New Release

Excavation Series 14 – Kalinga Utkal

The final chess move for the latest Excavation Series batch marks a slight shift in format and experience. Here, we restore Pablo Picco’s poetic masterfilm Kalinga Utkal on DVD, a chronicle of his travels to India and Nepal with María Victoria Arener in February of 2012.

The film is much more than a structuralist series of events in biological order, it’s equal parts documentary, beatific meditation in free verse and personal psychedelic journey with all the surrealistic flourishes necessary to erase the ego, we’re let in on the awakening, through thick and thin, where the body loses touch with the mind, and the mind runs off from the body, and the chants (like breaths) return the whole unscathed, yet changed. Two-things-at-once, the recurring theme throughout.

Hear cows sour on the day’s light in moaning existentialism, see children battle with prepubescent mystery, feel the trains and moving crescendo in elliptical filmmaking bliss, edits and decisions rife with spontaneity and involving artistry, each move like the hands on an instrument, teasing out production and wonder, it’s manic-explorative and relaxed at the same time.

Move through the pilgrimage of chapters, jump cut from place to place, sit alongside monks. Walk with the processions down the trails, careen across land filled with animals and ceremony. Tiny snapshots in long takes drive the mood home, stay calm in a changing world, progress blowing away like smoke, replacement parts and ideas around every corner, but hold still before you concede to it, reflect first on life happening in the smallest of ways before each millisecond collects the next and builds into more booming possibility. Hold the shot first, let it go, move on, hard edit to the next. Hard edges padded in decorative cloth, meaning and purpose is seen in every direction, on and off camera, softening images juxtaposed against rugged exteriors.

There’s a childlike discovery texturally braided in the events, that improvising eye, the all-eye improvising, we’re carried along in sweeping landscape image continuation, a continuum of squeaks and whistles and echoes and natural reverb and knocking confusing sounds encircling dead-eye framed liveliness, acts of the day taking on new ballad-like presence, the initiated original soundtrack stirring inside the field recorded rituals and buzzing real-life musical interludes captured in full along the way. The real life things are the coin’s underside attached to the top’s dreamlike additional experimentation things, non-fiction coming up for fictional air, or vice versa, flip the coin.

The duality of discovery, through the self and through the voyeuristic ‘watching’ too, being a part of the shot – even when outside it, hallucinating the self into scenes imagined, the narrative is cut off from any linear end-points, there’s no clues to any beginning or end, and like any time-stamp from any part of the ever-evolving world, the lapping, rippling scenes wash away if ‘watched’ or not. The study is part Picco and part non-Picco, everything can be confronted in both ways: either immersive full-on acid-taking eagerness or by the simple act of making one as invisible as possible. Each phase needs the other, a two-lined poem, first line breathe in, second line breathe out.

The soundtrack alone is worth the price of admission, it’s included on the DVD disc and as a standalone digital album:

OST Kalinga Utkal – Dos Estatuas Se Abrazn y Lloran

Interestingly, Picco has released a tape of field recordings taken from this same group of travels released on the More Mars label from Greece, The Bombastic and Repetitive Sound of Tashi Ling Buddhas in Pokhara, Nepal. He is a member of the Argentinian experimental drone group Ø+yn and records under the solo name Bardo Todol. We recommend tracking that tape down to complete the total vision and we recommend exploring the different sound worlds available from his many enlightened musical projects.

The film was released and only available online at the beginning of 2017, so we have helped put the final coat of paint on and to give it a proper format home, and we thank Pablo for his strong work on the collaboration for such a wonderful edition coming to life now. We gladly took the backseat to let Picco nail down the proper DVD that matches his full vision.

So I’ll stop writing now, please grab the film and carve out a very lucky 90 minutes of your time, you will be rewarded, and we can discuss it further as we ramble about its greatness ad infinitum once we’re all caught up. We love this film.

We hope to continue to branch out with other formats as we go, we can never really know what kind of gold will show up in the pans once it’s been dug out and shaken. We go in the direction of where we’re pointed to.

