Music From The 21st Century That Never Happened

Sorry for the break in posts for the past two weeks. I got sidetracked with a horrendous disease! Actually, it was just tonsillitis, but it sure a fuck stuck for a while and really put a damper on my plans. Additional strife was caused by the antibiotics I was prescribed, which side effects included anxiety attacks and insomnia, making for a fun Monday night, I tell you that.

I did use the day off work to do at least one productive thing, however; I finished the sixth part of my YMO guide! This part covers the various acts in the YMO family, like Jun Togawa, Kenji Omura, and a lot of other awesome artists I’ve mentioned here in the past. Check it.

Then check out this crazy spacey music from the fuuuuuture*

*actually 1982

Music From The 21st Century

Remember when “the year 2000” had such a mystical ring to it and we all imagined that we’d be in flying cars, eat food out of capsules and wear skintight clothing is superfluous circles on them? Ah, nostalgia for a future that never came to be. Even though I was only a wee lad in the first half of the 80s, I remember that the idea of “futuristic music” back then meant “a shitload of keyboards.” That, and probably silver jumpsuits.

Music From the 21st Century is a compilation of space-aged electronic music, stuff that sounded very futuristic at the time, although I wonder if anyone aside from four-year-old me really thought that the music of the coming millennium was really going to sound all that different.

While I do think that the actual music of the 21st century has turned out alright, I’m sad that a future where this stuff was the mainstream never became a reality. Imagine a world where 20 minute ambient soundscapes were top 20 hit singles instead of Katy Perry?

Note: I’m not sharing side one of this, which is basically just one Tangerine Dream track that’s in-print and easy to get.

Alex Cima
“Primera” is from Cosmic Connection, Alex Cima’s 1979 debut record. I’ve never seen this one in the wild, but from what I’ve heard on YouTube, it seems like my thing; part experimental electronica, part disco, part synthpop. My jam all the way. “Primera” is an okay tune, a bit too jazzy for my tastes, but “Lithium” is really top notch stuff. Rolling sequences, random space noises, a fast-paced beat, it sounds like Tangerine Dream on speed. Throw in some alien voices made via a vocoder, and it really sounds like music from the “the future.” Totally rad all the way.

Cima’s released three other albums, ranging from easy listening jazz to more experimental fair, but I think this stuff may be his best. Too bad it’s so hard to find.

Steve Roach
Steve Roach likes Tangerine Dream, and it shows with his contribution to the record. If you told me this was a Tangerine Dream track, I’d believe you. Thankfully for Steve, it sounds like a good Tangerine Dream track. It could’ve been a B-side to the Thief soundtrack or something.

Steve Roach is actually a very talented and well-respected name in the ambient music scene, with a career that continues to this day with over 100 proper albums, so I don’t mean to sound flippant. He obviously carved a very successful niche for himself that went far beyond “dude who likes Tangerine Dream.”

Don Preston
On The Throne Of Saturn
Don Preston was a founding member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention. So it should come as no surprise that the motherfucker is weird. But this is a weird track, and entirely unlike everything else on this record. It’s very atonal and experimental, definitely straddling the line of what many people would call music. I also can’t figure out exactly how the hell he composed it. There aren’t any keyboards here, I think most of it is analog manipulation of analog sounds (i.e. tape music). I can see why he worked with Yoko Ono. Not exactly easy listening, but kudos for originality.

Neil Norman
Dance Of The Hyenas
Neil Norman organized this collection, and the only other artist whose name I recognized. Norman released those “Greatest Science Fiction Hits” albums in the 80s. This dude loves sci-fi. I bet he had a booth in at least one mid-80s Star Trek convention.

This is good, deliberately “sci-fi” sounding space music that deserves to be played as the background music in an episode of that new Star Trek series that probably isn’t very good.

Michael Garrison
Another Tangerine Dream-inspired keyboardist, Garrison released a lot of music in his life, and from what I can gather some of it is held in very high regard by ambient music fans. This is certainly a pretty good rejiggering of the Tangerine Dream sound (sensing a theme?), with a good mix of sequencer rhythms and a super-catchy melody. Feels like just part of a larger piece though.

Bruce Courtois
Inside The Black Hole
I can’t find much about out about Bruce. This is his only credited release on Discogs, and the only song of his I can find anything about on the internet (apparently its streaming on Spotify, who knew?)

I think, however, that he was in an early-70s glam band called Zolar X. They were a weird LA band with a sci-fi bent. Each of them when by pseudonyms, but the real name given for “Zany Zatovian” is “Bruce Allen Courtois,” so I assume that’s him.

