Amoeblog

The Second Weekend in August, 1969 ... Part One

Posted by Whitmore, August 10, 2009 11:38am | Post a Comment
I wonder if anything significant about this past weekend will be remembered in 40 years time, other then Sonia Sotomayor being sworn in as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice and maybe Tiger Woods’ unbelievable play at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. This weekend back in 1969 is definitely remembered for a variety of odd and groovy and trivial and horrifying reasons.
zager and evans 
In the summer of 1969 I was living carefree at 4200 Franklin Avenue in Los Angeles near Griffith Park, with my parents, grandmother, two sisters, and of course our Siamese cat Pandora and a Great Dane named Dijo who would eventually, later in the year, attack me without provocation. She was a nutty and twisted beast. And typical of August in LA, it was annoyingly hot and smoggy. If you didn’t live here back then you just don’t know smog-- lung scorching air under a sky colored golden toasty brown to the apex. Now that’s pollution! This was also the first summer I really started noticing music. I culled some change from my mom’s purse to buy my first single, which also happened to be #1 on the Billboard charts this weekend in 1969, and would be for six consecutive weeks -- "In the Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus)" by Zager and Evans. In the UK the #1 song was "Honky Tonk Women" by the Rolling Stones, which has noticeably survived the tastes of time better then “2525.” The #1 album in the US was the self-titled second album by Blood, Sweat & Tears. Earlier in the year in March it was briefly at the top of the charts, but with three successive Top 5 singles, it returned once again to the number one position. In 1970 it would win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.  
 
Also this weekend 40 years ago, the Beatles posed for one of their most iconic images-- the Abbey Road album cover shot of the George, Paul, Ringo and John at the zebra crossing on Abbey Road. They were mostly done working on their newest album and, having applied the last overdubs that morning to the longest track, "I Want You (She's So Heavy)," photographer Iain Macmillan was given ten minutes to get the cover photo done. At 11:35 am on Friday, August 8, 1969, the image was shot. Of course, when the album was released in September, the cover art only fueled the rumors and speculation that Paul McCartney had indeed died in a car crash in 1966 and all the symbolic references only confirmed the sad fact.

Penderecki's Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima

Posted by Whitmore, August 6, 2009 08:15am | Post a Comment
Penderecki
Taking third prize at the prestigious Grzegorz Fitelberg Composers' Competition in 1960, Krzysztof Penderecki burst onto the international scene with Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, scored for 52 string instruments. One of the most harrowing pieces of music ever conceived, Threnody is unforgiving and brutal, horrifying and captivating, solemn and catastrophic.
 
Its atmospheric dissonance engulfs the listener with tone clusters that are piercing and shrieking at an orchestra’s highest register. Originally entitled 8'37”, Threnody’s score is unorthodox and mostly symbol-based, directing the musicians to play at various vague points on their instruments or to focus on textural effects and extended techniques, like playing on the wrong side of the bridge or slapping the instrument percussively. The piece includes an invisible canon in 36 voices and an overall musical texture that is more important than any individual note. Penderecki sought to heighten the dissonant element of the piece by composing in quarter tones -- hypertonality -- creating a greater reaching elegiac mood than could be found in traditional tonality.

Instructional Records

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, July 28, 2009 11:59pm | Post a Comment
improve your eyesight lp coverimprove your eyesight without glasses lp cover
The world of the instructional record is really quite fascinating. From sincere DIY teachings to crass bandwagoning & fad jumping, the instructional record was a force unto itself in the 60's & 70's. The endless barrage of salesman related "you can do it" LPs from that era rival the male enhancement ad fads of today and reveal a similar, sinister undercurrent of predatory schemes that feed on the insecurity of many a male ego. It's entertainment all the way around! You'd be hard pressed to find more timely LPs than Strategy At the Bridge Table or either of the dance related records below.
make your bird a star lp coversecrets of successful duck calling lp cover
strategy at the bridge table lp covertheory of flight lp cover
break dancin' lp covernothing happens until somebody sells something lp covermidnight moves lp box set
I always find it funny that the three most important classes I took in High School were one semester electives-- guitar, speech and typing. Guitar was the beginning of the dymistification process between music and I. It also gave me much needed entertainment as I watched the jock meatheads fumble through "Lovesong" by the Cure in preparation for a lame attempt at buttering up some ditz over at the girls school. Speech was SO important, as it gave me an opportunity to get over performance anxiety by forcing me to give contrarian speeches to the same hamfisted types I mentioned in the guitar bit, within the safety net of the classroom. The teacher always wore suits and had a small mustache, traits that may have settled into my subconcious. He was asked to leave by the end of the semester because his affair with a jr. over at the girls school had been discovered, a trait I don't think I've picked up. The third class prepared me for the internet age. Not that I 'm a great typist, but whenever I watch a two fingered wonder pecking away, I'm always glad I took the class. Anyhow, this rant was brought on by the plethora of typing related LPs that I've seen over the years, a few of which are featured below.  
touch typing made simple lp cover
converse-a-phone type-wrie lp coverdon't tell 'em...sell 'em lp cover


Li'l Bit #9

Posted by Job O Brother, July 28, 2009 09:56am | Post a Comment
Hoo, boy. Who didn't see this coming?

Heinz Edelmann 1934 - 2009

Posted by Whitmore, July 21, 2009 01:11pm | Post a Comment

Graphic designer Heinz Edelmann, best known for his work as the art director of the classic animated Beatles film Yellow Submarine, has died; he was 75. Edelmann died in a Stuttgart, Germany hospital not far from Stuttgart Academy of Fine Arts where he taught design for many years. No cause of death was announced.
 
Heinz Edelmann was born in 1934 in Aussig, Czechoslovakia. He studied at the Duesseldorf Art Academy and upon graduation became a freelance graphic designer. In 1961 Heinz Edelmann began teaching design, illustration and animation design at various art schools in Holland and Germany. As a graphic designer, Edelmann is mostly known for his advertising and poster work, especially for the broadcasting station Westdeutscher Rundfunk and his innovative book cover designs for the publishing house Klett-Cotta, which includes the first German edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings in 1971. Edelmann in 1989 won the competition to design the mascot of Seville's Expo '92 World Fair, beating out two dozen other entries with his illustration of a pudgy bird with a rainbow plume and conical beak named Curro.
 
But his greatest fame stems from his art direction for the 1968 film Yellow Submarine; he also received co-credit for the script. Edelmann was originally hired for only eight weeks to create the design for the film, but wound up working for almost an entire year. Because of the lack of direction, an incomplete screenplay, and the enormous deadline pressure -- the producers reserved the July 17, 1968 date for the debut at The London Pavillion before the production was even finished -- Edelmann took on the long ordeal personally. Sleeping only four hours most every night, he led some 200-plus artists to create a visionary work that would be worthy of the most famous band in the world. Edelmann’s health took a major nosedive; he said it took almost two years to recover from the project. Needless to say, Yellow Submarine left a somewhat sour taste in his mouth. On top of that, Yellow Submarine has sometimes been inaccurately attributed to one of the most famous artist of the era, Peter Max. However Edelmann, along with another of his contemporaries, Milton Glaser, is thought to have pioneered the 1960’s psychedelic style for which Max would later become famous. According to Edelmann and film producer Al Brodax, Max had nothing to do with the production. But other notable illustrators did work on the film including Paul Driessen, Tony Cuthbert, Ron Campbell, and the film’s overall director George Dunning (he also worked on the Beatles cartoon series), who created the "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" sequence.

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