January 29, 2005

Wee Willie Shantz Revisited

Recently I received an email from Justin St Clair of Cheezeball.net, a site devoted to alt.country, who has come across a new single by that great 20th century musical enigma, Wee Willie Shantz.
As some of you may be aware, Shantz was responsible for one of the strangest singles ever recorded – Coo Coo Bird/Hush Puppy Hush – two tracks of backwoods ramblings buried underneath the most bizarre sound collages. Up until September last year, this perplexing artifact was hosted at Oddball Auditorium. Unfortunately, that site has passed on and it has taken its mp3s of Shantz with it (much to the disappointment of Justin who didn’t get to hear them while they were still up). So, for the benefit of Justin – and anyone else who missed out – I’ve decided to host the “classic” versions of Coo Coo Bird and Hush Puppy Hush on this site.
By way of comparison, Justin’s finding amounts to a kind of “Shantz Unplugged”. There are none of the weirdshit overdubs here; just Shantz whittling away at a melody beneath jerkily plucked banjo and out-of-time bass… A million miles away from the bat-shit crazy production of the OA single, and consequently, rendering it even more inexplicable…
The single he has posted includes a version of Coo Coo Bird, and another track entitled Going Up The River.

Posted by Warren at 02:03 AM

January 08, 2005

The Blaster Beam: The Real Orgasmatron...?

Sometime in the 70’s, Craig Huxley – a former child TV star who appeared briefly on the original Star Trek – created a truly remarkable musical instrument called the Blaster Beam. Basically, it was an 18 foot long piece of aluminum fitted with movable pickups and numerous strings which, when plucked, produced some seriously visceral bass tones. The Beam’s first 15 minutes of fame came when it was used to produce the signature theme for the sentient space probe in 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”.

And that might have been the last of it, were it not for a 1990 concert in New York’s Central Park where "over a dozen women reported having intensely sexual feelings from the Beam sound, up to and including orgasm". And this experience wasn’t confined to live performances... Here's the testimonial of the owner of a synth with Beam settings who recently subjected a lady-friend to the resulting sounds:
“The expression on her face abruptly changed. When I asked her what was wrong, she blinked for a moment and said, "Please play that again. Louder." I did so, and had the odd experience of watching her eyes glaze over as she half fell into a chair breathing hard. "I...*like* that sound," she managed to get out in a whisper."

Obviously, when I heard such claims I was somewhat sceptical, so I got Daz to put them to the test by playing a looped remix of this sample of the Blaster Beam sound from the Star Trek soundtrack on the show last Friday. The verdict?... Well, it had no impact on Daz herself and if it did lead to any early morning arousal of 2SER's female listeners, then they're keeping tight-lipped about it. (Of course, the failure of our little "test" might just be a result of the subsonic genito-resonant frequencies not being present in our audio sample, or not being successfully relayed over the airwaves and the in-studio monitors. We will endeavour to track down a "better" sample in the near future, and repeat the test on higher fidelity equipment.) (via music thing)

Posted by Warren at 03:36 PM