Monday, 1 September 2014

Art of the Cover - Marshall McLuhan's "The Medium Is the Massage"

Less an "album" than a proto-mixtape, the LP version of communications theorist Marshall McLuhan's million-selling book The Medium is the Massage is a strange, literally and figuratively loopy attempt at putting his ideas into audio form. 
Made by taking a razor to hundreds of yards of reel-to-reel tape, spliced and overdubbed together in chaotic permutations, the album features snatches of everything from Homeric recitations to chirping birds to moddish jazz to McLuhan himself, reading book excerpts "straight" while a cacophony of sound blender-whirls around him. 
It's a feat of analog-era editing but also a stunningly prescient sonic prediction of the coming "noise" of the information age, where the austere, professorial voice of authority must contend with a constant barrage of old and new media intruding. 

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