From all of us, we hope you enjoy the film and will want a copy. The DVD was professionally-duplicated in an edition of 100 copies, and this package will be a treasure to stack on your library shelves as we do the same. The DVD and musical soundtrack is bundled with Excavation Series 12 & 13 too, so head over to Bandcamp for the full three-part package if that floats your boat. We hope it does.

Peace,
Kev

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New Release

Excavation Series 13 – Engelika and Others: Music from Films of Music

Opening:
Enter flutes in hovering polyphony, a perfectly noted interlude, restrained and playing with time, breath accenting tremolo-like fluctuation, like choppy waters or ridged gateways miming the Sepik River, eventually turning to calm, what was sent out to the spirit-world is returned in kind – the meaning in seconds now replaced by the understanding of the natural world seen clearer for the days ahead, the illusory boats regain composure and settle down.

Cut to Ensemble:
Group interactivity catered to song and pulse, percussion by hand as melody to voice as person to persons, another level of communication – instruments mining emotional overlay, things of the past catching up to the future, guessing at what can take place, letting go and coming to, in living figure, in moving picture.

Jake Webster, who records as Tuluum Shimmering (and is a giant favourite of Phong’s and mine), has presented us with a mesmerizing collection of music sourced from documentary film and video. And in a brilliant turn, we can now share this wonderful music not easily available, as Excavation Series 13, and spotlight these gorgeous sounds and beautiful pieces that segue and spiral around each other in a perfect way. Cameras shapeshift into loudspeakers, frequencies converted into proper documentary listening, we can close our eyes to double the imagery.

Tuluum Shimmering has a plethora of albums on a ton of formats, he’s a prolific musician and artist, and we’re very happy to get a chance to work together outside his more natural working forces. His mix here knocked us back: we’re quite into repurposing sounds from one format to another or taking things out of an original context and presenting it with a renewed vigor, here some of the pieces recorded many years ago shine in a proper encored legacy, and we not only get a better understanding of Webster’s own unique musical listening and influential habits, we get a tremendous compilation of field recordings from dedicated sociocultural anthropologists who have done extremely vital work.

Do please check the tracklist notes for details pertaining to the films in use here, we recommend tracking them down as we scramble to do the same.

Engelika and Others: Music from Films of Music

One name that you will see returning throughout the recordings is French filmmaker Yves Billon. His Les Villages du Film and Zaradoc production companies have circled the globe framing genuine documentary film with essential field research. I first came across Billon’s work with the biography on Ali Farka Touré years ago now (co-directed with Henri Lecomte whose work is included here as well), Ali Farka Touré: Springing from the Roots, and was enraptured. It was a beautiful portrait of one of my favourite guitarists. I definitely didn’t register Billon’s name at the time, if I knew he had such a growing treasure chest of ethnographic wonders I would have sprinted back to the library and started a new hunt right then and there.

To go along with pieces from Billon’s films on religious Sufi music in Pakistan and folk music within Balochistan, there are selections from three films that he co-directs as well: the film on the music from Guinea with Robert Minangoy, the film on Mongolian music with Henri Lecomte, and the film on the music from India, Rajasthan specifically, with Agnes Nordmann.

If those breathtaking musical landscapes weren’t enough, Webster’s gifted us with incredible selections from documentary films on the music found in Papa New Guinea, specifically the indigenous peoples of Lake Chambri; music from Morocco, specifically the Berber people of the Atlas Mountains; music in Bali, specifically a group from Peliatan performing Kecak- the trance dance chorus ritual found near the end of the second side; and two fingerstyle guitar pieces from the documentary African Guitar by Gerhard Kubik: one recorded and filmed in Divundu, Namibia and the final piece of Malawi guitar folk that ends the second side recorded and filmed outside of Vienna, Austria.

The spirit behind the films and research is a sensitive and empathetic undertaking, there’s a commitment to truth and reality over everything else, the anthropological reality of these beaming worlds is in view honestly and respectfully, and openly.

