Optimum readability conditions

Nick Shinn's picture

William Berkson's picture

First time I've heard it called 'reading' :)

Nick Shinn's picture

This was part of the "Moods in Music" series, which included Music for Dining and Music for Relaxation. No mention of what's on your mind, Bill :-)

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

I collect ephemera (old cooks books of all things) from this period when men and woman dress properly, kids were polite and the family unit was stronger. And (not as important) typography and music was void of expressions like 'edgy' and 'sexy'. (if not, well hidden under the surface) The design was graceful- and well... 'perky'.

Those were the days. Nice use of type Nick.

Mike Diaz :-)

William Berkson's picture

>well hidden under the surface

Claire de Lune
Amoureuse
Song of My Love
Flirtation Waltz

hmmmm :)

ybaggar's picture

I'm not convinced that's the best position for reading :)

pattyfab's picture

That is a really charming script - or more likely handlettering - hard to tell given the i is the only recurring character.

William Berkson's picture

Yes this is beautifully executed. The 12" x 12" album cover was for forty years a wonderful canvas for all kinds of artistic expression. I miss it.

Nick Shinn's picture

The year of the recording is 1954.
The most likely of 1954's bestsellers for the young lady in the romantic setting to be reading is Daphne du Maurier's Mary Anne, the story of an ambitious woman set in the Regency era.
Of the tracks on the album, suitable ambience would be provided by the Waltz in C-Sharp Minor by Chopin. I haven't read the book, but there's probably a grand ball and a waltz in there somewhere.

Paul Cutler's picture

Had to post one from my "stellar" collection:

peace

AzizMostafa's picture

As said by Mike Diaz, that was when:
> Men and women dress+press properly,
> Service was well hidden under the surface?!
> Kids were polite even when there was no light,
> Family unit was stronger + the corrupt was stranger,
> Her/His voice was music in the ears of his/her neighbour.

William Berkson's picture

I remember the 50s, and the house cleaning album is an example of the kind of 'retro' that makes me say "Huh? What the heck is good about this?"

Linda Cunningham's picture

Brrrrr. Makes me have flashbacks to the days of Phyllis Schafly (sp?), who thought women should be home, barefoot and pregnant, and should be happy and perky when he-who-earned-all-the-money came home after a tough day at the office.

Talk about worse than LSD....

William Berkson's picture

Phyllis Schlafly is very much with us, influencing legislation. I don't agree with her, but I admire her guts.

Call me a throwback, but I don't think there's anything wrong with a woman being pregnant and supported by her husband--and happy and perky. Women should have many options, including that one, IMHO.

I'm such a troublemaker :)

Linda Cunningham's picture

Just so long as it's not the only option, which for many women, it was in the past. :-(

jupiterboy's picture

Paul, there's actually one from the series titled "Music to Clean House To" and the photo is worth the price alone.

Paul Cutler's picture

I thought that was a recent release.

I used to collect album "covers" - didn't really care what was on the record.

This record and some valium makes for a very happy housewife.

peace

dezcom's picture

The Melachrino Strings album brought to mind the whole elevator music schtich but now that I know James Montalbano, I can never get Montovani named right!
I am a big classical music fan but that bland stuff Melachrino and the like layed down really sucks! They just neutered every piece they played, washing out dynamics and mushing the sound into library paste. I think they put all their musicians on Ludes or thorazine untill they were robots before they were allowed to record. They should be called the Melanoma Strings for devouring healthy music cells.

ChrisL

Linda Cunningham's picture

There just ain't enough Valium to make me a "very happy housewife." ;-)

dezcom's picture

"Stepford Wives" anyone?
:-)

ChrisL

Miss Tiffany's picture

Chris, don't forget what ended up happening. At least in the movie. It turned out the woman had created the perfect husband. ;^)

Paul Cutler's picture

Good to hear Linda - we'd miss you a lot while you were merrily dusting and doing the dishes… :)

peace

dezcom's picture

You musthave seen the remake Tiff. The original didn't go that way.

ChrisL

Linda Cunningham's picture

No kidding! I'd take Katharine Ross over Nicole Kidman as an actress any time.

dezcom's picture

The original was funny and more lighthearted too.

ChrisL

Paul Cutler's picture

If you like Phillip Glass you should check out Terry Riley In C - it started the minimalist movement.

