Category: experimental

On this day in music history: August 10, 1970 …

On this day in music history: August 10, 1970 – “Weasels Ripped My Flesh” the ninth album by The Mothers Of Invention is released. Produced by Frank Zappa, it is recorded at Apostolic Studios, A&R Studios, and The Factory in New York City, T.T.G. Studios In Hollywood, CA, Whitney Studios in Glendale, CA, Philadelphia Arena in Philadelphia, PA, Royal Festival Hall in London, Town Hall in Birmingham, UK, Criteria Studios and Thee Image in Miami, FL from December 1967 – June 1969. The third release on Frank Zappa’s Bizarre Records imprint (through Warner/Reprise), the album consists of live and studio tracks recorded over a two year period, and is released after Zappa disbands The Mothers. The LP’s brilliantly subversive and iconic cover art is illustrated by artist Neon Park. Park’s painting is based on both the September 1956 issue of “Man’s Life” magazine depicting a man being attacked by weasels and a 1953 advertisement for Schick electric shavers. Originally released on CD in 1990, it is remastered and reissued in 2012 by The Zappa Family Trust on the re-established Zappa Records. The vinyl LP, out of print since the late 80’s, is also remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2016. “Weasels Ripped My Flesh” peaks at number one hundred eighty nine on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: August 5, 1966 -…

On this day in music history: August 5, 1966 – “Revolver”, the seventh album by The Beatles is released (US release date is on August 8, 1966). Produced by George Martin, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London from April 6 – June 21, 1966. The album marks the beginning a new phase in the bands’ career musically and artistically, and is praised as one of their greatest works. Standing in stark contrast to their previous release, the largely acoustic based “Rubber Soul”, “Revolver” sees The Beatles exploring new musical and sonic territory, with most of the songs being electric guitar based. Though others touch on the use of orchestral instruments (“Eleanor Rigby”), Indian music (“Love You To”), brass (“Got To Get You Into My Life”) and psychedelia (“She Said, She Said”, “I’m Only Sleeping”, “Tomorrow Never Knows”). It spins off the double A-sided single “Yellow Submarine” (#2 Pop) and “Eleanor Rigby” (#11 Pop). Paul McCartney receives a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary (R&R) Solo Vocal Performance for “Eleanor Rigby”, and artist Klaus Voorman receives a Grammy Award for Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts for the albums innovative cover artwork in 1967. Some original UK mono pressings contain an alternate mix of “Tomorrow Never Knows” and “Doctor Robert” printed “Dr. Robert” on the side two label, which is withdrawn and corrected on subsequent re-pressings. First issued on CD in 1987, the album is remastered and reissued in 2009, with the stereo version being available both individually, and as part of the stereo box set. The original mono mixes (out of print since the late 60’s, with the except of a limited UK vinyl LP reissue in 1982) is released on CD for the first time as part of “The Beatles In Mono” box set. The eleven track US edition is released in January of 2014 both individually, and as part of the “The Beatles – The US Albums” box set. And the UK mono LP is reissued as part of the mono LP box set in September of 2014, and as an individual release. “Revolver” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999, for its ongoing historic and cultural significance. “Revolver” spends six weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.

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On this day in music history: July 24, 1993 – …

On this day in music history: July 24, 1993 – “Zooropa”, the eighth studio album by U2 hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 2 weeks. Produced by Flood, Brian Eno and The Edge, it is recorded at The Factory, Windmill Lane Studios and Westland Studios in Dublin, Ireland from February – May 1993. Recorded during breaks in U2’s “Zoo TV World Tour”, it is originally intended to be only an EP release to promote the European leg of the tour. The band take a different approach than with previous albums, jamming and then having Eno and Flood piece together sections, forming them into finished songs. Bono would then write lyrics, and record his vocals as the compositions came together. In spite of the unconventional method of writing and recording, the sessions are so productive that they yield a full albums worth of new material. Continuing in the vein of U2’s previous album “Achtung Baby”, it is even more experimental in its sound and scope. The album is led by the minimalist track “Numb”, featuring a monotone lead vocal by The Edge. Island and the band promote the single in part by issuing it, as a non-descript vinyl 12" single with only the title printed on the label, crediting the producer as “Fee Dognoodle” (an anagram of Edge, Eno, Flood). “Zooropa” also features a guest appearance by Johnny Cash on the final track “The Wanderer”. Though it is well received upon its release, it trails far behind its predecessor in sales. It spins off three singles including “Lemon” (#3 Modern Rock) and “Stay (Faraway, So Close)” (#15 Modern Rock, #61 Pop). The album also wins the band a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album in 1994. Out of print on vinyl since it’s original release (outside the US only), it is remastered and reissue in 2018. A limited number of reissue copies are pressed on translucent blue vinyl. “Zooropa” is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 18, 1968 – …

