Jan 9, 2012

RhoDeo 1202 Burroughs

Hello, one of the worlds biggest rockstars turned 65 today, he's semi retired these days, after all it's been 8 years since his latest album, Reality. Then again who's to say he won't delight us some more, Happy Birthday David Bowie ! Gosh i feel a Goldy Rhox coming up..

Ok today and next week not a new series but the attention is turned to that big counter culture poet William Burroughs.

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The elder statesman of literature's Beat Generation -- and, by extension, of the American underground culture -- few figures outside of the musical sphere exerted a greater influence over rock & roll than novelist William S. Burroughs. A provocative, controversial figure famed for his unique cut-up prose aesthetic, Burroughs lived the rock lifestyle years before the music itself was even created; the ultimate outsider, he existed on the dark fringes of society in a haze of drugs, guns, and violence, remaining a patron saint of hipsterdom until his dying day. Ultimately, Burroughs' hold on the popular culture was extraordinary: few artists failed to credit him as an inspiration, and while bands like Steely Dan and the Soft Machine adopted their names from his turns-of-phrase, younger artists like Kurt Cobain and the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy lined up to offer musical support for his occasional excursions into spoken word performing.

William Seward Burroughs was born February 5, 1914 in St. Louis, MO, the grandson of the founder of the Burroughs Adding Machine company. A homosexual bookworm with a fascination for guns and crime, he attended Harvard University, but largely rejected all the restraints of mainstream society, opting instead to pursue a life in New York City's underworld of organized crime. Upon becoming a heroin addict, Burroughs fell in with junkie drifter Herbert Huncke, leading to his introduction to other future Beat paragons like Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Lucien Carr; he also met Joan Vollmer, who became his common-law life. While older than the others, Burroughs had yet to begin writing as Kerouac and Ginsberg had; at first indifferent to literature, he finally completed 1953's Junky, an autobiographical tale of addiction published in pulp novel format by Ace Books. Queer, a similarly upfront examination of homosexuality, was rejected by the publisher and did not surface for several decades.

By the mid-'50s Burroughs, Vollmer, and their children had relocated to East Texas to live on a farm; as his descent into heroin addiction worsened, he found himself hounded by authorities, and eventually the family fled to Mexico. The marriage became the stuff of tabloid headlines when, attempting to impress friends with his shooting skills, Burroughs enlisted Vollmer to participate in a William Tell-like target demonstration; a faulty shot left Vollmer dead and sent Burroughs wandering the globe, finally drifting to Tangier. Following the success of their respective On the Road and Howl, both Kerouac and Ginsberg had become media sensations, with the Beat Generation emerging in full force; they tracked Burroughs down in Africa, finding him hopelessly addicted to heroin yet somehow able to write brilliant and wildly experimental fragments of prose. Kerouac began typing up the material and even gave it a title, Naked Lunch.

Upon its 1959 publication, Burroughs became a celebrity; the novel was the subject of a high-profile obscenity trial, and even today it remains his best-known and most influential book. Beginning with 1961's The Soft Machine, he began experimenting with a "cut-up" method of writing, literally cutting and pasting together various random fragments of text for maximum reader disorientation; in 1965, Burroughs began expanding into other forms of media, recording the LP Call Me Burroughs, a collection of spoken word readings of material culled from Naked Lunch and The Soft Machine. While remaining a prolific literary voice on the strength of work like 1971's The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead and 1973's Exterminator!, aside from compilation appearances he did not issue another major recording prior to 1975's William S. Burroughs/John Giorno; Nothing Here Now But the Recordings, compiled by Psychic TV's Genesis P. Orridge, followed in 1981, as did another collaboration with Giorno, You're the Guy I Want to Share My Money With.

Always a major cult figure, by the late '80s Burroughs had become something of a pop culture icon, a symbol of decadence and ominous genius; a supporting role in Gus Van Sant's 1989 film Drugstore Cowboy brought him his widest mainstream exposure to date, and virtually every hipster worth his salt name-checked him as an influence. After 1987's Break Through in Grey Room, Burroughs recorded 1990's Dead City Radio, a collection of performances backed by Sonic Youth, John Cale, the NBC Symphony Orchestra, and others. In 1992, he guested on Ministry's "Just One Fix" single, and the following year recorded The 'Priest' They Called Him with Nirvana's Kurt Cobain. In 1993, Burroughs recorded his final LP, Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales, with the members of the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, and his sampled voice was also heard on recordings from diverse acts including the Jesus and Mary Chain, Laurie Anderson, and Material. With Tom Waits, he also co-wrote The Black Rider. The last major surviving figure of the Beat Generation, Burroughs died of a heart attack on August 2, 1997 in Lawrence, KS.

