The Golding Institute

Maybe this particular "Institute" should be "InstitutIONIZED!" Ha ha ha!

"On Golding POND!" HA HE..dploop

*special introductory paragraph!
*Sounds Of The American Fast Food Restaurants 7"
*Sounds Of The San Francisco Adult Bookstores 7"
*Sounds Of The International Airport Restrooms 7"
*Final Relaxation

Now I've seen EVERYTHING (including a naked woman) - The Golding Institute releases... Are you ready for this? I'm not sure you're ready for this. Are you shitting down? Good - shit up and it pops out your mouth! The Golding Institute releases parodies of those "Field Recording" albums you see sometimes, especially around old people and hipsters. Your Sounds Of the American Prairies, Sounds Of The Humpback Whales, etc. Ambient nature sounds. Sounds Of The Rainforest, etc. The Golding Institute releases PARODIES of them (and a relaxation record). Have you heard of a crazier notion? What kind of Institute would waste their resources on nonsense like this? Well, funny you asked. I'll tell you what kind - the kind helmed by famed underground semi- celebrity Gregg Turkington, founder of Amarillo Records, creator of the top-selling records Great Phone Calls and Telephuck You!, original (unrecorded) drummer for Caroliner Rainbow, former VP for HazTech Corporation, one-time tour manager for such acts as Link Wray and Mr. Bungle, liner notes author for the reissue of the first Meat Puppets CD, webmaster of The Unofficial Frank Sinatra Jr. Web Site, author of an upcoming record review book - WITH A TWIST!, sometime music journalist most famous for his Dead Kennedys biography (which graces the official Alternative Tentacles site even today), quote provider for Jon Wurster's hilarious Rock, Rot & Roll CD, "song poem" provider for the ongoing MSR Madness series and member or guiding light behind such obscure yet world-famous underground acts as the Bon Larvis Band, The Easygoings, Faxed Head, Neil Hamburger, Three Doctors Band and Zip Code Rapists.

Yep. That kind.

Sounds Of The American Fast Food Restaurants 7" - Planet Pimp 1996.
Rating = 6

In the beginning, it wasn't anything but a concept. An oddball concept, but simply a concept. This record doesn't really beg to be listened to multiple times. Certainly, it's nice to hear Australian narrator Ryan Kerr expounding on the historical legacy of the American fast food chain before Gregg Turkington takes the reins (for real fun, listen closely at the end of the record as Gregg's voice magically morphs into Ryan's mid-sentence - all through the magic of technology!), but most of the actual field recordings sound like muffled wind noises with unintelligible voices buried beneath them. Granted, when you CAN hear them, they're hilariously depressing (ex. right after Gregg pontificates on how Taco Bell allows Americans to order traditional Spanish meals in the traditional Spanish language, you clearly hear a guy ask for a "taco pack"), but those moments are few and far between.

The saving grace is, obviously, the reason you bought the record in the first place, the funny narration. Gregg soberly surveys the landscapes of these American institutions and wonders aloud at the beauty and wonder (and, in the case of the Hot-Dog-On-A-Stick lemonade pumpers, SEXUAL ECSTASY!) that he finds within. While, of course, you the listener shake your head and wonder what on earth would make a human being waste his time on such a ridiculous project.

I for one loved to record ambient sounds when I was a child. I recently posted a letter to the artist on this topic, and herein reprint my words in their entirety:

I was REALLY into taping ambient sounds at about age 10-11. I had tapes where me and my friend Kathy (who passed away at a tragically early age, if I may depress you for a moment) would wait for a car to come by, put our tape recorders in the curb and go hide in the bushes. So it's like 60 minutes of "WHOOOOOOOSH! that was a good one!" with the highlight being a guy on a motorcycle who stopped and said "Ya'al better not be throwing pine cones at me!"

I also used to take the tape recorder to the arcade and record the sounds of the games. And the grocery store, drug store, pet store -- I had an EXCELLENT recording from the pet store of the least knowledgable pet store employee in history. Here's an exchange from the tape:

me (age 10): "what kind of fish is that?"
employee: "oh that one? that's a salt water fish!"
me (age 10): (pause) "oh. ooo! what's that colorful one?"
employee: "that one? that's a fresh water fish."

it was fantastic! too bad those tapes are gone the way of Erik Estrada.

(Mexico, doing infomercials)


As you can see, I have quite a way with language, even when I am not to receive any payment for my efforts. This is out of a love and respect for the written word. Regardless of what my small-minded, jealous critics believe, I do not use profanity for profanity's sake, nor do I believe that mindless shock tactics are entertaining. Profanity, like church words, are only entertaining if used in an intelligent, novel manner - for example, if I were to call my critics a bunch of talentless douchebags, that wouldn't be entertaining at all. It would be trite. On the other hand, if I suggested that my critics, oh, I don't know, jam their packages into a big lawnmower and mix me up a Ball Shake, then that would be literature. It's a subtle difference but an important one. And it is this difference that separates the genius from those who merely imitate his style without bringing any brains to the table, like Robert Christgau.

