The blog of author Dennis Cooper


Turntablist and artist Christian Marclay created an album — using a 4-track in New York City, March 1985 — composed of other records. All seems pretty normal, but the thing is, Recycled Records’ Record Without a Cover was sold without a jacket or cover, and it even came with the instructions “Do not store in a protective package.” Marclay’s concept was to let the natural ageing process make each individual record unique. Through scratches, and dust caught in the grooves, the record’s deterioration make it constantly evolve. If it could be described, think: a warped history of the universe.


German genius Peter Lardong came up with the idea to create records out of chocolate and, believe it or not, they can be played on a standard phonograph. He creates the records by pouring his time-tested recipe of melted chocolate into a silicon mold of his favorite vinyl. He places it in the refrigerator to set and voila. Each disc can be played up to 12 times before it’s too worn out, and that’s when you eat it.


Robot with record player brain


Buried in the midst of a load of LPs I recently bought was a clear virgin vinyl LP in a plain white jacket. The odd thing about it is there are grooves cut both sides with nothing on them. The dead wax on side one has inscribed NITTY GRITTY and BP 360 LP1 along with NW RTI 19724. Side two dead wax has 13875 and BP 000. Any ideas what this is and what it was for….we’d be interested to find out.


These are not a direct substitute for pressed records. These are 100% hand-made, in real time. If the record is 10 minutes long, it took 10 minutes to cut plus setup time. This labor, coupled with the maintenance and knowledge required makes these lathe-cuts more expensive (per piece) than a larger pressing of vinyl.


Jeroen Diepenmaat ‘Pour des dents d’un blanc éclatant et saines’ (2005), Record players, vinyl records, stuffed birds, sound. Dimensions variable.


Music lovers can now be immortalised when they die by having their ashes baked into vinyl records to leave behind for loved ones. A UK company called And Vinyly is offering people the chance to press their ashes in a vinyl recording of their own voice, their favourite tunes or their last will and testament. Minimalist audiophiles might want to go for the simple option of having no tunes or voiceover, and simply pressing the ashes into the vinyl to result in pops and crackles.


In 1967, the BBC created its own record label, designed to exploit the demand for commercially released TV tunes, comedy shows and, finding an unlikely niche in the market, sound effects, the best remembered being their three horror-related collections. Volume 1, Essential Death & Horror, appeared in 1977 and offers a dizzying collection of 91 different effects. Particular favourites of my own include an actually rather disturbing electronic workout, ‘Monsters Roaring’, and ‘neck twisted and broken’. Such was the success of Volume 1, a follow-up album arrived in 1978 – Volume 2: More Death and Horror. Rather more ragged than the first release, we are treated to even more inclement weather and death rattles – of particular note is ‘death by garrotting’. There was one final outing, the paltry twenty-five minutes of Volume 3: Even More Death and Horror. Easily the most startling record of the three, the methods of torture are truly imaginative; ‘self immolation’, ‘female falling from great height’ and ‘tongue pulled out’.


Knowing how easy it is to scratch records or make them skip with the slightest bump, it might seem counter-intuitive to put a record player into a moving car. But the automobile record player, first introduced by Chrysler in 1956, contained a number of features that would keep the music going even when there were bumps in the road. Part of its downfall can be attributed to the fact that the Highway Hi-Fi required special records; you couldn’t simply pull a record off of the shelf and play it on your road trip. Rather, drivers had to purchase all of their music again in the new proprietary format. Since the machine was only available on new vehicles and not as an aftermarket accessory, there wasn’t a huge commercial demand for it. Moreover, the devices had the nasty habit of breaking often and Chrysler wasn’t thrilled with the cost of fixing all of those under-warranty units. By 1957, just one year after their initial introduction, Chrysler withdrew support for the ill-fated gadgets.


Glass disc recordings, produced photographically in the 1880’s by Volta Laboratory Associates – Alexander Bell, his cousin Chichester Bell and Charles Sumner Tainter. Smithsonian officials unsealed them in the presence of Bell’s daughters and a grandson in 1937.


Chris Supranowitz has made some images of a record’s grooves using an electron scanning microscope. For the vinyl record sample, he simply cut a small section of a record and attached it to a sample stub via carbon tape. He then sputter coated approximately 90 Angstroms of gold onto the grooves. Since the sample was relatively thick (2-3 mm) carbon tape was applied along the side to ensure good conductivity. It’s finally clear what the grooves actually look like!