Spirituality and ritual, morality and humanity perfectly woven together, every passing musicality is the same distance away from the heart as day to day principality, like blood moving down snaking passageways, flowing away from and back to, the music equally tied to the gathering of the community and the path it will take, there are times for joy and unfiltered happiness and times for sorrow and tragedy, flowing to and flowing back from, surrounding that all-important center.

Traditions live in the now as much as in history – time moves indistiguishably between different parts of the day, there is no need to compartmentalize, there’s no need to separate community from the individual, and no need to separate out today from the events of the past. Social participation’s a given, built into that legacy, nothing is obscured or in opppostion to, decades pass and the same candles remain lit, gifting us with light that is regenerating, we do our best to respect it fully.

I think the music shared here and their attaching feature films are more than passing momentary documents. The performances and events are highlighted edits pulled from that interactive experience and immersive real-life research that goes well beyond superficial artifice. These are gifts being offered and accepted from one group of people to another and then returned in kind. And the music and cinematic realism speaks for itself. It is a respectful poetic footage and it can change your life. The selections here represent that great work, artists and thinkers and scholars skipping past their own realities to learn about culture and other parts of the world in sociological study and musical excitement with a very real social interaction and intent that is the unlocking standard.

We hope you enjoy the album as much as we do, and thanks for sticking with us as we continue to move the boulder up the mountain with our Excavation Series of mixtapes. We can’t thank Jake enough for this collection. This tape was professionally duplicated in an edition of 75 copies. This album is also bundled with Excavation Series 12 & 14, so head to Bandcamp for the full three-part package if that is of interest to you, and we hope it is.

Peace,
Kev

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New Release

Excavation Series 12 – Underground Violin Pan-African Fiddle Mix

Guest post by Adam Cadell, his words below on his new mix for our Excavation Series of tapes and ephemera:

Pan-African Violin Mix

While I have my own physical experiences of violin playing in the African context, the Excavation Series playlist I’ve put together that this rambling story forms the backdrop to, is largely derived from a more artificial journey through the various byways and highways of YouTube. Guided by a basic understanding of the true diversity of the violin’s place on the African continent, I’ve dug deep into African violining with a focus on Sub-Sahara, bearing in mind the well-known presence of the violin in North African music, thus only featuring that region most prominently at the end of the mix here, with perhaps the most impressive piece, a fifteen minute delay-soaked Libyan masterpiece.

Anyway, the mix starts with basically the coolest, most bad-arsed fiddle player you’ll ever see, and that’s Cape Verdean morna legend Antoninho Travadinha. His playing, style, and compositions just exude a strange tropical gothic melancholia, like you’re sitting, slumped in a chair, chilled rum in hand, staring out at the sea and just wishing you could walk out in it and be swallowed whole. It kicks you in the guts that hard, and the only way is up from there. And up the mix goes with some high-energy burgher highlife straight from Ghana and Amakye Dede. Dede is a pop star of epic proportions in Ghana and among the Ghanaian diaspora, and his distinctive sound is made all the more distinctive by the presence of the violin. To discuss this we need a new paragraph.

Back in 2012 I moved to Accra where I ended up working in the National Symphony Orchestra of Ghana and the Accra String Quartet as a violinist. I quickly befriended everyone, because you just quickly befriend everyone in Ghana, and especially lead violist George Ackersen (the greatest violist in Africa hands down) and former-German-now-as-Ghanaian-as-a-bowl-of-palmwine concertmaster Thomas “Kwame” Woernle. Thomas is very well-known in Ghana, not just as the orchestra’s leader, but also as the violinist in Amakye Dede’s band, the Apollo High Kings. He’s an incredible musician and truly singular character if ever there was one, from his swinging bow, to his impenetrable mix of thick German accent and Ghanaian patois and his penchant for driving really terrifyingly fast motorbikes through Accra’s desperately congested streets. Anyway, the uplifting, wild and yes somewhat cheesy Amakye Dede track in this mix features Thomas’ violin playing in its subtle lilt, sometimes a little too buried in the “orchestral hit” set electric keyboard so enamoured by the stuck-in-the-80s “burgher” highlife crowd. Indeed this brand of electro highlife is heavily linked to Germany as it emerged out of the Ghanaian diaspora that popped up, particularly in Hamburg during Jerry John Rawlings bullshit military dictatorship from 1979 ‘til the early 90s. I have many more tales to tell from the world of Ghanaian strings, but I’ll leave that for another time, or never.

