The Voice of Doom

the not-metal show: Cornelius A. Frankenstein / Megapolisomancy

Much theory and not much practice.

This is the playlist for an intersession pickup show broadcast on KZSU on March 30th, 2000 at 6pm, PST.


I started out with roughly three main ideas for this show:

  1. Follow the format of my old show "The Machine":
  2. Let the lyrics drive. Send them up the middle.
  3. Fuse it together with a stream of blippy samples on the high end and some droning industrial ambient tracks on the low end.


the main playlist

Quixotic - "The Seasons are the Reason"
off of Night and Day
(track 13, 3:26)
Mostly mid-tempo, bass heavy rock, with slow female vox. From the A-file.
(I bumped this set up to the opening position at the last minute, in the vain hope that this track would sound less silly following a heavy metal show. )
hattiffateners - "North Pole"
off of Rabbitt, Rabbitt
(track 5 1:10)
Heavy, slow, cool sounding, as a fellow DJ put it: "cold & dark", which as usual is allright by me. From the A-file.
Involution - "Acid Clambake"
off of Involution
(track 9 7:02)
echoy & ominous piece. A good industrial disk. From the A-file. On the Tone Casualties label.

Stereolab - "Free Design"
off of The Free Design single
(track 1 3:43)
Slow female vox; Rapid pop (a touch African?) From the A-file.
(This was mixed with Track 6 of the Involution CD listed above).
Silver Apples - "Oscillations"
off of Silver Apples
(track 1 2:45)
Features the of primitive electronics of this duo more prominently than the other tracks on the disk (which are more drum heavy).
(Here the lyrics address the sonics, particularly the blippy stream.)
Echo Art - "Blue Trance"
off of Porto Sonoro
(track 1 8:00)
Excellent track off of a pretty strange CD: Echo Art is a group from Genoa Italy, but here they're collaborating with a Moroccan Sufi group, Gnawa. Spoken female vox. Heavy bass strumming. Male vox in background (trad. African). From the A-file.

Bruce Haack - "Program Me"
off of Hush Little Robot
(track 7 1:15)
Goofy little piece off a collection of odes to machines. Ostensibly these are kids bedtime stories. From the A-file.
DJ Me DJ you - "Rainbows & Robots"
off of Rainbows & Robots
Another silly little piece. From the A-file.
Gary Numan & the Tubeway Army - "This Machine"
off of The Plan
(track 6)
This is the classic recording, included on this new release of some older Numan material. From the A-file.

Swans - "Where does a body end?"
off of The Great Annihilator
(track 13 3:36 )
Goth, male vocal: "You're body begins where the memory ends..."
the Kajang - "Funeral Music of the Kajang"
off of Music of Indonesia #18
(track 3 7:16)
The genre of this music is called "Basing". Performers don't seem to be listed on the CD (which is one of the best of a great series of 20, on Smithsonian/Folkways).
Patti Smith - "Blue Poles"
off of Peace and Noise
(track 7 5:15)
"... infinitely winding"

Tom Waits - "What's he building in there?"
off of Mule Variations
(track 8)
Dr. Octagon - "Biology 101"
off of Dr. Octagon
(track 17)
"Can science achieve a unified theory of complex systems?"
the Voice of Doom - "Cornielius A. Frankenstein"
A DAT of my random "spring harp cage" mixed with the sound of a Braun coffee maker, plus a live reading of a short piece I wrote (text can be found below).
Faith & the Muse - "The Silver Circle"
off of Annwyn, Beneath the Waves
(track 2)
Female vox: "Come alive!", fast pulsing, guitar beat (only faintly celtic)

Mountain Goats off of Nothing for Juice
(track 7, 3:29)
mid-tempo, sad-sounding, elemental lyrics
Miss Murgatroid - "Nature's Law"
off of Wavelenth Infinity (disk I track 15 4:40)
drone alternating with speech
Mandible Chatter - "The Lizard and I"
off of measuring the marigolds
(track 6)
This industrial noise duo has now turned almost entirely to a sort of psychedelic folk pop (inside info: they have arguments about the merits of Donovan). From the A-file.

