Category Archives: GUEST EDITOR

From The Desk Of Negativland: Len Lye

Negativland was asked to be guest editor of MAGNET this week, which poses a challenge to such a large collective of members with extremely disparate tastes and obsessions. Members Peter Conheim and Mark Hosler came forward to share what’s been on their minds lately and, indeed, what’s informed their thoughts and work over the years. The group’s new album is entitled It’s All In Your Head and, being entirely about faith, monotheism and why humans believe in God, comes packaged inside of an actual King James Bible. And while religion and intolerance are posing the biggest and toughest dilemmas facing the world today—well, excepting that climate business—Negativland will focus instead this week on such things as sounds, pictures and books. And the impending death of everything due to digital technology.

LenLye

Peter Conheim: Collage music and collage film have inexorable historical linkages. Film collagists have long gravitated toward using pre-existing music to score their works. And to my mind, the short films by New Zealand-by-way-of-England’s Len Lye (1901-1980) are unequaled for their furious, unbridled energy and almost unbelievably detailed craft. Lye began making films as commissioned “adverts” for the GPO (General Post Office) film unit in the U.K., basically thin excuses for him to invent new paint-on-film and collage techniques, creating totally off-the-wall pieces of avant brilliance for a mass audience. Trade Tattoo is simultaneously an ode to British labor and a gentle reminder to “post early” for prompt delivery of mail, entirely created from discarded outtakes from other GPO documentaries and stunningly synchronized color fields and cutouts dancing across the celluloid surface. It’s impossible to place this 1937 film in historical context, as it’s so entirely of, and ahead of its time. It’s outside of time.

Video after the jump.

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From The Desk Of Negativland: Perrey Kingsley

Negativland was asked to be guest editor of MAGNET this week, which poses a challenge to such a large collective of members with extremely disparate tastes and obsessions. Members Peter Conheim and Mark Hosler came forward to share what’s been on their minds lately and, indeed, what’s informed their thoughts and work over the years. The group’s new album is entitled It’s All In Your Head and, being entirely about faith, monotheism and why humans believe in God, comes packaged inside of an actual King James Bible. And while religion and intolerance are posing the biggest and toughest dilemmas facing the world today—well, excepting that climate business—Negativland will focus instead this week on such things as sounds, pictures and books. And the impending death of everything due to digital technology.

PerreyKingsley

Peter Conheim: Some music is more universal than the Beatles. Perrey And Kingsley‘s 1966 magnum opus LP on Vanguard Records, The In Sound From Way Out!, is the most universally loved record of all time. This record has bound people together. This record delights tots and senior citizens alike. This record cannot be disliked. In fact, in some countries, it’s illegal to express dislike for this record. And it was a huge commercial success for something that is front-loaded with incredibly bizarre-sounding quarter-inch tape loops and impossible-to-quantify noises, amidst the happiest (and yet, least cloying, least saccharine-sounding) pop songs ever written.

Indeed, this writer’s personal connection to this LP goes back to childhood: It was often on the turntable at the Berkeley nursery school I attended, and for my fifth birthday, the kindly teacher from the school presented me with a stereo copy of the album (there’s a mono version, too, in an entirely different and arguably less psychotic mix). But like a fool, I traded the prized LP to my friend, Zak Best, in third grade, for a worn copy of the Beatles’ Help. That was in 1976, and spent literally the next 15 years trying to re-locate it in a pre-internet age. I didn’t know the artists’ name, only the title. Eventually, through an overpriced record collector, I was able to replace it.

Good thing I did, because when first introduced to Mark Gergis, with whom I would found the group Mono Pause/Neung Phak in 1993, the first time he came over to my house we engaged in conversation about records that had influenced us as children. He said—and only said—a version of the following: “There’s an LP I used to listen to as a child that I loved but never had a copy of” and that a mutual friend suggested it might be something I’d have. I walked over to my collection. I pulled out The In Sound From Way Out!, looked him square in the eye, and asked, “Is this the record?” It was.