Back to the record - I don't want to ruin the entire piece for you, so I won't tell you about the "remarkably different ambience" you'll find on the Subway field recording, nor hint at which yellow pages section Gregg believes should contain Straw Hat Pizza belong if. I will, however, warn you not to base your opinion of the entire series on this first entry. The other two records are skyrockets in flight above this one, even if the foolish Young Turk believes that the bookstore one is weak.

Add your thoughts?

Sounds Of The San Francisco Adult Bookstores 7" - Planet Pimp 1997.
Rating = 8

This is messed that up - this is where The Golding Institute TRULY became an uproarious cavalcade of ridiculousness. Having just visited a particularly gruesome section of San Francisco called The Mission District, I can attest to the fact that the city is filled with XXX theatres and bookstores, along with more strung out homeless hippies of all ages than you've ever dreamt of in your most wonderful fantasies. Literally - there were like thousands in this one four-block radius. And I certainly saw them all on the afternoon when I trekked out to the Civic Center for the Intel Developer Forum. Especially since I got lost going to the Civic Center (which was like two blocks from my hotel, btw) and made the mistake of crossing on Ellis Street, where I had the misfortune of passing by a soup kitchen line, forcing myself to witness and ponder the miserable depths that human beings will allow themselves to sink to without committing suicide. Eventually I found the Civic Center and discovered that it was like five different buildings and I didn't know which one to go to. Using deductive reasoning, I decided to try the "Exposition Center" because some guy told me to. There I completed my journey and was told that the Intel Developer Forum was actually taking place at the CONFERENCE Center, not the Civic Center. So I took a goddamned fucking cab to the Conference Center, which was conveniently located two blocks from my hotel, in the other direction.

Point being that Ryan Kerr's narration on this 7" record like your Dad used to listen to is FUNNY! He dwells nonstop in the language of the doomed, implanting bawdy, naughty images of nakedy sexness into the mind of the listener before setting forth with muddy, windy recordings of extraordinarily dull moments taking place in adult bookstores. We get to hear an ADULT XXX bookstore employee whistle while's working (WOW!), a female worker on the phone "baring her soul. and maybe some other things as well!" (she's not making a phone sex call - it's just some business-related nothingness), some construction men pounding hammers into new "self-masturbation booths," employees "taking out their misery on their depraved clientele" (it's not even clear what's going on here, but it doesn't sound very miserable!) and the music of Elvis Presley pumping through a bookstore for gay men (wow!). EXCRUCIATINGLY dull ambience with EXCRUCIATINGLY entertaining narration. This makes for an EXCRUCIATINGLY good cockfight! And it comes with a free tissue!

Gregg Turkington once told the media that he despises this record and gave several reasons why, but Gerald Ford disputed every one.

Add your thoughts?

Sounds Of The International Airport Restrooms 7" - Planet Pimp 1998.
Rating = 8

I was just in the shower cleansing my body of five layers of human shit when a joke entered my consciousness - a joke of such magnitude that its existence may very well rock the foundations on which our global alliances are built. But I must speak. I will not be silenced, nor will my funny joke. Please note that I do not take credit for CREATING the joke - I simply served as the conduit that transported it from the spiritual plane into our own.

Husband: "Honey, what is that stuff you're putting on your skin?"
Wife: "Exfoliator."
Husband: "What a coincidence! Last night I ran into my EX and I FULLY ATE HER!

NEXT DAY: It is now the next day. Apparently that stupid joke meant quite a bit to me, because I told it to somebody in my DREAM last night. Hooo boy. I keep having recurring dreams about a really really really scary non- existent movie. Ooooh! And the other night, I had a dream that one of my back lower teeth was cracking and splitting apart. When I woke up, I quickly put my tongue on top of the tooth to make sure it was still there, and - GET THIS - I discovered that I was missing a filling. Unfortunately, this probably means that I dislodged, masticated and swallowed the damn thing while asleep. As for this single, it features an introduction by Ryan Kerr, and narration by both Gregg in a slow hick drawl and his now-wife Simone Don, whom he had the nerve to drag into his filthy underworld even before they'd had their first date.

