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I remember watching this June 2008 fire from a few miles away. A pillar of black smoke so dense arose in the east toward Griffith Park that everybody on my street came outside to watch it. But then the news that evening was that it was just a normal fire, nothing to be interested in.

Well, it wasn’t a normal fire like the cover-up said. Instead, it was the original audio master tapes of many of the most famous music recordings of the 20th Century going up in flames. From the Los Angeles Times:

Universal Music CEO Lucian Grainge promises ‘transparency’ over 2008 fire damage
JUN 18, 2019 | 5:05 PM

The chairman of the world’s largest music conglomerate on Tuesday instructed all who work for him to be transparent with musicians who contact the company to find out whether their recordings were among those destroyed in a 2008 fire reported to have consumed as many as 500,000 recordings. …

The extent of damage from the fire 11 years ago was detailed in a New York Times Magazine investigation published last week, a report that alleged widespread destruction of a vast number of original master recordings by artists including Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Elton John, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Nirvana, Snoop Dogg and an untold number of others.

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  1. Dan Hayes says:

    Jewish Lightning?

    • Replies: @petit bourgeois
  2. newrouter says:

    Lots of unburned carbon there. Does Hollyweird get charged for this?

  3. Lot says:

    I read the NYT version of the article. The author went to great efforts to portray the fire as some great loss of cultural patrimony.

    But as best I can tell, all it means is a limited subset of moldy oldies will never get remastered from the original recordings, which even before the fire may have degraded during decades of storage.

    Most all the old music worth remastering (and that
    had high quality originals) already received it when they were re-released on CD, sometimes a second time for a later box set.

    Keeping every Screaming Jay Hawkins outtake in an air conditioned to 30 degrees warehouse indefinitely is the music industry version of hoarding junk in your basement. The bad thing about that fire isn’t what was destroyed, but that it caused a lot of air pollution.

  4. Kyle says:

    Is that a movie set? Is that the house from psycho?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  5. Speaking of great LA fires, this is an incredible homemade video of the LA Riots. The cameraman lives around Pico and Robertson and was close to many of the large fires. The cameraman narrates throughout. You have to question why he went out into the chaos when he had two young children at home. He cruises along in a boxy Chrysler while holding his camera.

    One thing you notice, is that unlike in Hollywood movies, after the initial danger passes, people tend to be eerily relaxed and actually more friendly in high stress scenarios. Perhaps there is an evolutionary reason for that.

    At 27:56, he encounters a rather opinionated Romanian immigrant who is looking at the ruins of his machine shop. The Romanian mechanic rants about the rioters who took his livelihood from him (we learn he has no insurance) in a soliloquy worthy of a David Mamet play. Powerful stuff.

    Interestingly, even in the bowels of fiery race riots that threaten his home and family, the narrator appears to double down on his liberalism and egalitarianism rather than perhaps accessing his political ideology in light of the traumatic events that surround him.

  6. What’s that in the foreground – a float-in theater?

  7. Er, isn’t that what sheet music is for? Just train another generation to read it and sing.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    , @Olorin
  8. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    Most all the old music worth remastering (and that
    had high quality originals) already received it when they were re-released on CD, sometimes a second time for a later box set.

    Most CD remastering sucked, and besides, there is no guarantee they kept those remasters for any length of time. CDs have somewhere between a 20 to 40 year shelf life, it’s estimated, of course there is a “bell curve” here but many early CD releases have become often unplayable.

    Analog tapes made on tape stock made before the “sticky shed era” has a longer archival life than any known digital storage medium, besides punched Mylar Teletype tape. The tape formulation was changed when whale oil became unavilable to the tape manufacturers.

    Having the original analog master is very essential if you wnt the full vlue of the material, since modern playback systems are now often capable of resolving details the original playback was oblivious to.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    , @obwandiyag
    , @Lot
  9. How significant this is depends on future playback capabilities. It’ll be judged by how the survivors sound vs the un-remasterable one.

    The loss of these recordings will be more keenly felt by music nerds than the people who made them. As the NYT article mentions rich film people like Martin Scorsese care about preservation while rich musicians don’t.

  10. Apollo says:
    @Clifford Brown

    Amazing video. Thanks for the link.

  11. So, they weren’t just purging un-approved artists?

  12. Puremania says:

    The philistinism evinced by both UMG ‘s pyromania and the downplayers of this staggering loss is the reason Ian Anderson kept the master tapes for Aqualung in his barn. Ian’s case is an interesting twist on Matthew 7:6: here the pearls are better off with the swine than with these corrupt fools.