Saliva of the Future - "Sulfur Trails"
off of Saliva
(track 5, 4:35)
Female vox: "life passes before the eye", slow drum & bass beat, lots of high blippy stuff
(I don't remember at this point, but it could be that this track is what started me thinking about using a bed of high blippy samples throughout the show. The remarks by the Examiner music critic about "sterile burbles and beeps" was just a coincidence.)
The Edge
off of music of the Truong Son Mountains
(track 20 1:56 & track 21 1:48 & track 22 3:00)
Vietnamese music typically has an unusual quality to it, unlike any other Asian music I've heard... music from the hill tribes in Vietnam seems even stranger. First: Solo "free reed gourd mouth organ"; then vox + mouth organ
Shriekback - "The Reptile and I"
off of Big Night Music
(side B track 3 4:29)
soft and quiet. "The reptile and I/all things to everyone/the reptile and I". (An old favorite of mine, resurrected to parallel the Mandible Chatter track in the last set.)

towards a new science of megapolisomancy

Bill Ding - "Waterway Systems"
This album was favored by Stefan, Gabe and some folks at KFJC...
But I had to go and play one of the more mediocre tracks from it
Noam Chomsky - "Privatization"
off of Propaganda Control
spoken vox. Played simultaneously with:
Noam Chomsky - "Democracy & Free Markets"
off of Free Market Fantasies
Also spoken vox. Which in turn was played simultaneously with:
Jack Kerouac - "Poems (fragments)"
off of Readings by Jack Kerouac on the Beat Generation
On the Rhino label. This particular track is about ten minutes long, consisting of short pieces of descriptive poetry/prose, with enough space in between to hear some of the above two pieces.
Noodle Muffin - "Republicrats"
off of Teaspoons of Sin
(track 13)
Label: Fyoog State Records
June Tabor - "Pharoh"
off of A Quiet Eye
Slow female vox, "folk" from KZSU's A-file. "We're all working for the Pharoh..."
Jack Kerouac & Joe Strummer - "MacDougal Street Blues"
off of Kicks Joy Darkness
A Kerouac tribute compilation.
Mindwrecker - "Bike Riot"
off of Mindwrecker
(track 8 6:06)
Samplefest about the '97 Critical Mass police riot from a local electronic group.
This got me thinking about doing this set, which was supposed to be about urban political issues or something. Blame it on them
Hasidic New Wave - "Guiliani Uber Alles (P.G. Mix)"
off of the Guiliani Uber Alles single
(track 2)
Ani Difranco - "Fuel"
off of Little Plastic Castle
Leonard Cohen - "Democracy"
off of The Future

the low list

This is the low droning tracks that were mixed in with the music on the main playlist above. I had some elaborate plans for multiple CDs that I might have used for this, but the third CD player spazzed out on me, and I resorted to my old reliable vinyl:

Involution - "Trapheezeeoh"
(track 6) off of Involution
From the A-file. On the Tone Casualties
Louis and Bebe Baron - track 2 off of the Forbiden Planet soundtrack
Zoviet France - all four sides (often two at once) off of Shouting at the Ground
Coil - both sides of How to Destroy Angels

the high list

These are the tracks I used as raw material to make a DAT tape of high pitched, blippy snippets. Each snippet was typically less than a minute long. Most of them came from the beginning 'introductory' section of the track. I used each snippet three times in a row, with about a second of silence in between.

Louis & Bebe Baron - "Decelleration"
off of the Forbidden Planet soundtrack
(track 2 0:52)
Gino Robair - "Large Plate 2"
off of Plates, Blocks Cups & Hair
(track 2 3:45)
ELph vs. Coil - "We have always been here"
off of Worship the Glitch
(track 7 6:09)
Yoko Ono - "Fly"
off of Fly
(side II track 4 22:48)
Matthew Sperry - "Nut Clusters"
off of Fudge Bridges and his little box of candy
(track 3 3:22)
Les Baxter - "Quiet Village"
off of The Lost Episode
(track 2 3:24)
Arecibo - "Pulse Burst Decryption"
off of trans-plutonian transmissions
(track 6 12:00)
Tim Perkis - "Getting Even"
off of Perkolator
(track 6 3:32)
Gino Robair - "Gnat Opener"
off of Singular Pleasures
(track 1)
Q.R. Ghazala - track 2
off of Threnody - The New Victims of Hiroshima
(track 2 1:10)
Sun Ra Sextet - "Round Midnight"
off of Live at the Village Vanguard
(track 1 21:04)
Mindwrecker - "Master Plan"
off of Mindwrecker
(track 11 4:15)
Frogs - " "
off of Sounds of the Earth
(track 1 24:42)
Namanax - "Aquanax"
off of Audiotronic
(track 3 18:19)
Offramp - "Live at the CoCo Club"
off of Off Chance
(track 12 8:03)
Xenakis - "Diamorphoses"
off of electronic music
(track 1 6:53)
Miya Masaoka - "Life+ "
off of Compositions - Improvisations
Pauline Oliveros - "Alien Bog"
off of Alien Bog/Beautiful Soup
(track 1 33:15)

the text: "Cornelius A. Frankenstein"

Mary Shelley's novel "Frankenstein",
is haunted by the ghosts of many movies.

