Monday, September 08, 2014

Raymond Scott Orchestrette @ Lake George


The Raymond Scott Orchestrette takes their namesake's inspired eccentricities into the 21st century, reinventing the Scott catalog for modern ears. They're based in New York City, but rarely play in their hometown. Your soonest opportunity to see this marvelous septet is at the Lake George Jazz Festival, at which they'll offer the closing set on Sunday, September 14 at 4:30.

Also appearing at the festival will be Steven Bernstein's Sexmob, who hail from NYC as well. Both ensembles got a nice advance writeup in the Lake George Mirror.

Full disclosure: Raymond Scott is NOT in the Orchestrette. (He passed away in 1994.) But we think he'd be honored to know his music continues to captivate audiences 75 years after he wrote it.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Book with 2-CDs: "MANHATTAN RESEARCH INC." plus Vinyl Figurine & CD Set — Now On Sale

144-page Hardcover Full-color Book & 2-CD Set:
"MANHATTAN RESEARCH INC."

We have small quantities of the much-celebrated and beautifully-designed 144-page hardcover, full-color book & 2-CD set titled, MANHATTAN RESEARCH INC., featuring Raymond Scott's legendary 1950s-'60s electronic music. For a limited time our price is only $19. (+ shipping). They are brand-new, in shrink-wrap.

 • To order Book & 2-CD set with PayPal CLICK HERE <

We're also offering the gorgeous deluxe vinyl figurine and CD set made by Presspop in Japan for only $39. (+ shipping). They are brand-new. The limited-edition package features a miniature replica of Raymond Scott's patented 1950s keyboard synthesizer, The Clavivox, and a CD featuring rare, unreleased tracks from the Scott Archives.

 • To order Vinyl Figurine & CD set with PayPal CLICK HERE <

See images below:
Deluxe Vinyl Figurine & CD Set

Monday, February 24, 2014

Shooby Taylor Rewired



The new Basta album Raymond Scott Rewired features a radical overhaul of the entire Scott catalog by three of the music world's premiere remix artists — The Bran Flakes, Evolution Control Committee, and Go Home Productions. It was released on February 18.

The final track, Scott's iconic "Powerhouse," which was collaboratively layered by the three mixmeisters, features a special guest. The late, legendary outsider scat-master William "Shooby" Taylor, a.k.a. "The Human Horn," takes a few vocal turns throughout the mix. I chronicled Taylor's story over at a website devoted to my Y2K outsider music book and CDs, Songs in the Key of Z. Taylor's idiosyncratic vocal stylings were studio-recorded in the 1980s over commercial LPs by artists like Miles Davis, the Harmonicats, Erroll Garner, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, and Johnny Cash. Needless to say, these artists were not consulted about the collaborations, and all went to their graves none the wiser.

I own the dozen or so Shooby master reels, which contain 94 tracks, many of which I intend to release digitally in the near term. The samples used in "Powerhouse" originated from a series of a cappella recordings by Taylor. Buy the album — or at least the track — to appreciate Shooby in a remarkable setting. You can hear (and buy) four Shooby solo recordings in the iTunes Store: "Stout-Hearted Men," "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," "Indiana," and "It Gets Better All the Time."

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

REWIRED released


Street date: TODAY. As in, NOW. CD and digital.

Rhythmic redesigns by three extraordinarily talented sonic artists.

Contains real Raymond Scott music, as well as some original sounds. Over 250 RS samples went into the album's 19 tracks.

All the info at ScottRewired.com.

And contrary to some online listings, there is NO vinyl edition. Yet.

Monday, February 17, 2014

"Machines should do the work ..."

"... People should do the thinking."

That proclamation helped make the case for 1967's IBM MT/ST, an early word processing unit heralded in "The Paperwork Explosion," which appears on the Raymond Scott electronica collection, Manhattan Research Inc.

