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28 minutes | 10 months ago
No. 10 - The End
We are an optimistic species. Even in our stories about the end of the world, the world doesn’t actually end. In reality, it will. In the season one finale of Ghost Echoes, we study the apocalypse. Ragnarök. The Great Tribulation. The End. Alas, we're not alone -- we're with Nico. Follow on Facebook | Twitter | Podchaser Music and Sound Notes: -- This episode contains excerpts from “Femme Fatale,” by the Velvet Underground, and “These Days", “Eulogy to Lenny Bruce”, “Frozen Warnings”, “Nibelungen”, “You Forget to Answer”, “The End”, “Das Lied der Deutschen,” and “Win a Few", all by Nico. Further reading, listening: --For biographical information on Nico, see the documentary Nico: Icon and this Guardian story by Simon Reynolds. This episode also contains clips from Susanna Nicchiarelli’s excellent biopic Nico, 1988. --For more on the 1910 Halley’s comet panic, read Matt Simon in Wired. And for more on the UFO cult Chen Tao, see Encyclopaedia Britannica.
15 minutes | 10 months ago
No. 9 - Lady June's Linguistic Leprosy
June Campbell Cramer, known to all as Lady June, was one of the greatest party hosts of her day. She was the connective tissue that held whole musical scene together. She was the counterculture’s landlady. And she was also an artist in her own right. On this episode of Ghost Echoes, we crash a house party and do a bit of psychedelic people watching. Follow on Facebook | Twitter | Podchaser Music and Sound Notes: --This episode contains excerpts of three tracks from Lady June’s Linguistic Leprosy: “Some Day Silly Twenty Three,” “To Whom It May Not Concern,” and “Am I.” Further reading, listening: --Details on Lady June’s life were gathered from Marcus O’Dair’s Robert Wyatt biography Different Every Time, as well as various online sources. These include her obituary in the Independent, an interview in Facelift Magazine, this feature on a fansite for Canterbury music, these reminiscences from June’s fellow Deia residents, the AllMusic review of Linguistic Leprosy, and Lady June’s own semi-autobiographical poem Rebella. --The complete story of the wealthy Texan optician and Soft Machine patron Wes Brunson can be found on Aymeric Leroy’s blog about the Canterbury Scene. --The full text of Robert Graves’ Goodbye to All That, complete with the prologue he wrote nearly thirty years later, can be found here. Joan Didion’s “Goodbye to All That” is in Slouching Towards Bethlehem.
5 minutes | 10 months ago
Lost Echo: Roxy Music vs. King Crimson
Roxy Music and King Crimson shared a label. They nearly shared a lead singer. And Crimson’s lyricist produced Roxy’s debut album. In this deleted scene from the second episode of Ghost Echoes, we compare and contrast two bands that ought to have been more similar than they were.
19 minutes | a year ago
No. 8 - Hallelujah
On May 28, 1974, the worst orchestra in the world performed at the Royal Albert Hall. That’s not so unusual. The Albert Hall isn’t Carnegie Hall. It’s not an exclusive, prestigious venue where only the greatest may perform. It is simply London’s most historic gathering place. Many strange and marvelous things have happened there, including militant political rallies, beat poetry, and appearances by celebrity ghosts. In this episode of Ghost Echoes, we present you five extraordinary evenings at the Albert Hall. Follow on Facebook | Twitter | Podchaser Music and Sound Notes: -- The episode opens with the Portsmouth Sinfonia’s performance of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. The section on the opening concert of the RAH features the final chorus from Arthur Sullivan’s cantata On Shore and Sea, performed by the soloists, chorus and orchestra of the Imperial Opera, conducted by Michael Withers. The final section on the RAH in the 60s contains snippets from Cream’s performance of “Spoonful” in the hall, and Pink Floyd rehearsing “A Saucerful of Secrets” with Rick Wright on the grand organ, just before the show that got them “banned for life.” Further reading, listening: -- A great deal of basic information came from the official Royal Albert Hall website. -- Information on the suffragette movement’s meetings in the RAH came from this piece by Susanne Keyte in the Telegraph, and History is a Weapon, where you can read Emmaline Pankhurst’s full speech. -- This contemporaneous account in Time Magazine helped flesh out Arthur Conan Doyle’s seance. The audio of Conan Doyle speaking about spiritualism–as well as the audio of “Conan Doyle” speaking at a seance four years after his death–are from the collection of the British Library. -- John Bennett’s Krayology was enormously useful for the section on the Kray twins. More detail came from Steve Bunce in the Independent. -- The International Poetry Incarnation is discussed at some length in the documentary A Technicolour Dream. It is also the subject of the documentary Wholly Communion, which is where the clips of Ginsberg and company come from.
