I love science fiction. I grew up watching it with my dad, first on TV or on battered VHS copies we’d rent from the video store. Then later on shows like Mystery Science Theater 3000 and now in online clips. I particularly love the aesthetic of these low budget movies, sometimes made for a quick buck but sometimes made out of some genuine desire to tell a new tale. If it has bad special effects, or a guy in a cardboard robot outfit lumbering around, I’m there.
In running Alternate Histories for the past six years I’ve discovered a lot of people like me who love these movies too. It’s fun to share new work and have people recognize Ro-Man from "Robot Monster" or Torg from "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians." I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do for my next project, and I’ve finally come up with it. It’s something a little different. It’s an album. “Forbidden Sounds for a Future Age.”
Specifically it’s a gorgeous heavyweight vinyl album full of audio samples from these old movies. The introduction and overture from "Cat Women of the Moon". The “Home? I have no home” speech from "Bride of the Monster." The dance party attack from "The Creeping Terror." And much much more. It’s not an album of songs; think of it as an auditory tour through some of the best/worst bad sci-fi from the 1950s and 60s.
And the packaging is great too. A cover inspired by the look of classic jazz albums, and a back with all new “liner notes” by Dr. Forrest Clayton, Professor Emeritus of Science Fiction and Historical Monstrology at Vilnar College of Inhumanity. Each one will be hand-numbered, along with an inside sleeve printed with all the Kickstarter Backer names. There’s also a special edition with an exclusive 11 x 11 inch art print, stickers, and fluorescent green vinyl (Don’t worry, there will be a digital download available too). Other rewards include your choice of two exclusive t-shirts and a record tote bag!
“Forbidden Sounds from a Future Age” will be made from clips of often poorly-recorded movies and soundtracks, so some of the sound quality isn’t going to be the best. But I think it’ll sound good on vinyl, like an authentic artifact of that era. You can listen to an unmastered six minute preview with clips from the album by clicking here; the final version will sound much better!
In terms of packaging and putting this whole thing together, it’s one of the most elaborate projects I’ve ever attempted, and definitely the most expensive. But I want to do this right and not cut any corners, so it's not going to be cheap. Just collecting all the audio and making sure it’s all public domain is a huge job. I’m also working with Madeleine Campbell of Accessible Recordings in Pittsburgh to produce the album. Gotta Groove Records in Cleveland will be pressing the album. The only downside to this whole project is that as vinyl is so popular, it’ll take a few months to get these printed. I’m hoping to have them in your hands by September.
And remember that all of the prices include domestic shipping (sorry international buyers, it’s a bit more). I hope you'll come along with me on this journey to create something entirely new for me, and a little different.
Risks and challenges
The album art is designed, and I’m finalizing all the audio tracks now. I’ll be producing the album with Madeleine Campbell in Pittsburgh, who owns Accessible Recordings and has recorded and produced dozens of bands through the Greater Pittsburgh Area. Carl Saff from Saff Mastering will be mastering the album for both vinyl and digital. Gotta Groove Records in Cleveland, the first completely vertically integrated vinyl manufacturing and distribution operation in the world, will be pressing the album and printing the artwork.
Right now Gotta Groove is pretty busy and has a three month waiting list for printing. I’m hoping to have the album in your hands by September, if not sooner.
I’ve successfully run my business for six years and published a book with Perigee/Penguin in 2013. I’ve also run two successful Kickstarters. Printing and shipping out hundreds of packages is something I do every year, and I’m looking forward to it.
The biggest issue I'm facing is tracking down whether or not all these works I want to use are in the public domain. I’ve already had to get rid of a few options because I wasn’t 100% sure about their usability, but having negotiated copyright issues for years I feel confident in my ability to deliver this album.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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