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TAKOTRON NEWS
Monday, 18 June 2007
SPACE BRAIN/FRAME
Topic: Music
I recently heard Guns n Roses' ode to extreme intoxication, "Nightrain," which employs several metaphors to describe various feelings and degrees of inebriation:

Loaded like a freight train
Flyin' like an aeroplane


Then I got excited, because I thought the next line was:

Feeling like a space frame

Wow a reference to 3-dimensional truss structures! But then it turns out the actual line is space brain, which is still pretty cool, if it's a reference to an episode of Space: 1999, but the most logical reference is just to being high and spaced out which is boring and predictable. Actually, 'Flyin' like an aeroplane" is pretty quotidian, although the old-fashioned version of the word makes it alright. The first metaphor gets my vote.


Posted by thenovakids at 9:48 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, 18 June 2007 9:49 AM CDT
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Saturday, 8 April 2006
CASIO AZ-1
Topic: Music

"The AZ-1 is a 41-note velocity and aftertouch sensitive performance remote keyboard MIDI controller. 2 wheels, 2 switches and 1 slider are user assignable to different MIDI functions. A row of buttons is used to access 128 program change commands. 2 switchable MIDI channels allow you to switch between two synths or performances on the fly. There are also dedicated sustain and portamento controller buttons. Lightweight and battery-powered. (1986)"
-VINTAGE SYNTH EXPLORER
THE KEYTAR

Posted by thenovakids at 3:51 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, 29 May 2006 11:55 PM CDT
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Monday, 13 March 2006
TAKOTRON, LONDON EPISODE II:
Record Shopping

Topic: Music
Yesterday's entry got a little weighty so we're going to lighten things up a bit with some good old fashioned consumption advice. London has a reputation for being expensive, but once you get your mindset converted to pounds and start thinking of things relative to one another it doesn't seem bad. Just don't mentally convert everything to dollars, or you'll bum yourself out.

One of TAKOTRON's points of pride is the modest but impressive international LP archive hidden deep in our HQ's secret vaults. We've tapped into some great sources here in the USofA, such as Mr Cheapo's (seriously!) back in Commack (props to the Goldberg family) and Reckless Records in Chicago, plus the scavenger heaps of yard sales, eBay and MusicStack.

But travel brings new opportunities to unleash the thrill of the hunt. And London's got some great offerings. First up, there are some places up on Portobello Road, North of Notting Hill. Intoxica has a decent selection for every genre, and lots of obscure/novelty vinyl. A couple blocks North is Honest Johns, which is crammed full with crates of Hip Hop and Reggae. I was on a Dub mission and had huge luck finding some classics there--King Tubby, Scratch Perry, Yabby Yu, and Scientist. The owners also do distribution for some local Dub artists, putting out some interesting small production run stuff. It's a genre that didn't really take off in the States, and next to Kingston, London is the place to find it. Way up and out of the way is the supposedly legendary Rough Trade, the alleged "quintessential model of all independent record shops." Well, it was a bitch getting there and totally not worth it--super hipster, small selection, lots of American stuff. Not up my alley, but if you're a big indie/emo hair-tufts-combed-over-your-ears type and want to have the Wicker Park experience a few thousand miles away, then check this place out.

I had much better luck down on Berwyck street in Soho. Do yourself a big favor and get off at Bond Street and walk up to The Golden Hind at 73 Marlybone Lane W1U 2PN, where I had a transcendental fish and chips experience (and mushy peas). An unpretentious, friendly place. Then walk it off down Oxford Street to Berwyck (near the Oxford Circus tube). Take Berwyck south, where it gets sleazy, and you'll find a cluster of record shops. Sister Ray was amazing--in my opinion, the best record shop in London. They bought Selectadisc's store and moved into it (they used to be a few blocks farther south), and have a gigantic selection of used CDs and LPs, all very reasonably priced. Farther along is Reckless Records, which happens to be owned by the same people as the Chicago stores. It's not a big place, but the basement is full of good vinyl finds, well organized and priced.

Around here is a Music and Video Exchange, one of many. They are pretty grimy, rocking the consignment shop atmosphere. Another place is Cheapo Cheapo Records, again, a longshot place where you might stumble upon some diamonds in the rough. As backup, near the Oxford Circus tube is a huge HMV store. I haven't seen them in the States, but I know they're all over Japan. It's a bigass corporate chain, a la Tower and Virgin, but they are well stocked, inexpensive, and seem to do a good job hiring competent, knowledgable people. They often have staff recommendation corners that make them seem a little more intimate compared to their shinier, more sterile competitors, if that makes sense.

I should have taken more food pictures, but I didn't, so more buildings are on the way at TAKOTRON NEWS. England is supposed to have crappy food, but I didn't have one disappointing meal, and kept a pretty tight budget, too. It helps if you like processed meat, but there's a plethora of cafes, panini joints, and kebab stands. Here's some more helpful record shop info:

Londonnet record shops guide
Another guide
A third, with good links to store's homepages


Posted by thenovakids at 10:04 PM CST
Updated: Monday, 29 May 2006 11:57 PM CDT
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Monday, 25 April 2005
Clean Your Filthy Records!
Topic: Music
Today the takotron staff will teach you how to clean your records a.k.a. LPs in an easy and effective manner. Our motives remain confidential.

Here's what you will need:
70% Isopropyl Alcohol Solution
Distilled Water
Some string
A soft towel
A Bathtub
At least 1 Dirty Record
At least 1 hand

And here's what you do:
1. Take your string, and hang the record by it's filthy hole in you bathtub area. How you do this is your business. We have suction cups from the dollar store, but you can use your boy scout knots or whatever. Just do it.

2. Mix a 1:1 solution of your alcohol and distilled water in a bottle or something. Pour some onto your record while holding it horizontally (while still strung), if possible. If it's really old and crusty try to avoid getting it on the label, which isn't too hard because of the grooves. Take your soft towel and pass it along the grooves. Do it on the other side.

3. Rinse it with distilled water, wipe with towel, and let it hang there to dry.

That's it. So this gets rid of almost all the dust on there, and supposedly eliminates a lot of the static, as in static electricity. You might also want to clean the turntable mat with the alc/H20 solution, as well as the inside of the dust cover if you have one of those. The pictured Carnivore record still skips during the line "spread your legs, I'll seed your eggs," but otherwise it sounds like new. There are plenty of suitable products available for you to buy, if consumption makes you feel better about yourself. Our instructions above are a simplified version of a number of more serious sources, some of which are listed below:

Record Cleaning Maintenance

How-to: record cleaning devices and fluids

How to Clean a Vinyl Record: Tips from eHow Users

Posted by thenovakids at 12:22 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 12:32 AM CDT
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