Scott loved technology and embraced most such advances. He might be surprised, yet delighted to know that his collected recorded legacy stored at UMKC's Marr Sound Archive is about to be gobbled up by a giant robot.

Chuck Haddix, director of the Marr Sound Archives, which houses the
Raymond Scott disc & tape collection. Photo courtesy Kansas City Star.

As reported in the Kansas City Star:
Chuck Haddix strolled up and down the aisles between the towering stacks of recordings stored at the Marr Sound Archives, in the ground floor of Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Being surrounded by the treasure-filled shelves — rows and rows of radio broadcasts and music recordings on vinyl, shellac, acetate, metal and glass — seemed to flip a switch in Haddix, and he couldn’t stop talking about the sound locked in the grooves of the preserved discs. 
“During World War II when aluminum was scarce, record discs were made of glass,” Haddix, the archives’ director, said. Aluminum, then later glass, formed the interior of records covered with cellulose nitrate, sometimes known as lacquer, which was grooved with the recording. 
Because glass discs were easily broken, the ones tucked carefully into acid-free jackets on the Marr archives’ shelves are rare. 
But in a few more years, this scene won’t exist. The thousands of discs — one of the largest archived collections of recorded sound in the country — are being relocated to the library’s third floor, where they will be housed in the university’s gargantuan, robotic storage unit.
Here's a short (6 minutes) documentary about the Marr Sound Archives, One Room, 317,000 Records, by Jordan Kerfeld.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Shirley Temple (1928-2014)


We note the passing of legendary actress Shirley Temple yesterday at age 85. Despite her countless starring roles in major motion pictures, she is today best-known as the inventor of the non-alcoholic cocktail. Nonetheless, she has a Raymond Scott connection—or two. The first she knew about. The second, probably not.

A young (age 9) Shirley tap-danced with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson to Raymond Scott's "Toy Trumpet" in the 1937 film Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. (YouTube clip here.) The scene was apparently captured in one continuous take. The Raymond Scott Quintette performed the tune, but do not appear on camera (though they do appear in costume in the above publicity still).

After their breakout radio and recording success in New York in 1937, Raymond and his band were signed to 20th Century-Fox and whisked off to Hollywood. They provided music for and sometimes appeared in a half-dozen or so films with such major stars as Carole Lombard, Fred Allen, Eddie Cantor, and Sonja Henie. Scott reportedly disliked the film industry, which he found shallow. About studio execs he once griped, "They think everything is wonderful." The costumes in the above photo were no doubt another reason for Scott to despise Tinseltown. "We are musicians," he groused, "not comedians."

The Marr Archives, which houses the Raymond Scott collection, includes a disc with an unfinished composition entitled "Shirley's Tune." It dates from the RSQ's Hollywood sojourn, but the unreleased work never made it into the film and its purpose remains a mystery. However, it was sampled by The Bran Flakes on the forthcoming remix album Raymond Scott Rewired, on the track "Shirley's Temple Bells," which you can hear on Soundcloud.


Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Alarm Will Sound/Dance Heginbotham: Twinned


John Heginbotham's dance work, Manhattan Research, featuring the music of Raymond Scott, premiered in August 2013 at Lincoln Center Out of Doors. Heginbotham returns to the Scott catalog with Twinned, a collaborative performance with music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, which debuts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on February 20, in New York. Heginbotham will use seven short Scott electronic works as transition music during the evening's program, which includes music by Aphex Twin, Tyondai Braxton, and Edgard Varèse.

This is a one-evening performance at the Met's Charles Engelhard Court. Tickets are available here.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Raymond Scott Rewired



UPDATE (Feb 6): Raymond Scott Rewired now has a website.

As a musician, composer, bandleader, and inventor, Raymond Scott was a perfectionist, but not a stylistic purist. His late-1930s six-man "Quintette" crafted novelty jazz that layered ethnic contours and pan-global riffs over a propulsive beat. In the 1940s Scott's antic melodies were adapted in Warner Bros. cartoons because WB music director Carl Stalling found the compositions genetically animated. Scott's mid-century orchestral works were danceable, except when they veered into complex, cerebral concert-jazz. In the 1950s and '60s Scott invented and recorded with electronic instruments. He was a genre-hopper, reflecting a musical restlessness and adventurousness. Scott loved what he did, but craved what came next.