Reading it gave me a renewed appreciation
for the early 30s Frankenstein film.

Everyone knows of course that the monster
of the novel learns to speak eloquently,
while the movie has him remain

But it was a suprise to find that the
stiched together body covered with scars,
brought to life by a lightening
bolt... all of that is entirely of the
film.  The film does not *directly*
contradict Shelley's version, but it is
certainly not supported by it..

Shelley seems to imagine Victor
Frankenstein mixing up flesh out of raw
chemicals.  The phrase "spark of being" is
used once, but there's no other allusion
to electricity. And his trips to the graveyard
are more a matter of anatomical studies,
understanding death in order to tease out
the secret of life.  He explictly denies
being able to revive the dead -- which
would be an obvious spinoff app of the
technology of the film.

The monster is extremely tall -- seven
feet tall -- and also strong, fast and
agile, though not quite super-human.

Here's Victor's first impression of his

         His limbs were
         in proportion, and I had selected his
         features as beautiful.  Beautiful!  Great
         God! his yellow skin scarcely covered
         the work of muscles and arteries
         beneath; his hair was of a lustrous
         black, and flowing; his teeth of a
         pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances
         only formed a more horrid contrast with
         his watery eyes, that seemed almost of
         the same colour as the dun-white sockets
         in which they were set, his shriveled
         complexion and straight black lips.

And that's about it for the physical
description.  There's no menion of scars
or seams.

And despite being told repeatedly how
horrible he looks, he sounds more like a
tall goth with a skin condition.


There are all sorts of possibilities in
this material only hinted at by Shelley.

For example, Frankenstein regards these
creations as a new species, and worries
about them breeding a new race that preys
on humans.

It's not clear if the monster could
breed with a human female.

(It also isn't clear how well
Shelley, writing around 1818,
understood these matters...
But then, Edgar Rice Burroughs
remained confused on through the
1940s.  And we will not ask where
Spock came from.)

What if Frankenstein had created the
bride, and sent the pair of them off
to the new world?  The mind reels at the
thought of the new genre of cowboys,
indians and monsters...  (And suppose the
monsters sided with the native americans?)

Or maybe they would settle up North, in
the French provinces (since they mind the
cold, not at all).  They could find
themselves recruited to fight the English
colonies down south, and re-make the map
of America...

But really it seems more likely
to me that they'd just settle in
Europe.  How monstrous are they,
after all?


What if Frankenstein were not quite
such an irresponsible 'parent'?

Charmed by the little smile
with which the big lug first
greets existance, Victor resolves
to give him a solid classical education.

The monster is a quick study, with
maturity of an adult combined with the
intellectual flexibility of a child.

Victor settles down with Elizabeth, and
she helps out with the lessons, glad to be
let in on the project.  They legally adopt
the monster, formally giving him the name
of Frankenstein (and unwittingly allaying
confusion in the minds of millions
everywhere).  But everyone just calls him
Cornelius.  Cornelius A. Frankenstein.

Victor publishes his results and they all
become celebrities, invited to tour Europe.

At first Cornelius
often wears dark glasses
to hide his watery eyes, but people
seem to get used to them after awhile.
And a young oculist makes a name for himself
by coming up with a formula of eyedrops
to treat the condition.

Everyone is impressed with the
monster's elegance, and the heavy
make-up he uses to cover his yellow
skin gives him a kind of foppish,
ambiguous sexuality.  All the women
want to know if Frankenstein created
*everything* about him in proportion.

Elizabeth sucumbs to the temptation,
but the divorce is relatively
Discretion being the better part of valor
when contemplating a duel with a 7ft tall

Having pulled a Woody Allen, Elizabeth
finds it advisable to move to France.  The
monster becomes a pianist, renown for his
impressive reach.  They hang out a lot
with Chopin and Liszt, until George Sand
writes a novel about them, using rather
transparent pseuodnyms (there being few 7
foot tall artificial humans
around). Resenting the unflattering
portrait, the couple move back to Geneva.
The trips to the South of France had been
nice, but they were very hard on the
monster's allergies.

