Satyagraha – Philip Glass (1979)

Satyagraha (/ˈsɑːtjəˈɡrɑːhɑː/; Sanskrit सत्याग्रह, satyāgraha ‘insistence on truth’) is a 1979 opera in three acts for orchestra, chorus and soloists, composed by Philip Glass, with a libretto by Glass and Constance DeJong. Loosely based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, it forms the second part of Glass’s ‘Portrait Trilogy’ of operas about men who changed the world, which includes Einstein on the Beach and Akhnaten. Glass’s style can broadly be described as minimalist. The work is scored for 2 sopranos, 2 mezzo-sopranos, 2 tenors, a baritone, 2 basses, a large SATB chorus, and an orchestra of strings and woodwinds only, no brass or percussion. Principal roles are Sonja Schlesin, Mahatma Gandhi, Hermann Kallenbach and Parsi Rustomji. The title refers to Gandhi’s concept of non-violent resistance to injustice, Satyagraha, and the text, from the Bhagavad Gita, is sung in the original Sanskrit. In performance, translation is usually provided in supertitles. …”
NY Times: Two Ways of Looking at Philip Glass’s ‘Satyagraha’ (Audio/Video)
NY Times: Operatic Pageantry With Gandhi, Dr. King and a Message of Pacifism
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: Satyagraha (New York City Opera) 2:03:19


Dead Kennedys – California Über Alles / The Man with the Dog (1979)

“‘California Über Alles’ is a song by Dead Kennedys. The single, which was the group’s first recording, was released in June 1979 on the Optional Music label, with ‘The Man with the Dogs’ appearing as its B-side. … The lyrics were written by Jello Biafra and John Greenway for their band The Healers. Biafra composed the music in one of his rare attempts at composing on bass. … The lyrics are a pointed, satirical attack on Jerry Brown, the Governor of California from 1975–1983 (and later 2011–2019), and are sung from his perspective, as an imaginary version of Brown outlines a hippiefascist vision of America. Lines such as ‘Serpent’s egg already hatched’, a reference to a line from William Shakespeare‘s play Julius Caesar, comment on the corrosive nature of power. The lines ‘Big Bro on white horse is near’ and ‘now it is 1984’ refer respectively to a statement Brown made during his first governorship that Americans were supposedly looking for ‘a leader on a white horse’, and to the totalitarian regime of George Orwell‘s classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four to describe a future (from a 1979 perspective) where Jerry Brown has become President, and his ‘suede denim secret police’ kill ‘uncool’ people with ‘organic poison gas’ chambers. The song is also an early example of Dead Kennedys’ style, with heavy surf rock and militaristic overtones. …”
W – “California Über Alles”
Mix Online
YouTube: California Über Alles, The Man With the Dogs

Buy – James Chance & The Contortions (1979)

“If there is a single idea from the late ’70s, early ’80s No Wave scene that should be remembered, it’s this; for this brief moment in time, anything suddenly seemed possible. … Both explored, celebrated, or tore apart various musical and artistic influences and styles from the past. Yet, while one amounts to enjoyable, feel-good (albeit steeped in a subversive schoolyard gang mentality) back-to-basics rock, the other, while rarely ever pleasant listening, is utterly compelling for its in-your-face audacity, sneering deconstruction of traditional musical forms, and its creation of something that is still, almost 30 years later, at times shockingly new. Milwaukee, Wisconsin transplant James Chance was one of the key players in this less feted, but far more musically adventurous period in New York musical history. … Punk enough for the punks thanks to Chance’s manic yelps and screams, yet smart and daring enough for the more adventurous thanks to an iconoclastic use of rhythm, sax, and a violent aping of past musical styles. Nowhere is this confrontational assault of sound better heard than on Chance and The Contortions’ 1979 debut, Buy. A blistering collection of tracks that slam together a barrage of ideas whose roots are firmly planted in funk, punk, and free jazz, influences which are sent skyrocketing into the atmosphere in a great big cacophonous ball and slammed back down to earth in order to create something fresh out of the destruction. …”
W – Buy
YouTube: “Contort Yourself” at M-80 Festival, Minneapolis, 9.23.79, Max’s Kansas City (1978) 19:42
YouTube: Buy (Full Album) 39:35

An Ideal for Living – Joy Division (EP 1978)