On this day in music history: July 18, 1968 – “Anthem Of The Sun”, the second album by The Grateful Dead is released. Produced by Dave Hassinger and The Grateful Dead, it is recorded at RCA Victor Studio A in Hollywood, CA, American Recording Company in Century City, CA, Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles, CA, Eureka Municipal Auditorium in Eureka, CA, Eagles Auditorium in Seattle, WA, Crystal Ballroom in Portland, OR, Coast Recorders in San Francisco, CA, Carousel Ballroom in San Francisco, CA, Kings Beach Bowl in Lake Tahoe, CA, Century Sound Studios and Olmstead Studios in New York City from September 1967 – March 31, 1968. Once again working with recording engineer and producer Dave Hassinger, The Grateful Dead begin work on their sophomore release, just six months after their debut. Determined to capture their live on stage sound in the studio, Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh painstakingly piece together the tracks, using parts that have been recorded in a controlled studio environment along with parts of live performances of the same material. Frustrated with the extremely slow pace that the band is working at, Hassinger quits the project midway through. The Dead recruit their sound man Dan Healy to assist them, and the sessions resume back in San Francisco. “Anthem” also marks the first appearance of longtime Dead and Jerry Garcia collaborator Robert Hunter, who pens the lyrics for the song “Alligator”, co-written by bassist Phil Lesh and keyboardist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan. Taking full advantage of their contract with Warner Bros which allows them unlimited studio time, they continue tweak and rework the songs over a period of six months. The resulting album is a wide ranging psychedelic collage mixed specifically to emphasize that intent. Though reaction to it is mixed upon its release, in time the experimental “Anthem” is regarded as groundbreaking, laying the groundwork for the follow up “Aoxomoxoa” which brings The Dead’s musical vision into clearer focus. “Anthem” is remixed and reissued in 1972 with alternate cover artwork, changing the cover background from purple to white, changing the title and artist graphics. It is remastered and reissued on CD (with HDCD encoding) in 2001, using the original 1968 mix, restoring the original cover art and containing three live bonus tracks. Though the high definition digital download release uses the 70’s remix version. In 2011, it is reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Rhino Records, also using the original mix. The album is reissued again for its 50th anniversary on July 13, 2018. The 2 CD edition features the original mix and 1971 remix versions on disc one, and a live concert set recorded at Winterland in San Francisco on October 22, 1967 on disc two. A limited edition LP, pressed on yellow and orange swirl vinyl is issued as an exclusive through Barnes & Noble. “Anthem Of The Sun” peaks at number eighty seven on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: July 5, 1993 – &…

On this day in music history: July 5, 1993 – “Debut”, the debut solo album by Björk is released. Produced by Nellee Hooper and Björk, it is recorded at Wild Bunch Studios, Olympic Studios, The Town House, Livingston Studios, Matrix Studios, Swanyard Studios, The Workhouse Studios, Beats Recording Studio, and Summa Studios in London, UK from Early – Mid 1993. After five years and three albums as the lead singer of The Sugarcubes, Björk parts ways with the band in late 1992 following the release of “Stick Around For Joy”, and touring as the opening act for U2 on the first leg of their “Zoo TV World Tour”. This is the Icelandic artists first solo effort since recording her self-titled debut released in 1977 when she is only twelve years old. For her first adult solo album, Björk enlists the assistance of Massive Attack and Soul II Soul producer Nellee Hooper to co-produce the project. Björk writes or co-writes ten of the albums eleven songs, with many of them having been composed years before being recorded. Musically, it differs noticeably from her previous work with The Sugarcubes. Initially, she wants to record the songs with jazz musicians and arranged in that style, but changes her mind after discussing it with Hooper. 808 State keyboardist Graham Massey, who also works on the project and a major influence on the shifting musical direction of the album toward trip hop, drum and bass, and house music. As a result, Massey becomes an important and frequent collaborator with Björk on the album, and in the years to come. The resulting work is well received by the public, and is praised for its stylistic diversity and fearless experimentation. It spins off five singles including “Human Behaviour” (#2 Modern Rock, #2 Club Play), “Venus As A Boy” (#29 UK), and “Big Time Sensuality” (#5 Modern Rock, #1 Club Play). The album is reissued as a DualDisc in 2006, featuring the original stereo mix on the red book CD side. The DVD-A contains all five of the music videos for the singles, and 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS surround mixes of the original album. It is most recently reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2015. “Debut” peaks at number three on the UK album chart, number sixty one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 1, 1967 – &…