15 minutes | a year ago
No. 7 - Fear
After leaving the Velvet Underground, John Cale split his time between state-of-the-art experimental music and sweet symphonic pop. On his fourth solo album, 1974's Fear, those two sides finally converged. In the seventh episode of Ghost Echoes, we learn how and stumble into a revelation involving Velvet Underground's catalogue. Follow on Facebook | Twitter | Podchaser
15 minutes | a year ago
No. 6 - Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters
Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters, Hawkwind singer Robert Calvert's 1974 solo debut, has two stories to tell. One of them is about what became of the German air force after World War II. The other is about a young boy who wanted to be a pilot, but ended up a poet instead. In the sixth episode of Ghost Echoes, we receive two postcards from mid-century Europe. Follow on Facebook | Twitter | Podchaser Music and Sound Notes: -- The Hawkwind tracks heard here are “Seeing it as You Really Are” from their self-titled debut, “Silver Machine” from In Search of Space, and Calvert’s recitation “10 Seconds of Forever” from the Space Ritual live album. -- Songs and sketches excerpted from Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters include “Franz Josef Strauss, Defence Minister, Reviews the Luftwaffe in 1958. "Finding It Somewhat Lacking in Image Potential”, “Aircraft Salesman (A Door in the Foot)”, “Bier Garten”, “The Widow Maker”, “Interview”, and “Catch a Falling Starfighter”. Further reading, listening: -- A treasure trove of documents relating to Robert Calvert can be found on Aural Innovations. Other useful writing includes Joe Banks’ piece in the Guardian, and The Saga of Hawkwind by Carol Clerk. -- General information about the state of the German air force after WWII came from this piece in Aviation History. More specific information about the Starfighter bribery scandal and its aftermath came from this 1976 New York magazine piece and this post from The Aviation Geek Club. -- The episode of The Adventures of Dan Dare excerpted here is “Revolt on Mars” from 1953, originally broadcast on Radio Luxembourg. The documentary about Germany after the war is “A Defeated People,” produced by the British War Department in 1946.
18 minutes | a year ago
No. 5 - The Portsmouth Sinfonia Plays the Popular Classics
The Portsmouth Sinfonia billed themselves as “indisputably, the worst orchestra in the world.” They have brought joy into the lives of millions. In the fifth episode of Ghost Echoes, we learn about the importance and healing effects of failure. Music and Sound Notes: -- The recording of Vivaldi’s Concerto for two trumpets heard here is NOT Matthew Parsons and his colleague Glenn Skelton. It is in fact Michel Rondeau (presumably double tracked) and organist Alaine Letendre, sourced from Musopen. -- Here’s Chi-Chi Nwanoku’s BBC performance of Failing by Tom Johnson. -- The snippets heard shortly after are from “It Never Entered My Mind” performed by the Miles Davis Quartet, the third movement of Bach’s Italian Concerto performed by Glenn Gould, the first movement of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto performed by Patricia Kopatchinskaja with Teodor Currentzis conducting MusicaEterna, and Hans Abrahamsen’s let me tell you as sung by Barbara Hannigan with Andris Nelsons conducting the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. -- All the tracks by the Portsmouth Sinfonia are from their debut album, The Portsmouth Sinfonia Plays the Popular Classics. The works excerpted from here are Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss, the first movement of Beethoven’s fifth symphony, and “The Blue Danube” by Johann Strauss II. Further reading, listening: -- Information on the Portsmouth Sinfonia came from Cornelius Cardew: A Life Unfinished by John Tilbury and this piece by Eric Grundhauser. -- Thanks to Berlin Atmospherics for the applause SFX.