Next up we do take a dose of North Africa, travelling up from the palm-laden shores of Accra, up through the dense forested Akan heartland that nurtures the deep musical roots of Highlife in Ghana up through the Savannah, through the Sahel and across the Sahara to Tunisia. I know absolutely nothing about Ridha Kalaï, but I like what I hear, read and see on the internet. He appears to have been somewhat of a king of Tunisian violin playing, and I can see why, his beautiful tone, and that aching Arabic microtonal, melismatic expression is just too much. Take the time to type his name into the YouTube search engine and check out a whole heap of old TV clips, mixes and so on. Obviously a serious character in Tunisian music, and we clearly all need to know more about him.

The next piece jumps all the way down to the south of this most inspiring of continents, to South Africa, and the famous Soweto neighbourhood where the brilliance of Zulu jive music started busting up dance floors in the 50s and 60s and beyond. The internet is absolutely soaked in 78 uploads of instrumental jive, and somehow, I don’t recall how, but it came to my attention that the violin has often been used as a lead instrument in this stuff. The most famous exponent is Noise Khanyile, and it may have been Awesome Tapes that hipped me to him, or maybe sheer accident, but he has absolutely nothing to do with the piece that appears here. Instead we have Henry Gabela & His Violin, shredding things down with the sawing, almost hectically violent sound tearing away before that quintessential jive band beat kicks in and all hell breaks loose. I ripped Gabela’s piece off an interesting YouTube channel called Wahyi Tapes, which is well worth wasting several hours on, especially with all the jive 78s, but also all the other rare shit on there. Violin jive really takes the violin to rhythmic and timbrel areas second to none, driving, harsh, ecstatic, amazing stuff.

In a perhaps superficially similar sonic vein – although considering the geographic area, the similarities may well be more deep than superficial – I’ve followed the jive greatness up with some junkyard fiddle from Botswana which I know very little about other than I dig the sound. And after that once more another piece I know very little about, other than that the musician playing it – Asim Gorashi – was living in Brisbane for a period of time, and working/studying at the same university as me. Asim came to Australia from Sudan, and he quickly came to notoriety as a cabbie who will give you a seriously musical trip with his virtuosic whistling. Turns out he’s a world champion whistler, but he also shreds on the violin, seemingly taking a preference for reverb and delay-soaked electric violin sounds as is popular with North African musicians as well. I don’t know where Asim is now, but I did try to drop him a line on Facebook when compiling this.

To connect from a Sudanese refugee in Brisbane who loves delay to me (I also love delay), I take the listener next to Senegal. Why me? Well, I’ve had the good fortune of spending a decent chunk of time in Senegal (thank you Australian tax payer), and it is a country that holds a special place in my heart and soul. Some of the best musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing with are in Senegal, and the cities of Dakar and especially St Louis (Ndar) in the north where I’ve spent the most time there, are extraordinary. Adding to that is the incredible landscape and natural beauty found in more southerly climes, like the Sine Saloum Delta, a stunning region that’s very special. While I was last in Senegal, on a 4 month artist’s residency mostly in St Louis, I connected with many musicians including the extremely talented Sahad Saar and his band in Dakar (playing with them one night at the Insitut Francaise de Dakar, their high energy “Afro Sufi Jazz” music is something to experience), and most strongly with Khadim Tall, on whose latest record my violin proudly features. It doesn’t feature in the mix though, nor does Khadim or Sahad for that matter, just thought I’d tell the story. Khadim, myself and his band played and recorded a fair bit in St Louis during my stay, mostly late in the evenings at a seedy riverside bar called La Flamingo, where I also got to jam with various other legendary musicians. Khadim’s music hasn’t been captured as well on CD as it has in the live setting, where a truly spiritual experience is had, audience members calling out the names of Mouride saints, throwing money at the band, and Khadim’s voice reaching melismatic heights that stick with me still, not to mention the complex and dense mbalax rhythmic interplay of his band. Anyway, what features in the mix, is a recording by L’Orchestre National de Senegal which I didn’t even know existed when I was over there. I discovered them while YouTube-surfing for this compilation, and even discovered that they have a violinist William Badji in the picture. Why no one ever mentioned him to me during my stay I’ll never know. Perhaps he’s moved to France like so many, or perhaps my French is just so bad I did have several conversations about him but never realised it. All that aside, there are various random performances up on YT of these guys, and the mix features one of them, the dry, straight into the board, electric fiddle sound identical to the preferred sound of the violin on Khadim’s album which I have just harped on about for a large paragraph that should be about the aforementioned.

