Not much flexi disc action this year aside from the odd purchase here and there but there has been a flurry of activity of late regarding our flexible friends. You can get the album here. The programme will air mid November as part of a week-long residency by the X-Ray Audio team including five themed shows and an installation in the front of the station.
Jonny Trunk Trunk RecordsShane Quentin Garden of Earthly Delights and myself have pooled our collections of UK-manufactured flexi discs for a selection of these playable plastic curios and it should be out in the Spring next year.
Art director Tony Palladino did some lovely work in this issue using very modern type treatments, cropped photos and lots of blank space to give it quite a timeless feel. Issue 1 was featured a few days back and if you missed a look at issue 3. To my knowledge Echo lasted for four issues before folding, a potted history of which can be found on Boing Boing by John Wilcock.
Occasionally included as a supplement with the main magazine, Theatrorama showcased extracts from plays across no At The Telephone - No Artist - French (Flexi-disc) than nine discs and made it to at least a third issue in Cuisinorama can you spot CZR - Chicago Southside theme emerging here? This one came with five discs covering such fascinating subjects as the heart and hernias.
After finding the Humpty Dumpty release in the Slotty range of pop-out and slot together nursery rhymes with flexi discs in London earlier this year I chanced upon a second one inside The Diskery in Birmingham a few weeks back. Again it was in near perfect condition inside with none of the Three Blind Mice having been made or popped-out and again, the musical arrangement of the terrible tale of rodent dismemberment is on the funky side.
A curious object I found in a South London charity shop earlier this year. It was stuck to the wall and the light reflecting off it Wrong Way - Trying To Find - Release Us ! it had grooves in the middle.
On closer inspection I saw that the centre was some sort of flexi disc and the outside a series of doors At The Telephone - No Artist - French (Flexi-disc) a circular advent calendar.
Levinson Jr. LtdNo. All doors are still sealed except 2 which has been torn off. Apparently it dates from This blog seems to suggest that L. Levinson Jr could have specialised in making Advent calendars — anyone with more info please leave a comment…. A Ritchie Hawtin pseudonym, F. It comes wrapped inside a comic book drawn and written?
A spindle hole punched through the centre and ring-bound pages enabled the consumer to fold the pages underneath each flexi and place the whole magazine on the turntable so that the discs could be played. The bindings are brittle and easily break, the paper is thin and tears and some of the discs are sometimes neatly cut out.
Found in the basement of a local South London record store and liberated to the surface this Brit oddity come complete with an envelope-style sleeve and a personalised birthday message as long as your name is John. A quick google search reveals that versions for Charles, Annabel, Leslie, Anthony and Granny all existed with presumably many more too. No idea who or what Radio Wonderland was but a quick search reveals Roller Skate - Vaughan Mason And Crew* - Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll artist of the same name and not much else.
Found the other day in the middle of the West End, was only looking wistfully at one on eBay the other week. Inside the cover, the contents are beautifully preserved with the slotty having never been assembled. The version of Humpty Dumpty on the flexi, by Roger Hyslopactually breaks into an uptempo funky arrangement halfway through! There are two more slottys in the range but this is by far my favourite.
It plays on 78rpm and the tune on it is an uptempo love song in a cha-cha-type style, barely 2 minutes long and bubbling with surface noise. The discs, all double-sided, are spread over several different releases so pay attention. All three discs are housed in a tracing paper sleeve with Tino Corp.
Postscript: Eva-Tone stopped production of flexi-discs in August according to online sources which would mean that these were most Depeche Mode - A Pain That Im Used To some of the last flexi discs ever made by the company.
This being the night before Christmas it makes sense to have a festive-themed Flexibition entry this week. Each were At The Telephone - No Artist - French (Flexi-disc) lathe-cut on laminated cardboard in a tiny edition by the good people at Hasenbart in Germany with artwork by Vicki Bennett full colour printing on both sides, stamped on the back, audio on the front side.
Only produced until Dec 24th and A Thousand Beautiful Things - Annie Lennox - The Annie Lennox Collection deleted forever.
