My two favourite records just now are by Raymond Scott and Takako Minekawa.
Scott's Manhattan Research (Basta 90782) has been out for a couple of months now. It's a 2 CD collection of Scott's commercials, jingles and sound experiments from the 50s and 60s. I can't speak too highly of this record, which comes with an inspiring and informative 145 page hardback book lavishly illustrated with retro-tech images. The music still sounds fresher than paint, probably because Scott made all his own instruments. The commercials are wittier and more imaginative than most pop songs. Check out the wonderful Limbo: The Organised Mind, which begins 'You know, I've learned how to walk around inside my own head. It may sound silly to you, but it's been very helpful to me...' The Soviets must have been putting acid in the water supply back in the 60s. Listen out for a heavy Scott influence on the next Momus album.
Takako Minekawa was in New York in March recording with Dymaxion, and those kind people at Trattoria have sent me a tape of the results. I like this a lot, it's more stripped down and mysterious than her last record, Fun 9. Takako is really one of the most interesting artists around, and someone I listen to with 'learning ears'. This EP, called Maxi On, comes out in Japan on July 12th. You'll probably be able to order it through Other Music.
Takako's A Report On An Investigation sounds like it was influenced by the sleuthing work of French artist Sophie Calle. Scott's Don't Beat Your Wife is magnificently strange, a compendium of commercial snippets which perfectly illustrates some of the stuff I touched on in my essay Metaphysical Masochism Of The Capitalist Creative.
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