It’s too bad he never pursued an electronic career proper, as “Inside The Black Hole” serves as a great album closer. Good upbeat spacey sound, good melody as well. I imagine this playing during a segment on 3-2-1 Contact about computers or something. It’s really evocative of the era it came from.

7 Responses to “Music From The 21st Century That Never Happened”

  1. john Dougherty says:

    I have no right to criticize this blog. I have loved this blog. I have read this blog and check in daily for new entries, for YEARS now. I will keep this blog in my daily list. I am a big ol homo, and I’m a Pittsburgh native, Mt Washington, born in ’56. When I still lived in Pittsburgh, in the 70’s and 80’s I shopped regularly at Jerry’s. I used to frequent the Electric Banana!! One of my biggest memories of how Pittsburghers ARE is that they are not typically self-indulgent. Even when they get tonsillitis. I’m going to stop right here. Being a Burgher, I cant bring myself to be mean-spirited. (I know that you don’t write as a representative of Pittsburgh, and that you are stellar in doing your own thing. Please don’t get your back up about my comment. I just want to point out that you have taken a very distinct direction, some cultural shifts, if you will, in your writings, in recent times, and i just wonder why? You are on a mission, but WHAT?)

  2. Lost Turntable says:

    What the fuck are you talking about?

  3. john Dougherty says:

    you’re no longer writing about things that this reader wants to read about. Youve become obsessed with video games and tangerine dream wanna be’s and all things Japanese. ergo the phrase: ‘self indulgent’. is all.

  4. hingehead says:

    I only came for this comment

  5. Lost Turntable says:

    I’m annoyed that this comment is going to take me so long to write, as I want to find the right balance between angry and polite, flippant and in-depth, but here it goes.

    I started this blog over 10 years ago. I started it because I felt that there was a lot of hard-to-find or out-of-print music out there that was worth sharing. At the time, that music was mostly new wave and synthpop stuff from the 70s and 80s.

    If I could still find music of that style and from that era that was out-of-print and to my liking, then I would gladly share it as much as I could. But the music world has changed in the past ten years my man. Labels have caught on to people like me. You don’t need me to score weird Depeche Mode B-sides anymore, they put all that shit on iTunes.

    And even if you did, I would still share “video games and tangerine dream wanna be’s and all things Japanese” because I feel that all those things fit the requirements for being on this blog; they are out-of-print and I enjoy them. This blog is as self-indulgent as it’s ever been, no more no less.

    I don’t write this blog to appeal to what others want to hear. Every time I’ve tried to do that, I’ve failed. Whenever a post on this blog goes viral or mainstream, it’s not because I thought it would – it’s been dumb luck.

    I’m sorry if you don’t like the music that I post these days. Whatever. Don’t listen to it. But you’re not upset that my blog is self-indulgent, you’re upset that my brand of self-indulgence no longer meshes with what you want to hear. I can’t help you there.

  6. Jamey says:

    I don’t visit blogs I like on a ‘regular’ basis, I’m more of a blog binger. I pop in a couple times a year and spend many hours, sometimes over a couple days, playing catch up. Today I thoroughly enjoyed an 8-hour binge between Lost Turntable and my first visit to Mostly Retro. Yesterday it was 4 hours here. I admit that my first impetus is for cool (and free) music, but I always end up going beyond the recent active download posts for some very entertaining reads!

    Maybe your selections have changed a bit (OK, a lot), but… 1) You moved to Japan 2) It’s no secret you like all kinds of electronic music 3) It is no secret you like all things game oriented. So, it’s no surprise to me that there are some changes here. What hasn’t changed is your basic writing style, which I find quite informative and immensely entertaining with “the right balance between angry and polite, flippant and in-depth”. Oh yeah, and you are often just fuckin’ funny! And I love that about your writing style, on both blogs!

    So what if I don’t particularly care for game music, or seemingly endless Madonna and PSB remixes, or ‘all things’ YMO. I still find myself checking out the music and reading those posts because… well, because you are a good read! AND, sometimes in poking around to see what I missed I find old posts that still have active music links that turn out to be some awesomeness I never knew existed. Like OMFG that Alec Empire mega-mix post! What an aural treat that I am so grateful is still here to enjoy!

    Thanks for the countless hours of enjoyable reads, cool music and the more than occasional laugh!
    “I’ll be back!”

  7. art58koen says:

    Thanks for this post, appreciated!

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