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Break Through in Grey Room is a collection of William S. Burroughs' speeches and cut-up recordings performed and recorded between 1960 and 1976. Some are actual pieces, and others are discussions of the pieces, such as "Origin and Theory of the Tape Cut-Ups," which he read at Boulder's Naropa University in 1976. Burroughs' incredibly detached voice only sounds better with age. He seems to exist between two worlds, and he constantly jumps back and forth from the conscious to the subconscious. In fact, one can hardly tell at any time which world it is that he inhabits. The bulk of the disc is consumed by one cut-up piece entitled "K-9 Was in Combat With the Alien Mind-Screens," which Burroughs claims was the result of writing as an art form, attempting to catch up to the advanced world of collage painting. This was one of Burroughs' earlier collaborations with Ian Sommerville. The Brion Gysin piece that Burroughs uses as a sample ("Recalling All Active Agents") is a brilliantly textured two-track recording that was made at the BBC studios in 1960 utilizing the drop-in method that Burroughs speaks about. This method entails a tape recorder recording a different player whilst randomly speeding up, slowing down, reversing, and advancing the second player. What occurs is a blubbery and blurry mess of words that surprisingly creates new sentences and phrases. Here Burroughs claims, "When you cut into the present the future leaks out." Other tracks are simply found sound field recordings. One such piece, "Jojouka," features Ornette Coleman playing in the hills of Morocco, recorded in January of 1973. This is a thoroughly interesting record of all of the types of recordings in which Burroughs took part in during his 87-year life, and serves as the perfect introduction to the tape experiments of the most intriguing of all of the beat writers.

William S. Burroughs – Break Through In Grey Room (flac 161mb)

01 K-9 Was In Combat With The Alien Mind-Screens 13:29
02 Origin And Theory Of The Tape Cut-Ups 3:43
03 Recalling All Active Agents 1:25
04 Silver Smoke Of Dreams 4:50
05 Junky Relations 2:56
06 Joujouka (1) 1:30
07 Curse Go Back 1:12
08 Present Time Excersises 2:18
09 Joujouka (2) 0:43
10 Working With The Popular Forces 2:37
11 Interview With Mr. Martin 2:59
12 Joujouka (3) 1:26
13 Sound Piece 2:14
14 Joujouka (4) 2:39
15 Burroughs Called The Law 1:34

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One of the best Burroughs recordings, Dead City Radio features the writer reading five previously unreleased pieces, along with selections from several of his books. The acerbic Burroughs wit is at its finest on many of these selections, and he even takes a shot at singing on one track. Musical contributors to this project include Sonic Youth, Donald Fagen, Lenny Pickett, Cheryl Hardwick, Chris Stein, and John Cale.

William S. Burroughs - Dead City Radio (flac 245mb)

01 William's Welcome ("What Are You Here For?") 2:03
02 A Thanksgiving Prayer 2:22
03 Naked Lunch Excerpts ("You Got Any Eggs For Fats?") / Dinner Conversation ("The Snakes") 7:16
04 Ah Pook The Destroyer / Brion Gysin's All-Purpose Bedtime Story 2:46
05 After-Dinner Conversation ("An Atrocious Conceit") / Where He Was Going 11:40
06 Kill The Badger! 2:42
07 A New Standard By Which To Measure Infamy 1:47
08 The Sermon On The Mount 1 ("WSB Reads The Good Book") 1:30
09 No More Stalins, No More Hitlers 1:00
10 The Sermon On The Mount 2 1:22
11 Scandal At The Jungle Hiltons 1:41
12 The Sermon On The Mount 3 1:23
13 Love Your Enemies 1:13
14 Dr. Benway's House 0:40
15 Apocalypse 9:05
16 The Lord's Prayer 0:45
17 Ich Bin Von Kopf Bis Fuss Auf Liebe Eingestellt ("Falling In Love Again") 2:30

William S. Burroughs - Dead City Radio gg (ogg 125mb)

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William Burroughs - Junkie (audiobook) (186 min.89mb)

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1 comment:

yotte said...

THANKS! I've collected quite a bit of Burroughs' recordings over the years but haven't before run across (or even known of) 'Break Through in Grey Room.'