On this day in music history: July 1, 1967 – “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, the eighth studio album by The Beatles hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 15 weeks. Produced by George Martin, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London from December 6, 1966 – April 21, 1967. Taking over 400 hours of studio time to record, “Sgt. Pepper” sees the band at the peak of its creative powers, and goes on to be regarded as one of the greatest and most influential rock albums in the history of popular music. The album  sells over 2.5 million copies in the US in just three months. spends a total of 201 weeks on the UK album chart and 175 weeks on the Billboard Top 200. “Pepper” wins four Grammy Awards including Album Of The Year in 1968. Originally issued in both mono and stereo in 1967, the mono mixes are supervised by The Beatles being present at the mixing sessions (taking three weeks), with the stereo versions being mixed by producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick in only three days. The mono version of the album is deleted after 1968 with the rise in popularity of stereo. Regarded by many, including The Beatles themselves to be the superior mix of the album, the mono version remains out of print until 1982, when EMI in the UK briefly reissues it on vinyl only. The mono mix of “Pepper” finally makes its CD debut in September of 2009 when it is included on “The Beatles In Mono” box set. The vinyl LP is released exactly five years later in September of 2014 when the vinyl boxed equivalent is released, and is also made available apart from the box. Receiving new stereo and 5.1 DTS and Dolby Digital surround remixes by Giles Martin, the 50th anniversary edition of “Sgt. Pepper” is released to an enthusiastic reception on May 26, 2017. The album re-enters the Billboard Top 200 at #3 for the week ending June 17, 2017, selling more than 75,000 copies in its first week of re-release. 71,000 of those units are actual physical sales, with the rest being digital downloads. The high re-entry point for the album marks its highest chart position on the Top 200 since December of 1967. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is certified 11x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, receiving a Diamond Certification, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1993.

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On this day in music history: June 29, 1968 – …

On this day in music history: June 29, 1968 – “A Saucerful Of Secrets”, the second studio album by Pink Floyd is released. Produced by Norman Smith, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London from August, October 1967 and January – April 1968. The bands follow up to their debut “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” is recorded sporadically over a period of eight months, largely because of Syd Barrett’s increasing mental instability due to his excessive consumption of psychedelic drugs. Guitarist David Gilmour is brought in to take Barrett’s place, becoming a permanent member of the band in March 1968. The album features songs such as “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” and the title track, both of which become staples of their live performances. The enigmatic cover art for the album is designed by Hipgnosis, making Pink Floyd the first EMI act (besides The Beatles) to have their album covers designed by someone other than EMI’s art department). It is the beginning of a four decade long association with the graphic design company. Reissued on CD numerous times since its first digital release in 1987, it is most recently reissued in 2011. The album is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2016, with the album sleeve using a printed version of the original UK “flip back” jacket design, and pressed with the original 60’s era UK Columbia labels. The rare mono mix of “Secrets”, out of print since its initial release, is remastered and reissued on Record Store Day in April of 2019. The 180 gram vinyl LP, is limited to 6,500 copies in the US and Canada, and the same number for the European continent. “A Saucerful Of Secrets” peaks at number nine on the UK album chart, and does not chart on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: June 27, 1966 – …