Linda Cunningham's picture

Yeah, it's a great album.

One reason I like Glass so much is that he's willing to make fun of himself in public: all the classical musicians I know are, um, fairly warped in the humour department, but not to the point where they'd put something up on the web....

jupiterboy's picture

Nice. I was fortunate enough to see him conduct some of his music. He had almost cleared the theatre by intermission.

Anyone like Michael Tourke, Stephen Paulus, or Christopher Theofanidis?

Linda Cunningham's picture

I've seen Glass twice: once doing solo piano, the other in a live performance of Koyaanisqatsi. We had seats near the front, and got to see them all singing at the end -- I was practically in tears. Just incredible.

Bruce's picture

Bill, I sure agree with you about the 12x12 format. I am fortunate enough to have a very good stereo (part of my work is in the audio industry) and many, many LPs. The pleasure of sitting and reading liner notes while listening is such a comfort, and I have learned so much about music while doing this. The sense of comfort and edification is so absent when one holds a little 5x5 CD booklet.

Paul, I still remember vividly the first time I heard Terry Riley in C when a friend lent me his record in 1970. Amazing how the music would have a certain mass and texture as all the musicians were momentarily making a certain set of notes, and then as soon as just one musician decided to go to the next figure, the entire personality of the music changed! Really fascinating and wonderful stuff.

(For those of you who don't know this piece, a small ensemble plays a series of figures [Is that what Riley called them? I think so.], really just a measure of notes. Each musician can start the figure whenever he/she wants, and plays it for as long as she/he feels like playing it. The rhythmic ins and outs and melodic echoes are fabulous. Probably not what you would put on to snuggle up to the Literary Lass on Nick's album cover, though, unless she's reading Ionesco or Apollinaire . . .)

Paul Cutler's picture

Terry Riley had studied Balinese Gamelan. That's where some of the idea came from. They often repeat figures for an entire piece. The brilliant move was the deviation from the accepted notion of time - like Proust or Joyce in literature.

I still love that record.

peace

Nick Shinn's picture


Music for Dining
Music for Relaxation
Music for Courage and Confidence
Music to Help You Sleep
Music for Two People Alone
Music for Daydreaming
Music to Work or Study By
Music for the Nostalgic Traveler

Those are the other titles in the Melachrino series, so perhaps this wasn't, as seems to be the general impression with the lads here, make-out music. That, I'm guessing, would be "Music for Two People Alone".
The association of romantic music and romantic fiction was probably too cute for RCA to pass on.

If mellow music is reading music, then this album, of similar vintage to Melachrino, would work too, and for that other thing.

Bruce's picture

Now THAT is a great record!!!!

jupiterboy's picture

I'd have to throw Waltz for Debby, Bill Evans on that pile as well.

dezcom's picture

"...as seems to be the general impression with the lads here, make-out music. That, I’m guessing, would be “Music for Two People Alone”."

Maybe this one is more what you are getting at Nick:

ChrisL

William Berkson's picture

Miles Davis & Bob Dylan didn't needn't need a 'babe' to sell their music.

Probably the 'Melachrino Strings' needed all the help they could get. It seems the covers are a lot more memorable than the music.

Bruce's picture

(at the risk of drifting off-topic)

James/Jim mentions Waltz for Debby which happens to be my all-time favorite jazz record. And Bill Evans my favorite musician in any genre. Which leads me to this: I just ordered a copy of Stephen Anderson's Remembering the Rain: The Music of Bill Evans and it is superb. Gentle electric guitar (Gibson), very liquid-sounding, and wonderful. Very much in the same vein as Joe Diorio's To Jobim with love of a few years ago. The Anderson CD is available direct from the publisher (http://www.artofliferecords.com). Very, very nice for anyone who cares deeply about Bill Evans's music.

I wish I could give you guys a link for the equally fabulous Diorio disk but it's on a very obscure Italian label (RAM RMCD4529, released 1995) and even when I was working as a music reviewer and thus had inside connections, it still took me months to actually buy and receive a copy. Maybe someone highly motivated could find it used.

