June 21, 2024

We were on vacation in California this week, so it’s a small selection this time around.

Article: “The Wacky, Wiggly, Razor-Thin World of the Flexi Disc” by Oliver Wang

I remember Flexi Discs almost entirely because of the McDonald’s promotion (mentioned in the article) in which you got a record with a group of people who were supposed to sing the Big Mac song; if they made it all the way through on your copy, you won a million dollars. I know I had a couple of others from somewhere or other, but can’t remember what they were. Apparently, they were a much bigger thing than I ever realized, going back to the 1920s and found on everything from postcards to cereal boxes— the latter, it turns out, being one of the most common an well-known uses. At a time when vinyl records are selling (relatively) well as fetish objects, invested with deep meaning as representations of the “real” in opposition to the ephemeral and digital, it’s interesting to read about a kind of record that was intended as, precisely, ephemeral, disposable, or impermanent.


Song: “Wall” by Nils Frahm

I’m actually not recommending this particular song so much as the album it comes from, but this is the track that is available to embed. Nils Frahm is a modern composer and pianist, whose often worked with Olafur Arnalds, among others. To celebrate World Piano Day (which he just created), Frahm has released an album called —solo—, which you can download for free at the Piano Day Website. You can also pay money for it from iTunes, or order a vinyl copy; all the proceeds from that go to help fund the production of the Klavins M450, a new piano model designed by David Klavins, which may be the largest model ever. Frahm is playing a prototype version of the instrument on the album. It’s not clear here exactly what the advantages of this new design are, but I can get behind the idea anyway. And hey, if you’re not convinced: free music.

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