A blog about Bloomsbury Academic's 33 1/3 series, our other books about music, and the world of sound in general.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Johnny Cash at The Rumpus

The Rumpus has an excerpt of Tony Tost's just-published 33 1/3 on Johnny Cash's American Recordings. This particular passage touches on Cash, Tom Waits, Jerry Lee Lewis, and philosophies of salvation. Highly recommended. Here's the link.

Tony also has an excellent podcast of old weird American recordings called Tony Tost's America that is worth delving into. I'm going to recommend Episode 14, "Where the Train Goes Slow," to match up with the excerpt above.

When you've finished checking all that out, you can go here to watch a fascinating crowd-sourced Johnny Cash animated video.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Musical Fanthropology, Distance, and the Critical Gaze with Daphne Carr

Don't forget: Tomorrow, April 28th at 7pm at Housing Works in Soho!
What has become of contemporary fan communities in the age of online communities, comments, and democratized criticism? Join Daphne Carr (Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine, Continuum 2011), Laina Dawes (What Are You Doing Here? Black Women in Metal, Hardcore and Punk, Spring 2012), Village Voice music editor Maura Johnston, and writer/filmmaker/activist Raquel Cepeda in a reading of their works on fandom and a panel discussion about the changing meanings, technologies, intimacies, and authorities around pop devotion.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Later this year: Portishead

One of the volumes we'll be publishing in the autumn is RJ Wheaton's study of Dummy.

Here's a taste of what's in the book:


During the Dummy sessions, Portishead turned towards producing their own samples, recording Geoff Barrow and Adrian Utley and performances from a host of other musicians, many of them from Utley’s extensive network. Many of these musicians — Clive Deamer, Jim Barr, John Baggott, Gary Baldwin, Andy Hague — later became part of Portishead’s extended band for touring.

Dave McDonald remembers that:

Once you find loops or find an idea, there’s an idea of creating this loop yourself. And modifying it. And doing what you need to do to it. So we would create the loop — Adrian and Geoff would come in and Geoff would play some drums, Adrian would be doing his guitars and bass on it and stuff, I’d be recording it. We’d get this loop and — we’d get loads of them onto DAT. And then we would get them all pressed up on vinyl. So you would end up with like a 12-inch with say thirty samples on.

This process not only allowed the band greater creative control over their samples, but also to move away from the risk of being easily imitated immediately upon a track’s release. As Barrow explained to an interviewer in 1995:

What happened was, within hip-hop, if you sample a beat, that record’s out there, so what happens is a week after, someone else might use it, and that takes away your fresh sound.

Given the local experience with reggae versions and dubplates, McDonald recalls it being relatively easy — and inexpensive — to “find these little places where a guy’s got a cutting press… and get a couple of acetates cut.”

But the process of recording original samples was actually more labor-intensive than simply sampling a break. It was important to the band that the aural fingerprint of old vinyl was preserved — that the ‘made’ samples sounded every bit as aged and authentic as ‘found’ samples.

They were concerned to capture all the extraneous noise that it might otherwise have been impossible to remove from an old record. Fragments of a vocal line that had just finished. Reverb and decay from instruments on the other side of the stereo mix. ”You go into every little, tiny little bit of what makes a good break,” recalled Barrow, “and just do it yourself.”

Tim Saul recalls making the “loop slightly off so it sounds a bit like a sample”, deliberately mis-timing a break so that “the listener hears it and realizes that it’s a loop, an obvious loop.” McDonald elaborates:

There was a lot of tricks that we used to use with loops which were slightly out of time, where within the loop you’d have the next, the slight bit of the next bar within the loop so it gives it a falling feel, but it’s still a loop… A loop is normally 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4. But if you were to do a loop, if you go 1-2-3-4-51-2-3-4-5 you don’t end up with a circular loop, you end up with a sort of egg-shaped loop. So it gives the track a roll.

This extended to preserving the sound of vinyl itself. As Geoff Barrow noted in 1997, “to incorporate the sound of vinyl is as important as the instruments playing.“ Dave McDonald recalled what would happen when a freshly pressed acetate of the band’s samples was received:

You would spend the next day or couple of days with this vinyl on the record decks — and almost like a lathe, you know, Geoff cutting them backwards and forwards to wear the record out so then it creates an age to it, so it sounds very authentic and old. I always remember that process. The aging process. Like a good steak.


