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Monthly Archives: September 2009

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This is for everyone that’s been watching Ken Burns’ ongoing 12-hour documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” this week on PBS.   Included in this MP3 are the following excerpts from a 1967 Pops Festival performance by Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops:

-Painted Desert

-On The Trail

Alfred Kfrips, Violin Solo

Leo Litwin, Celsta Solo

Sunset

-Cloudburst

The record was converted into 320 kbps MP3 and has a run time of 25:59.

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Download Grand Canyon Suite here!

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Kraftwerk: The real granddaddy of all electronic music. Their synthesizers produce oodles of Germanic musical order and discipline on their 1977 classic, Trans-Europe Express. This only makes sense given it was produced in Germany while the country was split in two by heavy-handed superpowers with nothing but control in mind.

I sort of imagine the four Dapper Dan’s from the album art in a monstrous and dreary factory manipulating huge steam engines, gears and pulleys galore.  Through a fantastic ballet of these machines arise the sounds of Trans-Euro Express.  Suddenly a huge funnel drops from the ceiling to capture the sound waves swirling through the air.  Once collected they drain into a locomotive-sized hydraulic press and  are smooshed out onto black vinyl discs. All of this, of course, is metered by the tick of a 10-meter Tag Heuer clock keeping watch from the front of the beat factory. Phew!

Anyway, from the suppressed, mechanical order of 1977 West Germany emerged chaotic sampling, tweaking, spanking, and milking from any number of groups that still continues to this day. Keen listeners are bound to still find bits and pieces of these tracks all over the acoustic realm. It all started full steam with Afrika Bambaataa’s utterly bodacious track “Planet Rock” that rips the heart out of Kraftwerk’s title track “Trans-Europe Express”. It used a blatant and undeniable copy of the chorus melody, which was a big no-no back in 1982 and led to an out of court settlement between the groups’ representatives. However, I’m sure glad it occurred because without that eletro-pickpocketing “Planet Rock” wouldn’t exist and that’d be a damn shame.

Turn off annotations for the first video (click the little box in the right corner)

There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of samples from this album in other songs.  I’d love to hear from you on which songs you know that sample Kraftwerk’s gem.  Or you can send me a copy of a song you’ve made using bits and pieces of Trans-Europe Express.  Either way I’d love to hear from you on the comment section.

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Download link TEMPORARILY down.

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As a side note, Kraftwerk supplies the music for the title screen on the old SNL skit Sprockets (for anyone who still remembers this bit).  Ist Max Dancishkaner, ja.

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Listen to this album and picture Nelson Mandela sitting in his family room, maybe chillin with a box of Mike and Ikes (but more likely with an obscene bag of Sno Caps) with The Air Up There, starring  the ever-youthful Kevin Bacon, rollin on the TV.  He’s not rockin the DVD but a Blu Ray disc because Nelson is a stickler for quality and needs to see the minute detail of every sweat bead glistening from Kev’s furrowed brow.  Understand that Nelson has his doubts about Kevin Bacon–he’s always questioning his motives.  It’s an internal conflict that rocks him to the core at each of his daily 8 o’clock viewings.  Was it a mistake to unleash the Shake and Bac on an unsuspecting people?  Nelson will never come to terms with the ramifications of introducing such raw, untamed power to the continent.

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Download Paul Simon – Graceland vinyl to MP3

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I want to believe that this album has some sort of hidden magical power that makes everyone come together, forget their differences, and live harmoniously in a 1000 year reign of peace and understanding. I’d like to think that if I hooked up a sound system consisting of speaker horn loaded conch shells to the roof of my house in Over-the-Rhine and blared What’s Going On throughout the neighborhood that everyone would put down their serial number-tampered handguns and my neighbor would stop selling heroine to creepy assholes from Northern Kentucky in ratty Saturns. Maybe pregnant ladies wouldn’t get shot, loonies would stop throwing rocks through car windows, and Glenn Beck would fall into a volcano. The sweet sounds of Marvin’s voice, carried by his anointed orchestral wings, could shower over us like Manna from heaven and our iniquities would be atoned, trespasses forgotten.

This is really what I think of when I hear this album. I just seems so idealistic from a time when things were very much like they are now: cities in decay, basic necessities like healthcare being denied, and people just not understanding one another. How did we come to this again? It’s only been a wink under 40 years since this album was released.

I’d like to think that we here in Cincinnati are in for what happened to New York City after the 70s. When this album was released in 1971 Times Square was overrun by strip clubs, peep shows, pimps, prostitutes, gangs, drugs, mountains of garbage and general discontent. However, the people of the city realized that Times Square was worth saving and turned their environment around. It wasn’t easy and it took time, along with money, but it was worth saving. I’d like to think that there are still people left in Cincinnati that feel the same way about Downtown and the surrounding areas. There is too much rich history here to just let it recede into the twilight.

But maybe this album can be our shortcut. Maybe a good PA system will work like a magic wand and dissolve the bad mojo coursing through this city. Maybe Marvin is our savior.

Nah, Marvin wasn’t no saint. After all, he was shot to death in the midst of a coke binge while arguing with his pastor papa. There aren’t going to be any miracles.

So we’re gonna have to put Cincy back together by working together, one way or another.

Update: Governor Kasich gives Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and the whole state of Ohio a swift kick in the nuts.

>>>Click here to download What’s Going On at 320 kbps

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I don’t play guitar.  I don’t know the technial aspects of what makes a guitarist great.  However, what I can recognize is when a dude is, how you say, shredding.  And man can Jeff Beck shred.  If anyone checked out my Masayoshi Takanaka post you should definitely check out Wired.  I’m pretty sure Beck is Takanaka’s American half brother.

An undated photograph of Jeff Back at one of his infamous afterparties.

An undated photograph of Jeff Back at one of his infamous afterparties.

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Download Jeff Beck – Wired Here < UPDATED

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Tracklist

1. Led Boots

2. Come Dancing

3. Goodbye Pork Pie Hats

4. Head For Backstage Pass

5. Blue Wind

6. Sophie

7. Play With Me

8. Love Is Green

Also, check out Masayoshi Takanaka – Rainbow Goblins Story (Live at Bukokan) from my earlier post here.

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