Ephemeral Soundscapes: “Attention Shoppers…”

From the late 80’s to the early 90’s, Mark Davis worked at Kmart. Part of his job was playing pre-recorded cassettes sent from the corporate office. He saved them and has uploaded them to the Internet. Within the archive are 56 tapes with over 60 hours of music, Muzak and in-store announcements – a fantastic time capsule of the height of American consumerism. –Steve Rousseau via Digg

kmart fort saginaw mall

Mark Davis: OK, I have to admit this this is a strange collection. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, I worked for Kmart behind the service desk and the store played specific pre-recorded cassettes issued by corporate. This was background music, or perhaps you could call it elevator music. Anyways, I saved these tapes from the trash during this period and this video shows you my extensive, odd collection.
Until around 1992, the cassettes were rotated monthly. Then, they were replaced weekly. Finally sometime around 1993, satellite programming was intoduced which eliminated the need for these tapes altogether.

The older tapes contain canned elevator music with instrumental renditions of songs. Then, the songs became completely mainstream around 1991. All of them have advertisements every few songs.

The monthly tapes are very, very, worn and rippled. That’s becuase they ran for 14 hours a day, 7 days a week on auto-reverse. If you do the math assuming that each tape is 30 minutes per side, that’s over 800 passes over a tape head each month.

Finally, one tape in the collection was from the Kmart 30th anniversary celebration on 3/1/92. This was a special day at the store where employees spent all night setting up for special promotions and extra excitement. It was a real fun day, the store was packed wall to wall, and I recall that the stores were asked to play the music at a much higher volume. The tape contains oldies and all sorts of fun facts from 1962. This may have been one of the last days where Kmart was in their heyday – really!

One last thing for you techies, the stores built in the early 1970’s (such as Naperville, IL Ogden Mall Kmart #3066, Harwood Heights, IL #3503 and Bridgeview, IL #4381) orignally had Altec-Lansing amplifiers with high quality speakers throughout the store. When you applied a higher quality sounding source, the audio was extremely good. Later stores had cheaper speakers and eventually the amps were switched out with different ones usually lacking bass and treble controls.

Enjoy >>>

Pharoah Sanders

Pharoah Sanders

Pharoah Sanders is a noted jazz saxophonist recognized as a pioneer of the “free jazz” movement. Collaborations with artists such as Sun Ra and John Coltrane remain his most noted work, but his solo efforts stretch over four decades from 1964 to the present… (read more) >>>

p sanders

sanders

pharoah sanders

Oliver Sacks

sacks

Oliver Sacks — the celebrated British neurologist and author of the book Musicophilia, which explores the brain’s exciting and unpredictable relationship with music — died Sunday (August 30) of cancer at the age of 82 in his New York City home.

Sacks was one of the most popular scientists of his time, and The New York Times reports he received about 10,000 letters per year. His ability to capture more than just the condition, to capture the human underneath it, helped him achieve success as a lecturer and an applauded author. His 2007 book Musicophilia chronicled the tales of people who had strange, often whimsical flings with music in their lives.  >>>more>>>

Otari – Bang & Olufsen – JBL – Yamaha – Kenwood

I have a sort of step-uncle in Florida who is an engineer for a big TV news station. The newsroom is constantly upgrading to the latest technologies and whenever the old gear gets cycled out or otherwise discarded, my uncle likes to bring it home for tinkering. Some of the stuff that gets thrown away is amazing. In his garage, he has a bunch of salvaged broadcast-grade videotape machines and a library of cartridges of shows like The Three Stooges that were tossed when everything went digital. There are rack-mounted preamps and processors, reel-to-reel decks, mixers, monitors – all sorts of weird, obsolete, pro-format analog gear he has just pulled out of the dumpster over the years. And the stories are as awesome as the toys.

Here are the JBL studio monitors that went in the trash because the surrounds were bad. There’s also some strange tape decks and a couple of Uncle G’s personal turntables – a garage sale Beogram and the Kenwood he bought new in the mid-70’s that doesn’t have a scratch on it. Of course, there’s an awesome 60’s and 70’s LP collection to go with it. Always a blast to visit!

IMG_5013

IMG_5023

IMG_5034

IMG_5035

IMG_5002

IMG_4998

IMG_4997

IMG_5032

IMG_5008

IMG_5005

IMG_5028

IMG_5041

Yes Co-Founder Chris Squire Dies at 67

chris-squire-corbis-530-85

Chris Squire, stalwart co-founder of Yes, has died, bandmate Geoff Downes confirms via Twitter. The 67 year old had announced a hiatus from the band in May, following a diagnosis of acute erythroid leukemia.
“Utterly devastated beyond words to have to report the sad news of the passing of my dear friend, bandmate and inspiration Chris Squire,” says Downes, who appeared on three Yes studio albums with the bass-playing legend – 1980′s Drama, 2011′s Fly From Here and 2014′s Heaven and Earth.
Squire was the only constant in a band that began evolving almost as soon as it was founded in advance of a self-titled 1969 debut. Yes’ Aug. 7 concert with Toto will mark the first-ever without him.

>>> More at ultimateclassicrock.com >>>

chris-squire