As archivist for the Scott musical estate, I commissioned three remix artists to take apart Scott's catalog and reshape it in a fresh way. The Bran Flakes (Otis Fodder, Montreal), The Evolution Control Committee (TradeMark Gunderson, U.S.), and Go Home Productions (Mark Vidler, U.K.) were ftp'ed hundreds of Scott recordings in various genres, including unreleased material, spanning the 1930s to the 1980s. They were invited to have fun, but keep it rhythmic. Each contributed six audio montages with new titles, and they collaborated on Scott's signature tune, "Powerhouse."

The result is RAYMOND SCOTT REWIRED, produced for the Basta label. The album will be released in North America on February 18. Three tracks can be streamed on Soundcloud.

Over 250 sample sources were used in the construction of these 19 tracks. Those samples were edited, looped, flipped, and stretched; they were tweaked with EQ, pitch-shifted, compressed, and transformed. Disassembling one man's sonic legacy and reassembling the pieces into something different, something worth hearing repeatedly, requires an intuitive gift that approaches songwriting. Scott fans will recognize some passages, but in countless cases, the source recordings have been altered beyond recognition. The composer himself would have difficulty identifying his own works. The reconfigurations were done playfully, but respectfully. Nothing was destroyed. The originals still exist.

The cover art was adapted from an unfinished, untitled, black & white Jim Flora illustration from the 1950s.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Marathon Cadenzas


Last August, Dance Heginbotham, led by John Heginbotham, danced to the music of Raymond Scott at New York's Lincoln Center Out of Doors. The work, Manhattan Research, was premiered with live accompaniment by the Raymond Scott Orchestrette.

The dance world's new-found romance with Raymond continues when the Paul Taylor Dance Company premieres MARATHON CADENZAS at Lincoln Center in March. The work features choreography to the Raymond Scott Quintette's classic 1937-39 recordings of "The Penguin," "Oil Gusher," "Minuet in Jazz," "Girl at the Typewriter," "Twilight in Turkey," and "Peter Tambourine." (What—no "Powerhouse"?) Four performances are scheduled at LC's David H. Koch Theater on March 14th, 20th, 22nd, and 30th.

The Taylor Dancers will be at LC for a three-week run, which will include other repertoire. Package deals for multiple performances can be purchased here.

Marathon Cadenzas will also be performed on tour, but venues have not yet been announced.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A mixed-up, mashed-up composer

Coming from the Basta label in February 2014.


We turned over the entire Raymond Scott catalog ...


... to three celebrated mixologists who work under group names: The Bran Flakes, The Evolution Control Committee, and Go Home Productions.


They were given hundreds of recordings owned by the Scott estate, in all genres, including unreleased material, spanning the mid-1930s to the mid-1980s. Jazz, orchestral, electronic, experimental, studio chatter, one-of-a-kind rarities.


These gents were invited to have fun, keep it rhythmic, and make it percolate. Each contributed six audio montages with new titles, and they collaborated on Scott's signature tune, "Powerhouse."


The project is titled RAYMOND SCOTT REWIRED.


It's finished. Mixed, mastered, designed, packaged, and manufactured. You can preview three tracks on Soundcloud. Official release date is February 18.

Note: This post was originally published in May 2013. However, the US release was postponed due to a change of distributor for this release. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Jameson Dublin International Film Festival

"Established in 2003, The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival has fast become Ireland's premier feature film festival and takes place in Ireland's capital city over the course of eleven days and nights each February."

