September 24, 2012

20,000 Vinyl LPs 11: Pink Floyd ~ The Division Bell LP

The blue vinyl Division Bell LP
photo by Styrous®

I started the Vinyl LP series because I have over 20,000 albums I am selling; each blog entry is about an album from my collection. Inquire for more information.


This is a follow up to the blog article I did:
20,000 Vinyl LPs 8: Pink Floyd ~ The Division Bell CD).

I just could not ignore the vinyl version of the album.

LPs 8 and this article demonstrate the advantage LPs had over CDs as far as packaging goes. The size of a record album compared to a CD made it a thing to be taken more seriously. The design and thinking that went in to designing LP albums mostly ended with the advent of the CD. What a loss. There are a few exceptions, The Division Bell CD one of them. The packaging with it's blue glass bell shows the extremes one has to go to to match what was once done in the vinyl record format.

I have all the details for the music, performers, etc. in the previous Pink Floyd's Division Bell article, so I'm just putting images in this one as they speak for themselves.

One bit of trivia, the name Pink Floyd was a combination of the names of two great bluesmen, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. (The old joke went that the band could have ended up as Anderson Council – until a tribute band took the name.)

Enjoy, Styrous®

(click on any image to see slideshow)
The Division Bell gatefold
Photography: Tony May, Rubert Truman 
and Stephen Piotrowski
Cover Design: Storm Thorgerson
Sculptures by Aden Hynes and John Robertson 
from drawings by Keith Breeden
Graphics: Peter Curzon, with Ian Wright

Illustrations by John Whitely and Sally Norris
photo of The Division Bell gatefold by Styrous®

The Division Bell gatefold  interior
 photo of The Division Bell gatefold interior by Styrous®

The Division Bell front cover
Photography: Tony May, Rubert Truman 
and Stephen Piotrowski
photo of The Division Bell cover by Styrous®

The Division Bell back cover
Photography: Tony May, Rubert Truman 
and Stephen Piotrowski
 photo of The Division Bell back cover by Styrous®

The Division Bell interor (right)
Photography: Tony May, Rubert Truman 
and Stephen Piotrowski
 photo of The Division Bell interior by Styrous®

The Division Bell interor (left)
 Graphics: Peter Curzon, with Ian Wright

Illustrations by John Whitely and Sally Norris
  photo of The Division Bell interior by Styrous®

The Division Bell record sleeve front
  photo by Styrous®

The Division Bell record sleeve back
  photo by Styrous®

Division Bell blue vinyl record
photo by Styrous®

Division Bell blue vinyl record kite side
photo by Styrous®

Division Bell blue vinyl record Bear side
photo by Styrous®



With thanks to: Polly Samson, Nick Laird-Clowes, Douglas Adams, Anthony Moore, Stephen Hawking

Release Information: Limited edition on blue vinyl. This version of the album is shorter than the CD version, as the following songs have been edited in length to allow the album to fit on an LP: Poles Apart, Marooned, Wearing the Inside Out, Coming Back to Life, Lost for Words, and High Hopes.

Description: Gatefold cover.
Front Cover: Two faces facing each other. Title. Photo taken at dawn with the lights on (UK version has daytime photo on the cover)
Back Cover: Two faces facing each other. Song listing. Bar code.
Inside Cover: Various pictures. Two faces facing each other.
Spine: Title. Catalog number.
Inner Sleeve: Art background with lyrics and credits.
Vinyl Color: Blue.
Labels: Columbia picture labels.
Text around the bottom edge of label starts at 8 o'clock and says:

C 64200/AL 64200/© 1994 Pink Floyd Music (1987) Ltd. under exclusive license to Sony Music Entertainment Inc./P 1994 Sony Music Entertainment Inc.

Only this color blue (no other kind of blue or any other colors) is genuine.