  13. @Dan Hayes

    Jewish lightning is a very sad crime.

    It is a FOREVER crime. Half million recordings burned ten years ago. No one knew.

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @prime noticer
  14. @Lot

    The Bob and Tom Show parodies of box set offers prove that you’re right.

  15. @petit bourgeois

    “Half million recordings burned ten years ago. No one knew.”

    doesn’t this show how relatively unimportant it was then?

    something so important happened 11 years ago that not a single person even noticed.

    i mean, if somebody not involved in the coverup had noticed, wouldn’t they have said something?

    but nobody in 11 years said anything. so those master tapes weren’t so important after all.

    • Agree: Kratoklastes
    • Replies: @HammerJack
  16. Bunch of f’n philistines in this thread. The source New York Times Magazine article, The Day the Music Burned, is a great read and spotlights a huge (age-old) problem. Companies need to make sure these assets are preserved for the future heritage of humanity.

    I’m damn grateful for the standardization and distribution of “Red Book” CDs (aka most labels’ official CD releases) — assuming the music is expertly transferred, they are in-the-wild high fidelity backups (though not imperishable) of often priceless cultural artifacts. By contrast, all downloadable digital files are suspect, given their unknown format generational provenance.

    Streaming is great for convenience but is bad for the fidelity/longevity of art, with far fewer CDs distributed. Content can be pulled or censored at whim. With an official-release physical CD and uncompressed ripped copies on your hard drives, you at least own your copies of the music.

    Anyway, here’s the Carpenters, whose masters were lost. The CD releases (and maybe some intermediate backups) live on.

    • Replies: @HammerJack
  17. @Lot

    It is a bit more complicated than that.

    Due to the intricacies (some might go so far as to use the word unfairness) of US copyright law, a lot of the material is simply blocked for reasons not always transparant to the outsider (some conspiracy theorists talk about cheating the creators and about powerplay, but these are obvious loons) and often not marketed even though it might actually stand the test of time.

    There are some quite notable cases of artists simply haven been “forgotten” although there was a steady flow of royalties and quite a few cases where artists in their seventies were able to make a second small career out of their 1950ies work in Europe, where copyright law is more friendly to the creator while their work rested unpublished in the US.

    In many of these cases the artist was denied any possibility to republish in the US, even if he could show that he was successful enough in Europe.

    • Replies: @Lot
  18. @Kyle

    Is that the house from psycho?

    That’s Universal Studios amusement park, right? I haven’t taken the tram ride in 40 years, but the house from Psycho was part of it back then.

    Los Angeles is mostly boring overall, but it’s also got lots of fun pop culture landmarks here and there. As Alexander Payne said: People say L.A. has no history, but when I’m driving around I’m always saying, Hey, look, there’s the outdoor staircase where Laurel and Hardy had to move the piano!

    • Replies: @Ragno
    , @Not Raul
  19. SFG says:

    Question for the engineers here: I know some data is lost in the analog-to-digital conversion. Would it be possible to create a higher-fidelity, data-heavy copy you could use for masters, or is there just some data that’s totally impossible to transfer for some reason?

  20. Gordo says:

    June 19, 2019 at 3:41 am GMT • 100 Words

    I read the NYT version of the article. The author went to great efforts to portray the fire as some great loss of cultural patrimony.

    But as best I can tell, all it means is a limited subset of moldy oldies will never get remastered from the original recordings, which even before the fire may have degraded during decades of storage.

    Ah but what were they insured for?

  21. @prime noticer

    if somebody not involved in the coverup had noticed, wouldn’t they have said something?

    How do you know they didn’t? If you don’t have access to the megaphone, you can talk all day and all night and no one will hear you except perhaps your close relations.

  22. @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Agreed. It’s fashionable to disparage red book CDs but for the most part they do represent a decent, basic standard of fidelity and they are (or were) widespread in distribution and relatively stable in format.

  23. @SFG

    Although I’m not an engineer, I can recommend articles like this one for your edification. Personally I rip my CDs to lossless FLAC format and I’m perfectly happy with the results. I realize this doesn’t answer your question directly.

  24. @SFG

    And here’s a good quote that may be more relevant:

    Ultimately it’s the music and how well it was recorded that matters. I’ve heard ‘hi-rez’ stuff that bordered on unlistenable, I’ve heard mp3’s that were hypnotic. Re-mastering with new techniques will never turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

    Discussion here:

  25. peterike says:

    Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Elton John, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Nirvana, Snoop Dogg

    Well, I can still listen to all those people on Spotify, and honestly who cares if some tenth studio outtake version of “Roll Over Beethoven” is gone for good. You were never going to listen to it anyway, even if you had access to it.