25 minutes | a year ago
No. 4 - For Your Pleasure
It’s a story we’ve been telling for centuries, in spite of the damage it’s caused. The story of the sculptor Pygmalion and his statue Galatea crops up everywhere from Broadway musicals to glam rock records to computer programming. In the fourth episode of Ghost Echoes, we take inventory of Galateas. Music and Sound Notes: -- “In Every Dream Home a Heartache” can obviously be found on Roxy Music’s For Your Pleasure. -- The recording of the doll song from Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann is performed by Joan Sutherland with Richard Bonynge conducting l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. -- The excerpts from the My Fair Lady film soundtrack are “Wouldn’t it be Loverly” performed by Marni Nixon and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to her Face” performed by Rex Harrison. -- Kate Bush’s “Misty” is on her album 50 Words for Snow. Further reading, listening, etc.: -- Ovid’s Metamorphoses has been translated into English by many, including A.D. Melville. Information on Project Borghild and sex dolls generally came from Anthony Ferguson’s The Sex Doll: A History and “A (Straight, Male) History of Sex Dolls” by Julie Beck in the Atlantic. On Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, Charles A. Berst’s Pygmalion: Shaw’s Spin on Myth and Cinderella was useful, as were this story from Studio 360 and Bernard Shaw’s own preface and postscript to the play. Here’s “The Sandman” by E.T.A. Hoffmann. Examples of conversation with ELIZA came from this piece by Oliver Miller in Thought Catalogue. -- The marching band audio in the Project Borghild scene comes from this archival video. All excerpts from Pygmalion are from the 1938 film version starring Wendy Hiller and Leslie Howard. The montage towards the end features clips from Her, Ex Machina, Battlestar Galactica, Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049.
25 minutes | a year ago
No. 3 - Little Red Record
In the third episode of Ghost Echoes, the secret rules direct us towards a reluctant radical in Robert Wyatt. The eclectic English musician is in good company, though, and you'll find out why as we twist and turn through a number of historical similarities and coincidences. Along the way, we'll also learn that a revolution is not a dinner party. Music and Sound Notes: - The music in the first section about Robert Wyatt includes “Marchides” by Matching Mole, and “Alifib” by Robert Wyatt. - The following section about Cornelius Cardew includes the first movement from Haydn's String Quartet Op. 54, No. 1 performed by Marlburo Music. - “Brandy As In Benj” by Matching Mole starts the next section about Wyatt. Three more songs from Little Red Record close out the section: “Righteous Rhumba,” “Gloria Gloom,” and “Starting in the Middle of the Day We Can Drink Our Politics Away.” - The next Cardew section contains "Paragraph 7" of The Great Learning performed by the Scratch Orchestra, a repeat engagement by AMMMusic, and Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Kontakte. The recordings of Cardew’s propaganda songs appear on the CD Consciously: “Song for the British Working Class,” “Founding of the Party” and “The Workers of Ontario.” - The following sections contain “Foxy Lady” from a Jimi Hendrix bootleg from a 1967 show in Stockholm. And a recording of Cardew’s Thälmann Variations by Frederic Rzewski. (This recording is all the more poignant considering that Rzewski was a friend of Cardew’s, and a colleague in radical politics, though he did not escape censure by Cardew in Stockhausen Serves Imperialism). - Finally, the ending is set to two Robert Wyatt songs: “Sea Song” and “Shipbuilding.” Further reading, listening: - My two main sources for biographical information were Cornelius Cardew: A Life Unfinished by John Tilbury and Different Every Time: The Authorized Biography of Robert Wyatt by Marcus O’Dair. This piece by Edward Fox was useful for some details surrounding Cardew’s death. -Clips of Wyatt speaking come from the BBC’s The Voices Of… and the short clip of John Tilbury comes from this video.
