Thursday, February 4, 2010

MEA (1962)

This is it. My last post here. I thought this LP by Alan Watts and friends would be an appropriate way to go out. The title, This is IT, is fitting methinks. Well, that and the obvious song title "The End." I used to have a bookstore spot where I'd consistently dig up awesome early-'70s electronic composition LPs and one day I found this gem there. The minute I saw it I knew this was going to be my kind of record. Sound-wise it's almost entirely noise and nonsense, i.e. people drumming on who know's what, chanting in what sounds like made up languages, and a motley assortment of belches, squirts and the like. The tag line on this is "a spontaneous musical happening," which I'm glad they recorded. From what I can tell, doing "IT" off-the-cuff and improvised is largely the point.

Look-wise I just love the color on the label, such a great yellow. I'm startled every time I pull this LP out of the sleeve because the brightness is so unexpected in relation to the covers. The text is clear and to the point -- unobtrusive. And at the top there's that lovely bit of squiggly going on inside a circle. If you have a moment it's worth doing a bit more investigating about the cover and the background. This site seems to have a decent take, as well as some scans of the actual cover, which you'll see has a curious look -- a mishmash of courier font/typewriter text and Japanese-ish titling.

I'll leave you with two things: 1) A bit of philosophizing from Watts: "No one is more dangerously insane than one who is sane all the time," and 2) A download link for the last mixtape I made, which unfortunately was about four years ago, but I think it's still worth a listen every now and then (tracklist is in the comments).


  1. So the mix is called: i'd like to teach the world to sing. (in perfect harmony) -- maybe you'll recognize the cover from your childhood...

    Tracklist is as follows:
    SIDE A
    "Offering" - Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson
    "Smilin' Billy Suite (Part I)" - The Heath Bros.
    "Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser" - Lo Borges E Marcio Borges
    "African Rhythms" - Oneness of Juju
    "Love That's America" - Melvin Van Peebles
    "Cosmic Funk" - Lonnie Liston Smith
    "Here After" - Kool & the Gang
    "Tell Me What to Do" - Johnny Hammond
    "Ponteio" - Astrud Gilberto & Stanley Turrentine
    "Mountain Train" - Flora Purim
    "Kama (Part 1)" - Michal Urbaniak

    SIDE B
    "Loran's Dance" - Idris Muhammad
    "The World Is a Ghetto" - The Paragons with Roslyn Sweat
    "Realize" - Air
    "When I Die" - Motherlode
    "All We Need Is Understanding" - Chairmen of the Board
    "We the People Who Are Darker Than Blue" - Curtis Mayfield
    "Take a Look at Yourself (Before You Frown on Someone Else)" - White Heat
    "En Las Nubes Trepao" - The Lebron Brothers
    "Love From the Sun" - Roy Ayers Ubiquity
    "Voyages" - Michel Polnareff
    "Equipoise" - Stanley Cowell

    Marvin Gaye
    Jesse Jackson
    Mumia Abu-Jamal
    Sun Ra
    Eddie Harris
    Cannonball Adderley
    Malcolm X
    The RZA
    Daniel Barenboim
    Eric Dolphy

  2. Thanks for two weeks of great posts, Graham. It's been a treat.