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“You play Russian Roulette this way.”

7 Sep

Every so often since the mid-1980s, a piece of spoken dialogue has surfaced in my thoughts: a man with a heavy Russian accent saying, “You play Russian roulette this way.”

It popped into my head again today. I knew it was a sample used in a song, but I couldn’t’ remember what song it was. Instead of dismissing the thought, this time I started hunting for the source.

A search brought me to a forum where, in 2006, someone posted the entire scene and asked forum members where it was from. No one knew.

“Only way to settle this argument is to play Russian roulette. Do you know how to play Russian roulette?”
“No, I don’t.”
“You play Russian roulette this way. I have this pistol. One bullet in chamber. Spin cylinder. Cock the gun. Hold the gun to your head, and pull the trigger. I go first. Good luck.”
(click)
“Now you go. Here is the pistol”
(bang)
“Aha, you lose!”

Searching using additional keywords from that post led me to the 1999 Junkie XL song “Love Like a Razorblade”, which samples the scene.

Of course, that wasn’t where I first heard it! But I could then create a new search string: love like a razorblade sample russian roulette.

That search led me to the site Who Sampled it. There, I learned that the sample came from a 1963 track titled “Russian Roulette” by a company called Audio Fidelity Records. Between 1954 and 1984, they produced thousands of stereophonic tracks for audiophiles. Here’s the track:

From there, it was easy to find the list of artists who sampled the track—and the answer to my question. In 1987, Bomb the Bass used it in their absolute banger of a song, 1987’s “Beat Dis”.

As much fun as it was to track this sample and song down, I’m hoping this blog post will make the search much simpler for other people with this earworm in their heads.

Magnatune unveils two new subscription plans

7 May

Speaking of music subscription plans, Magnatune – which offers high quality DRM-free music downloads and podsafe licensing – announced two new ways to enjoy their music this morning:

Now available for the very first time, Magnatune Memberships allows you to hear Magnatune music without any announcements or interruptions between songs! Starting at just $9 a month, you can stream over 500 albums and mixes into iTunes or player of your choice. Listen online all day, every day wherever you are. For serious audiophiles, we recommend our Download Membership, an “all you can eat” plan that lets you download any of our music, whenever you like, as many times as you like, and in any format, including CD quality WAVs. BONUS: BOTH PLANS include access to our new two hour, talk-free podcasts.

I checked out the details of the two plans. For $9 a month you can stream the company’s entire catalog of music, and for $18 a month you can download the company’s entire catalog of music. Let me repeat that part: for $18 a month, you can download every album on the site to your computer. (Magnatune only asks that you not strain its servers by using a downloading robot.) You also get access to streaming audio and members-only music podcasts. Under both plans, 50% of your subscription fee goes to the musicians whose songs you downloaded and/or streamed. Pretty sweet.

I do not recognize a single one of the artists listed on the site. But what I do recognize is if I really want to expand my musical horizons, Magnatune is a great way to go – particularly if I want to explore baroque, classical, medieval, and electronic music. And there are some fascinating oddities, such as Professor Armchair and his “demented 19th century children’s music“.

I’ll have to think about whether membership is right for me, or whether I’d prefer to cherry-pick tracks that I like. But I’m really impressed with the company’s pro-customer, pro-artist policies.

MTV circa 1983 on Google Video

30 Jan

Three hours of MTV captured on VHS back in the day and uploaded to Google Video. Weirdly, that Night Ranger video was my first glimpse ever of MTV. Heck, maybe this moment is EXACTLY when I first started watching.

(Via Wil Wheaton)

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