Jacques Tati with record player


In 1973, the Kingdom of Bhutan issued several unusual postage stamps that are playable miniature phonograph records. These thin plastic single-sided adhesive-backed 331⁄3 RPM discs feature folk music and tourism information. Not very practical for actual postal use and rarely seen canceled, they were designed as revenue-generating novelties and were initially scorned as such by most stamp collectors. They are now fairly scarce and valuable and are sought after by both stamp and novelty record collectors. Their small diameters (approximately 7 and 10 cm or 2.75 and 4 inches) make them unplayable on turntables with automatic return tonearms.


Nam June Paik ‘Listening to Music Through the Mouth’ (1962)


NON’s Pagan Muzak (Gray Beat, 1978) is a one-sided 7-inch with 17 locked grooves and two center holes, meaning each locked groove can be played at two different trajectories as well as any number of speeds. The original release came with instructions for the listener to drill more holes in the record as they saw appropriate.


The Hi-Fi murders were the killings of three people during an armed robbery at a home audio and record store called the Hi-Fi Shop in Ogden, Utah. On April 22, 1974, three enlisted United States Air Force airmen, named Dale Pierre Selby, William Andrews, and Keith Roberts drove in two vans to a Hi-Fi store on Washington Boulevard, Ogden, just before closing time. They entered the shop brandishing handguns. Two employees, Stanley Walker, age 20, and Michelle Ansley, age 18, were in the store at the time and were taken hostage. Pierre and Andrews took the two into the store’s basement and bound them. Later, a 16-year-old boy named Cortney Naisbitt arrived to thank Walker for allowing him to park his car in the store’s parking lot as he ran an errand next door; he was also taken hostage and tied up in the basement with Walker and Ansley. Later that evening, Orren Walker, Stanley’s 43-year-old father, became worried that his son had not returned home. Cortney Naisbitt’s mother, Carol Naisbitt, also arrived at the shop later that evening looking for her son, who was late getting home. Both Orren Walker and Carol Naisbitt were taken hostage and tied up in the basement. With five people now held hostage in the basement, Pierre told Andrews to get something from their van. Andrews returned with a bottle in a brown paper bag, from which Pierre poured a cup of blue liquid. Pierre ordered Orren to administer the liquid to the other hostages, but he refused, and was bound, gagged, and left face-down on the basement floor. Pierre and Andrews then propped each of the victims into sitting positions and forced them to drink the liquid, telling them it was vodka laced with sleeping pills. Rather, it was liquid Drano. The moment it touched the hostages’ lips, enormous blisters rose, and it began to burn their tongues and throats and peel away the flesh around their mouths. Ansley, still begging for her life, was forced to drink the drain cleaner too, although she was reported (by Orren Walker) to have coughed less than the other victims. Pierre and Andrews tried to duct-tape the hostages’ mouths shut to hold quantities of drain cleaner in and to silence their screams, but pus oozing from the blisters prevented the adhesive from sticking. Orren Walker was the last to be given the drain cleaner, but seeing what was happening to the other hostages, he allowed it to pour out of his mouth and then mimicked the convulsions and screams of his son and fellow hostages. Pierre became angry because the deaths were taking too long and were too loud and messy, so he shot both Carol and Cortney Naisbitt in the backs of their heads, proving fatal for Carol but leaving Cortney alive. Pierre then shot at Orren Walker but missed. He then fatally shot Stanley before again shooting at Orren, this time grazing the back of his head. Pierre then took Ansley to the far corner of the basement, forced her at gunpoint to remove her clothes, then repeatedly and brutally raped her after telling Andrews to clear out for 30 minutes. When he was done, he allowed her to use the bathroom while he watched, then dragged her, still naked, back to the other hostages, threw her on her face, and fatally shot her in the back of the head. Andrews and Pierre noted that Orren was still alive, so Pierre mounted him, wrapped a wire around his throat, and tried to strangle him. When this failed, Pierre and Andrews inserted a ballpoint pen into Orren’s ear, and Pierre stomped it until it punctured his eardrum, broke, and exited the side of his throat.


Gregor Hildebrandt’s ‘Kassettenschallplatte (Cassette Record)’ (2008) is a sculptural work composed of hundreds of feet of wrapped cassette tape, a fetish object for which one medium has been rendered useless to embody the equally nonfunctioning image of another.