A more limited black vinyl was also released with the same information as above, but with a slighty different matrix number in the run-out groove.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode: 0 7464-64200-1 0
  • Matrix / Runout (Side A Run-Out Groove): PAL 64200-1B
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B Run-Out Groove): PBL 64200-1B

The entire collection is for sale. Interested? Contact Styrous®



September 22, 2012

45 RPMs 1: Big Black ~ Bulldozer

photo of poster by Styrous®
 (click on any image to see larger size)

This is an extention of my 20,000 Vinyl LPs 10 series. I have a collection of over 20,000 LP albums I am selling; each blog entry of the series is about an album from my collection. For more info, send an email to me, not a comment.

~ ~ ~
This blog entry focues mostly about the packaging for Bulldozer. The packing is like nothing ever issued before or since.

Bulldozer is the second EP, released in 1983, by Chicago post-hardcore punk rock band, Big Black. Only the first 200 copies were issued with a galvanized sheet metal album cover and acid etched by the band in tribute to Public Image Ltd.'s Metal Box album (see link below).     

photo of galvanized album cover by Styrous®

 photo of galvanized album cover by Styrous®

The opening for the song Cables nicely reflects the audio equivalent of twanging metal. You can hear it on YouTube. A great piece of punk/new wave.

The packaging for Bulldozer was pretty elaborate; not only was the cover of galvanized sheet metal, there was a brilliant red 12" x 12" poster (shown above and below).

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

 ad sheet
photo by Styrous®

 photo by Styrous®

The Pigeon Kill can be heard on YouTube 
I'm a Mess can be heard on YouTube 

photo by Styrous®

Texas can be heard on YouTube
Seth can be heard on YouTube 

There is a huge 25" x 35" poster folded up in the album

poster photo by Shawn Spencer
for the Marion, Indiana, Chronicle-Tribune
photo of poster by Styrous®

 Didn't they love doing fancy stuff with albums back then?

Bulldozer lineup:

Steve Albini - klang guitars, vocals
Pat Byrne  (from Urge Overkill) - drums
Jeff Pezzati (from Naked Raygun) - bass, stairwell snare
Santiago Durango (from the Interceptors) - smash quitar
Roland (actually a drum machine) - roland

A little history:

Steve Albini organized Big Black in 1981 while at Northwestern University. He taught himself to play bass guitar in 1979 during his senior year while recuperating from a broken leg after being struck by a car while his was on his motorcycle.

Albini named his new musical project Big Black, calling the moniker "just sort of a reduction of the concept of a large, scary, ominous figure. All the historical images of fear and all the things that kids are afraid of are all big and black, basically." He used the Lungs tape to try to enlist other musicians to the project, briefly recruiting Minor Threat guitarist Lyle Preslar who was attending Northwestern, but the two proved incompatible as musicians. Albini passed Lungs on to John Babbin of the small local label Ruthless Records, who released 1,500 copies of the EP in December 1982 with random objects such as dollar bills, used condoms, photographs of Bruce Lee, and bloody pieces of paper thrown into the insert.

In early 1983 Albini met Naked Raygun singer Jeff Pezzati through mutual friends and convinced him to play bass guitar with Big Black. Pezzati recalled that Albini "knew a heck of a lot about, right from the start, how to release a record and get the word out that you have a record", and that "He jumped at the chance to have a band play his stuff." The two practiced in Pezzati's basement, and one day Naked Raygun guitarist Santiago Durango came downstairs and asked to play along. The trio clicked as a unit, Durango's ability to rework arrangements and tweak sounds helping to refine Albini's song ideas. According to Albini, "He ended up being absolutely crucial to Big Black."

Albini got small local label Fever Records to finance the next Big Black EP, bringing in drummer Pat Byrne of Urge Overkill to play on the sessions as accompaniment to the drum machine, which they dubbed "Roland" for album credits. Albini achieved a signature "clanky" sound with his guitar (beautifully demonstrated in the song, "Cables") by using metal guitar picks notched with sheet metal clips, creating the effect of two guitar picks at once.