    Though it really is amazing how they hid the story for that long.

  26. Ragno says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Jesus Christ, has every visitor to LA ever looked for those stairs? (Which incidentally doubled as the stairs that Moe Larry and Curly delivered ice (via tongs) to in 1941’s AN ACHE IN EVERY STAKE.)

    The mission bell tower in VERTIGO must be a close second; except that’s up north, not in LA, and it didn’t exactly exist when Hitchcock shot the movie. I guess when 30-year-old shitlibs archly scold the rest of us that the America we remember never existed in the first place, they’re mostly referring to spurious movie locations.

  27. @Clifford Brown

    This video is reposted by woke Romanians who control r/romania, every few months, as evidence that Romanians are racists, and therefore untermensch, not worth of joining the enlightened Eurosoviets.

    Every time this is posted, I shitpost about how bad Ceausescu was, because you could vote only for two “parties”, and because your garage would never be burned. When I add that you could have your private garage during “Communism”, but few bothered because there was too much work and too little profit, the trigger gets to nuclear levels.

    That moron deserves it, just like Butina. Romanian diaspora, unlike Indian or Chinese diaspora, is a fifth column for people who talk down Romanians. You wouldn’t see that little dick, or the millions of Romanians who sweep the streets of England and Italy, ever equivocating about the value of migration. It’s always idealization, even after years of streetsweeping. For some people, emigration could work, but it’s absurd at this point. Per capita, there are more emigrants from Romania than from Syria.

  28. @SFG

    As you mentioned, data is necessarily lost in any analog-to-digital conversion, no matter how thorough it tries to be. Additionally, digital signal processing (and playback of digital music is just a form of “signal processing”) creates noise. And furthermore, digital storage media are no less susceptible to physical destruction than analog storage media.

    A digital master would not really solve the problem in principle. The best solution would be to create a conservatory where people are continuously trained to reproduce the music in the spirit and quality of the original, but most modern music hasn’t been deemed worthy of this rather expensive solution. Liturgical music, as well as that protean form of Western auditory metaphysics known as “classical music,” is conserved in this fashion, which is why we still have it after a thousand years; but the catch is that only such music that is actually culturally necessary and priceless will ever merit this treatment, because it is the body of a living tradition. When the tradition is broken, it matters not whether a vinyl LP or a compact disc or a sheet of notes still remains in somebody’s attic somewhere. Music is dead when the ears that can hear it no longer exist, and then it is irretrievably gone.

  29. Lot says:

    “There are some quite notable cases of artists simply haven been “forgotten” although there was a steady flow of royalties and quite a few cases where artists in their seventies were able to make a second small career out of their 1950ies work in Europe”

    Like who? I know the Ventures were huge in Japan long after the US lost interest.

    Regarding lost/forgotten work, I really liked the first few Nuggets/Pebbles collections of mostly forgotten* garage/psychedelic rock and random one hit wonders. But the later ones seemed to run out of “lost” quality songs.

    *The collection also included some big hits that never stopped being on radio playlists.,_1965%E2%80%931968

  30. @SFG

    I’m no sound engineer, but I know that a number of historical recordings have been remastered after the original musters have been lost, based on things like a few 78 rpm discs, and the results are often surprisingly good. Naxos Records has a few interesting historical recordings released based on things like that, where the original musters were either lost or owned by another label. But I’m pretty sure it’d be vastly inferior if those discs were digital rather than analog discs.

  31. Small beer.

    The jackasses in control have gleefully tossed my nation, culture, race, civilization into a bonfire … and there are going up in smoke right now.

    • Replies: @MBlanc46
  32. @Lot

    Most all the old music worth remastering (and that had high quality originals) already received it when they were re-released on CD, sometimes a second time for a later box set.

    Heh, funny you mentioned that. But after all, taking the bands from the sixties and seventies, the changes in format were like an ongoing royalty pension plan through the transitions from LPs to 8-track, cassette, then CDs, now downloads. For all their screeching about Napster thievery, the bands (or the companies who owned their music) complaining about Napster had already sold their music three and four times over with the format changes. Springstein was an especially annoying asshole on the subject. I have an extensive collection on reel-to-reel that was recorded from FM and cassettes through the years. In the end, I tired of those bands and the whole genre’ for Chrissake, you get sick of it. With what’s left my my jet-engine-shattered hearing, I took up with the symphony a couple decades back. The old big bands were good, but their music is horribly scratchy.

