Monday, May 29, 2017

Strangers Have Left On Longer Trains Before - Ghost of Hope by the Residents ~ a Review... sort of

Well, the superintendents of the subterranean have done it again. Ghost of Hope, the latest release by the Residents, delivers everything fans have come to expect from the masters of storytelling... and more.

If you're reading this, then you probably already know about the Residents, therefore I'll forego an introduction here, but if you need more background, cheque out this link - The Residents or What Does Salt Smell Like?

Life is a Lonely Train

I waited a long time for this release and was so excited when my special order from Psychofon Records finally arrived. It was special because I received two different, limited edition pressings of the Ghost of Hope; the Die Hard Lenticular Set and the Collector Edition. The latter being black and red speckled over white vinyl. The Collector Edition is limited to 250 numbered pressings and includes a six postcard set. 

Photo credit N Ritchie

The Die Hard Edition is limited to 100 pressings. This package includes two one-sided clear discs with a distinctive red spot in the center. 

I collect medical X-rays and have a snazzy light screen for viewing them. When I noticed that the cover art on the Die Hard Edition is translucent and resembles X-ray prints, I couldn't resist taking a look. 

The label image is lenticular, meaning that it appears differently depending on viewer perspective. 

 3D images of lenticular label

Also included in the Die Hard edition is a 7" one-sided glow in the dark 45 rpm record featuring the song,Train vs Elephant
Photo credit Don Fickles

And, as if that wasn't enough, the Die Hard Edition also includes a 10" x 10" lenticular print of the album cover.
3D representation of 10"x10" lenticular print

Another limited edition version of Ghost of Hope was released a few weeks later. The Red Splatter version is limited to 100 pressings and may be the most striking visual of any of the versions.

 bright background
I'm not even going to mention the music on Ghost of Hope except to say that this record was produced by and features Eric Drew Feldman of Captain Beefheart, Snakefinger and Gong fame. Nolan Cook is credited for his contributions on guitar. Also noteworthy is the fact that this will be the last Residents record to feature the original Residents since Charles Bobuck recently announced his departure from the band. 
numbers 22

Good luck finding one

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Happy Blogday 10 - One Decade

For an entire decade, Zenberg Blogue has provided unique and insightful perspectives on history, music, politics and etc. 

A BIG THANK YOU to the tens of thousands of readers around the globe who have supported Zenberg Blogue.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Sir George Martin - Revolutionary

"Every person we come in contact with affects us to a lesser or greater degree"

Imagine! A world without the Beatles. It almost happened that way. 

Random events shape our world in a significant way, and it's safe to say that our world would be drastically different without the Beatles. Whether you like the Beatles or despise them, it must be accepted that they changed our world... for better or for worse.

By now, everyone knows the name George Martin, the amazing producer responsible for the production of most of the Beatles recordings, who died one year ago. Martin revolutionized the Beatles' sound and incorporated much of his own original ideas into those familiar Beatles songs. George Martin changed the Beatles and the Beatles changed the world. 

But what if Martin and the Beatles had never crossed paths? 

Sure, the Beatles were somewhat popular in Liverpool and Hamburg, but record companies didn't consider them to be anything special. The Beatles had already been turned down by Decca and others by the time EMI took a chance on them. Two of the Beatles, John and Ringo, were married and had babies by that time. Had EMI turned them away too, it wouldn't have been unreasonable for them to quit the Beatles to assume more traditional fatherly roles. And, had Decca or another label signed them, the Beatles may not have received adequate production and marketing support to propel them to fame. Their music would have been very different too, not to mention the social impact the Beatles made. 

EMI did sign with the Beatles, and teamed them up with producer George Martin, whose vast knowledge of classical music and orchestration contributed greatly to the Beatles' unique sound. You know when you're hearing the Beatles, and when you're hearing the Beatles, you're hearing George Martin. 

But what if George Martin had made other life choices and not ended up at EMI? Or what if EMI had assigned someone else to produce the Beatles? Things would certainly be different. Beatlemania may have never happened. It's entirely possible, maybe even probable, that their success would have been limited, and today, the Beatles would be just another forgotten band.

Beyond the music - social revolution

The Beatles did for psychedelia what Gidget* did for surfing. By the mid 60's, LSD** was still relatively unknown and unavailable, but when it became known that the Beatles had used LSD, its popularity soared, and many people experimented with it who may not otherwise have. Again, for better or for worse, people's lives were changed and the course of random events were redirected.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak grew up in the heart of the psychedelic movement and were both heavily involved in that culture. They came together through a series of random events that eventually led to the creation of Apple Computer, an emulation of the Beatles' defunct label, Apple Corp. Much of the technology of our contemporary world is directly tied to the home computer revolution enabled by Apple.

What if the Beatles had never come to be and that psychedelic awakening hadn't taken place? Jobs and Wozniak would probably never have met, which means that personal computers wouldn't be what they are today, and smart phone technology may not even exist. Maybe Jobs would have created some kind of computer company, but it wouldn't have been called Apple Computer, because that name was inspired by the Beatles.

It's Zenberg's opinion that Sir George Martin played a key role in a series of events that sparked revolution and redirected the course of social history... for better or for worse?

* Any old school surfer will tell you that back in the day, the waves were free and plentiful, but after the movie, Gidget Goes Hawaiian, surfing became grossly popular.

**  Some have theorized that the psychedelic movement was a social engineering program because LSD had been developed by the CIA and was being tested on various groups of people at the time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

America Found Dead

On the night of Yom Kippur, sleep didn't come easy for me. After hours of tossing and turning in bed, stressing over the upcoming election, I decided to meditate. I chose to focus on what might happen if Hillary Clinton was elected president. 

I have dreamed a dream

Before long, I was fast asleep and found myself in the bottom of a deep canyon. It was dark, as if the sun was low in the western sky and no direct sunlight was making its way to the narrows of the deep canyon. I observed that the place where I stood seemed to be a dry riverbed with gravel and stepping-stone size rocks. I looked to my right and observed a large flat rock a couple of feet from where I stood. Laying upon the rock was the lifeless body of a young child. I noticed someone else standing there with me and I asked, "Who is this dead child?" The person replied, "This is America." 

For some reason, it didn't seem odd that America was personified as a child, and I was overcome by the tragedy of the scene. The person next to me knelt down and picked up the lifeless body and placed it inside a small, child-size coffin that was positioned next to the large flat rock. The small coffin appeared to be made of bronze or copper, but it was too dark to be sure. The other person sealed the coffin as three other persons who had been shrouded by the darkness stepped forward to act as pallbearers. 

The person next to me joined the others and they positioned themselves, two on either side of the coffin. They lifted the coffin from the dry riverbed in unison and it occurred to me that the traditional six pallbearers were unnecessary with such a small casket. As the four persons began to carry off the small box, four calf legs emerged from its base, and the casket walked off into the darkness... and the dream was over.