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“Now, Teibel’s concept—the soothing sounds of nature, or at least a synthesized facsimile of it—is quaint, the wallpaper of therapy waiting rooms and spa foyers. At the time, it was entirely new. Here was something you could hear but weren’t necessarily supposed to listen to. It wasn’t a sound effect, but it wasn’t music, either. And while it professed to contain the ocean, it had none of the purity or taxonomic specificity you’d expect from a field recording (never mind Teibel’s contention that the ocean could use a little work). Here was nature not as it is, but as we hope it’ll be, the lullaby of waves without the sand in our trunks.
The album’s novelty proved to be both an opportunity and a burden. Steve Gerstman, one of Syntonic’s first and shortest-lived employees, remembers traveling across the country by train, making his lonely pitch to stores. “The first obstacle is that it’s not music,” he said. “So if it’s not music, why would they carry it, and why would people buy it?”
—From How a New Age Hustler Sold the Sound of the World by Mike Powell
Following a series of successful pop up stores in New York, Chicago, and London, we recently opened a Factory Outlet in our south side Chicago warehouse. Now we’re taking the Outlet on the road for a whistle-stop tour of the West Coast. On sale will be every in-print Numero CD, LP, cassette, 45, t-shirt, poster, and whatever other additional weirdness we can cram into a 15-passenger van. As an added bonus, we have pressed up a tour-only 7” in a quantity of 500, available only at the roving incarnation of our Factory Outlet.
Along the way there will be DJ nights, radio broadcasts, in-store performances, and we’re guessing unscheduled meltdowns? Here is an exhaustive index of where we’ll be and what we’ll be doing along the way.
Friday, 10/7: Bloomington, IN – Secretly Group Pop-Up Bazar – 213 S. Rogers (5pm-9pm)
Saturday 10/8: Kansas City, MO – Mini Bar – 3810 Broadway Rd (12pm-6pm)
BONUS! 10pm-2am: Numero Group DJ Set @ Mini Bar
Monday 10/10: Denver, CO – Studio C – 2700 Arapahoe St (2pm-10pm)
Tuesday 10/11: Phoenix, AZ – Hot City Soul Club @ Crescent Lounge – 308 N. 2nd Ave (9pm-2am)
Wednesday 10/12: Phoenix, AZ – MonOrchid – 214 East Roosevelt St (2pm-10pm)
Thursday 10/13: Los Angeles, CA – Rappcats – 5636 York Blvd (12pm-10pm)
BONUS! 10pm-2am: Funkmosphere @ The Virgil – 4519 Santa Monica Blvd
Friday 10/14: Los Angeles, CA – Rappcats – 5636 York Blvd (12pm-7pm)
BONUS!! 5pm: Itasca (in-store performance)
Saturday 10/15: Los Angeles, CA – Rappcats – 5636 York Blvd (12pm-7pm)
BONUS!!! 2pm: Ned Doheny (in-store performance)
Sunday 10/16: Berkeley, CA – Avalon Berkeley – 651 Addison St (12pm-8pm)
BONUS! 9pm-2am: Sweater Funk @ The Knockout – 3223 Mission St (San Francisco) (DJ)
Monday 10/17: Berkeley, CA – Avalon Berkeley – 651 Addison St (12pm-8pm)
Tuesday 10/18: Berkeley, CA – Avalon Berkeley – 651 Addison St (12pm-8pm)
Thursday 10/20: Portland, OR – The Cleaners – 403 SW 10th Ave (12pm-10pm)
BONUS! 9pm-2am: Dig-A-Pony – 736 SE Grand Ave (DJ)
Friday 10/21: Seattle, WA – Seattle Center – 472 1st Ave North (12pm-8pm)
Saturday 10/22: Seattle, WA – Seattle Center – 472 1st Ave North (10am-8pm)
For up-to-the-moment details and delirium, follow us on these platforms:
This year’s Riot Fest is being held in Douglas Park, less than one mile from The Numero Factory Outlet. And while we’re not suggesting that you miss Gwar (Friday, 2:45pm on the Rock Stage), we’re saying if you want to swing by the Numero Factory Outlet, who could fault you? A White Zombie box set is the perfect festival accessory. Then and only THEN can you say, “I prefer his earlier stuff” while Rob Zombie (as seen above) yeeeeeahhhhhs through Astro-Creep 2000 (Sunday, 7:40pm, The Roots Stage). In actuality, the Ork box set, any number of The Scientists releases, the new Blonde Redhead omnibus will provide very effective accessories to establishing your punk pedigree.