Many of the EP's lyrics depicted scenarios drawn from Albini's midwest upbringing, such as "Cables", which described the slaughtering of cows at a Montana abattoir, and "Pigeon Kill", about a rural Indiana town that dealt with an overpopulation of pigeons by feeding them poisoned corn.

There is a film about the early days of Chicago’s rock underground, You Weren't There (and Neither Was I)

Songs from Bulldozer that can be heard on YouTube:

PIL (Public Image Ltd.) ~ Metal Box 

Thanks to Big Black for the unique, fun packaging.  

The entire collection is for sale. Interested? Contact Styrous®

Styrous®, September 22, 2012



September 18, 2012

20,000 Vinyl LPs 10: Jack Scott and the birth of Stereo Pt. 2

I started the Vinyl LP series because I have over 20,000 albums I am selling; each blog entry of the series is about an album from my collection. Inquire for more info.

~ ~ ~

(This is a continuation from 20,000 Vinyl LPs 10: Jack Scott and the birth of Stereo Pt 1)
(There is also an update in 20,000 Vinyl LPs 19: Jack Scott and the birth of Stereo Pt. 3 )

The Stereophonic Sound process was a new and revolutionary concept in recorded music in 1958. It was highly touted and the album I have by Jack Scott is a good example. It has the word "Stereo" prominently displayed in BIG, black flocked letters to emphasize this. It was my first stereo album.

(click on any image to see larger size)
photo of flocked 'Stereo' lettering by Styrous®

photo of flocked 'Stereo' lettering by Styrous®

Stereo WAS something special!

The word stereophonic derives from the Greek "στερεός" (stereos), "firm, solid"[2] + "φωνή" (phōnē), "sound, tone, voice"[3] and it was coined in 1927 by Western Electric, by analogy with the word "stereoscopic".

Clément Ader demonstrated the first two-channel audio system in Paris in 1881, with a series of telephone transmitters connected from the stage of the Paris Opera to a suite of rooms at the Paris Electrical Exhibition, where listeners could hear a live transmission of performances through receivers for each ear.

In 1931, Alan Blumlein (considered one of the most significant engineers and inventors of his time) developed at EMI (Electric and Musical Industries, Ltd.) and, in 1933, patented stereo records, stereo films, and also surround sound. EMI was formed in March 1931 by the merger of the Columbia Graphophone Company and the Gramophone Company, with its "His Master's Voice" record label. Both firms had a history extending back to the origins of recorded sound.

Harvey Fletcher of Bell Laboratories investigated techniques for stereophonic recording and reproduction. One of the techniques investigated was the "wall of sound", which used an enormous array of microphones hung in a line across the front of an orchestra. Up to 80 microphones were used, and each fed a corresponding loudspeaker, placed in an identical position, in a separate listening room. Several stereophonic test recordings, using two microphones connected to two styli cutting two separate grooves on the same wax disc, were made with Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra at Philadelphia's Academy of Music in March 1932. The first (made on March 12, 1932), of Alexander Scriabin's Prometheus: Poem of Fire, is the earliest known surviving "intentional" stereo recording.

"Accidental" stereophonic recordings from these years also exist. On some occasions, RCA Victor used two microphones, two amplifiers and two recording lathes to make two simultaneous but completely separate recordings of a performance. Although this may have been done to compare the results obtained with different microphones or other technical variations, the reasons for this procedure have not been definitely established. Normally, only one of the resulting pair of recordings was released, but the other-channel recording was sometimes used for a foreign issue or survived in the form of a test pressing. When such pairs of recordings have been located and matched up, authentic stereophonic sound has been recovered, its character and degree of spatial accuracy dependent on the fortuitous placement of the two microphones and the accurate synchronization of the two recordings.

Recovered stereophonic versions of two recordings made in February 1932 by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra have been issued on LP and CD under the title Stereo Reflections in Ellington and are also included in the 22-CD set The Duke Ellington Centennial Edition.