    Two hundred years from now, three hundred, there will still be symphony and the period 1960-1990 will be forgotten.

  33. @Anonymous

    Most CD remastering sucked…

    How come?

    • Replies: @Not Raul
  34. chucho says:

    Generally speaking, outtakes were outtakes for a reason, and the unknown artists were unknowns for a reason. It’s not a big deal. The loss of the masters and multitracks in comparison is much more significant, but hardly the great cultural loss described. If in the future someone wants to hear Frank Sinatra or the Beatles (and that’s a big “if” as it is), the fidelity of the copy at hand is not going to be the primary driver of interest or appreciation.

    Recently I read that due to some kind of server crash, all of the music uploaded to Myspace has vanished and is not recoverable. Thus some of that music is probably gone forever because the only copy may have been on Myspace. I see this as a good thing, though – 99.9% of it was probably total garbage, and why should cost and effort be expended so that maybe, just maybe, someone in the future will value it?

  35. Olorin says:
    @Reg Cæsar


    Oh but someone would then lose royalties.

  36. Not Raul says:

    Insurance Fraud

    And perhaps those weren’t the actual original master tapes. I would imagine that it would be hard to tell once the boPET film burns up.

  37. Not Raul says:
    @Jim Don Bob

    Digitization smoothes off the rough edges.

    Vinyl has a richer sound than CDs.

  38. Not Raul says:
    @Steve Sailer

    On the other hand, when there’s too much history, there’s nothing left to see. The Bastille Station of the Metro is named after a very historic building that was destroyed two centuries ago.

  39. @Lot

    I know next to nothing about old pop music or similar stuff, but I know that the first stereo recording of Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung was recorded with conductor Joseph Keilberth in 1955 in Bayreuth. However, the record label decided not to release it, and instead recorded a completely different set with conductor Georg Solti in the studio. This made a lot of money as the only recording available (until another label recorded another version with Karajan in the studio; then later newer and newer versions came to the market), but the Keilberth version inexplicably stayed in the basement. It was leaked on various pirated releases, but the record label refused to make money on it. It was finally released relatively recently (in the noughties), with probably Keilberth’s descendants not getting much of the income. It was critically acclaimed, and is now widely considered significantly better than the Solti Ring (which was recorded at great cost and released instead of it).

    Therefore, it’s pretty interesting that the record label left the money on the table and peddled a worse product instead. You don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to think that it wasn’t a purely business decision.

    • Agree: byrresheim
  40. @Lot

    The comments are more than a bit more critical than the author.

    But even if Kronemyer was entirely correct, he described the sort of tough-luck-situation for the artist that would seem rather unfair.

    • Replies: @Lot
  41. Anonymous[412] • Disclaimer says:

    Right, Keilberth was a Nazi. That would have been a problem given the nature of the material and its composer.

    • Replies: @byrresheim
    , @reiner Tor
  42. It’s sad that Armstrong, Crosby, and Holiday are lost.

    Who cares about the rest of those mooks.

  43. @Anonymous

    You bet.

    I listen to a CD remaster of some popular song from, say anywhere from the 20s to the 70s, and I hear all these strange things turned up to loud. It’s the cowbell syndrome. Where the hell did that cowbell come from? There was no cowbell on the original, was there? What happened to the wall of sound? Now it’s like 30 cowbells in 30 different rooms.

    There is this Louis Armstrong remaster of West End Blues, I think where all you can hear is some kind of horrible clamshell cymbal or whatever it was called. Unlistenable.

    Most of the time, though, they just turn the bass and drums up too loud, because that’s what they do on contemporary recordings.

    Gah. Remasters suck.

    • Replies: @Lot
  44. Lot says:

    I’m not seeing the article as contradicting my point the fire was no great loss. This guy had a single minor hit, got a small advance then nothing more from a marginal label that went bankrupt. What does an original recording help him?

    Music is a tough business, and digitization has made it worse. Again, anything worth releasing from the archive probably already was when times were better in the 1980-2000 era and more people who remember 40s to 60s music were still alive and buying music. (Do seniors spend money on music? 3 of my grandparents never purchased a single CD in their lives, while one, who was born in the 1930s, spent a lot on CDs in the late 80s and 90s, but basically stopped by 2000. )

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  45. Lot says:

    “CDs have somewhere between a 20 to 40 year shelf life, it’s estimated”

    I have CDs from 1986 that play perfectly, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a CD fail absent physical damage like scratches.