Record player ring


In the late 1920s and early 1930s the Vitaphone sound system used large 33 1/3 rpm records to provide the soundtrack for motion pictures. The record rotated in the usual clockwise direction but the groove was cut and played starting at the inside of the recorded area and proceeding outward. This inside start was dictated by the unusually long playing time of the records and the rapid wearing down of the single-use disposable metal needles which were standard for playing lateral-cut shellac records at that time. The signal degradation caused by a worn needle point was most audible when playing the innermost turns of the groove, where the undulations were most closely packed and tortuous, but fairly negligible when playing the outermost turns where they were much more widely spaced and easily traced. With an inside start the needle point was freshest where it mattered most. Almost all analog disc records were recorded at a constant angular speed, resulting in a decreasing linear speed toward the disc’s center. The result was a maximum level of signal distortion due to low groove velocity nearest the center of the disc, called “end-groove distortion”. Loud musical passages were most audibly affected. Since some music, especially classical music, tends to start quietly and mount to a loud climax, such distortion could be minimized if the disc was recorded to play beginning at the inner end of the groove. A few such records were issued, but the domination of automatic record changers, and the fact that symphony movements, for example, varied greatly in length and could be difficult to arrange appropriately on 20-minute disc sides, made them no more than curiosities.


For their single “Blue Ice”, Swedish indie group Shout Out Louds came up with the idea of making a functional record on ice. 10 press kits consisting of silicon mold, a bottle of distilled water, and complete instructions were sent to select media and fans. Of course the record would only last in one play, and your needle is most likely to be ruined after, but the less-than-perfect crackling sounds have their own lo-fi DIY charms.


Performance artist and experimental musician Laurie Anderson invented the Viophonograph in 1976. Its violin body turns a custom 7-inch vinyl record which is played by a needle mounted to a bow, all fed into an amplifier.


Artist Pieterjan Grandry has broken a major barrier between the unreality of the Internet and the rest of the real world. Grandry has successfully taken animated GIFs and made them analog. His device, based on a pre-film form of entertainment called a phenakistoscope, uses frames from a GIF printed onto transparent material as individual frames and placed on a wheel. Once spun and illuminated, the images form a single moving picture — in this case, a head bobbing cat.


A record album is stuck in record 3 of the 5 record changer in my Sharp Audio Disc A4 Player. How do I get it out? Record changer not responding. Disassembly may be required to get access to the stuck record and remove it.


In the 1946-1961 era, some ingenious Russians began recording banned bootlegged jazz, boogie woogie and rock ‘n’ roll on exposed X-ray film. The thick radiographs would be cut into discs of 23 to 25 centimeters in diameter; sometimes the records weren’t circular. But the exact shape didn’t matter so much, as long as the thing played. “Usually it was the Western music they wanted to copy,” says Sergei Khrushchev, the son of Nikita Khrushchev. “Before the tape recorders they used the X-ray film of bones and recorded music on the bones, bone music.” As author Anya von Bremzen elaborates: “They would cut the X-ray into a crude circle with manicure scissors and use a cigarette to burn a hole. … You’d have Elvis on the lungs, Duke Ellington on Aunt Masha’s brain scan—forbidden Western music captured on the interiors of Soviet citizens.”


Ottawa band, Hilotrons are releasing nuggets of their music on plastic records that only work for an all-but forgotten children’s toy. The Fisher Price record player is actually a simple wind-up music box, and each indestructible little plastic record is a spool that triggers different notes. What you get is the creepy, tinkling tones featured in the video below.


Jasper Johns’ ‘Scott Fagan Record’ (1970) is a lithograph of Scott Fagan’s ‘South Atlantic Blues’ record, released in 1968. Fagan is the father of The Magnetic Fields singer and songwriter, Stephin Merritt. Although they had not met, John’s ‘Scott Fagan Record’ was instrumental in reuniting Merrit with his estranged father. Writer Mark Swartz had posted an image of John’s lithograph on his Tumblr, which Fagan found while searching for himself on Google. He contacted Swartz, and a relationship eventually created an opportunity for Merrit and Fagan to reunite, along with Merrit’s mother, Alix. Fagan and Swartz created a Kickstarter to fund a tribute album of a man interpreting his son’s (Merrit’s) songs, to which Jasper Johns contributed. The sentimental nature of the work is also present in the imagery, recalling Johns’ early “Target” paintings.