“‘Warsaw’ is the opening song by Joy Division on their An Ideal for Living EP. It was slated for release on the album that became Warsaw, which was originally scrapped by the band and not released until 1994. The song is available on a number of compilations, including Substance. The song appears to be a somewhat fantastical biography of Rudolf Hess, a Nazi and Hitler‘s Deputy Führer, who flew to Great Britain in 1941 in an attempt to negotiate a peace between Germany and the UK, supposedly because of his disillusionment with Nazi ideology. At a performance of the song ‘At a Later Date’ at the Electric Circus in Manchester, Guitarist Bernard Sumner shouts ‘You all forgot Rudolph Hess’ before the song begins. It starts with the mock-countoff ‘3 5 0 1 2 5 Go!’; ’31G-350125′ was Hess’s prisoner of war serial number when he was captured after flying to Eaglesham, Scotland during World War II. The first verse describes Hess’s involvement with Hitler in the Beer Hall Putsch and his infatuation with the Nazi Party. The second verse discusses his supposed disillusionment with it, and the last verse portrays his life in prison after being convicted at the Nuremberg Trials. The chorus is a simple repetition of ’31G’, the first three characters of his serial number. ’31’ signifies the European theatre of war and ‘G’ German, the nationality of the prisoner. …”
W – “Warsaw”
W – An Ideal for Living
40 Years of Joy Division’s “An Ideal For Living”
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: An Ideal For Living (EP)

SoHo News

“The SoHo Weekly News (also called the SoHo News) was a newspaper published in New York City from 1973 to 1982. The paper was founded in 1973 by Michael Goldstein (1938-2018). It was sold to Associated Newspaper Group in 1979. In the fall of 1981, ANG announced plans to close or sell the paper by February 1982. Although there were negotiations with possible purchasers which continued beyond the original deadline, continuing losses ($1.7 million in the previous year) forced ANG to shut down the paper in March. The recent unionization of the paper was cited a factor in the decision. Initially published in eight pages, it eventually grew to over 100 pages and competed with The Village Voice. The paper’s offices were at 111 Spring Street, Manhattan although the earliest issues showed the address of Goldstein’s apartment on the masthead. … After the paper shut down, the New York Times ran an op-ed which called the SoHo News, The alternative to alternative papers. The paper’s contributors were described as an eccentric mix of neo-conservatives and Marxists, radical feminists and hedonistic libertines, chronic potheads and antidrug crusaders. The paper was an outspoken critic of the commercialization and gentrification of SoHo, the neighborhood where it was located and concentrated its coverage. Topic covered included such diverse topics as a review of East Village drug merchants; the piece described various brands of heroin and cocaine that were available, their street names, and commented on the relative quality. …”
SoHo Blues: The Photographs of Allan Tannenbaum (Video)
Pravda: The SoHo Nightclub That Never Was
SoHo Weekly News
Allan Tannenbaum | all galleries
amazon: New York in the 70s

L.A.M.F. – The Heartbreakers (1977)

L.A.M.F. is the only studio album by the American band The Heartbreakers, which included Johnny Thunders, Jerry Nolan, Walter Lure and Billy Rath. The music is a mixture of punk and rock and roll. ‘L.A.M.F.’ stands for ‘Like a Mother Fucker’; in a 1977 interview in the UK monthly magazine Zigzag, Thunders said this originated from New York gang graffiti. Thunders claimed the gangs would add the LAMF tag after writing their gang name. However, if they were on another gang’s territory they would write ‘D.T.K.L.A.M.F’ (Down to Kill Like a Mother Fucker). The original, vinyl release of the album has been criticised for having a lackluster sound despite several attempts to remix it. The Heartbreakers had been trying to get a record contract in the United States since their formation in 1975. In the autumn of 1976, Malcolm McLaren, who had informally managed the New York Dolls in their waning days, invited the band to come to England and participate in the Sex Pistols’ Anarchy tour, along with The Clash and The Damned, who were replaced by Buzzcocks shortly after the tour commenced. The band accepted the offer, arriving in London on December 1, the same day that the Pistols swore at Bill Grundy on live, prime-time television, which precipitated the cancellation of most of the tour. Stranded in England with little money after the Anarchy tour came to a halt, the band contemplated a retreat to New York, but their manager, Leee Black Childers, convinced them to stay in England, believing that they would be more successful there. After several gigs in London, Track Records offered the Heartbreakers a recording contract. …”
Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers: L.A.M.F.- The Lost ’77 Mixes – Album Review (Video)
Discogs (Video), L.A.M.F. (The Lost ’77 Mixes) (Video)
YouTube: L.A.M.F. (Revisited) FULL ALBUM, L.A.M.F. (full album, original cassette mix)


