Washing the Salt Off the Slug

Posted in news on June 9, 2013 by motorslug

You might have thought we were down for the count. You were wrong!


Kraft & Alexander “Tchaikovsky: 1812/Nutcracker Suite”

Posted in music with tags , , , on July 20, 2010 by motorslug
Kraft & Alexander "Tchaikovsky"
Kraft & Alexander | Tchaikovsky: 1812/Nutcracker Suite | London | 1977

This was a fluke find in a recent record show dollar bin– I grabbed it solely on the mention of Arp synthesizers. As it turns out, I would put this album up against any Tomita or Carlos recording, it’s that good. I originally put it on while I was filing away recent finds, but soon abandoned my work to give this LP my full attention. Truly striking. Here’s the text from the back of the jacket, as well as both sides of this wonderful record:

“As far back as history can trace, the sounds from all musical instruments have been created acoustically. A string, a piece of metal, a wooden reed, a stretched membrane, or the air enclosed in a tube was set into vibration by energy supplied by the player, and sound waves resulted. For thousands of years no new methods of producing musical sounds were discovered. Then, with the advent of electronic instruments during the first decade of this century, there were instruments whose vibrations originated not as the motion of air particles, but as electronic impulses.

Probably the first of these instruments was the Telharmonium, an invention of the American scientist Thaddeus Cahill. The Telharmonium produced musical sounds in a telephone receiver from the rotation of toothed wheels near the poles of electro-magnets. The Telharmonium had a short life– it interfered with phone service and weighed several tons. The next step in the development of electronic music occurred during the late twenties, when various kinds of vacuum tube instruments were introduced, all working under the general principle of electronic oscillation. The most important of these instruments were the Theremin and the Ondes Martenot. The Ondes Martenot achieved the greatest prominence (more than 30 composers, including Honegger, Milhaud, and Messiaen, wrote works for, or included, this instrument). By the late forties, and continuing through the early sixties, a great deal of research in computer-programmed music was conducted at R.C.A. and the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center. Many of the most “avant-garde” composers such as Varese, Babbitt, Cage, Berio, and Stockhausen wrote works for these computers.

The early sixties saw the culmination of this rapid progression in the development of electronic instruments when Robert Moog introduced the first modern synthesizer. The synthesizer might well turn out to be the most important musical instrument ever, considering that there are absolutely no limits as to the variety of sounds that it can produce. This feat is possible due to the fact that any sound can be analyzed and broken down into its particular wave form. And any wave form can be duplicated by the synthesizer. Of course, the Columbia-Princeton and R.C.A. computers also worked on this principle, but only one note at a time could be created, which meant that it took an immense amount of time to create just a few seconds of complicated music. What Robert Moog did was to replace the computer with a keyboard, which permitted live performances on the synthesizer, at least of one musical line at a time. In a studio, then, the synthesizer performer could record a line of music, then record a second musical line on a second track, then a third line… et cetera. In the more densely orchestrated sections on this album, more than 200 individual tracks of synthesizer information were utilized to build a sound with a depth, power and variety of tonal textures equal to and greater than a full symphony orchestra.

All this and the synthesizer is still in its adolescence.”

Produced by Larry Alexander and Jack Kraft.
Keyboards performed by Jack Kraft.
Record Engineer Larry Alexander.
Synthesizer Programming Kraft & Alexander.

LISTEN: Mediafire

Wiseblood “Motorslug”

Posted in music with tags , , , , on July 13, 2010 by motorslug
Wiseblood "Motorslug"
Wiseblood | Motorslug | Wax Trax! | 1985

What would our re-dedication to this blog be without posting the track that inspired it all? Motorslug by Wiseblood, the alter-ego of Clint Ruin aka JG Thirlwell aka Foetus and Roli Mossiman of Swans [among others]. A classic slab of demented, driving collage of sound run through the industrial-strength food processor that is Foetus’ brain. In his own words, the project was an attempt at “violent macho American music made by non-Americans.” Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel!

You’ll probably notice that side B of this 12″ is missing from the download below. This is because you can re-create it in the comfort of your own home– simply take the loop that repeats at the end of side A, repeat it for 7 and 1/2 minutes, and BAM! You’ve now re-created “Death Rape 2000”. Fun AND educational!

LISTEN: Mediafire

Turn the machines back on!

Posted in news on July 11, 2010 by motorslug

Motorslug is back! After regaining control of our various accounts and lining up a new staff of contributors, this blog should be seeing much more activity in the coming months… a kind of reboot, if you will. The most significant change is that we’ve decided to post full releases instead of individual tracks. It was a tough decision, but there’s simply too much good music to be ignored. Stay tuned!

Cocteau Twins “Dials”

Posted in music with tags , , , , , , , on July 11, 2009 by cromagnonwoman
Cocteau Twins "Dials"
Cocteau Twins | Singles Promo Sampler | Capitol | 1991

One day very recently, I found myself in a Mid-Western Golden Corral when, slouched over my leg of beast and mashed root vegetables, I heard something familiar in the Muzak above me. Truth be told, a number of familiar songs all firmly rooted in the 80s had been playing but I’d paid no attention until that moment. Her sweet voice and the swirling strings floated high above the din of cud-chewing patrons (I couldn’t resist! You actually have to walk through a CORRAL to get to the register! How can I not liken us all to cows?!) and I realized in a fit of ecstasy and torment that they were playing Cocteau Twins. As soon as I was able, I dug out all of my Cocteau Twins records, determined to post something from them to honor that most surreal and rapturous moment.

CT had a glorious nearly two decade run (there is some discrepancy among sources online as to exactly how long), from c. 1980 to 1998, where they confounded, defied and enhanced an already rich musical decade. Each of the members, Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie, and Simon Raymonde, have gone on to solo projects but I think I was not alone in mourning the end of Cocteau Twins. Notable aspects to their sound were Liz’s indecipherable vocals which truly treated the voice as an instrument instead of just the vehicle for a message, Robin’s peerless guitar work, and Simon’s delicate, intricate piano playing (there were other members in there, too, who were all quite genius like Will Heggie). All of their work is among my favorite (with the possible exception of Four-Calendar Cafe) but, since I can only post one song here, I’m going to give you one of their tracks from their Singles Sampler. The Sampler is a promotional item in support of the 10 CD singles collection released in 1991 (an exhaustive compilation, if you can get yours hands on it). Here it is, Dials, which was released only on the singles sampler and on a promo single for Heaven Or Las Vegas:

LISTEN: Mediafire

Click Click “Is It Real?” & “I Rage I Melt”

Posted in music with tags , , , on June 22, 2009 by cromagnonwoman
Click Click "Is This It?"
Click Click | Bent Massive LP | Play It Again Sam | 1989

Click Click "I Rage I Melt"
Click Click | I Rage I Melt EP | Play It Again Sam | 1987

When one thinks of 80’s-90’s Industrial acts, kids these days might call to mind Skinny Puppy or Ministry but mention Click Click and they’ll probably pretend to know what you’re talking about and then go straight home to ask the internets. I think this is a crying shame.

Click Click were formed in 1982 by Adrian Smith and Derek E. Smith, brothers with an apparently volatile relationship that might possibly have been further hindered by drug use, the over-consumption of tea, and a synthesizer called a WASP. Like those more name-dropped bands, they used tape loops, childrens toys, radio and television manipulation, and other decidedly analog methods to make their signature sound. They cite Cabaret Voltaire, Can, and Captain Beefheart as influences so you do the math.

They are reportedly releasing their back catalog in downloadable formats, but that was in 2008 and a cursory search of the web doesn’t show a lot of Click Click to be had. To remedy this travesty, here are two Click Click tracks for the delight of your ear balls. The first is “Is This It?” from their Bent Massive LP, released in 1989. The second is “I Rage I Melt” from their EP of the same title, from 1987:

LISTEN: Mediafire
LISTEN: Mediafire

Die Form “Poupee Mecanique”

Posted in music with tags , , , , on June 12, 2009 by cromagnonwoman
Die Form "Poupee Mecanique"
Die Form | Poupee Mecanique LP | Bain Total | 1987

The Slug and I were careening through the back woods today when, through some convoluted wormhole of conversation, we wound up talking about this great record store in Pittsburgh called Eides. The memory of the hours spent in there, combing through their offerings, immediately called to mind a record I’d purchased there on a trip to the Pitt in 1998. At the time, I found it difficult to navigate the aisles with the stadium’s worth of tulle I regularly wore but, somehow, I managed well enough to find Die Form’s “Poupee Mecanique” LP, its naughty lady bits calling to me from the Industrial bin.

I recall being slightly scandalized and titillated by the album artwork and more than a little intrigued by the content of Die Form songs, namely the unmistakable fetish imagery. What went on in Philippe Fichot’s bedroom? I couldn’t help but wonder as I played this album over and over again to my own delight and my roommate’s chagrin. The electronic musical experiments, the childlike melodies and playful female vocals, the slightly sinister content, and the overwhelming feeling that what I possessed was culled from some sweat- and semen-soaked, underground art scene forever solidified “Poupee Mecanique” as my favorite Die Form album.

Here is the title track, from the original release of the album on Bain Total, Die Form’s own label.

LISTEN: Mediafire