Evan Holm: There will be a time when all tracings of human culture will dissolve back into the soil under the slow crush of the unfolding universe. The pool, black and depthless, represents loss, represents mystery and represents the collective subconscious of the human race. By placing these records underneath the dark and obscure surface of the pool, I am enacting a small moment of remorse towards this loss. In the end however this is an optimistic sculpture, for just after that moment of submergence; tone, melody and ultimately song is pulled back out of the pool, past the veil of the subconscious, out from under the crush of time, and back into a living and breathing realm. When I perform with this sculpture, I am honoring and celebrating all the musicians, all the artists that have helped to build our human culture.


Imagine a turntable but instead of a needle, you have a pizza sauce spout, and instead of a record, you have pizza crust spinning so the red sauce can cover every inch. Imagine no more. That’s how pizzas get made at Costco. Workers put the dough on the turntable and the pizzas gets expertly covered in a controlled flow of sauce from the machines.


WOW is a vinyl record containing a single ultra-low frequency which will alter slightly depending on the mechanical components of your record player. Use more than one system to play several records simultaneously and the air around you will start pulsating. Play 33 ⅓ Hz on 33 ⅓ rpm or 45 Hz on 45 rpm. Feel free to use the pitch wheel or even touch the record to control the sub-sonic wave field. Your choice of record players, the number of records and the character of your room create your individual listening experience.


In over fifty new paintings depicting the circular labels of assorted vinyl albums and singles, Dave Muller draws upon his endless fascination and encyclopedic knowledge of music and its capacity to shape both individual and cultural identities. He culls resonant records from the ‘20s through the ‘90s, some familiar and others forgotten, tapping into shared poetic moments and a collective dialogue.


A record player sits on the floor, shown from above. Slightly off-centre in the corner of a room, it lies surrounded by cables and a power strip. Through a transparent lid, the white label of a black vinyl disc catches the eye. This painting by German artist Gerhard Richter depicts the record player of Andreas Baader, member of the German terrorist group Red Army Faction (RAF), inside Baader’s cell at Stuttgart-Stammheim prison, and was painted after a police photograph.


Many might say it is impossible for a tortoise to survive three decades living in a record player inside a filthy storage room. Those people would also be wrong. One fateful day 30 years ago, a pleasant Brazilian family lost their tortoise named Manuela. Manuela apparently got trapped in the storage room where the man of the house, Leonel Almedia, stored a variety of worthless junk, including electronic devices. Inside a record player is where Manuela the tortoise would call home for 30 years.


22 picture discs

Anti-Flag ‘Bacon’

Skid Row ‘Youth Gone Wild’

Rev Jim Jones ‘Thee Last Supper’ WSNS 1984-PSYCHIC TV/TG

Metallica Interview LP

Fat Boys ‘Pizza Box Set’

Trick ‘r Treat Soundtrack Album

Urine Junkies ‘Abscess’

MF Doom ‘Rhymes Like Dimes’

J Dilla ‘Fuck the Police’

Sebadoh ‘Limelight’, ltd. ed. released to ‘honor’ Rush’s 40th anniversary

Revolting Cocks ‘Beers, Steers & Queers’

Uriah Heep ‘Backstage Girl’

Acid King ‘Busse Woods’

NZI 490004G605

David Bowie ‘Valentines Day’

Erika’s Hot Food to Go

Ozzy Osbourne ‘Miracle Man’

Guns n’ Roses ‘Nightrain’

Danny Brown ‘The OD’

Malcom McLaren ‘Madame Butterfly’

Queen ‘I’m Going Slightly Mad’

Lord Finesse ‘E-mu EP’


One of Afro-Peruvian artist William Cordova’s recent sculptures, “Greatest Hits (para Micaela Bastidas, Tom Wilson y Anna Mae Aquash),” is a 13-foot tower of 3,000 stacked records accented with pieces of broken discs. Inspired by historical movements such as Dada and Arte Povera, Cordova created the tower to recognize those who have been overlooked in mainstream music. He wanted the piece to acknowledge past artists who added to the genre even if they had not produced a “greatest hit.”


