Your introduction to:
From the notes to the 1968 LP The Way Out Record for Children:
This Wild and wonderful record offers another "Way Out" for children from typical recordings. Our first three recordings prove that our simple philosophy of love and reverse-psychedelics works. We do fill the senses with an almost infinite range of concepts, abstracts, words, sounds, advice and a contract with order and form. But we know that kids compute - so we ask them to use our basics and stretch to the sky. They do- because kids are turned on.
In this Wild and Wonderful time we hereby take the slogan "Drop Out" - turn it around - and print our own button for children ..."Drop in - We love you"
- Dimension 5
Dimension 5 was founded in 1963 by Esther Nelson and Bruce Haack, who collaborated on 11 children's records that combined electronic music, storytelling and a psychedelic worldview. Aside from making some of the most atypical children's records ever, the pair picked up rave reviews from the academic and popular media, got accolades from the American Library Association and the New York City Board of Education, and even guest-starred on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood! The label survived the death of vinyl by transferring six of its releases to cassette circa 1986-1989, and in fact, these are still available from Dimension 5 today.
Even though you probably haven't ever heard of Bruce and Esther, their music is well worth finding if you are a fan of Moog/early electronica, robots, dancing, imagination and/or altered states of consciousness. Most contemporary listeners express disbelief that these recordings are intended for children in the first place, as they can be quite sophisticated intellectually and musically. Even the storytelling segments, which are probably the closest these records get to traditional children's fare, are unlike the fairy tale and Disney records most of us are used to.
Unfortunately, Bruce and Esther's music is not so well known today. Their records and tapes can be found in many American public libraries and continues to be sold via mail-order, but it's difficult to find any information about their history or past work. On this site, I've compiled everything I've learned about Dimension 5, found via liner notes from records and good old-fashioned library research. If you already have a Dimension 5 record or two, you can learn more about the people who made the music and what else is out there. And if you don't, perhaps you'll be intrigued enough by my descriptions to seek out these truly unique recordings.
Yours truly just contributed a page-long feature article on Bruce and Esther's psychedelic children's record "Dance to the Music" in the November 1998 issue (#11) of "Cool and Strange Music! Magazine". I won't be posting it here until May 1999, so if you'd like to read it, you'll need to track down a paper copy, either from the publisher or your favorite alternative newsstand. I would heartily recommend this fine publication to lovers of unusual and esoteric music, and I'd say that even if I weren't responsible for 1/55th of the content of the current issue <heh>.
This page updated Nov. 20, 1998 by lara7.