Saturday, May 5, 2007

Spinning On Air: Music Inspired by PKD


While looking for articles on the connection between PKD and one of my favorite bands, Sonic Youth (their album 'Sister' pictured above was named for Dick's obsession over his dead twin sister Jane), I stumbled onto an interesting archived radio show from WNYC recorded in 2004. The show, Spinning on Air, features David Garland (perhaps related to the andy police sergeant in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) spinning records by Radiohead, Sonic Youth, as well his own strange mashup of John Dowland and PKD. The show also features PKD audio recordings including his dictated notes on a planned sequel to 'The Man in the High Castle' made while Dick's arm was in a sling recovering from shoulder surgery. It's interesting to note that Dick may have initially imagined writing about his 2-3-74 experiences in this sequel, creating a character who encodes secret messages into Nazi propoganda. That could have been really cool.

The show also features extensive excerpts from Tod Machover's 1987 opera VALIS. I'd never heard this composition and now that I have I can't say I was wrong to stay away for so long. But still, it's interesting to check out just for a sense of the opera's flavor. Note: Garland waits until near the end of the show to play these excerpts so if you get bored in the middle of John Williams' score for Spielberg's adaptation of Minority Report, make sure to skip ahead before surfing on.

And make sure to check out the weird 'Blade Runner' ballad written by a librarian with perhaps a bit too much time on her hands at about the 20-minute mark of the show.

Garland plays Sonic Youth's song "Stereo Sanctity" on the show but that's just the beginning of the album Sister's connections to PKD. Stay tuned for a future post's further exploration...

Garland didn't play The Flaming Lips' "One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21"
Can you name any other PKD-related jams?

7 comments:

palmer_eldritch said...

"Probably a bit mad" ! Nice one.

Kenny said...

Didn't prog-rockers Rush have a PKD-inspired tune. Can't remember the name, but the chorus went, "One, zero, zero, one, zero, zero, one, SOS."

A friend (the Rush fan who hoisted it on me) told me it was based on Do Androids... but he might have been making that up; I certainly couldn't see the link at the time.

palmer_eldritch said...

The Body Electric ?

valis said...

BlöödHag is a band which exclusively plays songs about sci-fi and fantasy authors, as well as throw paperback copies by said authors' books at the audience. Here are the lyrics for their PKD song.

Philip K. Dick

chorus: -Nothing' s ever the way it looks!
The K is for kickin' your ass with great books!
Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
Genius! Paranoid lunatic!
Lies, Incorporated - Valis and Ubik
You got to stay the fuck back from Philip K. Dick!
Though he wrote some crap to pay the rent
Anyone could see his mind was bent
Everything is a lie. Reality is a sham.
Am I a Replicant? I don't know who the fuck I am!
Repeat chorus!

BlöödHag

Current album available here.

Ragle Gumm said...

I always hear people say Elvis Costello references PKD and he appears in those fake commercials in the Arena documentary. Anybody know of specific references connection?

Wasta said...

Stuart Ham produced an album called "Radio Free Albemuth" containg two PKD inspired tracks:

Radio Free Albemuth
Flow My Tears

I haven't heard it but it will be jazz/rock fusion.

Timo Maas produced a techno track "Ubik," which has several mixes.

More electronic stuff: Unkle's mix "Do Androids Dream of Electric Beats?"’s is obviously inspired by PKD.

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