There were Carnegie Hall demonstrations by Bell Laboratories on April 9 and 10, 1940, with recordings that had been made by the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Leopold Stokowski, who was always interested in sound reproduction technology. Stokowski personally participated in the "enhancement" of the sound. The demonstration held the audience "spellbound, and at times not a little terrified", according to one report. Sergei Rachmaninoff, who was present at the demonstration, commented that it was "marvellous" but "somehow unmusical because of the loudness." "Take that Pictures at an Exhibition", he said. "I didn't know what it was until they got well into the piece. Too much 'enhancing', too much Stokowski." (I love that!!) An aside, Emerson, Lake and Palmer recorded an album entitled, Pictures At an Exhibition, in 1971. It was a live recording of a rock version of the music suite by Modest Mussorgsky. (I see the potential for another blog entry.)

In 1952, Emory Cook (1913–2002), who already had become famous by designing new feedback disk-cutter heads to improve sound from tape to vinyl, developed a "binaural" record. This record consisted of two separate channels, cut into two separate grooves running next to each other. Each groove needed a needle, and each needle was connected to a separate amplifier and speaker. This setup was intended to give a demonstration at a New York audio fair of Cook's cutter heads rather than to sell the record; but soon afterward, the demand for such recordings and the equipment to play it grew, and Cook Records began to produce such records commercially. Cook recorded a vast array of sounds, ranging from railroad sounds to thunderstorms. By 1953, Cook had a catalog of about 25 stereo records for sale to audiophiles. (I have several of these recordings so I see an article on these in the offing.)

In 1954, Concertapes and RCA Victor, among others, began releasing stereophonic recordings on two-track prerecorded reel-to-reel magnetic tape. Audiophiles bought them, and stereophonic sound came to at least some living rooms. Stereo recording became widespread in the music business by the 3rd quarter of 1957. (I have many of these reel-to-reel tapes so perhaps that is another new blog article on the horizon.)

Audio Fidelity Records released the first mass-produced stereophonic disc in November 1957. They introduced them to the public on December 13, 1957 at the Times Auditorium in New York City. (I have many of their records as well. Lordy, I'm going to be busy for quite a while.)

After the introduction, the other spur to the popularity of stereo discs was the reduction in price of a stereo magnetic cartridge, for playing the disks, from $250 to $29.95 in June 1958. (Still pricey by 1950's standards; to give some kind of reference point, $29.95 was more than my portion of the monthly rent I split with two other guys with whom I shared a five-room apartment on Nob Hill. Yep, we paid $75 a month; $25 went a LONG way back then. You can't even think about renting a one-room studio on Nob Hill these days for under $2,000.)

The first four mass-produced stereophonic discs available to the buying public were released in March, 1958:

 – Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra (AFSD 5849) and 
 – Marching Along with the Dukes of Dixieland Volume 3 (AFSD 5851). 

By the end of March, the company had four more stereo LPs available (with the exception of the Lionel Hampton album, I have them all; ok, one more blog entry).

By 1968, the major record labels stopped making monaural discs.

also see:
20,000 Vinyl LPs 10: Jack Scott and the birth of Stereo Pt 1

There is an update on this subject in
20,000 Vinyl LPs 19: Jack Scott and the birth of Stereo Pt. 3

Jack Scott website

The entire collection is for sale. Interested? Contact Styrous®

Styrous® ~ September 18, 2012


September 16, 2012

20,000 Vinyl LPs 9: Jack Scott and the birth of Stereo Pt. 1

photo of album cover by Styrous®
(click on any image to see larger size)

I started the Vinyl LP series because I have over 20,000 albums I am selling; each blog entry of the series is about an album from my collection. Inquire for more info.

~ ~ ~

I don't recall where, when or with whom I first heard a stereo recording but I recall I was blown away and hooked. It was recorded music as I'd never heard it before. I was astounded!

