Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Yes And Also Yes

''I had a big thing for Raymond Scott loops. Hell, I could probably eke out a living producing hiphop records, using nothing but breakbeats and Raymond Scott compositions.''

Today Mike Doughty dropped his new album, YES AND ALSO YES. There's no connection to Raymond Scott on this record, but we wanna plug it anyway. Irwin and I are big fans of Doughty's music and his 1990s band Soul Coughing — and not just because they released three tracks with Raymond Scott samples.

"Bus To Beelzebub," from their first album RUBY VROOM, was based on adapted loops from Scott's "Powerhouse," as heard in numerous Bugs Bunny cartoons. "Uh, Zoom Zip," from the same album, uses samples from the RS Quintette's recording of "The Toy Trumpet" that are so distorted they went unidentified for years. By contrast, the loops from the RSQ's "The Penguin" heard throughout SC's "Disseminated," on their 2nd album, IRRESISTIBLE BLISS, are easy to spot. I love the track and think it's one of the coolest uses of Scott samples by any artist, but Doughty is ambivalent. "The lyrics are not my proudest," he explained for SCUG.net. "Don’t get me wrong, I’m pro-nonsense, but at the time we were sequencing the record I dismissed the song as 'harmelodic vaudeville.' Democracy won out, the song made the record, and it ended up being the only damn song on the record that Robert Christgau liked when he reviewed it in Spin."

Doughty has been busy — he also released an album of loop-based electronic music this month called DUBIOUS LUXURY. He explains, "I wasn’t noisy about it, at the time, but much of the sampled stuff in Soul Coughing was my work: the crazed Bugs Bunny sample on 'Bus to Beelzebub,' the peculiar Raymond Scott sample on 'Disseminated'." But don't expect more Raymond Scott samples. "After the first record, my bandmates were increasingly unreceptive to loops I brought in from other people's music. Maybe they were right, we woulda been poorer, giving our money away to other composers," he said at MikeDoughty.com. "I could only use the majority of the loops live — gone are the days when Warner Bros. would write a fat check to pay off the Raymond Scott estate and Toots Hibbert for their unsuspecting contributions! Even rappers are too smart to use samples these days."

ADDED BY I.C.: Doughty just confirmed he'll perform live on my WFMU program on Weds. September 21, between 5-6pm (Eastern). MD also performed a couple of songs on WFMU's snarky SEVEN SECOND DELAY, hosted by Ken Freedman and Andy Breckman, broadcast from the UPRIGHT CITIZENS BRIGADE on July 27.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mark Mothersbaugh and The Electronium

Mark Mothersbaugh (Devo) with the Motown version of Raymond Scott’s instantaneous-composition invention, THE ELECTRONIUM (and a Yamaha DX-7), in Scott’s guesthouse in Van Nuys, CA, 1993. [Photo by Mr. Bonzai, published in BILLBOARD magazine]
“Raymond Scott was like an audio version of Andy Warhol. He preceded Pop-Art sensibilities, and he played with that line between commercial art and fine art, mixing elements of both worlds together. I love and respect Raymond Scott's work, and it influenced me a lot. I'm a big fan.” —Mark Mothersbaugh
UPDATE — Synthtopia.com reblogged, and adds: 
Saturday Synth Porn:
There are multiple layers of music history captured in the photo. Scott’s work was an inspiration to Bob Moog, who created the Minimoog that was used extensively on Devo’s early albums. The Electronium is now owned by Mothersbaugh, but is not in working order.
Image: Mr. Bonzai, via Jeff Winner’s Raymond Scott blog

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mazel Tov!

