Amoeblog

Score Board: Soundtracks for Tabletop Games, Part Two

Posted by Amoebite, April 2, 2018 02:59pm | Post a Comment

By Chris Curtis

Howdy gamesters! Welcome to the second installment of an occasional series of articles on soundtracking your board game experiences. In part one I made the case that the right music can elevate your fun around the table as much as it can with any social gathering. The tricky part with tabletop game ambience, though, is that you’re generally avoiding lyric-centric music, which wipes out a huge swath of choices.

My search for appropriate gaming background music has led me to dig into some neglected corners of my own music collection. Lately I’ve been re-listening to some '90s electronic and ambient releases that have survived years of collection culling.

For a brief period, ambient or electronic listening music was being heavily hyped by the music press. During the height of the British house and techno scene, clubs had begun to offer a separate music room apart from the main dance floor where clubgoers could take a break from the unrelenting beats. Adventurous DJs played a mix of '70s electronic LPs, mellow psych and prog, sound and nature effects, NASA recordings, and custom samples, along with current beatless 12” mixes - a blend designed to sooth the savage breast of the ecstasy eater. These “chillout” or ambient rooms became quite popular, and after album releases dubbed “ambient house” by The KLF (Chill Out) and The Orb (The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld), a spate of similar releases surfaced, most on independent labels, and a new (sub)genre was born. The scene flourished for a couple years but ran its course by the mid-'90s. Truth be told, not a lot of the material holds up, and, arguably, only a handful of classic records emerged from the heyday years.

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Strange Space Sounds, Surf Strums & Muuu-zak from other Galaxies

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, June 13, 2017 07:36pm | Post a Comment

By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La Show


There is an old rumor that Don Knotts actually drank seven real Blast-Offs (a Boilermaker with a launch Esquivelcountdown) in the filming of the bar scene in The Reluctant Astronaut, and after the beyond-intoxicating take seven, he staggered off set, mumbling incoherently about the physical natural wonders of the Swedish actress Uschi Digard, until he reached his trailer, put on a Ferrante & Teicher space album (it is still debated by movie historians which LP it was: Soundproof: The Sound of Tomorrow Today or Blast Off, which would have made more sense), and proceeded to get naked, keeping on only his space helmet and knee high black socks. He then performed an interpretive moon man dance with the trailer's window shades open so passing actors and actresses could admire his off stage talents.

Now, some folks love Space Age Pop and they day dream while listening to their Esquivel and Dick Hyman records that they owned a Jetsons space car so they could zip from the moon burger stand to the space shopping mall while a French maid robot cleaned their condo. Personally, I like to practice my pendulum dowsing with a few slices of Mimolette and chilled port while I listen to "Fear" off the Ventures in Space album on repeat.

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(In which Job & Corey celebrate #3.)

Posted by Job O Brother, January 11, 2010 12:38pm | Post a Comment
Reading sentences is weird, isn’t it? Just the way you’re sitting at your computer right now, scanning these lines of organized scribbles and, as a result, you’re hearing these words in your head – words that I typed on my computer sometime in your past.

All of which is pretty intimate, don’t you think? I mean, you’re trusting me enough to allow whatever I decided to write to enter into your consciousness via language, not necessarily knowing what I’m going to type. I mean, what if I wrote this sentence:

We oftentimes remove the hamster’s eyes and replace them with fresh-churned butter, which allows them to see less and makes their faces smell vaguely of movie theatre concession stands.
First of all, there’s a lot of things about that sentence that're willyish, and what if you’re not in the mood to deal with it? But now you’ve read it and there’s no going back. It’s recorded in your mind forever. Even if you someday forget it (which is almost certainly advisable), it will be catalogued somewhere, there in the delicious depths of your awesome brain.
Anyway, the boyfriend and I just celebrated our third anniversary yesterday. It was swell! The cat and I allowed him to sleep-in until noon, while we spent time organizing my music library and watching birds be weird.


The boyfriend is, I think, deeply troubled by my hobby of collecting music. When I enthusiastically talk about it, I can tell there’s a part of him that’s waiting for my cataloguing of Les Baxter’s compositions to result in my forgetting to eat, for my delight in finding some obscure theatre company’s recording of The Rocky Horror Show to degrade into a lack of personal hygiene, or for my diligent organization of Hüsker Dü tracks into thematic playlists to send me on a downward spiral that will end in my writing a final, frantic Amoeblog post, donning my treasured hoodie, and locking myself into our parking garage for an Anne Sexton-style road trip to oblivion. (Which would sooo never happen. Sylvia Plath all the way! That way, as I slowly succumbed to death from poisoning, I’d be able to enjoy the scent of fresh-baked cookies! Yay!!!)

