a Radio Diaries by Joe Richman & Sue Johnson (Picture-Projects).
HIV-Positive teenagers, Tanya, Mark, and Tenisha, record audio diaries about living “The Positive Life”; produced by by Stephen Smith & Stephanie Curtis for American RadioWorks (photos and journals at ARW).)
And Trouble Came: An African AIDS Diary (CD at Arkiv Music) by Laura Kaminsky is a compositon for viola, cello, piano, and for a narrator, reciting poems, biblical verse, and stories of Tamakloe, a warrior, tailor, and AIDS victim.
AIDS once meant death. Now improved treatments keep HIV-positive people alive for decides. So what’s that like, being brought back from the dead; as when Jesus revived his dead friend “Lazarus;” by Krandall Kraus from his book Book: It’s Never About What It’s About.
“Letters to Butchie” are a dying mother’s writings to a son she’ll never see, produced by Dave Isay Sound Portraits (music: Nick Drake).
We’re occupying the streets of Los Angeles; our demands: bring us stories…
“Pilgrim Land” (2005 / 0:43 excerpt) Tom Russell
“Old America” (3:32 excerpt)
“Bukowski #2 on the Hustle=” (2:08 excerpt)
“Honky Jazz” (4:14)
“Swap Meet Jesus” (4:21)
From the album Hotwalker: Charles Bukowski & A Ballad for Gone. An Americana ode to old L.A., the music, the culture, from beat outsiders to religious revivals to long gone radio sounds; with stuntman, circus midget, and actor Little Jack Horton.
“Hotwalker is the best Sam Peckinpah movie since Peckinpah died. It’s a ghostly jubilee, an audacious slab of Blue America. Narrated aby noir cowboy, Tom Russell, it is a singular recording, bound to be controversial — it’s not only going to ruffle feathers, but leave feathers scattered on the ground.”
—novelist-poet Luis Urrea
Heard on Sarah Jackson’s KGLT show last night, this women’s duo who were, well, Mirabilis:
“Mirabilis” is a Latin adjective meaning “amazing, wondrous, remarkable.” It’s also a “neo-classical/ethereal musical project started by Dru Allen of This Ascension and Summer Bowman of the Machine in the Garden.”
The song above, from their album Pleiades, is “Riu Riu Chiu,” Renaissance era Spanish villancico.
In 2001 I stopped by Stetson’s house, on a beautiful marshland near Jacksonville, Florida. We talked about his 1939-40 recording expedition, accompanied by Zora Neale Hurston, documenting the songs and stories of Florida. That interview and those recordings become the NPR story “The Sound of 1930s Florida Folk Life” (22:00 mp3):
The Klan Unmasked is Stetson’s story of infiltrating and undermining the KKK. He tell it in this next clip, “Nazi-minded Klansmen” (4:26 mp3):
His good friend Woody Guthrie wrote a song about him, “Stetson Kennedy.” lyrics: Woody Gurthrie; music: Billy Bragg & Wilco, from Mermaid Avenue Vol. II (2:40 mp3):
I done spent my last three cents
Mailing my letter to the President
Didn’t make a show, I didn’t make a dent
So I’m swinging over to this independent gent
Writing his name in
Writing his name in
I can’t win out to save my soul
Long as Smathers-Dupont’s got me in the hole
Them war profit boys are squawking and balking
That’s what’s got me out here walking and talking
Knocking on doors and windows
Wake up and run down election morning
And scribble in Stetson Kennedy
I ain’t the world’s best writer, ain’t the world’s best speller
But when I believe in something I’m the loudest yeller
If we fix it so you can’t make no money on war
Well we’ll all forget what we was killing folks for
We’ll find us a peace job equal and free
We’ll dump Smathers-Dupont in a salty sea
Well, this makes Stetson Kennedy the man for me
It’s also their only LP, and it’s out-of-print. But the Aussie band left behind some amazing/amusing videos. And Modular Records insists “a deluxe 10-Year Anniversary treatment” is on the way. Till then, here’s the title track:
The video for The Rev. Peytons Big Damn Bands new song Clap Your Hands was shot in one day in a barn in Indiana. All of the dancers, artists, freaks, weirdos, cowboys, kids, donkeys, bunko steerers, chickens, and regular folks, who are all Hoosiers, all volunteered their time and talent because they believed in the song and the band. The video was directed/produced by the acclaimed music video producer Kevin Custer (Lil Wayne, Soldja Boy, Flogging Molly) who remarked the day of the shoot, it would have cost a fortune to get all of these props back in NYC. To which The Rev. Peyton replied, These arent props they are just crap you find in a barn!
A century ago the six Crow Reservation Districts came together for a cultural gathering with other Great Plains tribes. Every third weekend of August the Crow Fair honors that tradition in a “giant family reunion under the Big Sky.” Five days of celebration in southeastern Montana, with a parade, Pow Wow, rodeo, and traditional and fancy dancing.
In 1977 a team of NPR producers and recordists spent a week collecting sounds and interviewing people at this annual event. This early ambient sound-portrait breathes with the arts and activities of the Crow people: the Apsaalooke Nation.