Victor Frankenstein himself retreats to
Scottland and earns a fortune breeding
a new line of pets with the worst
features of cats, dogs and horses.

They're like hissing Chihauhaus with
little razor sharp hooves that chew up
the hard wood floors.  But people love
them anyway.

   (total: 6:30)


The Church spent quite a lot of time
debating the deep theological
implications of these developments

(Expressing an attitude summed up very
well recently by an AM radio personality
that asked "Do clones have *souls*?").

But the Church dithered around on this for
a few years, and the obvious popularity
that Cornelius enjoyed helped discourage
any overt restrictions against creating
new species.

Pretty soon the economic importance of the
new creations trumped the theological
implications, which is perhaps not a great


Victor continues his researches,
And realizes that it isn't quite so
difficult to revive the recently

Medical science rejoices, and if a
monster gets a little excited and
crushes a few throats, well that's a
fixable problem now.

Things are threatening to get a little
crowded with the expected lifespan of much
of Europe shooting off to infinity, but in
the time honored juggling act of
technological advances, Victor gets to
work on cranking out fixes for the
inevitable problems of a new biological
industrial revolution so close on the
heels of the first.

He comes up with a few good trys,
notably a line of food animals that
can live on almost anything... (rancid
cooking oil; crab grass; wet
newspapers... even Liverwurst).

The scavengers turn out to be very
good at cleaning up human messes
and greatly simplify the sewage
treatment problems of London and

But it turns out that the cutting edge of
science has passed Victor by.  He's
greatly respected as the founder of
but once he opened the door, there
was no stopping the young turks:

They're a veritable fountain of
alternate monster designs, and they
hit on a very sucessful competitor
that's less territorial, with strong
herd instincts. It enjoys living
together in tight quarters.
They hardly mind being packed away
into ghettos when they're not needed
for anything.

After awhile Victor is dismissed
as a bitter cranky old man who
hasn't had a good idea in years.

And he just won't let go of that
obsession with strangle-proof

  (Additonal: 3 mins)


Closing reading:

         To examine the causes of life, we must
         first have recourse to death.  I became
         acquainted with the science of anatomy,
         but this was not sufficient; I must also
         observe the natural decay and corruption
         of the human body.

         [...] I was forced to spend the days and
         nights in vaults and charnel-houses.

         I paused, examining and analyzing all
         the minutiae of causation, as
         exemplified in the change from life to
         death, and death to life, until from the
         midst of this darkness a sudden light
         broke in upon me - a light so brilliant
         and wondrous, yet so simple,
         that while I became dizzy with the
         immensity of the prospect which it
         illustrated, I was surprised that among
         so many men of genius who has directed
         their enquires towards the same science,
         that I alone should be reserved to
         discover so astonishing a secret.

         I succeeded in discovering the cause of
         generation and life; nay, more, I became
         myself capable of bestowing animation
         upon lifeless matter.

    (Additional: 3 mins)



KZSU is the Stanford radio station, heard in the Bay Area on 90.1 FM (if you're lucky), and over the internet at (if you're really lucky).

For more info, see: the KZSU pages.

The Machine

I used to do a regular radio show that I called "The Machine".

For more info about that show, you might look here: KZSU's doom pages

For way too much info about my thoughts about radio and so on, you might start here: The doomfiles: The Machine

KZSU's A-file

What's the A-file? It's a pile of recently released music that we've decided is good stuff that deserves a push. DJ's are technically required to play something like ten tracks per show out of the A-file, though most play more than that. How does something get into the A-file? Well, hopeful labels & bands send us stuff, DJs volunteer to review it and paste short write-ups on the front, then it gets passed to the music directors, who look at the reviews, maybe give it another listen or two, and decide if it's "A-file" worthy (or if it merely gets sent to our main library... unlike some college radio stations, KZSU tries not to throw stuff away). There's a few other checks and balances in the system, but that's about it.

If you'd like to see what's currently in the a-file, you can view it on line: The Current A-File . If you're curious about something in the A-file, you can always try phoning in a request at (415) 723-9010. If it's half-ways appropriate for the current show, maybe they'll get it on the air (particularly if you can give them the A-file number with your request).

This page was written by: