Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Yeah, But Have You Listened to Bach on Acid?

The Typing Monkey recently peered through the magic keyhole of On An Overgrown Path, a blog that holds a flickering candle into the odd corners of the world of classical music. Cancel your meetings and forward the phones, 'cause you're going to be doing some reading.

Overgrown Path's (sole?) contributor goes by the hand Pliable, and whoever that is, he or she is about to go away for a while and put the blog on hold. No matter. That will give you time to catch up.

To get you started, here are a few links to stories from Overgrown Path that will keep your attention:

From "JSB on LSD" -- "'Let me advise you, if you ever use mescaline or LSD in therapy, to try the effect of [Johann Sebastian Bach's] B-minor suite.'" That's an excerpt from a letter Aldous Huxley wrote to psychiatrist Humphry Osmond. The B-minor suite will always trump Pink Floyd.

And do make sure to read the one-two punch about Edward Elgar, who has a gossamer connection to early LSD experiments, and a clear connection to the Order of the Golden Dawn. Who knew?

There's much more to On An Overgrown Path -- listening and reading recommendations galore -- so have fun.

The Mothership Is Getting Crowded

Cordell "Boogie" Mosson died on April 18, 2013. News of the P-Funk bassist's death didn't circulate as fast as it might have, given that he died during a week where the news was concerned with bigger stories.

That does not diminish his passing. Mosson played bass for the legendary funk collective, taking over the low end when Bootsy Collins left to pursue a solo career. But Mosson was, by all accounts, equally adept at drums and rhythm guitar.

One sad day, the Mothership will be operating with a full crew again, in some other galaxy, and our loss will be that other world's gain.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Not the UFO Carnival We Wanted

... still, the very phrase "UFO Carnival" made our eyes turn into hearts and we salivated like dogs in Pavlov's paddock.

Parapolitical brought the news to our attention: A press release announcing that an organization called Paradigm Research Group will be presenting a forum called the "Citizen Hearing on Disclosure" at the National Press Club in Washington DC.

The "Citizen Hearing ..." earned the term "UFO Carnival" from Parapolitical because Paradigm Research Group is behind many of the "show us the proof we know you have!" type petitions that go up on the White House petition page. Proof, that is, of a vast government conspiracy to hide the alleged truth about visitors from other planets coming to Earth.

Weirder still, and rightly highlighted by the article, is that many of the speakers are retired U.S. congress members, some flat broke from bad investments, others simply kooky and ready to share their theories, or perhaps inside information.

Give it a close read and get lost on the Web, looking up the bios of some of the folks participating.

[A firm handshake to The Fortean Times for the info.]

Friday, April 19, 2013

Zombie Brothers

The Screen Novelties crew is at it again, with a fun short film made for Nickelodeon.

Nick Animated Original Short - Zombie Brothers
Get More: Nick,Nick Videos,Nick Games

Reading About Reading: Demoniacs and Things Under the Bed

Josephine Livingstone's "When Nuns Puked Nails" reviews the book The Devil Within by Brian Levack. The book examines the phenomenon of demonic possession, concentrating on the act's heyday in the 16th and 17th centuries. Her review was published on Prospect magazine's blog.

Livingstone manages to get in a little more literary critique into a book review than most of us are used to, thanks to Prospect allowing for more muscular writing than mainstream media makes room for these days.

Not having read Devil Within, we have no basis for debate with Livingstone, but it's clear she enjoyed the book and her review makes us want to read it. Especially this portion of her review:
"Popular apocalyptic thought—the strong suspicion that the final battle between good and evil was under way—made possession seem reasonable, even expected. The devil (or his attendant demons) taking control of your body was like the forces of evil saving seats at the cinema by putting coats on them."

And she points out that much of the Catholic procedure of exorcism at that time followed what amounted to a script, with even the possessed (usually a woman) knowing their role in the event.

On a similar topic, Peter Stanford reviewed Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's Bite: The Science of Monsters by Matt Kaplan, for The Telegraph. Stanford never uses the term "fortean" but he's nearly there regarding his admiration for Kaplan's approach to answering the question: Why do we want to believe in monsters?

Kaplan, at least per Stanford, doesn't pass judgment on any of the believers, nor does he insist that the psychological or scientific "answers" are the only truth. If that's not in the spirit of Charles Fort, then let's fold up the internets and go home.

Kaplan's book shot to number one with a silver bullet on The Typing Monkey's reading list.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

We'll be right back after these messages.