The award-winning Raymond Scott documentary film, "DECONSTRUCTING DAD," will be screened at The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival on February 16th. Directed by Raymond Scott's son, STAN WARNOW, and co-produced by JEFF WINNER (me), the documentary features: JOHN WILLIAMS, multi-Academy Award®-winning movie soundtrack composer (JAWS, STAR WARS, HARRY POTTER), MARK MOTHERSBAUGH, Emmy Award®-winning movie & TV score writer, & co-founder of DEVO, DJ SPOOKY, aka PAUL D. MILLER, turntablist, producer, & author, and others. Get tickets: here

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

RS Orchestrette/Ghost Train Orchestra concert videos

If you missed the Raymond Scott Orchestrette/Ghost Train Orchestra double bill at Subculture on October 26, we have video with decent audio thanks to Mike Nogami, a well-known Japanese photographer who sat near the stage. Our mutual friend, Takashi Okada, has posted 14 clips (seven of each band) on YouTube for your enjoyment. (Links below by title.) Not captured was GTO's grand finale, a spectacular nine-minute-plus arrangement of Scott's "Celebration on the Planet Mars," which closes the band's new album, Book of Rhapsodies. Incidentally, the respective RSO and GTO drummers look remarkably similar. They are, in fact, one and the same: GTO's Rob Garcia filled for the RSO's Clem Waldmann, who had a prior commitment.


The Raymond Scott Orchestrette
(all titles by Raymond Scott)


The Ghost Train Orchestra
(all arrangements by Brian Carpenter)

Charlie's Prelude (Louis Singer)
Beethoven Riffs On (Louis Singer)
Volcanic (Reginald Foresythe)
Dawn on the Desert (Charlie Shavers)
It's Silk, Feel It! (Alec Wilder)
At An Arabian House Party  (Raymond Scott)

Monday, November 11, 2013

F*ck Art (Let's Dance)



Our friend Sally Eckhoff, a former contributor to the Village Voice, has a new book called F*ck Art (Let's Dance), a memoir about her days living in New York's East Village. A writer for the Paris Review called it, "A Sentimental Education reimagined by The Cramps." Sally tells us there's a Raymond Scott angle, and we invited her to inform our readers. She wrote:
One of the characters is a real-life Oliver Sacks-type genius and piano virtuoso who discovers Raymond Scott in the 1970s, when people with that kind of mind were generally ignored or misunderstood. The guy thought he hit the lottery. Here's a quote about watching him learn to play "Powerhouse: "The songs starts with a grumpy, mechanized rhythm, like someone stomping downstairs, and later fires up into a madly-escalating riff that has unfinished phrases flying out of the horn section like parts off an assembly line."
If you want to read something about the East Village that's not full of famous cranky people in black clothes and their famous cranky friends, check out my book. It's brand-new, in paperback and eBook from Water Street Press, and you can get it on Amazon, iTunes, and all the usual places.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Nine daffy Norwegians


If you live in the New York City metro area, chances are high you missed the MeanEnsemble's March 2013 performances of Don't Beat Your Wife (Every Night): A Tribute to Raymond Scott and the Perfect World of Commercials at the Baruch Performing Arts Center. We were there—and we didn't see you. In fact, the first night's attendance was about six (not including the band and staff), and the second night's "crowd" numbered about 15. Which is a shame for two reasons: 1) because it was a spectacular and highly entertaining show, and 2) the band hails from Norway and rarely visits the U.S. There was apparently some serious PR fail that resulted in very little public awareness of the event. Nonetheless, the musicians performed admirably and most entertainingly.

A high-quality, beautifully directed video of the entire program (as performed in a studio in their home country) will be screened on Saturday, November 23, 2:00pm, at the WFMU Record Fair, held at the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th Street. I will introduce the video and provide a little context for those unfamiliar with Scott's legacy.


The MeanEnsemble vid will be followed by our friends Sport Murphy, Steve Young and Laura Lindgren's absurdist extravaganza based on their new book, Everything's Coming Up Profits: The Golden Age of Industrial Musicals.