New five pound note plays vinyl records


Rutherford Chang has a unique vinyl collection. He only collects the Beatles first pressing of The White Album. I interviewed him: Q: Did you grow up in a house of Beatles fans? When did you first hear about the Beatles? and about the white album? A: My parents are from Taiwan and didn’t listen to the Beatles, so I didn’t grow up with the music. I bought my first White Album at a garage sale in Palo Alto for $1 when I was 15 years old. Q: So how did you get familiar with the Beatles? A: They are the biggest band. Q: Are you a vinyl collector? A: Yes, I collect White Albums. Q: Do you collect anything other than that? A: I own some vinyl and occasionally buy other albums, but nothing in multiples like the White Album. Q: Why just White Album? why not Abbey road? or Rubber Soul? A: The White Album has the best cover. I have a few copies of Abbey Road and Rubber Soul, but I keep those in my “junk bin”. Q: Why do you find it so great? It’s a white, blank cover. Q: Are you a minimalist? A: I’m most interested in the albums as objects and observing how they have aged. So for me, a Beatles album with an all white cover is perfect. Q: Do you care about the album’s condition? A: I collect numbered copies of the White Album in any condition. In fact I often find the “poorer” condition albums more interesting.


50 Locked Grooves by Audio-Visual artist Haroon Mirza made from cardboard, tape, glass amongst other things. Double pack contains 2 identical 12″s designed to be played together. Play any loop with any loop to unlock the music inside.


Aphrodisiacal record


In Dario Robleto’s ‘Sometimes Billie Is All That Holds Me Together’ (1998), several new buttons were crafted from melted Billie Holiday records to replace missing buttons on found, abandoned or thrift store clothing. After the discarded clothing was made whole again, it was re-donated to the thrift stores or placed back where it was originally found.


C.C. Records (2013), an installation work by Duto Hardono is inspired by the city of Cairo & the most popular icon at the moment General Abdel Fattah Sisi himself, hence the title–if you’re an Egyptian, you might get it–the work stands as a satire comedy of the recent political life & situation of the country. The audiences create their own combination of the broken-into-half C-shaped Egyptian records & make their own mix of composition. Sometimes it creates a unique locked grooves that plays a loop over & over again. The audiences also choose their own speed whether it’s a 45 or 33 revolution per minute.


For ‘Years, artist Bartholomaus Traubeck fashions a slice of tree trunk into the form of a vinyl record, with the tree-trunk’s rings resembling the spiral groove of the now-outdated audio format. Using a record player with a special sensor, computer software is used to translate the trunk rings into notes and then “play” them as melodies.


Making a comment on Christian Marclay ‘Record Without a Cover’ João Paulo Feliciano, together with the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, is releasing ‘Cover without a Record’. The object, a gate-fold album cover, is produced on a standard record plant on edition of 1000 copies.




p.s. Hey. ** Scunnard, Hey, J! Awfully good to see you, bud. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Criticism doesn’t need to be either an ivory tower report or a funnelling of general beefs, obviously. Well, it’s pretty much impossible to read a review of Noe’s films without encountering the adjectives ‘polarising’ or ‘controversial’ or variants thereof. I don’t know, but isn’t something that quick a sufficient acknowledgement? I think the issues people have with his films are pretty well known. I read reviews to understand the critic’s take on the film itself, not to read what he or she thinks about others’ opinions. But that’s me. ** _Black_Acrylic, Cool, glad it sat well with you, Ben. Ha ha, gotcha. ** Misanthrope, Thank you. I try to stay away from those videos. I’m dark enough. Sad or something about the no wine festival, but, yeah. People ankle deep in mud wearing waders drinking wine is kind of a nice image though. That LPs is a card. ** Niko, Hi. Oh, my pleasure, I’m glad my verbiage did something. Yes, people do, and I’m happy to. The only thing is that I’m extremely slow at getting to things and getting back to people, and it’s a bit worse right now because I’m swamped with writing projects. But, with that caveat, I would like to discover and read your work. Just understand that my slowness is nothing personal, and that when I do read the work, I’ll write back to you straight away. My email, if you need it, is: denniscooper72 ** Damien Ark, Hi, D. Oh, cool, I guess, yeah, extreme fear is … interesting. I have a heights terror thing. Hm, I think I’m just blanking, but my morning brain isn’t telling me what ECM is. ** Politekid, Hi there! Wow, five months, holy moly, welcome back! Sounds like a ton has been happening, and I’m sorry to hear about the bad parts. If it’s any consolation, my writing still gets divided reactions even after all these years. I think that’s a positive sign, or else I just tell myself that. Your theater thing sounds extremely interesting, no surprise. Well, it’ll probably just mutate when an actual space is involved, and maybe even upwardly. That happens between when Zac and I write film scripts and the actual filming. All kinds of adjustments, but interesting ones. I’m glad the Barbara Hammer post was good timing. I didn’t see ‘No No Nooky TV’ at the time either, so I can only guess like you do. Me too: the ‘kinda like’ thing. Yeah, awesome to see you. Hope I’ll get to see you more. ** Bill, Hi, Bill. My pleasure and hers too, I guess, albeit without her knowing it. Mario Bellatin’s ‘Large Glass’: don’t know it, but will. Did you get any work in this weekend? ** Jamie, Jabber jabber! I’m good. I did get my needed 8 hours of sleep last night, so I am feeling somewhat more tip top. God, please, yes, on the dreaded one’s feedback. My weekend was all right. Saw a movie, Christopher Honore’s new one, and watched the Cannes Closing Ceremony (go Godard!), and watched a bit of the Wedding and was surprisingly interested by the dissonance between the sermon, choir. etc. and the discomfited stiff necks. That was curious to observe. Bit of work. Scored seats at a pre-release screening of the new Gaspar Noe film, cool. Producer-related crappola. It was okay. Film script: Zac is going over it and making intricate notes, and then we’ll meet to work on whatever revisions are necessary hopefully as soon as humanly possible. May your Monday make mountains out of every molehill and vice versa when that’s preferable. Framed and hung on the wall love, Dennis. ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff. Oh, cool. I’m glad the Hammer post filled you in. Your house is so noisy! What is up with that? It’s like a fairytale curse or something. Sorry, obvs. I’m glad you’re being super productive irregardless. I … don’t think I’ve read that Gracq, no. Huh. I’ll look into it. Reading Gracq, even minor him, sounds like a good idea. All the stories in the gif book were here first, yes, and, yes, they have been revised and reworked in some cases. Bon, quiet day! ** Right. Today I encourage you in various ways to consider the vinyl record. See you tomorrow.