The appeal of this disc is slightly different than for the other two - the narration itself is not very funny. It's mostly centered on the histories of these various international countries. What's so darmed entertaining is how a serious discussion of Hawaiian history or South Korean culture inevitably leads into a disgusting tape of a toilet flushing, a stream of urine hitting porcelain, zipper noises, a guy hocking a loogie, a really loud blast of hand-drying machine hot air or a voice from a speaker announcing that you are not required to give money to solicitors. It's pathetic. Pathetically HILARIOUS!

And there is absolutely nothing else to say about this record. Except that it comes with a free toilet seat cover, as well as a claim that "As a courtesy to our non- English speakers an Esperanto transcription of this recording is included inside this record sleeve." Ha! Thus far, this is the final release by The Golding Institute, although the back sleeve lists a number of compelling future releases including "Sounds Of The American Science Fiction Conventions," "Sounds Of The American Fast Food Restaurants, Vol. 2" and "Sounds Of Bloopers From The `Sounds Of' Series."

Reader Comments
running out of bands, eh?
Hey Mark,

I've been on a downloading spree recently looking for things I've never heard before, and this was understandably one of the first things I went for. I actually found somebody with a vinyl-rip of this (the Airport Restrooms one) on the internet, believe that?

Anyway, I'm just tickled right down to the bone that this kind of thing exists. It just makes me happy, I don't know. They remind me of when I was listening to college radio late at night and they ran out of normal material and just played frog noises for a few hours. There needs to be more absurdity on record!!!

And not just by Ween.

More Stooges though!!! We definitely need more of that. They can still do it. People don't just rot away their talent. Besides, they're excellent live!

In any case, more Golding Institute definitely needs to come around. Preferably on CD since vinyl "comedy ambient" albums aren't available at most local ma and pop record stores.

Add your thoughts?

* Final Relaxation - Ipecac 2006 *
Rating = 10

You know how those Incredibly Strange Records books rave about boring horseshit like Rusty "Baste Your Boobies" Warren and A Crazy Mallet Album just because they have funny covers and "they sure don't make 'em like that any more!"? Well, in forty years, when we're all a little bit older and taller, I hope some young hipster of the new age runs across this CD in an antique shop, has his curiosity aroused by the advertising blurb on the back ("YOUR TICKET TO DEATH THROUGH HYPNOTIC SUGGESTION"), takes it home, puts it in his Cyber5000 Robot Space-Unit Mind Beamer, and has his brain blown to bits by one of the strangest comedy records ever released. That's the fate that this CD deserves, especially since it will likely only sell about 15 copies upon its initial release. It is truly warped, endlessly laugh-out-loud funny and absolutely one of a kind. Forget your sketch humnor albums, throw away your novelty music, eat your standup comic CDs, use your prank call tapes as toilet paper, and clean the ceiling of the barn with your sitcom tie-ins: this comedy CD, unlike any other ever released, quite literally WANTS YOU TO DIE.

This time, The Golding Institute has branched out from its 7" "Sounds Of..." series to present a full-length parody of a Relaxation Tape. Do a Yahoo! search and you'll find dozens of these for sale. Their goal (according to one sales pitch) is to serve as "an excellent tool for people who are 'stressed out', but don't know how to create their own internal calm. It is for people who can't take a vacation at the moment, but can pop in the tape, escape for 30 minutes, and then open up their eyes and feel refreshed. It enables you to relax from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet through visual imagery." And this is precisely what Final Relaxation aims to achieve -- only without the 'open up their eyes' part. The goal of Final Relaxation is to make you die.

The narrator, presumably a psychiatrist of some sort, is an extremely creepy man. He begins innocuously enough by naming a few celebrities who have used the CD, outlining where it can be purchased, and issuing a warning to people who shouldn't use it. However, about two minutes in, his facade as a Kevorkian-like euthanasia proponent begins to crack in quite a disturbing way as he gives his idea of people who should use it: "Do you have difficulty sleeping sometimes? Have you ever had a restaurant meal that was unsatisfying, and left you feeling a strange sense of dismay?.... Do you find yourself annoyed when a household guest leaves soiled tissues in between the cushions of your couch?"

From this point on, Final Relaxation brilliantly subverts every cliched convention of the Yuppie-friendly relaxation tape. Let's do a quick side-by-side comparison so you can see what I mean:

RELAXATION TAPE: Accompanies its soothing narration with new age music or nature sounds

FINAL RELAXATION: Accompanies its sickeningly-voiced cretin narrator with a low-pitched electronic hum that rises sharply in volume as the disc progresses

RELAXATION TAPE: Helps you to relax each body part one at a time until you are completely at peace

FINAL RELAXATION: "How can we really relax when we are so aware of the sharp stabbing pains in our knees? Do you feel that? It hurts!"