I remember the first stereo album I bought. It was by Jack Scott who was born Giovanni Domenico Scafone Jr., on January 24, 1936, in Canada. I like the name, G. D. Scafone, Jr., however, in those days an ethnic name didn't work if you wanted to be an established entertainment profile and names had to be "Americanized" to make a person palatable to American "taste", whatever that was or even now is.

photo of album cover back by Styrous®

Scott sang rock-a-billy in a lightly twangy, tenor (slightly on on the baritone side at times) type of voice that made teen-aged girls swoon. Of course, teen-aged girls did that a lot in the fifties (well, they did it in the forties, and the sixties, so I guess not much was different). Every guy felt super cool when he sang, The Way I Walk (YouTube).

I remember dancing with a lovely girl named Ann to his slow, sexy ballad, "My True Love" (YouTube), and getting all hot 'n horny (me, not her, or so I though at the time). I remember desperately wanting, but her not giving in; proper girls didn't do that in the 50's so I never forced it (it would be another 10 years before the sexual revolution would relieve me of my restrictions). To this day I can still remember hearing Jack's smooth, sexy voice crooning the lyrics while we bumped and rubbed against each other as we danced and my barometer rose (I got that expression from Mark Thompson, a local weatherman in SF decades ago; he was signing photos of himself somewhere and on everyone's photo he wrote, "May your barometer always rise.", I thought it was a great euphemism). 

I ran into Ann a decade or so later and she had become a beautiful, loving mother to a delightful girl. I met her husband and got to know them over a period of time. During that time, when we were alone once, Ann told me that all those years ago she'd almost given in several times, "If you'd only pushed a little harder" (oh, my, isn't life grand?!?). Somehow, I lost touch with her again. I hope she's well.

You can hear Scott's music on YouTube, of course:

My True Love on YouTube
Leroy on YouTube 
No One Will Ever Know on YouTube 
The Way I Walk on YouTube
Goodbye Baby (my favorite song on the album) on YouTube
Goodbye Baby a later version of the song on YouTube.

  photo by Styrous®

A great big thanks to Jack Scott for starting me off to a new world of Stereophonic listening pleasure. 

Ann vanished a long time ago but she and the song we danced to linger on in my memory. So, to my sweet, lovely, Ann, wherever she may be, thank you as well.

Jack Scott website

Styrous® ~ September 16, 2012

The skinny on stereo continues in
20,000 Vinyl LPs 11:
Jack Scott and the birth of Stereo Pt 2

And there is an update in
20,000 Vinyl LPs 19:
Jack Scott and the birth of Stereo Pt. 3

The entire collection is for sale. Interested? Contact Styrous®



September 14, 2012

From One Thing To Another: The Art of Recycle

A new exhibition is opening tonight at the Gray Loft Gallery. Details and photos of the exhibition:

Show dates: September 14 to November 9, 2012

Opening reception 2nd Friday, September 14, 6 - 9 pm

Closing party/reception: November 9, 6 - 9 pm

Gallery Hours: Saturday from 12:00 to 5:00 pm, Sunday by appointment

This event is free and open to the public.

The Gray Loft Gallery is pleased to announce it's next exhibition: From One Thing to Another - The Art of Recycle. This group exhibition includes assemblage, collage, sculpture, furniture, jewelry, handbags and stationary –  all made up of natural or manufactured materials, objects, or fragments originally not intended as art, but when reassembled these things are transformed into incredible visual statements.  From one thing to another.

The diverse group of artists in this show are:

Marlene Aron, mixed media on canvas
Barbara Cushman, assemblage and stationary
Julie Baron, furniture
Susan Brady, book art and mixed media monotypes
Becky Calandri, mixed media
Betsy Davidson, sculpture
Deborah Friedman, sculpture
Clint Imboden, sculpture
Shelley Gardner, sculpture
David Gerard, assemblage
Stephen Keyton, sculpture
Nancy LaRose, handbags and stationary
Lisa Mendelson, jewelry
 Michael Mew, assemblage
Ginny Parsons, mixed media painting
Fernando Reyes, painting
Melanie Ross, jewelry
Zona Sage, mixed media assemblage
Julia Storrs, mixed media
Tom White, mixed media painting

Notes on a few of the artists:

Michael Mew juxtaposes pre-industrial views of nature with logos and advertising of recent eras. He has paired the common and overlooked detritus of various cultures with the classically beautiful to create collages made of upcycled materials. 