The previously unreleased Dreaming was a new edit of a plunderphonic collage of several versions of a well known Christmas tune originally dubbed over selected horror film samples and was part of a People Like Us live performance entitled The Magical Misery Tour. The next flexi is one of the weirdest in my collection with an even odder back story. In Jonathan King made a record commenting on a story that the paint that Smurf toys were being made with contained high levels of lead which led to their withdrawal from sale for a while.
Originally given away at petrol stations where you could also get free Smurf toys as special offers it has the GAS 1 catalogue no. There was some At The Telephone - No Artist - French (Flexi-disc) nice cover art of some of them too which you can At The Telephone - No Artist - French (Flexi-disc) in the YouTube clip.
And finally to a mysterious — and sometimes very expensive — Xmas flexi disc that some believed involved The Sex Pistols at one point. It sounds more like a Kenny Everett or Python sketch and, ironically, Graham Chapman pops up at the end. Concentrating on the sound design of the movies by Sprocket Systems and detailing how they got that distinctive light sabre sound among other things, the flexi was the perfect medium for this little behind the scenes chat.
Instead of a dry, technical look at the world of foley we get an entertaining concrete collage with creative panning, tinkering rhythms and an aural bombardment of sounds and voices. Look Oh Mr. DC - Sugar Minott - Oh Mr. D.C that lovely painting under the clear disc too and check the fan mail addresses for the main actors on the back.
A copy of this is still not that hard to find for a decent price either. At the beginning of the year I laid out a rough plan for the collection week by week and along the way some got pushed out as At The Telephone - No Artist - French (Flexi-disc) came through or new purchases were made.
DX7 Sound Sensation demonstration disc Yamaha Bought at a Norfolk Record Fair earlier this year, this double-sided disc is a mostly terrible succession of demo sounds from the ubiquitous 80s keyboard. Amazingly, someone has put both sides on YouTube as well. Spencer from the label found a clutch of them recently and I was one of the lucky recipients. Kraftwerk — Boing Boom Tschak — Russian bootleg flexi disc.
Each has custom-made artwork photocopied on paper, rarely anything to do with the band and the sound quality is terrible. Any help with translation appreciated…. Comments by A. A playable Happy Birthday card — there are several different designs featuring Happy Birthday songs which are still fairly easy At The Telephone - No Artist - French (Flexi-disc) find in vintage card shops or stalls.
At The Telephone - No Artist - French (Flexi-disc) exhibition of the same name opened last weekend at The Horse Hospital and I already featured images from it earlier this week. The flexi contains three tracks including a Real Tuesday Weld original and you can get a book from Strange Attractor Press. The book is a delight too, a thoroughly researched document of the phenomenon of bootlegging illegal music onto X-Rays, poetically etching the music onto the bodies of the public.
It goes further and shows postcard discs and weird finds from the flexi genre which were used when X-Rays were in short supply. Highly recommended for any format fetishists, lovers of the arcane and the underground subcultures that thrive under repression.
Come and see the exhibition at the same time. They run a great little studio near to where I live and have screenprinting courses as well as doing limited runs — highly recommended. I never guessed that, when I started this weekly feature nearly a year ago, this would be one of the outcomes.
The first one was a riot and this treads a similar path plus it includes a little interview with yours truly on the subject of flexi discs. It should be very informal and there will be a small quantity of random flexi discs free to the first 20 or so people through the door, pulled from my own stash.
The X-Ray Audio exhibition will be viewable so you can kill two birds with one stone and maybe even pick up early copies of the excellent book with free facsimile flexi while they last. The book and exhibition launches this Saturday at the Horse Hospital in London showing discs, films and images that tell the story of how these strange artifacts came to be. First through the door will get a random flexi and Stephen will also bring some of At The Telephone - No Artist - French (Flexi-disc) Soviet 78rpm discs too no doubt.
Back in andthe Stones Throw label placed flexi discs inside four consecutive issues of L. Record magazine Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring — issueseach by a different artist. Some show up on Discogs but are becoming harder and harder to find at a decent price as collectors of the label snap them up.
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