  46. Lot says:

    “Remasters suck.”

    I have listened to the various Beatles remasters and demos, and I don’t think they’ve ever been a real improvement over the standard version of the song.

    At best, they are an interesting way to hear an old song and equally good.

    The people doing the original mastering for the biggest band in the world were probably the some of the best.

    “Hear them like they wanted to be heard, not what the studio brass wanted” I assume was marketing hype to get people to pay again for albums they already have.

    • Agree: byrresheim
  47. @Anonymous

    That was not (sadly, if you wish) as much of a problem in the fifties as it it is made to seem now that even those who had childhood reminiscences of the twelve years are dead.

  48. MBlanc46 says:

    Armstrong, sure. Snoop Dogg, absolutely. But Screaming Jay Hawkins? Hell no! That’s pure gold.

  49. MBlanc46 says:

    Thanks for bringing us back to what matters, AD.

  50. @Anonymous

    Keilberth only joined the Nazis after they came to power. (I’m not sure if he ever joined the NSDAP. He surely was a member of some Nazi organizations.) At least, no proof to the contrary exists. Not one person was killed by him, and it’s also obvious that his concerts were programmed quite independent of Nazi ideological sensibilities. (E.g. he kept playing Stravinsky until early in the war.) You have never lived in a totalitarian society if you don’t understand that everyone had to toe the line to an extent. Actually, you do live in a totalitarian society (albeit a much softer one than Nazism was) right now, and I guess most (or all?) conductors have said some platitudes praising multiculturalism or condemning racism one time or another. It’s a requirement, moreover, they are just as well steeped in the ubiquitous propaganda of our time, as Keilberth was in Nazi propaganda. (And before that, more moderate general German nationalism, which was the ideology of most of the upper middle class before 1933.)

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  51. @Lot

    I used to listen to metal music as a teenager, and occasionally still listen to it. I noticed that sometimes the original greats (who invented the sub-genres) weren’t actually as great as some later bands (who didn’t become as popular due to the style falling out of fashion by the time they managed to record their first few albums, and also often due to lack of “true originality”), and in some (less popular) sub-genres (like death metal) often later bands have significantly higher quality music than earlier bands. The early bands often recorded their classic albums as teenagers, and their skills were not at a very high level that time. (They also didn’t always become much better over the decades.)

    I wonder if such effects exist elsewhere. Like some band or musician playing in the style of Chuck Berry, by the time Chuck Berry was out of fashion, and despite making actually better albums or songs, not getting anywhere.

    But, overall, I agree that probably the loss of even several thousands of pop albums is not such a big overall cultural loss.

  52. Anonymous[334] • Disclaimer says:
    @reiner Tor

    Gotcha, I agree with all of this, but it was still “bad optics” as they say to have someone with his background conducting Wagner. Any other composer would be OK, but not that one.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  53. Jack D says:

    Theoretically, an analog waveform can be perfectly reconstructed if sampled at the Nyquist rate or above it. The Nyquist rate is defined as twice the highest frequency component in the signal. So for audio signals that top out at around 20khz (where our hearing gives out), they sample at a little above 40khz. That’s the theory.

    In reality, there are issues – in order for Nyquist sampling to work, you have to filter out all frequencies above the cutoff and and perfect filters with perfect vertical cliff cutoffs don’t exist – various artifacts get introduced into the signal by the filters – phase distortion, noise, etc. So you can up the sampling rate (“oversampling”) to reduce the artifacts but it’s still not perfect – there is “information” on the analog tape that can never be 100% captured and reproduced (just as the tape itself does not 100% capture the live performance).

    But they can get pretty close – close enough that even trained listeners can’t tell in A/B testing. When they tested the high sampling rate SACD format against regular CDs with audio engineers in blind testing, the results were no better than random (50% picked the CD as “better”). Some of this stuff is metaphysical – no one can hear the difference (reliably enough to tell them apart) but audiophiles still swear that it exists.

  54. @Anonymous

    Is there any evidence anyone actually cared? Like, Furtwängler has had a cult following for all those years, and he was the best paid musician in the Third Reich. The first officially released Bayreuth recording (in the late 1960s) was under the baton of Karl Böhm, who was arguably a worse Nazi than Keilberth. Keilberth’s recording was intended to be released, but then they scrapped the plan.