Suicide is better with a warm batch of Toll House. It just is.



The boyfriend and I celebrated our anniversary by driving around Los Angeles looking for a comfy chair for him. I have decided that he needs a nook – a place in our home that is intended for him to nestle, to cuddle with a book or diary for long hours, or to nap in after a hearty meal of Rôties au jus de cuisson et la sauce à la menthe compliquée moelle stupide lapin.

Ironically, as we drove around looking for the chair, he enjoyed listening to some of the playlists he worries about me making. In particular, a sort-of New Wave playlist which features things like:












…All of which sounds right well when roving for recliners. And we found one! An immense, white chair – roughly the size of my last apartment – and upholstered in recycled, Italian leather. It’s certain to be the cat’s new, favorite chew-toy.

Later in the evening, the boyfriend and I cuddled and watched an animation double feature: 9, directed by Shane Acker, and Fantastic Mr. Fox, directed by Wes Anderson.

My Ma taught me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all, so let me say how much I loved Fantastic Mr. Fox, and leave it at that. (Come to think of it, my Ma also taught me that if you see a summer’s rainbow while you’re walking on grass it means your baby will be born with freckles, but if it’s autumn, your baby will be born with a snaggletooth and desire to overthrow the government in lieu of a militarized ochlocracy – which may be why I never make babies or go outside in November.)


My new, celebrity crush

Incidentally, Fantastic Mr. Fox has not yet been released on DVD. The boyfriend and I were able to watch it in the comfort of our own home because… um… we have… we know this guy who… err… because sometimes there’s things that happen and as a result there’s stuff, okay? But when it is available on DVD and Blu-ray, Amoeba Music will have it and, if you haven’t yet seen it, do, because it’s almost as delightful as the look in your eyes when you’re licking butter from a hamster’s skull.

I’m really sorry I wrote that. Obviously I can’t be trusted with these sentences. I’ll stop soon.

It was a romantic day for me and my boyfriend. I’ll end this blog with a recording of “our” song, Cole Porter’s ballad, Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye, as performed by Nina Simone.

Goodbye!

Yma Sumac 1922 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, November 3, 2008 10:32am | Post a Comment


Yma Sumac
the legendary, one of a kind singer famous for her 4 1/2 octave range, has died in Los Angeles. She was 86.

Peruvian born, she was the personification of exoticism, making her an international sensation in the 1950’s. After signing with Capitol Records in 1950, the striking, raven-haired beauty became known as the "Nightingale of the Andes," and the "Peruvian Songbird." Her first album, Voice of the Xtabay, rocketed to the top of the LP charts introducing a whole new genre, Exotica, to the music buying public. During her heyday, Sumac headlined at the some of the most prestigious venues in the world, such as the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall and Royal Albert Hall. She reportedly made $25,000 a week in Las Vegas and turned down offers to sing with New York's Metropolitan Opera. Her eccentric costumes and stage settings were often extremely elaborate, filling stages with native dressed drummers and dancers and caged wild birds. Yma Sumac was also featured in the 1951 Broadway musical Flahooley and appeared in the films Secret of the Incas in 1954 and Omar Khayyam in 1957.

Although details of her birth and early life have varied greatly, lending mightily to her legend, the biggest misconception was that she was born in Brooklyn as Amy Camus -- Sumac was actually born Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo in Cajamarca, Peru, on Sept. 13, 1922. After performing and recording in Argentina in the early 40’s, she and her husband, bandleader Moises Vivanco, moved to New York City in 1946, where they performed as the Inca Taky Trio, with Vivanco on guitar, Sumac singing soprano and Cholita Rivero, her cousin, singing contralto and dancing.

My favorite record of hers, and one that is almost impossible to find, is Sumac’s 1971 psychedelic album entitled Miracles. It is truly an odd musical experience, and to be perfectly honest Miracles is kind of hit or miss, but it does have some great moments. Yma Sumac’s voice has lost some of its dramatic range, but she can still pull off the Yma Sumac mystic. Exotica legend Les Baxter produced the record, and his experience writing for all those Beach Party movies works well here. The production safely balances the distorted guitars and the foreign sound of 1950’s bird calls and Hollywood primitivism pretty well. Shortly after Miracles' limited release, she "semi-retired" to Peru. Eventually Sumac did return to concerts halls, performing at the Vine Street Bar & Grill and the Cinegrill in Hollywood in 1984. By the early `90s, she returned to touring, especially in Europe, and continued to do so until about 1997.

Yma Sumac, who divorced and then remarried Moises Vivanco in the late `50s and then divorced him again in 1965, is survived by their son, Charles, and three sisters who live in Peru.