Welcome to my Astro-Man archive

This site is meant to be a visual archive of every variation of every Man... or Astro-Man? 7" single ever released. Most of what you'll see here comes from my personal collection. As information pours in I will post it, so please comment if you think you have something to add. I have no intention of posting MP3s here. I'm sure you can find the music elsewhere. This is just an attempt to collect information about the band's prolific creation of singles into one spot. If you can get past the fact that I rarely clean my scanner, I think you'll enjoy what you find here.

Use the Table of Contents on the sidebar if you are looking for details on a specific 7".


Monday, March 14, 2011

World Out of Mind!


World Out of Mind! was a Man or Astro-Man? 7" EP released on Estrus Records in 1995 (ES769). The sides are labeled C and D instead of the more standard A and B. The C side featured the songs “Escape Velocity” and “Tomorrow Plus X.” The D side featured “Max Q” and “The Quartermass Phenomenon". It was recorded at Zero Return studio by James Marrer. Art Chantry designed the cover which was printed by Thingmaker (the same print company responsible for the Return to Chaos packaging). The picture sleeve was rather elaborate. It was printed with shiny metallic ink and was rounded on the top. In addition to the rounded top there were three lightning bolts die-cut into the brain picture on the front of the sleeve. There was also a yellow, rounded insert that was visible through the lightning bolt-shaped openings. The record was tucked in behind the insert. The top half of the insert was left solid yellow so it would show through the lightning bolts.

Here is the cover next to the insert. Note that the lightning bolts reveal the inside back cover when the insert is removed:



The record itself is pressed onto clear gold vinyl (yellow-orange vinyl: 1000 copies). The old Astroman discography page on Astroman.com, from where I got the 1000 pressed number, also said it was available on black vinyl. I've never seen one, but I've been told that they're out there.

Here is a scan of the record:



Vol. 6 No. 2 of the record label catalog Sir Estrus Quarterly (May-August 1995) ran a 4 3/8" x 5 1/2" ad to promote the upcoming single. The ad puts the number of records being pressed at 1500. Things could have changed by the time the single actually went to press, but a strong argument could be made that 1500 is a better count. Here's the ad, courtesy of Benjamin Brinkman:



There’s actually quite a story about the back cover photo. There are a few images and anecdotes on Art Chantry’s Facebook page that piece the tale together rather well. It involved the use of a massive Tesla coil built and operated by a guy named Dale Travous, a brain built by artist Katherine Cook and the photography of Arthur S. Aubry. Here are the photos and explanations, as per Chantry:



“Dale Travous did things like build giant Tesla coils. His beautiful contraptions averaged about 15-20 feet tall and would generate something like 35 million volts in the 25 foot lightning bolts it emitted. Standing there and watching him fire up one of those monsters (he tapped into the Seattle electrical grid and stole about 6 million volts ever time he started one up. It would destroy radio reception on the AM dial for about a 5 mile radius), it took your breath away. I swear it was like watching God. It rendered you speechless.

Here's what Dale's first Tesla coiled looked like in action. It was beautiful. Later coils got taller and more powerful and more exotic.”


This photo is by Arthur Aubry:



“I would drag people over to see him run the thing. I took Man... or Astro-man? there to see it. They immediately hit it off with Dale. It helped that one or two of the guys in the band had degrees in physics and could understand the weird techno-speak language he had drifted into. He even began building Tesla coils with band members that they still use in performance to this day. Their original idea was to hang one upside down from the rigging above their heads and then wear safety helmets with little antennae on top, so the lightning bolts would ground out on their heads (high voltage, but low amperage, thus you don't die), but they couldn't quite figure out how to prevent it from shorting out their guitars.

After dragging MOAM? and Dave Crider and a bunch of others to see Dale's Tesla coil at work, we immediately started to figure out how to use it on an album cover design. This is what we ended up with”




(Editor's Note: Check out the curved shape to the object in the background and the cartoonish, orange lightning bolt. Both of these features were blacked out when this photo was used on the back cover, but it seems like they inspired the curved top to the EP and the shape of the die-cuts on the front cover.)

“We had local sculptor/artist Kathy Wolf build a big "Ed Roth" monster brain (out of modeling clay). Then we (Arthur, Dale and I) took it over to Dale's studio where he rigged it to the top of his current Tesla coil piece. Dale and Arthur added the glass taxidermy eyes and red-dyed KY jelly 'veins'.

Then it was fired up and photographed, emitting some 35 million volts of electricity. Of course, we ended up only using it on the BACK of a lowly 45rpm 7" vinyl record cover. What the hell were we thinking?!?

Later, I was carrying the brain home in my ‘78 Plymouth Fury station wagon and was rear ended by a yuppie in a brand new jeep (with no insurance, naturally). We couldn't get the back end open after that and the brain went to the wrecking yard trapped inside the totaled station wagon. Strange end for a strange day.

I found a dated copy of the brain session photos. It was '94. I have a half dozen or more early attempts at the brain photo. We initially tried to use real cow brains. It looked pretty freaking weird/gross and didn't really register as a brain (more of a disgusting organic glop). Since it was for the World out of Mind EP, we wanted it to look like a REAL (aka - cartoon) brain. That's when we sucked Kathy Wolf into getting into the game. Kathy is now a stunning and extremely talented web designer. She's married to producer/musician Steve Fisk, and her brother played bass in Pussy Galore. Her credentials are extremely solid. What a great circle of talent that worked on this project.”


Thanks to both Benjamin Brinkman and Brandonio Granger for pointing me to Chantry's Facebook page.

3 comments:

  1. Both copies that I have are black vinyl sir!

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  2. Well Brandonio, add that to your list of things to scan for me!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dale is also thanked in the liner notes to "Experiment Zero". Perhaps he also helped build the first "tour" Tesla Coil for the band?

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