  1. David Ehrenstein

    Today suggests a direct relationship between vinyl recordings and Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony”

    Sex Lives of the Surrealists or The Perils of Dating Marlene Dietrich.

  2. David Ehrenstein

    Attention all and sundry: Bill and I are having a Major Sale Here’s guide to the items we have up on e-bay and elsewhere

  3. Steve Erickson

    Former Mission of Burma guitarist Roger Miller released a very limited edition project similar to Christian Marclay’s RECORD WITHOUT A COVER.

    I’d be interested to know if any artists have tried doing the same kind of work with CDs – they seem more limited because they’re smaller and a laser beam is much less likely to play back an altered CD than a physical needle will play a record.

    Frankly, CLIMAX would have benefited from doing without the “You hated IRREVERSIBLE, you loathed ENTER THE VOID, etc.” poster, which deservedly got mocked on social media. Noe’s “bad boy” reputation, which he clearly loves, has kept a lot of people from recognizing that his films actually do have a great deal of substance. But he seems to speak his mind without caring what people think – his interview comments about walking out on BLACK PANTHER and hating R&B (which I think may have just been referring to that film’s soundtrack, not the entire genre’s history) got him attacked as a racist on Twitter – which I admire. I don’t think I can review THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT without acknowledging the Cannes response, but it’s probably best to deal with the film’s actual content instead of reviewing other people’s reactions.

  4. Wolf

    Dennis, g’day sir! We’re on the train back to the UK. Sorry to have missed the bulk of the Hammer day, it looked positively glowing! Provence was lovely. We rarely come down at that time of the year and it’s a very different world from July/August. Everything is lush and green and fragrant and wild, all the leaves new and fresh, the fields bursting with so many wild flowers, the rivers still high and for those who aren’t into Heat, a very civilised temperature. So, yes, familiar, in a nice way. It does remind me of my childhood more and more when I go there. It’s the light and the smells, mostly. Cities don’t have so many smells, or not so nice. It is very unnatural and weird not being able to smell seasons changing, or the weather. We got caught on the highway to the station in a mad hailstorm, it was apocalyptic and intense; seriously thought the car windows were gonna break, all cars flashing warning lights and at an almost standstill in inches of water fallen in less than a minute. How can a cloud hold this much weight and still be a cloud?! Pretty exciting.
    Anyway, back to London it is. How’s your week looking so far?