RELAXATION TAPE: Helps you to realize that minor personal failings and everyday letdowns are inconsequential in the grand scheme of life

FINAL RELAXATION: "One could spend a lifetime.... watching... watching... watching!... watching! ... a television chef prepare a soup that you will never... ever... ever be able to duplicate. This time -- is wasted time. You will not be able to cook like a television chef! Your time on Earth will be spent failing....."

RELAXATION TAPE: Asks you to imagine that you are relaxing on a beautiful island, by the ocean

FINAL RELAXATION: "I want you to visualize a noose around your neck, that is being tightened by an Oriental woman."

This is how the entire 32-minute CD plays out -- sometimes simply absurd, other times utilizing the most disturbing (and even horrifying) imagery ever to appear on a comedy album (I'm specifically thinking of the 'teeth' portion, so listen for that). But if your sense of humor is sufficiently dark, you will laugh and laugh and laugh some more because nearly every line on here is a winner. You could literally drop your CD needle at any point on the disc and find a clever aside or hideously sick turn of phrase. Here, I'll do it right now to show you. This is entirely at random:

"An unpleasant feeling of indigestion? Your last meal is screaming to be let out! Let it stay. An irritable bowel will no longer be a problem for you, in approximately... nine minutes."

Buy the hell out of it. Buy two copies and give one out as a gag gift to a hippy meditating relative. Artists this funny and clever deserve to be rich, not 'cult'. It's on Ipecac, for Pete's sake! Don't you trust MIKE PATTON??? Everybody trusts MIKE PATTON!!!!

Reader Comments
way better than war at the with mystics. I know what you mean about the teeth section. when dentistry collides with dysentery no ones a winner. what's the best time to go to a dentist? 2:30.
The thing I love about this album is that it starts off as a straightforward, SNL-level parody of relaxation tapes. Ha ha-- what if corporate relaxation tapes were geared toward the totally, irretrievably depressed?

But then it KEEPS GOING. Still: ha ha-- I watch Wonder Showzen and Bill Hicks specials, and I can handle the darkest comedy you could possibly throw at me. I'm the most nihilistic of the nihilistic...

BUT IT KEEPS GOING. And it gets darker. And darker. And you start to squirm. And the background "music" starts to grasp you. And NOTHING is there to wink at you and reassure you that it's all a joke. And the choking sounds begin. And the album ends with a "goodbye."

Album. Of. The. Year. I can't think of another comedy album that's so unwaveringly, hilariously, mercilessly committed to its conceit. Thank you for introducing me to it.

Ryan Kelly
Hi Mark,

I haven't emailed in since the days of my exams and dissertation many months ago, but I have kept reading! Your appearances on TV are very good - well done good sir.

Just writing in about Final Relaxation/a bit about Neil Hamburger. I was this past weekend at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival, curated by Mike Patton and the Melvins. Oh man, it was awesome. Anyway, at the merchandise stand there was an Ipecac records bit, and I was in the mood for new CDs. I spotted Final Relaxation and noticed Turkington's name on the front, so asked the guy what it was, and he said "a guide to killing yourself with an electronic noise in the background" and then seemed keener to sell me something else. However, the CD was already sold, it had to be mine!

A couple of hours later I thought "this seems like if anyone has heard it, it will be Mark Prindle", thinking I could point you to it, then my semi photographic memory kicked in and I could remember seeing it on your page. Anyway, it's freaking brilliant. Listened to it about 4 times in the last day and a half (still alive!) and it treads the line between hilarity and terror so nicely. So many big laughs, yet I would only listen to it with one or friends - it's one of things a lot of people just wouldn't get, isn't it? His voice is very creepy, and as someone else pointed out, towards the end there are very few winks to let you in on the joke. It's a clear 10 though, no doubt about it! I have felt strangely dissatisfied with a meal in a restaurant... I would love to get the old 7"s, so gonna look for them.

At the festival Hamburger was playing, and it was superb (my only other live Hamburger was supporting Tenacious D, so a different ball park). In the queue for Fantomas (on before Hamburger) I was acting as some kind of one man PR machine in my excitement, managed to whip up a bit of fuss in the people around me, so they were all excited about Neil! He didn't disappoint. Brilliant.

Also, Mastodon and the Melvins played The Bit together, meaning there were 3 drummers! It was the most powerful thing I have ever seen. Melvins set was great, but kinda fell into madness at the end, the crowd started getting slightly annoyed as the Big Business bassist was slagging off some dude in the crowd and Buzz was making noise. To save the day, Dale Crover got up on his drum stool and did this hilarious shuffling old man dance for about five minutes, which got the crowd onside. Was one of the funniest things I have ever seen!

The only bad bit was - No Neil Hamburger merchandise/CDs. Woulda bought some stuff from him! Also, I was sure I would be the first guy to comment on this CD!

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