Shop hours are, per usual, Noon – 8pm on Friday. The Numero Group staffers are going to go completely out of their way to bring in LPs and split 7-inches from the deepest reaches of their personal collections to provide an in-store soundtrack that will be as Riot-ous as possible. Which might just mean we listen to The Shape Of Punk To Come on repeat for 8 hours, but you know—there are worse things.
The Numero Factory Outlet – 2533 S. Troy St. – Open Noon – 8pm, Fridays
P.S. Those seeking Chicago’s best tacos are urged to visit La Chaparrita (2500 S. Whipple)
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On Tuesday July 5th, our own Rob Sevier appeared on WBEZ’s The Morning Shift with Tony Sarabia. The occasion: to discuss revered record collector and Chicago music historian Bob Abrahamian and the Numero Group compilation he inspired, Eccentric Soul: Sitting in The Park. Tony and Rob’s conversation, which includes stories about Bob and clips from the album, can be streamed by clicking here.
For this month’s NTS broadcast, we broke out the boom box and unleashed a whole shoebox of cassette obscurities from our personal collections. Reasoning that cassettes—more than any other singular format—embody a particular aesthetic, we’ve included a gallery of covers to help contextualize the material featured in this set. Rap and new age both experienced booms in the ’80s and therefore represent a large share of the program. However, the cassette allowed weirdos of all persuasions and abilities to circulate their output affordably (see above). Here’s a few favorites:
Split Image – S/T (1990) ℅ Technical Difficulty Productions, Houston, TX
Semply Fressh Posse – The Adventures of the… (1994) Jah International, Jamestown, NC
V/A – Mountain Valley Music (1990) John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC
Sounds Of Papa New Guinea (unknown) Swinging Axe Productions, Northridge, CA
Stephan Micus – Ocean (1986) Self-Released, Ludwigsburg, Germany
Spring – Funkin’ With The Rhythm and Blues (1995) Sounds of Spring Music, Clemmons, NC
Hill Tribe Music (1992) Disco Cassette Chiangmai, Thailand
Honey Dipp – Honey Dipp Style (1995) Kam-Rod Records, Fayetteville, NC
Filed under: Sitting In The Park
(Bob Abrahamian with his grandfather)
Eccentric Soul: Sitting in the Park hits the streets today, almost exactly two years since the untimely death of Sitting in the Park host, Bob Abrahamian. In the wake of Bob’s death, so many tributes were held—both locally and internationally—that it’s shocking to consider he wasn’t a conventional celebrity. He did not host a nationally syndicated radio show, nor did he travel far and wide to play selections from his enviable 45 collection. His homegrown passion simply energized a network of soul collectors found across the globe, and his sudden passing sent ripples well beyond this community. Even Questlove took notice:
We wanted to do something significant as a celebration and tribute to Bob’s work and we feel Sitting in the Park achieves that. Initially, we set out to continue the work we had embarked on together, and in doing so, I think we have created a collection of music that Bob would have loved—a compilation essential to even the most particular soul savant. We are unbelievably saddened that Bob isn’t with us to see the culmination of all his efforts, but it’s inspiring to have a hand in keeping his memory alive. Proceeds from every CD, LP, and download go to Bob’s sister, who is maintaining his significant archives. We hope you enjoy.
Filed under: Sitting In The Park
(Bob Abrahamian, far right, in the WHPK studios, mid-’90s)
Eccentric Soul: Sitting In The Park was conceived of as a tribute to our friend and colleague Bob Abrahamian, his weekly radio show “Sitting In The Park” (WHPK), and the Chicago artists he championed. Meticulously researched and tirelessly compiled, “Sitting In The Park” brought Bob face to face with the sweet soul artists whose far-flung recordings had quickly grown from hobby to obsession. So where better to celebrate Bob’s time on terrestrial airwaves than aboard the universal college radio station of the future, NTS? This special broadcast includes a conversation between co-host Rob Sevier and Otis Brown, whose “Southside Chicago” became an anthem and theme song for Bob’s long-running radio show. Bob was never able to sit down with the Brown, so we engaged the Memphis transplant in a fashion consistent with Bob’s thorough interview style (“Sitting In The Park” episodes are archived at the website of the same name).