18 minutes | a year ago
No. 2 - Roxy Music
The first Roxy Music album brings together a patchwork of inspirations and influences from across the decades. In the second episode of Ghost Echoes, we stroll spontaneously into the movie theatre of the mind and examine a few of them. Here’s looking at you, kid. Music and Sound Notes: - All of the Roxy Music tracks heard here for illustrative purposes are from their debut album. They include: “Re-Make/Re-Model”, “Virginia Plain”, “Bitters End”, “Chance Meeting", and “2HB”. - The recording of Rachmaninov’s second piano concerto near the start is by an anonymous soloist and symphony orchestra, from Musopen. The excerpt from Brief Encounter itself features a recording of the same concerto by Eileen Joyce with the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Muir Matheson. The Noël Coward song heard shortly after is “The Party’s Over Now,” from the musical Words and Music. - The segment on pop art features excerpts from Buddy Holly’s “Everyday” and David Bowie’s “Andy Warhol.” The section about musicians who went to art school features tiny extracts from “All Your Love” by John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers; “Imagine” by John Lennon; “Brown Sugar”, “Some Girls”, and “Honky Tonk Women” all by the Rolling Stones; “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin; “Pinball Wizard” by the Who; “Tubular Bells, Part 1” by Mike Oldfield; “Bike” by Pink Floyd; “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos; “The Village Green Preservation Society” by the Kinks; “Seaside Rendezvous” by Queen; “Your Love is King” by Sade; “Common People” by Pulp; “You’re So Great” by Blur; “Man-Size” by PJ Harvey; “Paper Planes” by M.I.A.; “Kiss With A Fist” by Florence and the Machine; and “London Calling” by the Clash. - The recording of Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” used here is by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Uwe Mund. The brief excerpt from the start of Das Rheingold is the Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Marek Janowski, and the horn call from Götterdämmerung is the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Chailly. - The music that finishes the episode off is from the end of Max Steiner’s score for Casablanca. Further reading, watching: - The two main sources for biographical information were Michael Bracewell’s Re-Make/Re-Model and Simon Reynolds’ Shock and Awe. The Brief Encounter section is loosely inspired by Roland Barthes’ essay “Leaving the Movie Theatre” from The Rustle of Language. The list of art school alumni who went on to pop stardom comes from Pretentiousness: Why it Matters by Dan Fox. - The BBC documentary at the beginning of the pop art section is “Pop Goes the Easel,” an episode of Monitor, hosted by Huw Wheldon and directed by the great Ken Russell. The interview clips with Ferry are taken from a Channel Four documentary called This is Tomorrow. - The images in this blog post were the main source for my descriptions of the Roxy Theatre. - Other film and television clips come from Brief Encounter; What’s Opera, Doc?; The Wizard of Oz; Casablanca and Now, Voyager.
21 minutes | a year ago
No. 1 - The Great Learning
In the inaugural episode of Ghost Echoes, a suffragette reinvents a bawdy theatre, a professor locks his students in a classroom to see what happens, and a piece of avant-garde music with clearly delineated rules inspires a music history podcast with secret rules. Music and Sound Notes: - The music that starts this episode and recurs later is "Paragraph 7" of Cornelius Cardew & The Scratch Orchestra's The Great Learning. The full piece is a huge work in many parts (“paragraphs”), but this record contains only paragraphs two and seven. - The Emma Cons section features the first movement from Haydn's String Quartet Op. 54, No. 1 performed by Marlburo Music (in the section about the Old Vic) and the March from Holst's Second Suite for Military Band performed by the USAF Heritage of America Band (in the section about Morley College). Also, there’s a quick snippet of “Mars” from Holst’s The Planets, plus cameos from Graham Chapman and John Cleese in Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Fawlty Towers, respectively. - The strident bit of noise that repeats for comedic effect is not straightforwardly by Cardew—it is an extract from AMMMusic, the debut record by the free improvisation group AMM, of which Cardew was a member. - The section about Cardew's classes at Morley College contains cameo appearances by John Cage's Variations I as recorded by the Motion Ensemble, and Morton Feldman's Rothko Chapel from the Houston Chamber Choir's 2016 recording. (Cardew's students probably didn't actually perform Rothko Chapel, but they did study music by Feldman and this is a representative example.) -Later, there's a brief incursion of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Gruppen, performed by the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln with three conductors: Bruno Maderna, Michael Gielen and Stockhausen himself (it's a very complicated piece).
5 minutes | a year ago
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