Newsletter August 2001

First things first. Please forward this note to a receptive friend (or enemy, we don’t care so long as they sign up too). We rely on word of mouth to keep growing, and with five CDs on the drawing board for the next nine months we need to find a few new supporters. We’ll give details as these recordings congeal, and there will be some advance mp3 download activity (we promise).

Following our peers’ examples in the magazine industry, we decided to drop our July newsletter and consolidate all the new stuff into a large, late summer special. It’s labeled ‘August’.

We ran late in July, thanks to the effort demanded by our extensive and comprehensive review of software mp3 players. We used the studio control room for monitoring (overkill compared with the usual mp3 environment, but best for spotting differences). 15 players were auditioned, using either an iMac (DVD SE) or a high-end PC sound card. It was interesting to hear the CD and the mp3 playback compared in the studio where the original music was recorded and mixed. We used the five mp3 tracks from the Stereo Society collection which are available to you for free and complete download (also available in Liquid Audio for free download). We think this may be the most extensive studio review of the genre available.

We’re also late with the results of the Mixman competition to remix Thorne’s Natural Beauty. We have an excuse. The grand prize winner seems to have dropped off the face of the earth (très underground chic), and Mixman have tried, unsuccessfully, to track him/her down. If DJ Dextor is out there please phone home. The other prize winners were more accessible, and we congratulate them on the site. The remixes developed by this fun application can be surprisingly effective, and we’re producing more of our tracks with Mixman (and not just the obvious foot-tapping, rug-cutting, bliss-outing ones).

One of the most memorable of the Sex Pistols’ songs was Pretty Vacant, given a different treatment (for six saxophones and techno) by Thorne on his Sprawl CD. Glen Matlock wrote most of it, and he is still alive and kicking with a new CD. We interviewed him at his home in London last month: a lively and frank interchange.

Mike Thorne was responsible for the Sex Pistols’ arriving at EMI Records in 1976, and he was their A&R man until they were dropped by the label’s big chiefs in early 1977 when their comfortable establishment existence seemed threatened by songs like Anarchy In The UK and God Save The Queen (er, not really). He contributes a short personal memoir about the making of Anarchy and the wild, unique events surrounding it.

Since you have read this far, you deserve a reward. The third in our series of club remixes drawn from BETTY’s Carnival is released now, presently for mp3 download only. James Rosenthal delivers a 5 1/2 minute version of Millennium Man, who is just as odd as ever. With a 56K modem you’re looking at about half an hour to download (try to do it in off-peak hours when our creaking electrical internet isn’t clogged).

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