Scratching, sometimes referred to as scrubbing, is a DJ and turntablist technique of moving a vinyl record back and forth on a turntable to produce percussive or rhythmic sounds. A crossfader on a DJ mixer may be used to fade between two records simultaneously. While scratching is most associated with hip hop music, where it emerged in the mid-1970s, from the 1990s it has been used in some styles of rap rock, rap metal and nu metal. Within hip hop culture, scratching is one of the measures of a DJ’s skills. DJs compete in scratching competitions at the DMC World DJ Championship and IDA (International DJ Association, formerly known as ITF (International Turntablist Federation). At scratching competitions, DJs can use only scratch-oriented gear (turntables, DJ mixer, digital vinyl systems or vinyl records only). In recorded hip hop songs, scratched ‘hooks’ often use portions of other songs. … In the 1970s, hip hop musicians and club DJs began to use this specialized turntable equipment to move the record back and forth, creating percussive sounds and effects–’scratching’–to entertain their dance floor audiences. Whereas 1940s-1960s radio DJs had used back-cueing while listening to the sounds through their headphones, without the audience hearing, with scratching, the DJ intentionally lets the audience hear the sounds that are being created by manipulating the record on the turntable, by directing the output from the turntable to a sound reinforcement system so that the audience can hear the sounds. Scratching was developed by early hip hop DJs from New York City such as Grand Wizard Theodore, who described scratching as, ‘nothing but the back-cueing that you hear in your ear before you push it [the recorded sound] out to the crowd.’ …”
A Brief History of Scratching (Video)
YouTube: Grand Wizard Theodore is THA MAN!, 5 Minute Scratch Session with DJ Q-Bert & DJ Revolution

Grandwizard Theodore

Talking Heads: 77 – Talking Heads (1977)

“Though they were the most highly touted new wave band to emerge from the CBGB’s scene in New York, it was not clear at first whether Talking Heads‘ Lower East Side art rock approach could make the subway ride to the midtown pop mainstream successfully. The leadoff track of the debut album, Talking Heads: 77, ‘Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town,’ was a pop song that emphasized the group’s unlikely roots in late-’60s bubblegum, Motown, and Caribbean music. But the ‘Uh-Oh’ gave away the group’s game early, with its nervous, disconnected lyrics and David Byrne‘s strained voice. All pretenses of normality were abandoned by the second track, as Talking Heads finally started to sound on record the way they did downtown: the staggered rhythms and sudden tempo changes, the odd guitar tunings and rhythmic, single-note patterns, the non-rhyming, non-linear lyrics that came across like odd remarks overheard from a psychiatrist’s couch, and that voice, singing above its normal range, its falsetto leaps and strangled cries resembling a madman trying desperately to sound normal. Talking Heads threw you off balance, but grabbed your attention with a sound that seemed alternately threatening and goofy. The music was undeniably catchy, even at its most ominous, especially on ‘Psycho Killer,’ Byrne’s supreme statement of demented purpose. Amazingly, that song made the singles chart for a few weeks, evidence of the group’s quirky appeal, but the album was not a big hit, and it remained unclear whether Talking Heads spoke only the secret language of the urban arts types or whether that could be translated into the more common tongue of hip pop culture. In any case, they had succeeded as artists, using existing elements in an unusual combination to create something new that still managed to be oddly familiar. And that made Talking Heads: 77 a landmark album. ”
allmusic (Audio)
Albums of Our Lives: Talking Heads’s Talking Heads: 77 (Video)
W – Talking Heads: 77
Spotify, iTunes
YouTube: Talking Heads: 77 (5.1 Downmix) 46:16
YouTube: Talking Heads 77 (Deluxe Version) 16 videos
YouTube: Psycho Killer (Live)

Obscure Records

“Obscure Records was a U.K. record label which existed from 1975 to 1978. It was created and run by Brian Eno, who also produced the albums (credited as executive producer in one instance). Ten albums were issued in the series. Most have detailed liner notes on their back covers, analyzing the compositions and providing a biography of the composer, in a format typical of classical music albums, and much of the material can be regarded as 20th century classical music. The label provided a venue for experimental music, and its association with Eno gave increased public exposure to its composers and musicians. In their original editions, all albums used variations of the same cover art of a collage by John Bonis, covered up by an overprinting of black ink. The picture beneath the ink can be seen somewhat clearly under a strong light. Each volume except the seventh has one small window in the black overprint to reveal a different portion of the picture on each album. The red and white label design is a blurred photo that appears to be spires on roofs of buildings. …”
UbuWeb (Audio)
W – Obscure Records
Spotify (Audio)

Brian Eno

Extended Niceties – Love of Life Orchestra (1980)

Wikipedia – “Love of Life Orchestra was created by Peter Gordon (sax, keyboards, composition) and David Van Tieghem, a talented, smart-aleck avant-garde percussionist with ties to new music composer Steve Reich. Both have gone on to greater fame as elder statesmen of the downtown music scene in New York, but these early works stand as an important developmental chapter. — Mark Fleischmann. Collaborators on their recording Extended Niceties have included Arto Lindsay and David Byrne. Early members of the band included Laurie Anderson (electric violin), Blue Gene Tyranny (keyboards), Ken Deifik (harmonica), Scott Johnson (guitar), Rhys Chatham (flute), Peter Zummo (trombone), Arthur Russell (cello), Kathy Acker (vocals), and Jill Kroesen (vocals). …”
YouTube: Extended Niceties, Beginning Of The Heartbreak / Don’t Don’t