Stones Throw Records has always been about more than rap and hip-hop. Beats and rhymes are the taste-making label's bread and butter, but over the course of 17 years, label founder Chris Manak (aka Peanut Butter Wolf) has judiciously stretched beyond his backpacker music base, and not just via re-issued funk and soul sides.

To whit: Singer Anika just released her self-titled LP via Stones Throw. Anika sounds as if it could have been recorded by a German no-wave outfit in 1979. Chilly synths and thin drum machines sharpen the edges around Anika's disaffected voice, but instead of cutting, the music flickers and echoes like a weird daydream.

She proves what a great songsmith Ray Davies is [as if that needed proof beyond The Kinks -- ed.] by running his lonely waltz "I Go To Sleep" through the damp Berlin basement of her style, turning the lyrical ache into numb recitation while retaining the sweetness of the melody via snatches of barroom piano.

And because Stones Throw seems to be in the spirit of '79, after the Anika video plays you may also enjoy The Lions' "Roll It Round" (authentic Two Tone-ish reggae with a dub wash) and Chrome Canyons' "Generations" (analog synth/library soundtrack) -- which should start up in the video player automatically. If not, check them here and here, respectively.

The Typing Monkey may not be up on Homeboy Sandman or Jonwayne, but it's not like Stones Throw isn't giving us anything else to love.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


No matter where you are, if this song plays, the world turns into a twilight fantasy of glistening highways after a rain, leading you to the city at night, with its neon and mystery and wood-hued cocktails.

Quiz Time: Facial Expressions & Literature

Look at these pictures of Ray Bradbury:

The black and white image was taken in 1938, when the writer was a senior at high school in Waukegan, Illinois.

The color image was snapped in 1975 after he'd already published Farenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and The Halloween Tree.

One of these men can stare deep into the very core of your emotional brain and memories of childhood. He can mold your sensations like a sculptor with clay, causing you to feel weird surges of sweetness and regret, triggering great joy and exhilaration, suspense and fear, conjuring melancholy you want to wrap around yourself like a blanket against the cold.

Which of these men can do this?

[To see the answer, select this text: Dude, they're both Ray Bradbury. He is a crafty genius and you should read one of his stories as soon as you can.]

Monday, April 8, 2013

Aloha, Pineapple Princess

Actor/singer Annette Funicello died today. Her twilight years were complicated by multiple sclerosis, but she will be remembered as the Mouseketeer who vaulted to teen flicks for Disney and a handful of squeaky-clean/covertly salacious "beach movies" for American Pictures International during the mid-1960s.

Her beach movie co-star was usually Frankie Avalon, but later another Disney grad, Tommy Kirk joined her. It was with Tommy Kirk that Funicello starred in The Monkey's Uncle, a live-action Disney caper released in 1965.

In the opening credits for Monkey, she's billed simply as "Annette" because she was just that famous at the time, ya dig? But crazier still is the theme song, recorded and performed during the credit sequence, by Annette and The Beach Boys:

[Thanks to j peoplemover for the Youtube upload.]

Good-bye, Ms. Funicello.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Weird Tales, Amazing Art: Boris Dolgov

Monsterbrains fills your screen with many great works of the fantastic and profane, the kind of art you'd paper your bedroom with if your mom wasn't such wet blanket about it.

A recent, lengthy gallery on the blog highlighted the art and illustration Boris Dolgov did for Weird Tales magazine in the 1940s.

Those colors! The soft, almost chalk-like texture of the art! What strange fate awaits that diver who's stumbled into a sea-bottom realm of green-skinned humanoids?

A casual search of the Web turned up zero biographical information on Dolgov, with just one claim that he "lived in New York" -- which isn't groundbreaking given his profession and the era.

But one thing made clear, at least by the collection curated by Monsterbrains: Mr. Dolgov had a real knack for tableaus of encroaching evil that recall European art of the Middle Ages:

Zoinks! Go pollute your ocular sockets now with Dolgov's work.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lava, Delta, Bravo

We were going to title this post "Do You Even Have a Blog Anymore?" but decided that was selfish. Also: Shut up.

Portland, OR duo LAVA make the kind of melted-ice-cream pastel pop that's perfect for putting through your headphones as you walk around and enjoy the pink perfume of spring.

Their new long-player, Wrest showed up on Bandcamp on March 6, so we're a month late in getting to this. And for that, LAVA (with delta/triangles where the "A's" should be), we apologize.

Do your ears a favor and spin Wrest here, then realize how deficient your life has been without it and buy it. They ain't doing this for free. Not intentionally anyway.