New Release

Excavation Series 11 – Noise May Provoke Hornet Attacks

Dive in, but head’s up when you cross the road, this goes well beyond looking both ways, let the natural traffic sounds and impending anxiety sweep you up, with head on a swivel, and get the fuck out of the way fast or you are toast. Every kind of horn imaginable is present in an ever-growing chord, each one higher pitched than the last, maybe the recorder is stationary and just watching the city whizz by, nothing more relaxing than sipping a coffee and reading a book while Calcutta or Delhi or Bombay bombs the speaker’s threshold, just another lazy day with the squeaking rails and motors hum-humming, your brain exploding with the multitude of tiny sounds hitting escalation, prayer and musical interludes a mirage of the calmer life, it’s many-parts-making-the-whole platitude ringing absolutely correct while microphones vibrate and blur in the heat of the day.

The final tape in our new three-part batch comes from Robert Millis, he of the group Climax Golden Twins and frequent contributor to Sublime Frequencies. Robert’s Indian Talking Machine project, a culmination of his travels in India surrounding everything to do with the 78rpm gramophone record industry, is a stunning photo-collection and musical compilation operating at very high levels of ethnology/musicology and guerilla research.

For our series, he’s taken a more diaristic approach, including personal field recordings captured on his travels, everything out of doors and in the moment, whirring activity and claustrophic crowd-filled chant, hissing traffic noise and jeeps and motorbikes and buggies and wind and bells and movement and trance, he’s delivered a one-of-a-kind mixtape for us, one that not only shows the real life audial experience shadowing his travel and hot-spot expertise, but one that pushes the boundaries of concrete music and experimental field recording. It finds the perfect sweet spot balance between modern kitchen-sink verite sonic snapshot and the older, more primitive era of classical music playfulness and scratchy surface noise ambience. One flows out from the other’s river, and they all flow seemingly back and forth between old and new, hovering that deadly fine-line of novelty throwback record, think whistling birds or the sounds of the big city, (but now in full stereo spectrum!), and performance sound art mastery.

Luckily for us it’s all quite teetering, teetering over the edge appropriately, again imitating the confusion and everything-at-once of the cities’ high, and we are honoured to put this out and to share it. Noise May Provoke Hornet Attacks, says it all really, side one is filled with field recordings and side two showers in some beautiful 78 recordings nestled real nice.

Millis is a big inspiration to us, and speaking alone here, having his mixtape masterpiece included in this original trio of big-time works, a batch that includes Phong Tran’s incredible All India Radio tape recordings, and Ian Nagoski’s wonderfully curated Javanese collection of older Jacques Brunet recordings, is a very special thing. I truly did not see this coming, and we’re stoked to keep the train rolling along.

This tape was fully pro-done in an edition of 100 copies. Cassettes come with a digital download code. If looking for digital files only, please look up bandcamp here.

So I’ll take this chance to say a huge thanks to Phong for making a lot of this happen, and a huge thanks to Rob and Ian for helping push this little operation up the mountain with us. It’s a humbling time and a good time to jam some mind-blowing tapes.

Paypal options for this tape combined with Ian Nagoski’s Excavation Series 10 or this tape combined with Phong Tran’s Excavation Series 9 and Ian’s 10 are found below. The three tape batch is very limited and will be gone fast so please act accordingly. Shipping is free going everywhere. If looking for just this tape alone, head to bandcamp please.

PAYPAL 2 TAPE BATCH **SOLD OUT**

PAYPAL 3 TAPE BATCH **SOLD OUT**


*New distro details for International and UK friends can found here.

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New Release

Excavation Series 10 – Central Javanese Gamelan: Archaic Styles and Austere Performances of the Early 1970s

From the first few notes of the perfectly spaced ringing gamelan bronze, the music at play is evidence of mirrored life sound world overlap, with that peculiar mix of lyrical minimalism and haunted atmospheric ghostliness, the full expressive impact moves through time slowed down and trance-like, a reawakening to the new spirit shadow created by tone, overtone, and silence in uniformed progression, the scales of the ancestors filling space like stars at night in entrance, evoking mystery more than stableness, old world more than new, the uncanny over the known.

It is glorious.

When Phong told me that we might have a crack at releasing some very special gamelan recordings compiled by Ian Nagoski after they had hung out and chatted a few times (talking about our series and how we could maybe tackle this material in a tape-only edition), I was over the moon. I’ve long been a fan of Ian’s work with Canary Records and have kept up to date with his archival and restoration projects, including incredible releases with Dust-to-Digital, Tompkins Square, Mississippi Records and Sound American, etc, etc.

Both Phong and myself have early CD-R editions of wild ethnographic music put together by Ian and released through his True Vine record shop (which he has since moved on from), and with his friends at Weirdo Records too (who have since closed down as well) where I got mine online – we both have the same small edition version of the True Vine 78 Series: Central Javanese Gamelan, amongst a few others. This collection presented here is that, with one long form extended piece added in for good measure. Call it a reissue, or call it a new format edition, or call it something new altogether – this has been re-mastered to sound better than ever and is an epic collection, an essential collection, a holy grail of sorts, in our humble opinions.

 

This is a fully loaded C90 brimming with expansive, utterly breathtaking gamelan music recorded by the esteemed French musician and ethnomusicologist Jacques Brunet. The collection presented here is a gathering of Brunet’s early 1970s recordings in central Java, all out of print and issued on LP with German and French labels, Galloway Records and Archiv Produktion to name two.