  5. Damien Ark

    ECM is a record label that eventually influenced its own form of (eclectic) jazz music. I’d say their most famous stuff comes from the classical records they did that feature Steve Reich, John Adams, especially Arvo Part’s stuff… ECM is probably what made Part explode (Tabula Rasa). Then of course Music for 18 Musicians lol. Some of the important jazz figures in ECM include Pat Methany, Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett, Eberhard Weber, Anouar Brahem… Brahem’s jazz has the middle eastern influence and then you have artists that are influenced by russian choral stuff. The cover art they use is also incredibly beautiful IMO. I knew someone that absolutely hated ECM and sweared behind European Free Jazz, but they became an alt-right nazi, so we’re not friends anymore and his opinions are totally descredited for that lol. Brotzmann and all of those guys are cool in all I guess. As for me, too much anxiety these days to listen to harsh noise and crazy loud shit, which used to be all I cared about.

    Man, the posts lately are so amazing. Marclay has done too many cool things with records. He has one recording of the sounds of people walking all over a bunch of glass, I think?? Surprised you didn’t mention Otomo Yoshihide. There’s a lot of crazy turntablist fuckers out there though. Hong Chulki does some pretty good “eai” with turntables. I’d check him out (although I’m sure you already know of him). Erik M. There’s another I can’t remember off of the top of my head… The dude that creates nice creepy ambient with record loops. Anyway…
    Peace and love. 🙂

    • Steve Erickson

      @Damien, I only own one 2018 ECM release, Kit Downes’ organ-drone album OBSIDIAN, but it’s quite good. I think their particular aesthetic, which seems like a particularly European and chilly spin on jazz even when their artists aren’t from that continent, peaked in the 1970s (the Jan Garbarek and Terje Rypdal albums they released then are amazing), but it continues releasing plenty of worthwhile music (and just plenty of music – they seem to issue 3 or 4 albums every month!)

  6. Dóra Grőber


    Thank you for your nice words and support and everything!
    How are you? What’s going on with the producer? Did you manage to send Episode #3 on its way – or at least on the next phase of its way? God, I hope so! If yes, are you working on your own film now? How is everything?
    Right now, I feel pretty relaxed and satisfied – I spent the long weekend watching movies (I just watched ‘Sleepers’ because of your Brad Renfro post and I liked it quite a lot), reading and free-styling (is it correct like this?). I’m reading this book ‘The Last Victim’ (this title is absolutely hideous) by Jason Moss. It’s a true crime book – the guy started writing letters to convicted serial killers like Gacy and Manson and Dahmer posing as their “ideal victim” when he was around 18 and it’s about his experiences. He committed suicide in his early thirties. It’s really interesting – to me, weirdly enough, not primarily because of the killers but because of the psychological workings of Jason himself.
    Otherwise, I’m still trying hard to find some kind of a balance between work and everything else I’d actually like to spend my time with.
    I think I’ll be back on Friday! Have an amazing week, Dennis, and please tell me about what’s happened in your world since we last talked!

  7. Tosh Berman

    I have a deep affection for vinyl. I love it. And I love Rutherford Chang’s White album project. I bought his “White Album” and it’s incredible listening experience. I strongly recommend it. Great blog today. I love it all!

  8. Sypha

    I really love that Queen vinyl one. I’ve known about the NON “Pagan Muzak” album for years and was always curious about what it must sound like… turns out to be not all that interesting, ah ha.

  9. Bill

    Wow, what a spectacular collection today, Dennis. I’d love to get one of the bird record players. Maybe to play an X-ray film record? Or the one made of ice? Whew.

    The weekend was mostly grading (done!), and recovering from that. I wrote a 10-sec piano snippet that I like, despite a painful thumb. So, constructive.


  10. Steve Erickson

    Here’s my review of Courtney Barnett’s TELL ME HOW YOU REALLY FEEL:

  11. Jamie

    You spin me right round, Dennis. Great post for slow-reading on a Monday morning. My uncle had a few of those sound effects records and he’d let us use them to record made-up plays on his massive reel to reel. I really like seeing those close up grooves and love the postage stamp records. And isn’t that gif record cool? Do you want one? Also love the White Album collecting guy. Wow, what a big and excellent post. Thanks.
    Nice that you’re back on your own script. Hope it keeps going well.
    How was your day? I had the fucking doom this morning (which only your Records post could cut through, so thanks again) but I have a possible impetigo outbreak & that always gets me way down. A week without some medical ailment would be nice, man.
    Hope Tuesday handles you with kid gloves, whatever they are.
    Photocopied until beautifully blurry love,

  12. Jamie

    Hey Dennis,
    I just posted a comment, but it seems to have disappeared along with all the other comments and today’s post. I’m hoping that the malware’s not back.

