Archive | December, 2014

A Fine Year for the Sounds of Vigilant Torpor!

31 Dec

Torpor Vigil Records logo
Thanks to all friends, fans, and supporters of TVR for what has been a fantastic year. Here’s a summary of some of the highlights.

Samuel Andreyev’s Tubular West turned one year old and continued to get prime airplay on shows such as Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone (BBC6). Jazzology’s Jean Daniel called it “Un magnifique album de pop contemporaine”—took the world’s right out of my mouth!
The Tubular West: https://samuelandreyev.bandcamp.com/album/the-tubular-west

A successful Kickstarter campaign drew funds towards the CD release of Dreaming Like Mad with Dion McGregor, and drew the attention of NPR’s All Things Considered and USA Today’s Pop Candy. Kickstarter’s Sam Hockley-Smith interviewed me about the project: http://kickstarter.tumblr.com/post/80276920042/sleeptalking-will-never-not-be-weird-its-the

The audio version of Christian Bök’s deservedly famous Eunoia, recorded by TVR and released by Coach House Books, was uploaded for streaming on the Torpor Vigil Soundcloud site: https://soundcloud.com/torporvigil/sets/eunoia-by-christian-b-k-1

Dreaming Like Mad with Dion McGregor was released on July 20th, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first McGregor album from Decca: https://dionmcgregor.bandcamp.com/album/dreaming-like-mad-with-dion-mcgregor

The TVR remastering of that original 1964 album—The Dream World of Dion McGregor—was subsequently released as a free download: https://dionmcgregor.bandcamp.com/album/the-dream-world-of-dion-mcgregor-he-talks-in-his-sleep-remastered-free

The Torporwear department of Torpor Vigil Industries was revived with the release of new t-shirt and tank top designs featuring art by Kerry Zentner and Richard A. Kirk: http://www.torporvigil.com/012TVR/SectorPages/Store.html

Some of the first signs that Dreaming Like Mad would be well-received came in the form of spirited endorsements by Gotye on Twitter and Facebook:

Enthusiastic reviews from USA Today, The Equal Ground, Media Funhouse, Bang the Bore, and The Sound Projector followed.

With all that’s been happening at the label this year, I didn’t really begin flogging the manuscript of my book about Dion’s dream world until this past month. I’m going about it the old-fashioned way: one publisher at a time. After a brief search for an agent, I decided just to push the work (which will include, depending on the edit, up to 200 new transcripts of Dion’s dreams) all by myself. I suspect its future in print will depend on my finding that particular publisher—out there somewhere—who will get a supreme charge off the subject matter (where most might simply raise an eyebrow and/or scratch a noggin). Meanwhile, those of you wishing to find Mr. McGregor in print will have to dish out for rare copies of the 1964 book from Bernard Geis Associates:
http://www.amazon.ca/The-Dream-World-Dion-McGregor/dp/B0007ES8BC
My own copy of the Dream World book (to bring these year-end observations full circle) was a gift received long ago from Samuel Andreyev. When Pippa Lambert and I visited Michael Barr at his modest Hollywood apartment in 2005, I got Mike to sign it. Though he hadn’t spoken or transcribed the words, they would never have been captured without him and his tape recorder.

Mike would have been ecstatic to see all the attention this anniversary year has yielded those recordings he made of his old roommate and songwriting partner Dion McGregor. With those two fine gents in mind, and with much gratitude for all the interest and support lavished on my little label these past twelve months, I wish you all a wonderful 2015!

Tubular Dreams,
Steve Venright
Torpor Vigil Records
Toronto, CanadaTurbulationVariegraph_TVI_cropped2Oct2013_sm

The Great Mustard Fight

31 Dec
Great Mustard Fight passage from Moss Hart's autobiography

Great Mustard Fight passage from Moss Hart’s autobiography

Dion McGregor fan David Rolfe happened to be reading the autobiography of playwright/screenwriter Moss Hart when the remastered Dream World album was released. Listening to “The Mustard Battle,” David was struck by how its theme resonated with a passage from Hart’s book. It seems likely to me that lyricist and film buff Dion would have read this critically praised memoir by his fellow New Yorker, published around the time Michael Barr began taping Dion’s somniloquies. As to whether his spoken dream was inspired by the antics Hart recounts . . . well, I wouldn’t lose sleep over it, but it’s fun to speculate.
“The Mustard Battle” can be streamed or downloaded here:
https://dionmcgregor.bandcamp.com/track/the-mustard-battle-remastered

Media Funhouse on the Remastered Dream World Album

28 Dec
Edward Gorey's original cover of the 1964 Decca LP release

Edward Gorey’s original cover of the 1964 Decca LP release

Ed Grant of Media Funhouse has pulled through again with another fine blog entry on Dion–this time about the remastered Dream World album.
http://mediafunhouse.blogspot.ca/

Peter DeRome (1924-2014)

28 Dec

Pioneering filmmaker, and friend of Dion McGregor, Peter DeRome passed away earlier this year. Here is David McGillvray’s obituary of the remarkable man (about whom he’d made the documentary Peter DeRome: Grandfather of Gay Porn).

http://blogs.indiewire.com/bent/rip-peter-de-rome-the-grandfather-of-gay-porn-20140626

And here’s his BFI obit:
http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/features/peter-de-rome-1924-2014

Who better to review an album of dreams . . .

13 Dec

UrbanMattress_logoI love this little article from the company that promises you “a better night’s sleep”!
http://www.urbanmattress.com/blog/sleeptalkingisfunnyandeducational/

The Equal Ground Says Dreaming Like Mad is “Great Entertainment”

13 Dec

TheEqualGround_BannerThanks to The Equal Ground’s Ted Rogen for this very positive and thoughtful review.
http://www.theequalground.com/indie-music-album-reviews/dion-mcgregor-dreaming-like-mad-with-dion-mcgregor

“Undiminished alchemy”—Bang the Bore’s Pete Coward Reviews Dreaming Like Mad

13 Dec

BangTheBore_HeaderPete Coward wrote about Dion McGregor for Bang the Bore in 2011. His ongoing curiosity about Dion’s somniloquies has yielded another perceptive article for that same adventurous blog. Here’s what he has to say about Dreaming Like Mad.
http://www.bangthebore.org/archives/5734