    I think it was simply John Culshaw wanting to add his idiotic sound effects, and finding the young Solti who agreed to it, and then killing the rival (and probably better) recording out of spite. (There’s the Jew angle with Solti being Jewish and Keilberth being, well, something of an ex-Nazi, but it’s unclear to me if that played any role.)

    However, it’s still interesting how they didn’t release it for decades after Culshaw’s death. I think they released it something like a decade after Solti’s death. Could it be that somehow Solti killed it? Culshaw couldn’t have been responsible after 1980.

    The most likely explanation is incompetence.

  55. MEH 0910 says:

  56. MEH 0910 says:
    @MEH 0910

    H/T: GP

  57. @Lot

    Yes and no.
    On the other hand, there was more white music in decades past, and less degenerate music overall among all races. Therefore, the fire might be a loss, specially if the master recordings weren’t passed onto superior formats for storage (CD, mp3, streams are much lesser quality by comparison).

  58. @reiner Tor

    This happens all the time, record companies use every enticing method in the book to rip producers and artists from most of their royalties, which are reduced already. Granted, many artists are stupid or broke or both, and will sign anything if they have wads of cash in advance. Speaking of stupidity, music biz is a section of showbiz, and as such it is all about cliquish connections, influence dealing, money, and Jewing over others (hint lol); they obviously want talent, but if possible, their talented friends much more.
    And of course, there is also Hollywood propaganda translated into the recording studio.

  59. @Lot

    Yeah to be fair there is not a lot of oldies in storage anymore, unless of course there is a whole lot and the music industry is planning to nickel and dime us forever, with best of releases with a couple extra “unreleased” songs. Which very well maybe with the rest of the material.

    That said, some old artists have released so much work, hard to find more. And as distribution and recording and storage have gone more high-tech, it may seem cheaper to record in the digital age, thus the billions of internet “artists” displacing the old catalog. You might think, as I foolishly did once, that this would turn the power back to the artist. But, aside from the fact that free mp3s hurt everyone (and Youtube and Spotify are pittances), the industry players still own the fancier studios and tech; even more importantly, it had legacy connections to publishing, promotion, and media, ergo still setting the rules and the aesthetics. It is the middle players who got crushed, record stores, regional labels (thus a lot of traditional music of whites and relatively more cultured blacks) and artists that their artsy leftist liberal Jew worldview could not admit. They are even so cheeky to admit some controlled opposition, for example punks or the Gen Xers of the 90s banging away against the system, yet feeding it with their indifference and split Marxoid-corporate messages.

    All that said, Laibach and Boyd Rice are unsettling. The traditionalists have nice Gregorian/Orthodox chants, but we need some popular versions of nationalist music for the masses. Then again, lefty goths tools of the industry might try subverting it… again. I’ve also noticed that in some cities there’s barely any rock stations, some good college ones if a bit too out there at times; while in the country there’s lots of rock, if on the turgid side, but at least not having faggy hipsters as much…

  60. MEH 0910 says:

  61. @MEH 0910

    MEH 0910, thanks for the links.

    I have a bunch of the New Wave Hits of the ‘80s and Super Hits of the ‘70s CD compilations. They’re rather well put together. Didn’t know it was done by one guy. RIP.

  62. MEH 0910 says:
    @MEH 0910

    Requiem For A Mensch: Gary Stewart, 1956-2019
    By Harvey Kubernik
    17th Apr 2019

    One time in the mid-eighties I had a backstage pass for an Elvis Costello show at a theater in Beverly Hills. Gary came up to me in the lobby and said, “I know you can bring any girl or A&R guy in this place backstage to meet Elvis. But can you try and introduce me to him? I’ve never met Elvis and have a business proposal regarding Rhino Records and his catalog that I want to speak to him about.”

    I took the laminate off my jacket, and immediately gave it to Gary.

    He then asked for Costello’s management contact information. Gary had a Mel Torme box set he wanted to send him.

    How many box sets over decades did Gary Stewart constantly give to people?

    Weeks later Gary called and said he was on his way to Ireland to meet Elvis Costello at a hotel. Months later Gary arranged a catalog deal for Costello to the label. When the Costello recordings were eventually reissued he sent me the initial copies. My name was the first one in his thank you credits.

    After ownership changes at Rhino, Gary went out of his way to ask me to write the liner notes for a 2002 Rhino reissue of the Phil Spector-produced Ramones’ End of the Century album. He knew I was present at the recording sessions as food runner and a percussionist on some tracks.

    Gary promised no usual machinations at the label, editing behind my back, and the names I wanted included in the musician credits, which were deleted when the LP was first released.

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