Saturday, January 26, 2008

Pluck The Vibrating Strings; Since Fate Strikes Down The String Man!

Carl Orff was born in Munich, Germany and came from a Bavarian family that was very active in the German military. His father's regimental band supposedly had often played the compositions of young Orff.

Orff's association with the Nazi party has been alleged, but never conclusively established. His Carmina Burana was hugely popular in Nazi Germany after its premiere in Frankfurt in 1937, receiving numerous performances. But the composition with its unfamiliar rhythms was also denounced with racist taunts. He was one of the few German composers under the Nazi regime who responded to the official call to write new music for A Midsummer Night's Dream after the music of Felix Mendelssohn had been banned — others refused to cooperate in this. But Orff had already composed music for this play as early as 1917 and 1927, long before this was a favour for the Nazi government.

Orff is most known for Carmina Burana (1937), a "scenic cantata". It is the first of a trilogy that also includes Catulli Carmina and Trionfo di Afrodite. Carmina Burana reflected his interest in medieval German poetry. Together the trilogy is called Trionfi, or "triumphs". The composer described it as the celebration of the triumph of the human spirit through sexual and holistic balance. The work was based on thirteenth-century poetry found in a manuscript dubbed the Codex latinus monacensis found in a Bavarian monastery in 1803 and written by the Goliards; this collection is also known as Carmina Burana. While "modern" in some of his compositional techniques, Orff was able to capture the spirit of the medieval period in this trilogy, with infectious rhythms and easy tonalities. The medieval poems, written in an early form of German and Latin, are often racy, but without descending into smut.

Naïve is industrial rock group KMFDM's fifth album, released in 1990. It is out of print due to copyright infringement: the seventh track, Liebeslied (Unedited), used unauthorized samples from a recording of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana (O Fortuna). A common misbelief is that the album was pulled immediately after its release; in actuality, it had been out for three years before it was recalled. Copies today are rare and considered collector's items, often fetching high prices at auction. The album was recorded in Hamburg, Germany.


All of the other tracks on the album, except for the original mixes of "Die Now-Live Later" and "Go to Hell" were subsequently available on other discs. The album was re-released as Naïve/Hell to Go, with some songs remixed, in 1994.

A digitally remastered reissue of Naïve was released on November 21, 2006, along with Money and Angst. It was reissued with an edited version of the track "Liebeslied" without the offending sample. It also features the remixes that initially appeared on 1994's Naïve/Hell to Go album.

KMFDM - Liebeslied (Live 1992)

The remastered version of "Liebeslied", according to the CD booklet, is "Different from the original only in that the 'O Fortuna' samples have been removed. No other elements of the song have been altered". However, if you compare the original version to the reissued edit, the original is around 30 seconds longer. This is due to the sections of the song where the 'O Fortuna' samples should be being shortened.

Also, if you listen very carefully to the reissued version of Liebeslied, you can just about hear the reminants of the 'O Fortuna' sample, just before the first chorus (around the 1:10 mark).

This album is arguably KMFDM's most "metal" album. Also on Naive is "Godlike", which has been reinterpreted a lot, but this is their most aggressive version, quite possibly containing a riff borrowed from Slayer's Angel of Death .

On-again-off-again KMFDM contributor and core member Raymond Watts put out a solo album under the moniker PIG in 1988, one year before Naive was recorded, called A Poke in the Eye... With A Sharp Stick, which also happened to be out of print (reissued in Japan only in 1998 with different cover) for reasons that don't seem to have anything to do with Carl Orff, although you'll find his sample as well as one possibly of Metallica on the first track of the album.

PIG - It Tolls For Thee (Pig's Breath)(LP)

PIG - Shit For Brains

PIG - Poke In The Eye Search on EBAY

Therion - O Fortuna

*Note: The title of this blog is based off of a misspelling I found while searching for and within the lyrics to O Fortuna. I found it to be poigniant, so no knit-picking is necessary for that portion*

Thursday, January 24, 2008

In Memory of Clayton Counts

According to his website, Clayton Counts has been dead since Christmas Eve. His Wiki Page says that the death has not been verified. In any case, Clayton is/was a gracious fellow. He was a very intelligent guy, without the pseudo-intellectual loftiness that often comes along with it, and a sharp, dark sense of humor to boot. He could talk about chemistry and pizza in the same unassuming demeanor. He and I weren't the most regular of friends, but we were in regular correspondence since I met him in 2004.

