Our Electric Destiny/A space is made by telephone

Year: 1995
Original Format: cassette

For the most part, the music on these old tapes still sounds really good to me. But probably not as good as it did back then, when I still had those young-person high-frequency receptors. I wonder if this is why over the years I’ve tended to gravitate more toward bass-heavy music. That probably isn’t what A Tribe Called Quest meant by “The Low End Theory,” but it’s a low-end theory, anyway.

Playlist:

The Sun Came Out Last Night Eumenio Blanco & J. Patrick McNamara
From Close Encounters of the Third Kind, natch. Neither of these characters had names — Blanco played “Sunburned Old Man,” and McNamara “Project Leader” — but both actors had long and varied careers, with credits ranging from Dallas, The A-Team, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (McNamara) to The Twilight Zone, The Fugitive, and Mod Squad (Blanco, for whom Close Encounters was the final IMDB entry; his first was in 1930). I also just now learned from IMDB that Carl Weathers, Lance Henrikson, and J. Allen Hynek (the astronomy professor and UFO researcher who invented the “Close Encounter” classification system) are all in the movie too; time for another viewing perhaps?

Superabound Frank Black
“To me this has always been about a god-like being that is bored. To know everything and be everywhere leaves nothing to be experienced. In an attempt to alleviate the boredom he attempts to live increasing bizarre experiences, to no effect.” —Commenter “bshirley,” Songfacts.com

Infinite Thrill That Petrol Emotion
1994’s Fireproof was TPE’s last album before they finally acceded to the judgement of an indifferent marketplace and called it quits. They did a few reunion shows in subsequent years but I never did get to see them; maybe they’ll have one more go in them post-pandemic?

Everything, All at Once, Forever (Pt. 1) Th’ Faith Healers
In its original form this catchy but slight number bounces along for almost 15 minutes, so I chopped it up into a few short pieces for inclusion here.

You Got Me Floatin’ PM Dawn
“I developed an entire music video for this song in my mind after beginning to have lucid dreams for the first time. The visuals were of floating flying and falling but catching flight just in time… much time spent experimenting with flight just above the tree tops. It was also supposed to be the opening scene of a movie I was endeavoring to create. It’s still all just inside my mind though. But that’s o.k.” —YouTube commenter “Steven John”

Spaceship Relationship Dr. John
Spaceship: When you are in a relationship but you haven’t had sex yet. Figuratively, it’s that space between you and your partner. Mark: ‘I don’t know why she keeps denying me all the time.’ Dickson: ‘Brother, you’ve got two choices. You either get off this spaceship or wait until you reach your destination!’” —Urban Dictionary

The Opening of a Door William S. Burroughs/G. Love & Special Sauce

Why, you might well ask, did Nike choose Uncle Bill — a frail septuagenarian more associated with drug addiction than physical fitness — for a series of ads promoting its AirMax2 shoes? PR manager Judy Smith explained, “He was chosen because we knew he could pull off this role as a quirky, scientific, prophetic technology wiz. Burroughs isn’t identified in the commercial because the role he’s playing has nothing to do with his history as a writer or his reputation in the counterculture.” G. Love’s “The Things That I Used To Do,” which ironically is not technological at all, works well in this context.

Postures (Leave Your Body Behind) Chris Thomas & Tabby Thomas
And why did Chris Thomas and his father Tabby, bluesmen both, decide to cover this 13th Floor Elevators song in a Prince stylee? I don’t know, but I’m glad they did.

Interference Distraction Birdsongs of the Mesozoic
This is from one of several albums where various bands set to music the poems of Ernest Noyes Brookings. According to KEXP.com, “Brookings was born in 1898 in Newbury, Massachusetts. He served in the Navy, attended MIT, and settled in Springfield, Vermont, where he worked as a designer of machine parts. When not designing, Mr. Brookings avidly pursued astronomy, the game of tennis and ham radio. In 1979 while residing at the Duplex Nursing Home in Boston he met David Greenberger who was employed there as activities director. Seeing his interest in the poetry of others, David suggested he write some of his own, which he immediately began doing provided he be supplied with a theme to write about.”

Everything, All at Once, Forever (Pt. 2) Th’ Faith Healers

Dead Finks Don’t Talk Eno
“‘Dead Finks Don’t Talk’ is the most randomly generated of my songs. I wrote the lyrics at home with my girl-friend with a cassette of the backing track from the studio. I sang whatever came into my mind as the song played through. Frequently they’re just nonsense words or syllables. First I try for the correct phonetic sound rather than the verbal meaning. Off the top I was singing ‘oh-dee-dow-gubba-ring-ge-dow.’ So I recorded these rubbish words and then I turned them back into words. It’s the exact opposite of the technique used in phonetic poetry where words are changed into pure sounds. I take sounds and change them into words. ‘Dead Finks’ is not about Bryan Ferry. After all the music was recorded and the words written, Chris Thomas (my producer and Roxy’s as well) said, ‘You’ll get me shot for that track. It’s obviously about Bryan.’ So I listened back to it and it obviously was. It was certainly something I hadn’t realized.” —Brian Eno

Fallin’ De La Soul & Teenage Fanclub
This is from the soundtrack to a movie I never actually saw, Judgment Night, which featured a bunch of collaborations between hip-hop and rock artists. It’s a mixed bag but some are remarkably good, and this may the best of the lot, though I’m not sure what Teenage Fanclub had to do with it; it pretty much just sounds like a De La Soul song. (The sample from Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin” is well deployed.)

Some Days Are Better than Others U2
Some days I say to myself, “I can’t believe you put a U2 song on here. It makes me sad just to think of them.” Then I answer back, “Fuck you, Zooropa is a great record.” This conflict may never be resolved.

That Was a Pretty Good Day Bill Murray
Punxsutawney Phil recently weighed in again, predicting six more weeks of winter in a year where we could really use an early spring. Is there an impeachment proceeding for ground squirrels?

Today Smashing Pumpkins
This is one of the songs that probably doesn’t sound quite as good as it used to; it’s all about that guitar tone, and some of those frequencies are gone now. Though Smashing Pumpkins on the whole haven’t aged all that well, I don’t think. It might have helped if Billy Corgan had offed himself about 1997; I’m not saying I wish it, but it would have been a good career move.

A Day in the Life The Beatles
“Last December, when we were reminded of the anniversary of the death of the leader of The Beatles — at least the early leader of the band — we began to think: How much longer will it be until John Lennon has been dead longer than he was alive? That, according to Google calculations, would be today…. Today just seems like a weird day. Or a day in the life. Some of us think about these things.” —Editorial, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 2/7/2021

Not Anymore Peter Sellers
There are two kinds of people in the world, those who giggle uncontrollably at Inspector Clouseau and those who don’t. If you’re one of the latter, well… I’m sure our peoples can coexist peacefully, if we work at it.

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