Monday, September 29, 2008

REALLY RANDOM RECORD
IMPRESSIONS IN COLOR
This album is one of my favorites. Composed, arranged and conducted by William S. Walker, 1950's New York Times jazz critic, this oddity of an album is an rare gem of ultra lounge.

"Everyone who has ever worked around printing presses knows that each press sings its own song."

The concept of this album made for the Bergstrom Papers company was to set the rhythms of the presses to music. Some of the efforts are amazing and had for a while been a feature of many a performance art piece I did in the 1990s. I have a feeling that there must be printing press enthusiasts out there, and if there are this post will make them very happy. My favorite of the songs is "Blue Line".

Per the liner notes on the featured songs:

Blue Line - is based on a heavy 4/4 rhythm overlaid by a eighth note patter which suggest that rock n' roll may really have been derived from a Harris Offset LTV 17 X 22 press. There is a strong emphasis on "bottom" sound produced by ta combination of bass trombone, bass harmonica, string bass, and bass guitar. The blend almost seems to be a natural part of the heart beat of the Harris press. Harris Press LTV 17 X 22 at 8000 impressions per hour.

Press Party - is Bill's musical impression of a hazily cloudy day. Miehle Verticle at 4000 impressions per hour.

Harpanova - which is a pressman's bossa nova, proved to be fraught with problems. At the very start, in recording the sound of the press, Bill Walker had to experiment with numerous recordings angels before he found the one that produced the precise rhythm he wanted. Then he wrote a piece so complex that the featured harpist, Eddie Druzinksi of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra practiced his part at home for two weeks with a tape recording of the rhythm section before he felt prepared to make this record. Miller 38 4-color at 4000 impressions per hour.

Opus in Offset - is built around the bass harmonica work of Johnny Thompson. It is an exercise in counterpoint in which two dissimilar melodies complement each other both rhythmically and harmonically. Harris LUB 25 x 38 at 5300 impressions per hour.

Color Me Waltz - is not just a waltz. It a jazz waltz which means that it swings. Miehle 38 2-color at 4500 impressions per hour

Printers Devil - is an example of the varied rhythmic possibles that can be heard in a press. This Heidelberg Letterpress produces a definite 3/4 rhythm but, if you listen closely, you also hear a 4/4 beat. The combination of four on three led Bill Walker to a lively samba with four drummers contributing exotic sounds from a Tahitian wood block, timbales, a jawbone and a snare drum. Over this, the string bass, bass harmonica and bass guitar combine on one melodic pattern while the brass section with clarinet lead follows another pattern. A third line is built by the regular guitar with the bass trombone lending added strengh to the whole mixture. Heidelberg Letterpress at 1800 impressions per hour.

Impressions in Color Jukebox


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can't believe someone else has a copy of this album!

Anonymous said...

My Grandfather made a 3rd or 4th generation cassette copy of this album for me when I was very young. I don't think he ever had the original record. It has influenced my musical tastes ever since. Only recently I discovered the background information and the titles of the songs. it was certainly a revelation. Thanks very much for this.

B said...

I had a copy of this in college and let a DJ friend borrow it... Never saw it again- although she did go on to become a professional DJ-
So happy to find it again here, Thank You!!!

B said...

I had a copy of this in college and let a DJ friend borrow it... Never saw it again- although she did go on to become a professional DJ-
So happy to find it again here, Thank You!!!