This duo only made one more LP before splitting up, but its legend was cemented here. Try not to like it.

Video after the jump.

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From The Desk Of Negativland: Peter Bergman

Negativland was asked to be guest editor of MAGNET this week, which poses a challenge to such a large collective of members with extremely disparate tastes and obsessions. Members Peter Conheim and Mark Hosler came forward to share what’s been on their minds lately and, indeed, what’s informed their thoughts and work over the years. The group’s new album is entitled It’s All In Your Head and, being entirely about faith, monotheism and why humans believe in God, comes packaged inside of an actual King James Bible. And while religion and intolerance are posing the biggest and toughest dilemmas facing the world today—well, excepting that climate business—Negativland will focus instead this week on such things as sounds, pictures and books. And the impending death of everything due to digital technology.

PeterBergman

Peter Conheim: The world lost a human in 2012 without whom Negativland’s Over The Edge radio program would likely have never existed: Peter Bergman of Firesign Theatre. Firesign wasn’t just the group responsible for so many of your parents’ LPs, which they’d play after you went to bed and they got stoned, they were also pioneers of freely improvised radio, starting out on Bergman’s Radio Free Oz program in Los Angeles in 1966 and eventually developing into a fearsome foursome of dada hilarity. There’s no better place to trip face-first into Firesign than its mammoth Duke Of Madness Motors book, which comes with 80 hours of archival recordings from its golden years. Negativland was honored to be able to co-release the project several years ago.

Video after the jump.

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From The Desk Of Negativland: Millenniata

Negativland was asked to be guest editor of MAGNET this week, which poses a challenge to such a large collective of members with extremely disparate tastes and obsessions. Members Peter Conheim and Mark Hosler came forward to share what’s been on their minds lately and, indeed, what’s informed their thoughts and work over the years. The group’s new album is entitled It’s All In Your Head and, being entirely about faith, monotheism and why humans believe in God, comes packaged inside of an actual King James Bible. And while religion and intolerance are posing the biggest and toughest dilemmas facing the world today—well, excepting that climate business—Negativland will focus instead this week on such things as sounds, pictures and books. And the impending death of everything due to digital technology.

Millenniata

Peter Conheim: Most of us take the promise of digital storage for granted. The overwhelming majority of “documented actions” in our day-to-day lives utilize digital technology. We take entirely digital photographs, make entirely digital recordings. We type into machines that capture our words digitally. We speak into phones that convert our analog voicings to low-bit-rate digital streams. And it’s all temporary. It’s all vapor. Every piece of digital media we use is a ticking time bomb, often intrinsically linked to a million other ticking time bombs. And just one of the results of that instability is: Art and culture may very well take a serious hit in a very short span of time. There’s a reason why the Library of Congress still cuts actual vinyl LPs of nearly every sound added to their library: They don’t just sit around and die (to quote a line from one of the greatest movies ever, 1976′s Massacre At Central High).

But hard drives do. Indeed, every currently known digital storage media has a preposterously short shelf life. And when digital fails, it fails big … you can’t “bake” a DAT tape in a dehydrator for two hours and make it perfectly playable like you can with a sticky analog tape. You can pay a data-recovery company upwards of $1,000 to rescue your hard drive that started making “a funny grinding noise” before it stopped reading only three years after purchase, but the backup they give you is … another hard drive. Hard drives develop “stiction” from non-use, too. Film and sound archives the world over are desperately trying to figure out where the manpower will come from to make constant redundant backups of massive amounts of data, all the while hoping that whichever digital medium they choose actually can be read by whatever future technology they adopt in the name of “upgrades” and “progress.”

A company called Millenniata has an optical disc product called M-Disc, which they claim has a lifespan of “1,000 years,” owing to its entirely new and different physical structure, essentially resembling stone. That’s what they say. But, beyond that innovation, there are very few glimmers of hope on the horizon for consumers or archives alike, now that the transition away from analog recording and record keeping is nearly total and complete. As noted anti-fascist researcher Dave Emory says, “food for thought, and grounds for further research.” Read more here.