  13. Jeff J

    Hey Dennis – Weirdly, I could only get to this post through the FB link. When I went to the website, it wouldn’t appear at all despite various poking around. Maybe that’s why this is the first comment?

    Loved this records days — the X-ray records and the submerged turntables got in particular but all the picture discs (Fat Boys’ pizza – wow) were a huge pleasure too.

    Yes, my house is like something out of a fairytale gone awry right now, though hopefully things will be getting more blissfully mundane soon.

    In terms of minor Gracq novellas, there’s also “King Cophetua” which is maybe better, if you haven’t tackled that one either? It’s the basis for the interesting film “Rendezvous A Bray.”

    When do you get the see the new Noe film? Any other interesting films opening there right after Cannes?

  14. _Black_Acrylic

    Records are beautiful things and this Day is a worthy tribute. I can remember visiting Paris with my then-girlfriend back in 1999 and calling in at a record shop where I bought Carl Craig ‎– More Songs About Food And Revolutionary Art, an LP that holds up sublimely well imo.

  15. JM

    Chocolate records are the coolest idea. I love the McLaren especially. My Stupid Baby arrived. As in, not a baby I am having that is stupid, but the New Juche baby. Exciting. Looks nice.


  16. politekid

    Haha I’m glad it’s a positive thing! And I’m glad to hear these things mutate (for the good) when spaces get involved. for now i’m burying my head in all these big biographies and thick tomes on process philosophy, i don’t really understand a word but i think its getting absorbed somehow. yes hopefully i’ll be around more often! (the stuff today was incredible, the bootleg jazz x-ray vinyls are beautiful. the robot with a vinyl player for a brain: also beautiful.)
    oh slight glitch here — i can only ever read comments on the day after a post, until then it just claims there are 0 and won’t let me see them. is this a thing? or is it my browser fucking up?

  17. Misanthrope

    Dennis! I remember those plastic records. I think they had them in my kindergarten class. I don’t think my parents ever bought us those things. Of course, growing up as tots, all we ever heard was Elvis. My mom would put on her 45s and we’d dance around the apartment we lived in in Suitland, MD, right outside of DC. I remember when she bought Elvis’ “Moody Blue,” which was this really crisp blue LP. I was kind of amazed by it. Another of his was purple. That was all so strange to me as a kid.

    Didn’t they used to sell chewing gum records that you could play at least once? I’m kind of remembering them. Okay, I just looked them up. They were called Chu Bops. They were miniature album covers/sleeves that looked like the actual albums and had these pink discs with holes in the middle like a vinyl LP. But you couldn’t actually play them on a record player.

    Love shit like that.

    Ha, yes, there is something nice about that image, the waders and all. Though I talked to a friend at work today and her friends went Sunday and said they were miserable without the rain and just with the mud. Said it was mess. Oh, well. If my one friend had been up for it, I would’ve done it. It was her idea in the first place. And she’s the one who bailed.

    Got that most recent bit of my novel finished. Stayed up later than I wanted to get it done. Now I’ve got a fucking headache from hell because I’m so tired. I might go to bed. 😉

  18. Misanthrope

    Dennis! I remember those plastic records. I think they had them in my kindergarten class. I don’t think my parents ever bought us those things. Of course, growing up as tots, all we ever heard was Elvis. My mom would put on her 45s and we’d danced around the apartment we lived in in Suitland, MD, right outside of DC. I remember when she bought Elvis’ “Moody Blue,” which was this really crisp blue LP. I was kind of amazed by it. Another of his was purple. That was all so strange to me as a kid.

    Didn’t they used to sell chewing gum records that you could play at least once? I’m kind of remembering them. Okay, I just looked them up. They were called Chu Bops. They were miniature album covers/sleeves that looked like the actual albums and had these pink discs with holes in the middle like a vinyl LP. But you couldn’t actually play them on a record player.

    Love shit like that.

    Ha, yes, there is something nice about that image, the waders and all. Though I talked to a friend at work today and her friends went Sunday and said they were miserable without the rain and just with the mud. Said it was mess. Oh, well. If my one friend had been up for it, I would’ve done it. It was her idea in the first place. And she’s the one who bailed.

    Got that most recent bit of my novel finished. Stayed up later than I wanted to get it done. Now I’ve got a fucking headache from hell because I’m so tired. I might go to bed. 😉

  19. Misanthrope

    All the rage

  20. Misanthrope

    Sorry if I double-commented. Comments are showing up for me. Just says “0 comments” at the top. Maybe it went through. 😮

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