All posts filed under: Culture

Cover Story – Part V – Westminster Records

Westminster Records was an American classical music record label, issuing original recordings until 1965. It was co–founded in 1949 by Mischa Naida (who later founded Musical Heritage Society, the owner of the Westminster Record Shop in New York City, businessman James Grayson (1897–1980), conductor Henry Swoboda, and Henry Gage. Its trademark was Big Ben and its slogan was “natural balance”, referring to its single microphone technique in recording music, similar to Mercury Records’ Living Presence series. Early on, its recordings were technically superior to most others in the marketplace, and the label became popular among the growing community of audiophiles. In the late 1950s the company began issuing stereophonic recordings, including a rare disc of the music of Swedish composer Hugo Alfvén (1872-1960), conducted by the composer. The “Westminster Laboratory” (W-Lab) series of classical recordings were technically superior to other brands and sold at higher price than the regular Westminsters. The company was sold in the early 1960s to ABC-Paramount Records, which at first continued to issue new material (as well as reissuing old recordings …

I Dream Of Wires; A modular synth Documentary

“I Dream of Wires” (IDOW) is an upcoming, independent documentary film about the phenomenal resurgence of the modular synthesizer — exploring the passions, obsessions and dreams of people who have dedicated part of their lives to this esoteric electronic music machine. IDOW is written and directed by Robert Fantinatto with Jason Amm (Ghostly International recording artist Solvent) serving as producer and co-writer. Inventors, musicians and enthusiasts are interviewed about their relationship with the modular synthesizer — for many, it’s an all-consuming passion. Established musicians such as Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Carl Craig and John Foxx show off their systems and explain why they opt to use this volatile but ultimately rewarding technology. Meanwhile, a new generation of dance and electronica artists including Clark, James Holden and Factory Floor explain why they’ve stepped away from laptops to embrace the sound and physicality of modular synthesizers. Innovative companies like Modcan and Doepfer, driven by a desire to revive modular synthesizers, discuss how they planted the seeds that have now grown into a major cottage industry. What started out as a “vintage-revival scene” in the ’90s has grown into an underground phenomena with a growing market …

The best Alternative Christmas songs. Part III

So by now you’ve bought all your Christmas presents and wrapped them. You’ve lost the scissors and screamed at a roll of Sellotape. Now all that’s left, is to enjoy the big day with a bottle of sherry and a stupid paper hat, whilst you watch people tread crisps into the carpet. So, here’s the final ten in the best list of alternative Christmas songs. 10. Santa’s got a brand new bag, Gary Walker Yes That’s right, even Santa gets presents, and this time it’s a brand new (man) bag and who better to describe it to us than Gary Walker in this 1965 (should be) classic. 9. Walking in the air, Smerins anti social club On 7th December 2010, Nemone asked her BBC 6 Music listeners to vote on a Christmas song for Smerins Anti-Social Club to record. In less than a week the band had arranged, recorded and produced a ska-influenced version of Walking In The Air, Howard Blake’s composition made famous by The Snowman animation of 1982. Here is a good example of Ska’s …

Alternative Christmas songs part II

Are you counting down the days until Christmas? Well, if your’e opening an advent calendar door each morning and popping out a fake chocolate that’s moulded into a solid effigy of the baby Jesus… Then you’ll be aware that it’s not long to go. Here is a countdown that doesn’t involve eating fake chocolate for breakfast. This countdown is the second part of the best Alternative christmas songs. 20. Ella Fitzgerald, Santa got stuck in my chimney No, it’s not a hideous Christmas double entendres – It’s a christmas song courtesy of one of the greatest singers of her time. Ella could punch energy into songs with a soulful voice and this is no exception. 19. Merry Christmas, Johnny Osbourne It’s a Jah Christmas with Studio one legend Johnny osbourne who takes a classic tune and hangs some tinsel on it. The outcome is some truly christmas roots goodness. 18. Vince Guaraldi Trio, Christmas Time is Here ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ is an album released in 1965 as the soundtrack to the ‘CBS Charlie Brown Christmas. It is among …