Friday, 16 January 2015

columbia and paramount come alive again

Here's two releases that we need on this page for not only just the music but the outstanding packaging that wraps it.
First is the November release of David Bowie's 'Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)'. It's no surprise Bowie takes great care to get his presentation in top order whether it's past albums or videos but this special edition vinyl 10inch released for Record Store Day is way up there with his best. A replica of one of Columbia's earliest sleeves which would have originally held a 78rpm record.
The sounds therein go as much to defy the antiquity as could be imagined. Side 1. "Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)" is Bowie in an outrageous jazz setting of what sounds like one of Carla Bley's avant garde 'Foyer' bands of the early 1970's only now with Bowie placed in the middle of an imminent storm of simmering brass. The B side 'Tis A Pity She Was A Whore' (which is the clip below) he adopts a frail vocal delivery (notice how he does that these days) set against a grimey band of really nasty intent set to a 'Station to Station' like beat.
This is really daring stuff. As Spencer Grady in Record Collector said "when you hear what passes for rock by most established artists it's just a joke compared to this".
Pity this video doesn't reflect the artwork.

The second of the presentations is not so much a facsimile of something from the past but the past accelerated from the early 20th century into the 21st.
It is the mammoth release of 'The Rise And Fall Of Paramount Records Volume Two; 1928-1932" which is as described by Third Man records as "A stunning omnibus of words, music, art and design". This is not just hype from the record company
You want deluxe packaging then try "Six LPs, 800 digital tracks, two definitive large-format books. All housed in a polished aluminium case evoking the era's high art deco styling's and America's own Machine Age take on modernist design."
An unbelievable piece of music history and it will also set you back a cool $400 from Thirdman Records.
Here's a short video of the unboxing. Breathtaking in it's attention to detail it will probably take a lifetime to absorb.