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May 4, 2005

Note Books: John Vanderslice

The second installment of Largehearted Boy's "Note Books" series brings talented singer-songwriter John Vanderslice to the reading room. JV's clever songwriting is matched by his estimable skills as a producer, and his albums Cellar Door, Time Travel Is Lonely, The Life and Death of an American Fourtracker, and Mass Suicide Occult Figurines are personal favorites. His new album, Pixel Revolt, will be released August 23 on Barsuk. Luckily for music lovers, he has made much of his music available to download.

Here is John Vanderslice's "Note Books" entry:

Here are some things that make me want to be fitter/happier/more productive in regards to writing, touring and making music, plus a few music-related books I've read in the past year...


Glenn Gould Reader
(Vintage)

Extremely sharp and sometimes very funny writing about music, recording, and the conversations that follow. Some of his ideas are simple (banning applause in concert halls), absurd (public performance will be dead in a hundred years), and downright fascinating (his favorite composer is Orlando Gibbons).

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Temples of Sound: Inside the Great Recording Studios
by Jim Cogan and William Clark
(Chronicle Books)

From Rudy Van Gelder's living room to the Columbia's great room on 30th street in Manhattan, this book covers some of the best American studios. These complicated (and VERY necessary) beasts are dying right now; both Hit Factory and Cello have closed in the past few months and many more are on last legs. Most of these rooms were acoustically designed and all were maintained by incredibly smart and resourceful people. Real echo chambers, in-house techs, gear made to the specs of individual studio needs... these are a thing of the past and (one day) will be sorely missed.

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The Life of Mahler
by Peter Franklin
(Cambridge University Press)

I've spent hundreds of hours trying to decode Mahler's ninth. I had enough time with symphonies 3, 5, and 6 to feel like I'm getting closer to understanding the structure and logic of those masterworks. You could spend a lifetime on the Lieder alone. This is a good introduction to the sprawling world of Gustav Mahler.

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All You Need Is Ears
by George Martin
(St. Martin's Griffin)

A very simple, eloquent autobiography by George Martin. Two things that most interested me: how important Martin's cut-up experiments with Parlophone's comedy artists (by Peter Sellers and Spike Mulligan, among others) were in learning ways to transcend the limits of linear recording, and how his classical background influenced the Beatles experiments in sound and orchestration.

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The Dirt
by Motley Crue
(Regan Books)

A truly compelling band narrative. while I can't imagine surviving for five minutes on the Motley drug regiment, this book provides a perfect antidote to the highly functional and safe-as-milk indie rock world I live and work in.


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