Video after the jump.

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From The Desk Of Negativland: An Intro

Negativland was asked to be guest editor of MAGNET this week, which poses a challenge to such a large collective of members with extremely disparate tastes and obsessions. Members Peter Conheim and Mark Hosler came forward to share what’s been on their minds lately and, indeed, what’s informed their thoughts and work over the years. The group’s new album is entitled It’s All In Your Head and, being entirely about faith, monotheism and why humans believe in God, comes packaged inside of an actual King James Bible. And while religion and intolerance are posing the biggest and toughest dilemmas facing the world today—well, excepting that climate business—Negativland will focus instead this week on such things as sounds, pictures and books. And the impending death of everything due to digital technology.

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From The Desk Of The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe: The Reverberation Appreciation Society, Part 2

From The Desk Of The Brian Jonestown Massacre‘s Anton Newcombe: “I was asked to be a guest editor for MAGNET, one of the few publications I still respect since it was founded, so kudos for that. I was told I could write about anything in the world that interests me. So I am going to focus on the rebirth of the do-it-yourself music labels. Just like me and my own label, A Recordings, they have a strong belief system about releasing vinyl. I wanted to present seven labels and what they are up to right now. My questions were very simple: Who are you, what made you want to buck the trends, and what inspired you to release physical products. Enjoy.”

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Newcombe: The video for Joel Gion’s “Yes.”

Rob Fitzpatrick: We haven’t released many records; it’s mainly acts that we’ve booked and met at Austin Psych Fest, and we release things as they come to us—we’re not actively doing A&R. One of our latest releases is the debut LP from the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Joel Gion. We’ve also been really limited by our tiny team—the label and festival are run by just a few people, so there’s a danger of taking on too much—and everything suffers, including the music and artists, which is the exact opposite of what our intent is. So we just work with a few artists for now, hoping to bring more folks on so we can grow and do it right.

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From The Desk Of The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe: The Reverberation Appreciation Society, Part 1

From The Desk Of The Brian Jonestown Massacre‘s Anton Newcombe: “I was asked to be a guest editor for MAGNET, one of the few publications I still respect since it was founded, so kudos for that. I was told I could write about anything in the world that interests me. So I am going to focus on the rebirth of the do-it-yourself music labels. Just like me and my own label, A Recordings, they have a strong belief system about releasing vinyl. I wanted to present seven labels and what they are up to right now. My questions were very simple: Who are you, what made you want to buck the trends, and what inspired you to release physical products. Enjoy.”

Reverbveration

Newcombe: The Reverberation Appreciation Society …

Rob Fitzpatrick: The Reverberation Appreciation Society started releasing records back in 2010, with the start of Christian Bland from the Black Angels first solo record. I noticed on music-sharing sites that a lot of people were already downloading his music for free, so I suggested that we give it a proper release. Christian’s third LP is our 20th release as a label. Because of the way things started, right off the bat we were thinking about limited-edition physical product, because the music was already out there for free digitally.

Christian Bland & The Revelators’ “The Unseen Green Obscene” video after the jump.

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From The Desk Of The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe: Sonic Cathedral Records, Part 2

From The Desk Of The Brian Jonestown Massacre‘s Anton Newcombe: “I was asked to be a guest editor for MAGNET, one of the few publications I still respect since it was founded, so kudos for that. I was told I could write about anything in the world that interests me. So I am going to focus on the rebirth of the do-it-yourself music labels. Just like me and my own label, A Recordings, they have a strong belief system about releasing vinyl. I wanted to present seven labels and what they are up to right now. My questions were very simple: Who are you, what made you want to buck the trends, and what inspired you to release physical products. Enjoy.”