As the month expires, we confess that we neglected to observe that September 2011 marks the 90th anniversary of Harry Warnow's (not-yet-Raymond Scott's) Bar Mitzvah. We apologize for the oversight. There is no existing documentation for the exact date, nor the location of the services or reception, but it would have been scheduled for September 1921. His parents, Joseph and Sarah, would have been very proud of Harry if—despite his vocal shortcomings and stagefright—he had the courage to sing his haftorah.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

8th Annual Jackpot Records Music & Film Festival at The Bagdad Theater in Portland

The new award-winning Raymond Scott documentary film, DECONSTRUCTING DAD, will be screened as part of the 8th Annual Jackpot Records Music & Film Festival at the historic Bagdad Theater in Portland, Oregon, on September 27th at 8pm. Director Stan Warnow will attend:
We spend months wandering the celluloid highway looking for masterpieces. We've landed some genuine Portland premiers, had extremely colorful director appearances, and evaporated the minds of young and old alike with features that genuflect before no genre. We hope that you get as excited about this year's week of wonders as we are.
The Bagdad Theater: "This marvelous relic of Hollywood's Golden Age is a movie palace full of wonder and surprises. For nearly four generations now, the Bagdad's Mediterranean/neon persona and daily films have made it an icon of Portland's vibrant Hawthorne District. The interior is an attraction in and of itself, with barreled arches, ornate wrought-iron fixtures, brilliant mosaics and painted Mediterranean designs and characters."
“Music and film often have a symbiotic relationship, as legions of great music documentaries attest. This stuff is priceless, and not only that, it’s free. Get to these screenings early if you want a seat.” THE PORTLAND TRIBUNE 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Powerhouse Road

During a research mission in April of 2001 to locate Raymond Scott’s Manhasset mansion, Piet Schreuders and I found only this evidence of its previous existence — the access road to the house that Scott named in honor of his classic tune. The mansion can be seen in its full glory here:
Caption on this photo reads: "On the sloping backyard lawn of their Manhasset, Long Island, home, singer Dorothy Collins and her husband, composer-conductor Raymond Scott, hoist daughter Debbie, 2½, aloft for a giddy dash downhill. Their 30-room home is in the background. Credit (United Press Photo) 5/3/57"

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"A-Muzik Film Series" at Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany

DECONSTRUCTING DAD, the new award-winning Raymond Scott documentary film, will be screened on August 25th at 9pm, at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany, as part of the A-Muzik Film SeriesDirector Stan Warnow will attend.

Museum Ludwig houses PopArt, Abstract and Surrealism, and has one of the largest Picasso collections in Europe. It also features many works by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

Monday, August 08, 2011

MK Gallery's "Friday Night Films" in Milton Keynes, England

On Friday, August 5th, at 6:30 pm, the new award-winning Raymond Scott documentary film, DECONSTRUCTING DAD, will be screened at MK Gallery in Milton Keynes, England, as part of their "Friday Night Films" series. £5 (concessions £3) • Pre-book on 01908 676 900

"Our Mission Statement: MK Gallery provides free access to high quality, innovative and thought-provoking contemporary art from around the world. In its programme MK Gallery stimulates participation and debate, building relationships between artists and audiences."

Monday, August 01, 2011

"Movies on a Big Screen" at The Guild Theater in Sacramento, California

The new award-winning Raymond Scott documentary film, DECONSTRUCTING DAD, will be screened at the historic Guild Theater in Sacramento, California, on August 7th, at 7:30pm as part of the "Movies on a Big Screen" series. Admission: $5.00 • 2828 35th St, Sacramento, CA

The Guild is the only remaining of the early-20th century theaters Oak Park was known for. Completed in 1915, the building's structure reflects the influence of the Moorish Revival. For decades, it was a premiere entertainment destination, and in its earliest days played host to vaudeville shows. St. HOPE Academy has restored The Guild Theater and showcases film, lectures, and live performances.

"'Movies on a Big Screen' fits perfectly within our distribution goals, in that they put to screen films that may not secure week-long runs in a commercial theater, but can highlight independent films and bring them to Sacramento — remember, the capital of California — and add to the great creative spirit that lives in that community."
—Arts Engine/Media That Matters