The book has a website which you can check out here. And for those of you like to tweet and face, there are additional sites for the book here and here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Joe Bonomo and Jim DeRogatis to Speak in Chicago

Next Thursday, April 28th, 33 1/3 author Joe Bonomo and rock critic Jim DeRogatis will be speaking about music writing at Columbia College in Chicago.

Where: Columbia College, Ferguson Lecture Hall, 600 S. Michigan Ave. Rm 101
When: Thursday, April 28th 6:30 PM

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Daphne Carr @ Housing Works 4/28 + other odds and ends...

Daphne Carr (Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine) will be at Housing Works on April 28 at 7pm, joining Laina Dawes (What Are You Doing Here? Black Women in Metal, Hardcore and Punk, Spring 2012), and Village Voice music editor Maura Johnston in a reading of their works on fandom and a panel discussion about the changing meanings, technologies, intimacies, and authorities around pop devotion.

Also, Daphne has created a website for the PHM book: www.prettyhatemachines.com

Marvin Lin has a nice long interview about Kid A over at Stereo Subversion.

The French journal Cercles on Nick Rombes and his Cultural Dictionary of Punk.

Rick Moody talks with Moby about his obsession with vintage drum machines at the Rumpus.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Rock Book Show

While Joe Bonomo was in Austin for SXSW, he was interviewed by Kimberly Austin (no relation) for Rock Book Show about his book about the Fleshtones, Sweat.

More info on the Rock Book Show website. Looks like there are some pretty great interviews in the works for the future...

From 9 Years Ago

A tiny piece of 33 1/3 history: a 2002 prototype, with front and back covers (for the Kinks and Dusty books respectively - the first two manuscripts I ever received for the series) taped on to a copy of Stefan Zweig's Casanova, published by the Pushkin Press.

The ebooks are coming!

We are pleased to announce that many of continuum's books are now available as ebooks! We have created our own platform so our books will look very pretty on your computer, ipad or other reading device. It's actually quite swanky....http://ebooks.continuumbooks.com/

Many 33 1/3 titles are available now and many more are on the way.

A sampling of what you can download now:

ACDC's Highway to Hell by Joe Bonomo

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's Facing Future by Dan Kois

Pavement's Wowee Zowee by Bryan Charles

Here's a bit about the store and our plans for the future:

The ebook store features a wide selection of titles from across Continuum’s Humanities, Education, and Religion lists, available for download in Adobe PDF and ePub formats. The majority of Continuum’s frontlist titles will be released as ebooks on the store, simultaneously with the publication of print editions, and an extensive conversion project will see a vast number of the publisher’s backlist made available for instant download. Around 2,000 titles will be available on the platform by the end of April; Continuum expects this to climb to 3,500 titles by June.

Initially the store will be open to individuals, but the publisher expects to offer packages aimed at academic institutions from the end of June 2011.

Visitors to the store can preview a selection of pages from all of the ebooks, and can build wish-lists and save searches. The store also features ebook widgets that can be embedded on websites such as authors’ blogs, allowing ebook previews and links back to the title’s page on the store for purchase. Continuum sees particular benefits to academics and professionals in the world of education, and it expects its titles to be bought by individuals and for library collections. The books will be read on computer screens and handheld devices. Ambitious plans are to publish the majority of our 8,500 titles, in ebook form.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Unsound NYC!

The Unsound NYC festival kicked off over the weekend in New York. This is the second year that the Krakow-based festival of electronic and experimental music has done its thing in New York, featuring talks, workshops, screenings, and of course, performances.

Here are a few events worth checking out:

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Thursday in Brooklyn! 33 1/3 Night at Greenlight

Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, Brooklyn will be hosting Hank Shteamer (Ween-Chocolate and Cheese) along with Bryan Charles (Pavement-Wowee Zowee), Daphne Carr (Nine Inch Nails-Pretty Hate Machine), and Christopher Weingarten (Public Enemy-Nation of Millions) on April 7th. Mark your calendars.

Full info here: http://greenlight.indiebound.com/event/evening-music-writing-33-13

Make an evening of it... Get some BBQ, have a cupcake, follow up with a drink, or a drink, or a drink, etc. You get the picture.

33 1/3 Love From Canada

Somebody up there likes me!

Indigo Books, a large Canadian chain bookstore (with a much nicer/better designed website than any US chain bookstore I'm aware of) has published a list of the top 5 Music books by editor Justin Sorbara-Hosker and Bill Janovitz's Exile on Main Street made the list!