On this day in music history: June 27, 1966 – “Freak Out!”, the debut album by The Mothers Of Invention is released. Produced by Tom Wilson, it is recorded at Sunset-Highland Studios of TTG from March 9 – 12, 1966. Signed to MGM distributed Verve Records in early 1966 by producer/A&R man Tom Wilson (Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, The Velvet Underground), Wilson signs the band believing them to be a white blues band akin to the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, not realizing how musically varied and idiosyncratic they actually are. One of the first double LP sets ever by a rock band, the album is recorded in just four days worth of studio time. Clocking in at nearly sixty one minutes, the fourteen track two LP set is a concept album satirizing rock music and America. The entire fourth side of the album is taken up by the experimental and abstract “The Return Of The Son Of Monster Magnet (Unfinished Ballet in Two Tableaux)”. The twelve minute plus avant-garde instrumental featuring Dr. John on piano (credited under his real name Mac Rebennack). The track appears on the album in its unfinished state after the label cuts off the recording budget for the album after Zappa spends over $12,000 renting percussion instruments to use on the track. In all, producer Tom Wilson spends nearly $35,000 of MGM Records money by the time editing and mixing is completed. Before it’s released, label executives insist that two lines from the third movement of “Help, I’m A Rock” (“It Can’t Happen Here”) be removed, believing them to be references to drugs. Though a section of “Return Of The Son Of Monster Magnet” with Zappa dropping the “F” bomb is left intact. The original mono and stereo releases of the album vary not only in their mixes but include edits that differ noticeably from each other. Original pressings also feature a map of Hollywood printed inside the LP gatefold titled “Freak Out Hot Spots!”, along with an offer to send in for a copy of the map. The map is removed from subsequent reissues, but reprinted as part of “The MOFO Project/Object” set in 2006, featuring the original stereo mix of the album, alternate takes, unused mixes and live recordings. It quickly establishes Frank Zappa’s reputation for the social commentary and satire that is constant throughout his career. “Freak Out!” peaks at number one hundred thirty on the Billboard Top 200, earning the band a loyal cult following. Going out of print in the early 70’s, Zappa is first reissues the album (after purchasing his master tapes back from Verve) in April of 1985 as part of a boxed set titled “The Old Masters – Box One”. The album is remastered and reissued in 2012, with a double 180 gram vinyl LP set following in 2013. “Freak Out!” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.

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On this day in music history: June 1, 1967 – &…

On this day in music history: June 1, 1967 – “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, the eighth studio album by The Beatles is released. Produced by George Martin, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios and Regent Sound Studios in London from December 6, 1966 – April 21, 1967. Following the innovative and successful “Revolver”, The Beatles further push the boundaries of popular music, with the aid of producer Martin. Mid way through the sessions, Paul McCartney comes up with the concept of The Beatles taking on the guise of “Sgt. Pepper” as being an alter ego for themselves, giving them more freedom to be experimental musically and visually. The recording takes over 400 hours of studio time to complete. The iconic cover art is designed by artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth (photographed by Michael Cooper) features The Beatles dressed in military style uniforms, backed by a collage of life sized cardboard cutouts of famous people. Original LP pressings come with a custom psychedelic inner sleeve designed and painted by Dutch design collective The Fool (Simon Posthuma and Marijke Koger). It is released to unanimous praise, and regarded as one of the most influential albums of all time. “Pepper” is nominated for seven Grammy Awards, winning four including Album Of The Year in 1968. First released on CD in 1987, it is remastered and reissued on CD in 2009. The mono version, regarded by many including The Beatles themselves to be the superior mix, is finally released on CD in 2009. The stereo version is remastered and reissued on 180 gram vinyl in 2012, with the mono following in 2014. Both vinyl releases replicate the original UK LP packaging. For its fiftieth anniversary, it receives new stereo and 5.1 surround remixes, reconstructing the multi-tracks digitally from the session work tapes stored in the Abbey Road tape archive. As the four track masters were composited from previous submasters, many songs required as many as four tape to tape pre-mixdowns before the final mixes were made. As a result of the multiple bounces, the clarity and presence of many overdubs were diminished, particularly the drum tracks. The new stereo, DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround remixes by Giles Martin, reveal a fuller and more natural balance in stereo, rather than the hard left/right panning of the original stereo mixes. “Pepper” is reissued on May 26, 2017 in three configurations, as a two CD, double vinyl and a four CD + DVD and Blu-ray deluxe edition box set. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” spends fifteen weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, is certified 11x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1993, and is selected for preservation by the National Recording Registry Of The Library Of Congress in 2003.

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