Finally, for any fan of Jobim's music -- in my view, the George Gershwin of Brasil -- I think Morelenbaum2/Sakamoto's Casa is a must-have. It doesn't say this in the liner notes, but the album was recorded at Jobim's beach house, using the piano on which he composed all of his wonderful tunes. Core musicians are piano, cello and voice (female, alto) with other musicians in places on viola, percussion. Spare, swinging, open, dreamy, languid, transcendent!

jupiterboy's picture

Lotsa Evans and Jobim recordings are being re-mastered and put out on vinyl again. This link works but you'll have to re-enter Evans and run a search.

http://store.acousticsounds.com/search_results.cfm

Something tells me you are probably a Chet fan as well.

Linda Cunningham's picture

Y'notice how "design" and "music" go together? I guess I'm not the only person here who puts on "appropriate" musical accompaniment for specific tasks. ;-)

(And another hand up for Birth of the Cool, Evans, Jobim, and I'll add Lady Day. Once dated a guy who thought Previn/LSO recording of American in Paris was make-out music.)

Never been a hardcore Dylan fan, although Subterrainean Homesick Blues is pretty good: I'm more a Silly Wizard/Dougie Maclean kind of girl.

William Berkson's picture

I just googled Melachrino out of curiousity. He seems to have been an English equivalent of the American Montavani--lush sentimental strings that people who actually listen to music can't take. Here is the beginning:

"Melachrino's "Moods in Music" series of albums for RCA Victor epitomize one of the most popular and influential movements in space age pop."

And the kicker:

"Melachrino's "Moods" albums are better remembered today for their covers thn their contents."

Told you so!

Bruce, thanks for noting Jobim. I always loved his music, but haven't explored it. I will now.

Nick Shinn's picture

Bob Dylan didn’t needn’t need a ‘babe’ to sell their music.
No, but that didn't stop the record company.

Paul Cutler's picture

Bill Evans is the man. Especially the solo recordings.

peace

Nick Shinn's picture

More optimum readability conditions.
These are wood engravings by Reynolds Stone, from the mid 20th Century.





In a present day rendering, the reader might also be plugged into an iPod.

Bruce's picture

Yes, Chet fan indeed. Of the many albums of his that I own, my favorite is Let's Get Lost, (Novus label, 1989) from the very end of his life. It's the soundtrack for a Baker documentary made by Bruce Weber. What I adore about Baker is his vulnerability, hesitation, the charged spaces between the notes. Miles is always penetrating and questioning, but in a more confident and definite way. Baker leaves more room for me to enter the conversation and feel my way around in there, whereas Miles leaves me more on the sidelines watching. Does that make any sense? Evans does this, too, in spades.

The early recordings done by Baker and Mulligan out west in the early 50s are also most enjoyable.

What a tragedy that drugs took such strangleholds on people like Baker, Bird, Anita O'Day, Evans. And yet ironically, many of the performances that we treasure were done while they were high as kites (O'Day's performance during Jazz on a Summer's Day for example).

I like that Baker manages to speak so often with a lighter touch, the way foundry Diotima sits very delicately but solidly on a page. (There, on topic!)

Bruce's picture

Nick, thanks for showing us these Reynolds Stone images. I think of him as a lettering artist and hadn't realized he did much in this other arena.

Nick Shinn's picture

many of the performances that we treasure were done while they were high as kites

...and treasured even more when high as a kite while listening :-)

Nick Shinn's picture

hadn’t realized he did much in this other arena

He was a multiple threat: designer, illustrator, lettering artist, and even one or two typefaces.
I really like his bookplates, where he combined lettering, design, and illustration succinctly.

Ch's picture

i couldn't resist: in a thread that ties together music packaging and terry riley...

terry's been a musical hero of mine since i was kid and heard "a rainbow in curved air".
28 years later i had the honor of meeting and studying music with him; a life changing experience. he asked me to design the packaging for a concept cd he had been working on for 4 years. our idea was to combine the look of indian miniatures with american comic books. the full package will be on my website soon. (build in progress).

i fully illustrated the six-panel fold-out cd, printed in 5 colors on unbleached card stock.
the 5 colors were white, custom red, cyan, yellow, & black. i drew it all by hand and then created my own color separations in photoshop. i was quark illiterate and our good
typo-friend pattyfab helped me with the technical output. you can read more about it at
terryriley.com -

jupiterboy's picture

Good taste. I lost my copy of the "Let's Get Lost" soundtrack for a while and had a hard time replacing it. The film is really great as well. His version of "Almost Blue" is amazing. It seems as he aged (poorly) his voice became so similar to his horn.

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