One thing that jumps out at me with these pieces is the clarity and spatial design of the recording, instruments shimmer and sit still in the air, high above the mallets and seated percussive sets, before blowing away like smoke, overtones whistle through that high air too thick in perfect shape and fall down like shooting stars holding their pattern, microphones attach to ears sitting dead center, unobtrusive but delicately laboured over to catch the performance in theatrical paranormal presentation. Expert musicians recorded by the expert ears of an expert engineer. Stereo speakers sit in now for the presence of the events, you are that close to it now, the distant birdsong joining in and you can open the windows too.

The totality of music like this eludes me, such simple scales and specific craftiness, such orchestral natural sounding composition, each sculptural part climbing on top of the next structural start, peaks-and-valleys in muted symphony, it moves along at its own pace altogether. Voiced historical story-telling through swing and hit, through elongated skeletal motion, the ratio of treble to bass situated in common-sense patterns of more to less, it moves along with complete surety and precision of the totalling parts. It’s confident, but not overly so, it holds a naked fragility that seems almost impossible to fully fracture, for there are threads holding on too tight, and upon further investigation, the music is strung out like a rope, like an eel, like a path, like a wave that can’t be cut, it is stronger than what was first perceived.

I don’t know how to say it without hyperbole, this is seriously some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard.

This is a tape-only release, in a fully produced edition of 100 copies.

You can buy this tape alone or with one or two other tapes in the batch bundles offered below. The three tape batch is very limited, so act fast as can be or you’ll miss out. The two tape option includes this tape and Robert Millis’ Excavation Series 11, and the three tape bundle includes those two plus Phong Tran’s Excavation Series 9. Shipping is free going everywhere.

PAYPAL 1 TAPE OPTION **SOLD OUT**

PAYPAL 2 TAPE OPTION **SOLD OUT**

PAYPAL 3 TAPE OPTION **SOLD OUT**


*New distro details for International and UK friends can be found here.

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New Release

Excavation Series 9 – AIR Tapes 2: Kirana Gharana

Slight leftwards then rightwards, maybe just a hair more, fingertip precision dialing in the radio, moving with it, living with the music spreading its wings across the waves and out of the crispy speakers, you can hear the flow of the day of the explorative capture, finding the sweet spot to override the crackle and buzz, everything otherworldly, building in crescendo and dissolving like rain drops pattering overhead… to return the bull’s eye on that hour spent soaking in the moody melodicism, it’s all quite surreal to think about, the meta-layers at play: the listener, the performers, the device, the open air, the hiss, the real time passing ever so, the recording, the stillness – how much did the listener know deep down – call it insight and intuition, that this would reappear in a new similar form, with the same analogue features, and although the time and place have changed, that time and place remain.

Time has evolved to emulate the scratchy jack, the heartbeat tape spinning apparatus, and full sheets of sound-like washes: it all is here from when it was somewhere else coming back around.

The next tape in our ever-growing Excavation Series is another serious corker.

Here we have a live broadcast taped by Phong Tran while in India in 1997 of an All India Radio hour-long special detailing the beauty and delicate expression of the Kirana Gharana. Where vocal notes are crisp and pronounced and held, and held, and climb the tree to shake the leaves, where minimal background musical themes and motifs hint at more melody but stay shadowed and cool and hyper-focused on pure mood over the cinematic and bombastic show-time virtuosity of other performances or styles, and where the glowing seeds are planted infinitely with every heartfelt push-and-pull.

To hear the voice in perfect tonal hover, shaking away from the repetitive sustain that lays the quilted softness first, dancing up a note and teasing where it can go, then taking those extra steps on that textile earthen rug laid perfect, mirrored over sand and water but humming where ragged features brush cleanly flat, tracing back familial vocal lineage and snake, the voice as air as inanimate object holding its own family tree of life, snaking itself through body and reimagination and reincarnation, the mist of loud trajectory holding droplets of tail and tongue, it never disappears truly, it has no fixed ends, yet flows river-like on, bending and weaving and over, to scout new landscape and taut tradition.

AIR Tapes 2: Kirana Gharana is the second installment from Phong and his archive of taped radio broadcasts, culled from his extensive collection of All India Radio (AIR) cassettes, and where number one highlighted the droning and bass-heavy sounds of the rudra veena and fired-up explosions of sound from sitar and tabla combinations (with a few interesting interview bits and demo teachings too), number two is a radio special presented by Professor Ajit Singh Paintal microscoping the kirana gharana school. The name Kirana, or more accurately Kairana, is the birthplace of the maestro Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, an essential player key in helping develop this vital form, known for its languid, water-flow moving-life painting, taking particular care of each successive note and feeling in the unfolding delivery.

A hypnotizing collection of pieces are presented here and we are truly happy to share it again.

This tape was professionally duplicated and printed in full, housed in clear/black cases, in an edition of 50 copies. A digital download code comes with the cassette. If just looking for the digital files, they can be found on bandcamp here.

A batch deal for the three new Excavation Series tapes can be found at the paypal link below. Only a small amount of three tape packages will be available as this tape (AIR Tapes 2: Kirana Gharana) was a smaller run, act fast or you’ll miss out. Shipping is free going everywhere. There are a small number of tapes for purchase alone on bandcamp as well if you are not after the bundle option.

PAYPAL: 3 Tape Deal **SOLD OUT**


*New distro details for International and UK friends can be found here.

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