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1998 : 12| … & even older… |
15.01.2000 / 12. Lessons in truth. Just straddling the halfway mark in the process of uploading one track per week from Good Times, this track appears. It is the first part of a three-part series that had the working title ‘Nervous’ here at the Glassed-in Laboratories. When you hear it, you’ll see why.
‘Why do we do it?’ Gets the Nod as Question-of-the-Week
12.01.2000 / Some of our favorite reviews are the scathingly negative ones. It’s not that we derive pleasure from being berated, it’s just that we enjoy being left scratching our heads and wondering what we did to cause such displeasure. You see, we’d like to capitalize on that skill, if only we understood it! The fact remains, however, that a recent review that David Cotner brought to our attention, leaves us quite perplexed as to how we can further displease this reviewer:
Good Times. Annoying electronic muzak meets repetitious, and let’s not forget boring, taped conversations of famous people. Not enough of anything to make any sense. A tape of The Beatles snoring would be better than this clueless waste of damn-fine plastic. Grade — F. (Solomon Bass, writing for The Ventura Reporter.)
Let’s not forget boring, indeed. I don’t remember the last time we got a letter grade for our efforts, and it is remarkable that such a brief review can be peppered with so many bland descriptives and outright cliches. In fact, it is quite clear that the reviewer didn’t engage with the work at all, and we can only speculate futilely as to how he formulated his opinions.
The only possible retort is to pass on the following photograph, sent to us by our dear Chicago friend Rachel Reynolds, and entitled:
How do you know when your ass is too small.
Update. As if to underscore our own modest sense that another opinion is possible, a letter arrived today from a listener who gives his take on the CD. Here is an excerpt.
Brilliant! I have yet to see your equal … Good Times really makes a hysterical yet accurate statement on the state of our society today. The music cuts right to the point with the reduction of individuals to Human Resources and Interchangeable Parts. What a job well done. … (John B. McLemore, Green Pond AL)
9.01.2000 / 11. Call of the Carpenter. Jumping unpredictably to the beginning of the CD, this week’s offering in our ongoing serialization of our most recent CD Good Times is one of only two entirely analog compositions on the disc. It was made at the very end of the recording sessions for The Grand Delusion but was "too fresh" in our minds for inclusion in that track sequence. The track languished forgotten during the sessions for Matter, only to surface just before the three surviving group members assembled in Prague for some Good Times recording sessions in the fall of 1998.
The Tape-beatles get Cover Article in Local Weekly
7.01.2000 / Our first update of the new year brings some good news, and it has nothing to do with the Y2K bug. The newspaper Icon, a free weekly distributed in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, has turned The Tape-beatles into front-page news, and we only mean that literally. Todd Kimm, writer for Icon, sat down with John Heck and Lloyd Dunn at a local restaurant and gave the two just enough verbal rope with which to hang themselves. And hang themselves they do. For example, Lloyd confesses that he’d be willing to take money to do advertising for Chevrolet, while John fumbles for reasons why the band got together in the first place. Ralph doesn’t deign to show up. Kimm’s perceptive writing and sensitivity to the group’s issues make it an article not to miss. As evidence, an excerpt follows.
The Tape-beatles’ are emblematic of everything happening now at a million bytes per second at the interface of culture and technology, where adults in Des Moines telecommute to jobs, and have affairs with people in Moosejaw; where on the Internet, kids can grab the latest Rage Against the Machine for free and then turn around and burn CDs of their own stuff and sell it; where the mass media are both splintering into a zillion different channels, publications and websites and, through concentration of ownership, moving toward becoming one mass medium. The Tape-beatles step into this maelstrom with arms, eyes, ears, mouths and minds wide open.
Well, not exactly. Although they are consumers like the rest of us, they tend to be wary, bemused, sometimes outraged shoppers.
Go and read it.
29.01.2000 / 14. New thought. The third track from the ‘Nervous’ trilogy is this week’s Mp3 download of the week.
24.01.2000 / Internet Database Offers Public Access to Sound Files. We’ve found another valuable internet resource , this one representing the Distorted Media project, based in Belgium. Of note: the public has free access to the database and can upload their own sound files. You can also download existing files, modify them, and then upload them back into the collection. The database will be available throughout 2000.
Also note: on February 26, there will be a live performance in Brussells where Don Joyce (Negativland), People Like Us, and others will incorporate sounds from this database into their presentations.
Visit their website.
22.01.2000 / 13. Beautiful necessity. Last week’s track of the week segues seamlessly into this one. It is the second of three parts of the composition known as ‘Nervous’, one of the first tracks we worked on after completing Matter. At the time, we thought our next CD would be by ‘Public Works’, but when it became clear we were working on a ‘Tape-beatle’ project, this track fit anyway. It segues effortlessly into next week’s track, as well, so don’t forget to come back.
21.01.2000 / Peter Robbed to Pay Paul. (The left hand definitely knows what the right hand is doing.) Brian Turner, the Music and Program Director for WFMU in Hoboken NJ made a request the other day, flattering us by saying this:
WFMU is not a college or commercial station. Our entire survival is dependent on the listeners out there, and every year we hit them up for pledges in a 2-week nonstop beg-a-thon. In return for their kind sponsorship of us and freeform radio tradition, we offer up music, and our DJs have asked for a Tape-beatles disc, the most recent of which was a big hit here at WFMU. If you can accommodate, we’d sure be grateful, as better prizes bring in better pledges.
Although we ourselves would qualify easily as valid charity vectors in our own right, this butter-up nonetheless worked, and we’ll be sending WFMU a handful of copies of Good Times to give away and serve this mighty fine cause.
20.01.2000 / Stuff we Wanna Do. In spite of the apparent lull in output from our alter-egos Public Works, work continues on behind the scenes on this project. Since there are ‘never enough hours in the day’ we paradoxically seem to take on more and more, each task accumulating on our plate after the other, like dollops of mashed potatoes from our mother’s wooden spoons. We need to keep doing our jobs, and then keep doing them.
And do them we do. The magical bifurcating entity which is only described precisely, if cumbersomely, as ‘The Tape-beatles and Public Works’ is a two-headed hydra. One head is occupied by the nesting doll of question/riddle/enigma of our complex age and its subtler effects on the human animal. The other head just wants to have fun with it all — and burst a few highfalutin’ bubbles.
Whether the falutin’ be ‘high’ or ‘low’ (as in ‘culture’, get it?), the following to-do items will soon yield the wished-for results, inasmuch as they are on what we call The Tape-beatles and Public Works Highfalutin’ To-do List (well, not really).
- Visit Iberia. We have a performance lined up in Barcelona for the end of February, with a side trip to Lisbon. More details to follow.
- Matter Video. The CD ‘Matter’, like ‘The Grand Delusion’, has long been a staple part of our filmic public presence. It will be released on video cassette sometime this year.
- The Grand Delusion Re-issue. This CD, originally released in 1993 as our first for Staalplaat, has been augmented with 20 minutes of new material. It should be available by March 2000 for purchase. In the mean time, the original pressing is all gone, and so any orders for that will automatically be put in line to receive the re-issue when it becomes available.
- Vinyl. We have no fewer than three invitations to prepare sound for release on vinyl of various sizes. We will take them in the order they were received and as the audio art comes out of us.
- Film. Putting ‘Good Times’ to 16mm film has already begun, and we will be keeping you posted when it is available for public screening. A video release of same will no doubt follow.
What it all comes down to is this: We want to bring you — and all the world — the very best our imaginations have to offer. The putting of ourselves to this effort by itself justifies the activity in our minds, because the project dramatically transforms our lives and, if you, dear reader, take our example, then yours, too, if you get my meaning.