Clint Imboden incorporates found objects with fabricated structures which are reassembled into sculpture that have political undertones. 

Shelley Gardner’s multi-layered surfaces incorporate buttons, twine and wire, and are the result of the observation of the way in which seemingly small and insubstantial matter can slowly coalesce into a solid and enduring forms. 

Barbara Cushman uses vintage stamps and letters to create quilt-like collages. 

Melanie Ross's steampunk jewelry of upcycled materials include earrings and necklaces. 

Nancy LaRose incorporates discarded leather from furniture factories which she stitches and appliques into chic and contemporary handbags and wallets.

Gray Loft Gallery celebrates the phenomenal achievements of emerging and established artists, with an emphasis on those who live and work in the Bay Area, in a non-traditional art space.  The mission of the gallery is to provide exhibition opportunities for artists in a setting that is an alternative to the traditional gallery model.  The newly-opened Gray Loft Gallery is a unique venue located on the third floor of one of Oakland’s oldest artists’ work/live warehouses in the historic artist district Jingletown.

Weekend events will include wine tastings, poetry readings and performances. Check the Gray Loft Gallery website for updates.

Gray Loft Gallery openings are in conjunction with 2nd Fridays in Oakland and Alameda.

(click on any image to see slideshow)
 photo by Styrous®

 photo by Styrous®
photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®
photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®
photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®
photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®
photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®



September 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, John

         John Cage in The Hague, Netherlands, 1988
                   photo by Paul Bergen/Courtesy of Redferns

The photograph above is my favorite of any I've ever seen of John Cage, the American composer, music theorist, writer, and artist who was born on September 5, 1912, one hundred years ago, today. Romantic, yes, but to me the photo mirrors the music he composed, richly dark and brooding.

Much can be said about Cage. He was a seminal leader in the Avant-garde music scene. To some he was more important as a thinker than a composer. To many artists, he was one of the most inspiring figures of the 20th century. To a large segment of the public, he was a charlatan who convinced people that sitting onstage in silence for four minutes and 33 seconds could be construed as performing a work of music; his music was never meant to be accessible to populist taste. His work often appears weird, dark and forbidding but his output was broad and deep.

In 1944 the avant-garde composer wrote Four Walls, a 70-minute work using only the white keys of the piano. A 2008 performance in Santiago de Compostela, España, can be seen and heard on YouTube. It was the music for a “dance play” in two acts by the dancer and choreographer, Merce Cunningham, who was Cage’s lifelong partner.

There are celebrations to honor his birthday planned all over the United States. There is a 7-day John Cage Centennial Festival In Washington, D. C., with events happening all over the city. Houston has concerts scheduled to honor him, Seattle and Los Angeles are paying their tributes as well.

The following extracts say more about Cage and say it better than anything I could.

What 33 musicians had to say about John Cage on NPR.

In the review by James Chute in the UT San Diego News on the Corcoran Gallery of Art exhibition, which opened the John Cage Centennial Festival in Washington D.C. yesterday, September 4, Chute quotes the late San Diego Zen Center teacher, Joko Beck, who used to call Cage's music, ...'choiceless welcoming', a non-judgmental acceptance of the moment (which is the next moment, and the next and the next…)."

In the Washington City Paper review of the celebrations by Jonathan L. Fischer, Fischer said, "Orchestras love anniversaries as reasons to draw up theme programs, but only when those anniversaries are for composers most people enjoy: Mozart, Beethoven, and the like. John Cage is not one of them. He was an already weird composer of random ambient sounds before he discovered Zen Buddhism in the 1950s and got even stranger, at times jettisoning instruments and music altogether; his influence is felt more in the noise-rock and anti-art scenes than modern classical."

In the article, Music of the Unquiet Mind, by Margaret Leng Tan in the New York Times which referred to the work, Four Walls, Tan quotes Cage: "Why do you not do as I do? Letting go of your thoughts as though they were the cold ashes of a long dead fire?" 

In his review in the LA Times, David Ng said, "What Jean-Luc Godard is to film and Marcel Duchamp was to the visual arts, John Cage was to music -- a radical experimentalist who constantly sought to reinvent the art form."

In the Baltimore Sun review of John Cage by Tim Smith, Smith said, "He was an amazing creative artist who taught the world that music is not defined by dots and bar lines on a page, or restrained by conventions of time and structure. Ironic, then, that his name was John Cage".

All of these people have come to the same conclusion: he was an innovative and ground-breaking man who made our lives richer.

Thanks for all the great sounds and non-sounds, John, happy birthday.

September 4, 2012

20,000 Vinyl LPs 8: Terry Riley - A Rainbow In Curved Air

I started the Vinyl LP series because I have over 20,000 albums I am selling; each blog entry of the series is about an album from my collection. Inquire for more information.

I remember being very, very, VERY stoned late in 1969 at a friend's house and hearing a piece of music the like of which I'd never heard before. It was rhythmic, fast and seemed to last an eternity. In those days, unless it was a piece of classical music, 18 minutes and 39 seconds was an eternity even if you weren't stoned. Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream and Mike Oldfield hadn't hit the music scene yet with their half-hour long pieces. I was mesmerized and nailed to the spot, whatever spot I was in at that moment; it could have been a bean bag (it had just been invented) but it could have been the floor, I can't recall. But I will never forget the experience of hearing it for the first time.

The music was Terry Riley's, A Rainbow in Curved Air from the album of the same name. The next day I rushed out and bought the album (not much of a surprise). It was one of the albums I recorded on tape as I knew I would play it to death, and I did (the tape, not the record which is still pristine).

 (click on any image to see slideshow)
A Rainbow in Curved Air album cover
front cover montage by John Berg
photo of album cover by Styrous®

A Rainbow in Curved Air album cover back
back cover illustration by Virginia Team
photo of album cover back by Styrous®

I kept up with Riley's music career and bought all the music he produced thereafter, In C was his follow up album. I listened to his music for decades then had the incredible luck to see, hear and photograph him in concert exactly 40 years later in 2009 at the Berkeley Art Museum (BAM).

Now I ask: How can anyone be so lucky?

Some background

A Rainbow in Curved Air was the third album by Terry Riley who is an experimental music and classical minimalism pioneer. Through the use of overdubbing, Riley, a keyboard virtuoso, played all the instruments on the title track: electric organ, electric harpsichord (Rock-Si-Chord), dumbec (or goblet drum), and tambourine.

photo by Kevin Hartnell

The album was recorded from 1967 to 1968 and released in 1969. The producer for the album was David Behrman one of the founders of The Sonic Arts Union along with Robert Ashley, David Behrman, Alvin Lucier and Gordon Mumma. These people have worked with music luminaries such as John Cage (his 100th birthday is this month) and David Tudor. The element uniting these divergent individuals, according to David Behrman, was the desire to create pieces "in which established techniques were thrown away and the nature of sound was dealt with from scratch."

The entire 18 minutes and 39 seconds of A Rainbow In Curved Air can be heard on YouTube.

Born in Colfax, California, Riley studied at Shasta College, San Francisco State University, and the San Francisco Conservatory before earning an MA in composition at the University of California, Berkeley, studying with Seymour Shifrin and Robert Erickson. He was involved in the experimental San Francisco Tape Music Center working with Morton Subotnick, Steve Reich, Pauline Oliveros, and Ramon Sender.

My thanks to all these creative people who have given me such pleasure.

The entire collection is for sale. Interested? Contact Styrous®

Styrous® ~ September 4, 2012