The Leigh Stevens Variety Hour (#35)
Pressing on into new territory, we find ourselves here, cashing in on a noted celebrity to help keep the program “current.” Perhaps the AV Club will profile our show now that we’re dedicating an hour to the work of Leigh Stevens, knowing that they will be able to siphon clickthroughs by stealing my thunder? Who can say? The music will speak for itself, in the end, even if the crumpled suit and Bob Barker microphone I’m using to see the the program isn’t wining over any converts.
Did someone say gimmicks? Because we’ve got ’em. Consider this a debut of sorts for MKUltramegaphone, a new combo of sorts, who added audio commentary and texture to the program throughout the hour. Cut-ups and electro-wizardry layered with studio soundscapes and original musical compositions. As I walk up and down the audience walkway, paying more attention to my microphone cable than anything else, I ask: what more could you want?
Well, cliché, simile, cliché. Because, etc, and so on. As a tribute to all The Waiters out there who are always fashionably ready for anything, we offer them these new opportunities to listen for the name-sake recordings buried deep within within this program, in a way only our ferns at Firesign Theater can deliver. In-jokes within in-jokes! It’s enough to leave anyone puzzled & befuddled.
Special thanks to Leigh Stevens, musician and engineer, for supplying the bulk of the audio material we played on the program today. Leigh has been making music since the early ’80’s, and is one of those rare, undiscovered gems that is lost in the deluge of modernity and digital audio. Tapes, man. It used to be about the tapes! (Shakes head back and forth.) If you dig his stuff, you can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Leigh Stevens Variety Hour*
Part I: Down On Foster’s Farm
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.)  * Negativland * Negativland * Seeland Records (1980)
03.) Waiting For The Electrician Or Someone Like Him * Firesign Theater * Waiting For The Electrician Or Someone Like Him * Columbia Records (1968)
04.) Larry Lambo * Leigh Stevens * Larry Lambo * Self-Released (2006) * [Leigh’s Note: “digitally warped youtube sounds”]
05.) Down On Foster’s Farm * Leigh Stevens w/ James Mereness * Down On Foster’s Farm * Self-Released (1988) * [Leigh’s Note: “James – sound effects CDs, Emulator II sampler, synthesizers, digital manipulation, and 24-track tape.”]
06.) Subway Ambience * Leigh Stevens * Subway Ambience * Self-Released (2000)
07.) Farmer Taxi Dub * Leigh Stevens * Farmer Taxi Dub * Self-Released (1985) * [Leigh’s Note: “¼” audio tape – a normal rehearsal interrupted by random taxi radio interference.”]
Part II: The Rio Surf Tango
08.) Rio Surf * Leigh Stevens * Rio Surf * Self-Released (1996) * [Leigh’s Note: “minidisc recording, 2 pressure-zone microphones placed 50’ apart – the ocean at São Conrado beach on a stormy night in Rio de Janiero”]
09.) Easter 1984 * Leigh Stevens w/ James Mereness & Frank Oswald * Easter 1984 * Self-Released (1989) * [Leigh’s Note: “TV and other found sound, Emulator II sampler, synthesizers, digital manipulation, and 24-track tape.”]
10.) Waterworld Ambience * Leigh Stevens * Waterworld Ambience * Self-Released (2011)
11.) Tel Aviv Tango * Leigh Stevens w/ James Mereness & Frank Oswald * Tel Aviv Tango * Self-Released (1990) * [Leigh’s Note: “TV and other found sound, Emulator II sampler, synthesizers, digital manipulation, and 24-track tape – jamming in the studio with Saddam and Peter Jennings on live TV, also featuring the SFX track from the film “Predator” played in reverse.”]
Part III: Stranded On LSD Island
12.) LSD Island * Leigh Stevens * LSD Island * Self-Released (1996) * [Leigh’s Note: “tape loop, digital sampler and DX-7 synthesizer
13.) Edge Effects * Leigh Stevens * Edge Effects * Self-Released (1970 – 1993) * [Leigh’s Notes: “found sound, ¼” tape, Pro Tools – in the days of audio tape recording, economic pressures forced musicians to use tape stock from wherever it could be obtained, including 1960s State Department Mandarin language training tapes. These tapes were then recorded over multiple times with different projects and experiments, until the spaces between songs became filled with overlapping snippets and remnants of a highly dubious nature. Short samples of these were randomly assembled.”
14.) Sakamoto2 * Leigh Stevens * Sakamoto2 * Self-Released (2012) * [Leigh’s Notes: “thousands of tiny sound effects recombinated”]
15.) Weirder Science * Leigh Stevens * Weirder Science * Self-Released (2012) * [Leigh’s Note: “digital soundfiles of business meetings, processed with iPhone app and Pro Tools.”]
* Throughout the program, horridus & Austin as MKUltramegaphone were mixing samples and other bits to create the final product. The notes for these recordings are:short granular samples / excerpts / loops :
0. Jack Kerouac Reads from “On The Road” * Jack Kerouac *Jack Kerouac Reads from “On The Road” * youtube.com (September 14, 1999)
1. 1950s Housewife Tries LSD * 1950s Housewife * 1950s Housewife Tries LSD * youtube.com * (2013)
2. Magic Trip * Ken Kesey * Magic Trip * youtube.com (2011)
3. Latcho Drom * Tony Gatlif * Latcho Drom * youtube.com * (1993)
4. live ringing witches bellslinux mixxed tunes:7. röcheln * devilsclub * röcheln * Soundcloud.com (2014)6. brokenix * devilsclub * brokenix * Soundcloud.com (2014)5. vanilla discharge * devilsclub * vanilla discharge * Soundcloud.com (2016)8. grass hat smoke * devilsclub * grass hat smoke * Soundcloud.com (2015)9. foldingM0n3y * devilsclub * foldingM0n3y * Soundcloud.com (2013)