In our email exchanges, I eventually put him on a bill for a show I was playing at Hotti Biscotti, a quaint experimental venue. Knowing I was fond of the music on his website that I was aware of, I was still weary about the laptop ambience that might easily get squelched by the noise in the small bar. I met him there and we chatted about music, approaches to executing such, and various secret ideas he had, for practically the entire nite. Contrary to my concerns, he played a spiraling enclave of electronic blips, bloops, and farts that eventually mutated and waddled into a rabid, chaotic interchange; apparently without predictable use of distortions, that I can only describe as this:

... Or maybe by saying that it was more persistently cacaphonous, but in the same vein as this ColoringBook track

Clayton and I continuted to hang out a little here and there. Eventually, due to his court trouble at the time (see Chicago Reader article PDF in aforementioned Wikipedia page titled "Last Night A DJ Called Me A Whining Little Bitch"), and since I had an album in the works, that I was in the market for getting mastered, he agreed to do it for a modest sum to supplement his court expenses. It also allowed for a lot of telephone conversations and meetings at bars or coffee shops that were not only productive but also littered with mental notes for me to take home about musicians I'd never heard of. He once said that my music sounded, in an off-the-wall way, similar to Les Baxter, and now that I've long since found out who that is, I consider it a great compliment.

Les Baxter - Hogin Machine

That album was distributed in an edition of 40 CDR's, then taken back to the drawing board to be radically refinished. The following track doesn't sound anything like Les Baxter, but it was mastered by Clayton from a deliberately peaked recording with a focus on getting fullness and stereo activity out of basically mono material. It's essentially a recording of a glitch in my sequencer that happens when I try to make it do too much at once. It wrangles the sounds that you're working on into mush if it's the right material/if you rub it right.

Mister Fuckhead - 3.31 (deleted album version)

I had Clayton on my radio show last fall to do an interview, live performance, and guest DJ set. You can nab the live set Here. The interview amounts to over an hour at least, and the mic that Clayton was speaking into was faulty, so it will take some cleaning up before I post it. You should check back for that, I will have it up eventually.

Clayton also contributed to WFMU's 365 Days Project, here are the days he featured something:







Clayton Counts - Fuck EMI

Anyone who knows anything about Clayton knows about The Beachles, but if you don't, here's the Wikipedia link regarding the first Beachles album. The Beachles' - Sgt. Petsound's Lonely Hearts Club Band is commonly known as a mash-up album, track for track, of The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Clayton never really seemed to agree about it being hapharzardly placed into the category of "mash-up", and never really explained why he wanted to do the album other than to be clear that it was not to antagonize anyone. I would just add that I think it's quite a clever premise and surely wasn't chosen half-heartedly. For one, Pet Sounds was said to be inspired by The Beatles' Rubber Soul, and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was supposedly a reaction to Pet Sounds. Sgt. Peppers also had more than a little collage work on the cover, which makes it all the more fitting, thematically, to use their music as a launch pad to make something else.

Sgt. Petsound's Lonely Hearts Club Band (2006)

The way that The Pet Sounds Sessions was compiled by the Beach Boys' own Brian Wilson almost asks for it, and listening to the original SMiLE bootlegs, I'd say that Brian and Co. might have liked The Beachles. I don't know what all the fuss was about.

Not only that, and this might be a stretch, but Harry Nilsson was heavily inspired by The Beatles. After John Lennon died, Nilsson neglected to do another album, and instead devoted the rest of his life to Gun Control. His early albums were most obviously influenced by The Beatles, namely Aerial Ballet and Pandemonium Shadow Show. When it came time for said albums to be reissued, Harry took material from both of the albums and made one single album, Aerial Pandemonium Ballet, which was probably, inadvertently, the world's first mash-up album; latently influenced by The Beatles. Coincidentally, RCA released what is essentially a mash-up/medley of Nilsson's previous material called Scatalogue, intended to promote those albums by him.

But the Beachles record isn't just a mash-up record. It used primarily source material to create something new. It's not as strict, track for track, as has been implied. There's plain out soundscapes on there, and The Super Mario Brothers Theme too, among other things.

Clayton has posted some of the second Beachles album, and his friends are gradually posting things related to him on his website. He said that projects he works on always come in 3's, so in any case, I will be checking his website for updates of varying importance in the days to come.

Handy links for finding used products:

Beach Boys Pet Sounds on EBay

Beatles Sgt. Pepper search on EBay

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Download Two Slaps and Delirious Insomniac Radio Shows from 01/08/08

HERE is the link to playlists from 01/08/08 for both of the radio shows I do at WLUW. You will find 4 portions from each show to download there. The Freeform show stands out particularly because I was jabbering and awkward more than I've ever been on air. I don't know what it is, lately the words have been coming out like gillopies. And to add to that, a caller kept simply hitting a single button over and over, as he/she has done before, so I proposed on air that I would give away tickets to a show Eric Lab Rat and DJ Demchuk do every month. Demchuk and I used to cohost it when it was called The Freeform Shuffle, so I had a bit of leverage. One could win by calling me and playing "Mary Had A Little Lamb" with the keypad over the phone, to outdo the prank caller. Someone did succeed, and hung up after they were done.

There was a storm last night that caused a lot of damage, derailed a train full of toxic chemicals in town that needed to be evacuated, and knocked out some power. In San Fransisco they had 80mph winds and 100,000 people out of power.

My girlfriend's cat was tearing around my apartment all day, dangerously jumping at invisible things, landing face first into my desk etc, and when I came home, it had taken many of my black socks out of my closet to make them into some kind of circular nest in front of my refrigerator.

As a bonus, a link to this was sent to us without explanation by a listener in an instant message: