Posts Tagged ‘music’
Why don’t we do this kind of thing anymore? You saw it a lot in the 1960s and 70s—speakers embedded in display shelves or on a wall, as part of the decor. Maybe it’s partly that components were better looking then, in general, but you could still do this now. Why don’t we? Is it because stereo components are now considered throwaway, and you’d never make built-ins because your components wouldn’t last long enough to justify it? The stereo system above has been in continuous working order since it was installed in the 1970s in Vancouver in an architect’s house. The only change is that a CD player has been added into the built-in box that doubles as display shelf.
Maybe those who rent would be disinclined to make alterations like this, but what about everyone else? Whatever happened to using stereo components as elements in room design? Maybe these items were valued far more highly then than they are now, and not perhaps out of audiophilia so much as an overall sense of design and function.
On a related topic, have you ever tried to get good storage for your vinyl nowadays? Good luck. If the unit above (it’s the wooden credenza thing on the floor) were available now, I’d buy it. It’s beautiful and simple, and it looks like solid wood.
The photo below is from The Practical Encyclopedia of Good Decorating and Home Improvement, Greystone Press, 1970. Check out the speakers on the built-in bench or shelf along the wall, the great reel-to-reel deck, and then the amp held up by cupids on the wall. Not to mention the vari-coloured wall, separated into quadrants via different paint colours. So great.
I can’t find further good examples of this setup just at the moment, but here are some entertaining vintage stereo/storage shots: LP storage unit from ancienthistory, And then there’s this, when things go space age. And pots and pans in one drawer, turnable in another via teddy_qui_dit (more here and here),
The single “Elephant” from new Tame Impala album “Lonerism”
Album cover for Lonerism by Tame Impala – fenced garden, Paris
The new Tame Impala album Lonerism is out. (It’s not released in North America yet, technically, but seems you can get on iTunes already.) I’ve had it on perpetual repeat for 3 days. It’s interesting in terms of its psychedelic 1960s sound because as many reviews have pointed out, you can’t reduce it to just pastiche or quotation or derivativeness. It’s its own thing altogether, as if 60s paisley music had been fully metabolized along with a multitude of other sounds and traditions and then catalysed into this entirely new thing. I guess it’s obvious why I’m including it here, then.
Tame Impala is the creation of Kevin Parker (in pea coat, 2nd from right), also its lead singer. Five-star review in The Guardian.
Tame Impala are from Perth, Australia.
One of the album’s catchier tracks:
Thomas Anselmi of Slow singing Have Not Been The Same, circa 1985
Slow at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium, dressed in bloody nurse’s outfits, circa 1986
Slow were a legendary 80s Vancouver band often credited with spawning grunge. That’s pretty impossible to prove, but no one really disputes that they had an influence on Nirvana, Pearl Jam and the whole Pacific NW thing. They may be the best band to ever come out of this city. I saw them live but sadly missed their fateful, career-ending show at Vancouver’s Expo ’86. I was boycotting Expo, that fateful glitzy mega-event which served as an alibi for the handover of great swaths of Vancouver to developers. To tell the truth I was pretty surprised they were playing Expo at all, and I suspect they were too. I remember one of my friends, who that day looked like a kind of punk Ziggy Stardust hybrid, complaining about the “Socred stink” down at the site (a political reference only western Canadians will get). Anyway that day we did something else and missed the chaos. Slow apparently put on a fairly mental show, their electricity was shut off following complaints, and they responded by getting partially naked onstage. This provoked the cancellation of Expo’s local music programme. Not to mention the band.
At some point somebody stole my Slow album, an EP called Against the Glass. I want a replacement (and I’m sure this post is going to make that project more difficult). If anyone has a copy I can buy, name a price.
I have heard that Zulu Records and Mint Records tried to convince the band to re-issue Against the Glass, as well as the © Circle C album that came later (see below), but apparently the bands resisted. Nothing is available on iTunes either. You can’t even find a single Slow torrent, lyrics listings, nothing.
Anselmi and Christian Thorvaldson went on to form a band called © (sometimes known as Circle C) whose poppier but excellent eponymous album you can download here, for as long as that lasts. It was a critical hit and a commercial flop and Geffen, who didn’t like them and didn’t promote the album, fired them. The band later became known as Copyright and put out two albums with BMG but these didn’t live up to that first © album. Anselmi then moved to Berlin and L.A. though is now back in Vancouver running music and event venue The Waldorf Hotel. In 2009 he produced a music/multimedia project called MIRROR.
Punk Globe: Tom, thanks for doing this interview. Let’s go back a few years… Your earliest band SLOW is known as the ‘Band That Killed Expo’ with their infamous performance at the World Fair in 1986. With the Olympics coming to Vancouver in less than a year, any thoughts of reforming and seeing what kind of trouble you can cause?
T.A.: No, I just want to see some figure skating.
If you saw Slow or © or Tankhog perform, can you leave a comment below?
Thanks to my friend Tony for making me think about Slow again.
©, the eponymous album by the band “©” aka Circle C
Megaphone speaker by the Italian company Enandis. Why do I like this? I shouldn’t like it, but I do. It’s so wrong for things to pretend to be other things, like early cars resembling horse carriages, or high-heeled runners. Furthemore is the iPhone speaker’s quality even worth amplifying? Maybe what’s nice about this is precisely the contradictory relationship between the basic yet acoustically perfect cone and the supposedly more sophisticated (yet somehow much more acoustically impoverished) device. Perhaps this is where its surreal quality derives from, sci-fi technology harnessed to the ancient. I just like the McGyver feel. And maybe it’s just that I like the sound of voices reverberating through a pipe, or music echoing romantically up from a subway tunnel in some French film. I don’t know, but I want one. It’s funny.
Hoewver, the name/logo stamp on the most visible part of the stand would actually stop me from ordering one. That’s an eyesore.