ChevalSombre

Newcombe: More Sonic Cathedral Records …

Nathaniel Cramp: Debates about royalties aside, I can appreciate why people use Spotify, iTunes, etc., for convenience, but I can pretty much remember where I bought every one of my records—no one will reminisce in years to come about where they were when they first downloaded or streamed an album. For me, releasing records on vinyl, or even tapes, is not about romanticising an essentially outdated format, or fetishising vinyl in terms of sound quality; it’s about trying to preserve that tangible, physical connection to the music. The life—and the soul—of the music can be found there.

All the records I release are special to me, but I am especially fond of this 12-inch of remixes of songs from Cheval Sombre‘s Mad Love album that I put out a couple years ago. A beautiful record that came in the most incredible artwork by Sharon Lock. For this EP, we took the concepts of the original and remixed everything—the Mad Love handwriting, based on the heartbreaking letters of psychiatric patient Emma Hauck were made into an infinite spiral, while the increasingly transparent layers of the original were inverted. We now have a see-through sleeve made of simulator paper and printed with gold, with a beautiful purple vinyl record showing through. The music is rather good, too—remixes by Justin Robertson, the time and space machine and Tom Furse from the horrors—and the whole package, which is no doubt more expensive than the original “Blue Monday” 12-inch, is a beautiful work of art. The time and effort all totally worthwhile; a true labour of (mad) love.

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From The Desk Of The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe: Sonic Cathedral Records, Part 1

From The Desk Of The Brian Jonestown Massacre‘s Anton Newcombe: “I was asked to be a guest editor for MAGNET, one of the few publications I still respect since it was founded, so kudos for that. I was told I could write about anything in the world that interests me. So I am going to focus on the rebirth of the do-it-yourself music labels. Just like me and my own label, A Recordings, they have a strong belief system about releasing vinyl. I wanted to present seven labels and what they are up to right now. My questions were very simple: Who are you, what made you want to buck the trends, and what inspired you to release physical products. Enjoy.”

SonicCathedral

Newcombe: So next up it’s back over to London, where I run my label from, where there are great record stores like Sister Ray and Rough Trade, loads of bands and this man, Nat Cramp of Sonic Cathedral. I’m loving his style so let me let him tell you what he’s about.

Cramp: When I started Sonic Cathedral, it was always going to be based around vinyl; it’s all I know. I’ve always been a fan of vinyl and physical releases in general. I like to have something to I can hold and look at, with artwork and sleeve notes and runout groove messages—it’s like a whole little world created around a record. 

Gulp’s “Vast Space” after the jump.

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From The Desk Of The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe: PNKSLM Recordings, Part 2

From The Desk Of The Brian Jonestown Massacre‘s Anton Newcombe: “I was asked to be a guest editor for MAGNET, one of the few publications I still respect since it was founded, so kudos for that. I was told I could write about anything in the world that interests me. So I am going to focus on the rebirth of the do-it-yourself music labels. Just like me and my own label, A Recordings, they have a strong belief system about releasing vinyl. I wanted to present seven labels and what they are up to right now. My questions were very simple: Who are you, what made you want to buck the trends, and what inspired you to release physical products. Enjoy.”

YouTube Preview Image

Newcombe: The video for Les Big Byrd’s “Back To Bargamossen.”

Luke Reilly:  I do actually still do a few digital releases for music I come across that I really love, but don’t have the time or money to get it out on vinyl yet. That’s actually worked out nicely, though; all the bands I’ve released digital stuff have become exposed to much bigger audiences. But the focus is vinyl for sure, and now things are getting bigger hopefully I’ll be able to do everything on vinyl. Due to being self-financed, we have to do really short limited runs on the vinyl-, usually between 250-500 copies, which is nice as people are starting to just trust the label and buy our records because of the PNKSLM name, even without hearing the music, which is a nice feeling. I fucking love Les Big Byrd. Key players in the “PNKSLM family” here in Stockholm. I also had a lot of fun doing my guest lead guitar on “Back To Bargamoossen” on their tour with BJM this summer!!

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