After Senegal, I take the listener back over to East Africa, and some live-captured Taarab from Zanzibar. I love Taarab music, and so should you. Just google it. I don’t know much about it, other than that it is a beautiful mix of rusty Arabic violin sounds, with powerful Swahili singing. After Zanzibar we hit the North Africa bracket, starting in Morocco with another artist I know next to nothing about, other than that he plays distorted as fuck electrified fiddle with his teeth like a tranced-up Berber Jimi Hendrix. It just sounds amazing to me, so wild and intense. Everyone should play like this. After Morocco we finish the mix with the most epic of all the pieces here, from Libya, and I’ve found no more info, nor any contact details for these guys. The sound is ripped from phone video in someone’s house, a party unfolding, the visually most amusing bit being this dude who just smokes and drinks tea amongst the band (moral support?), and about three guys seemingly charged solely with control of the delay, which is beyond the beyond on this one. The violin playing is soul-smashing, and the vocals of heartbreaking beauty. While I’m imposing my own Western lens on this I know, it sounds so psychedelic and deep it actually makes me think of Taj Mahal Travellers or something. Just full-on in the best possible way.

Well that wraps it up for this mix. I hope all who read and listen are enlightened. My aforementioned mates in the National Symphony Orchestra of Ghana, and in particular viola legend George Ackersen can be reached here. George is trying to set up a music school in his region in Accra where he can (and currently has begun to) offer lessons to kids who struggle to get by in his community. I’d recommend hitting him up if you want to help out.

Bye bye.
(Adam Cadell)

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The cassette was professionally duplicated in an edition of 50 copies. This tape is bundled with Excavation Series 13 & 14 on Bandcamp too, so head there for the full three-part package.

From all of us, we hope you enjoy the mix and can share it along, and we thank Adam for helping us with the series. His mix and the accompanying writing is top notch, and we’re psyched to get the chance to work together.

Peace,
Kev

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PML CDR 06

Posset / KWC

Slipping a small run of CD-Rs through the cracks as we find the appropriate time to indulge in words and abstract meaning, taking the time to partner up with a long-running favourite, now fully two-headed and packed with bonus dada data, at the intersection of words-losing-meaning and sounds-becoming-something-else, we go headlamp first into the scenic wilds and foliage-like discordant fray.

The royal we is really just two, myself and Joe Murray, who records as Posset, and we have a split album for your listening pleasure.

Where his side embraces the free moaning blues hum and sustain of voice-as-instrument, claustrophic and multiplying, his wordplay relevant and illuminated rightly to hear the words enunciated to lessen their blow, my side journeys through a voice-in-the-woods atmosphere that eventually hits an elevating shore and field of grazing goats, if I were to put an image to it.

The words lose traction throughout despite our combining efforts at storytelling, forms triangulating to shake free, slipping through the speakers and microphone holds, gathering loose like under the barber’s broom, to be recycled yet again once found.

Placement, and editing: where we both end up isn’t where we tend to start from, layers of sonic nothingness, be it everyday rituals or outside playing-around, in coordinated stabs at concept, ideas taped and typed over to start again, misused slices of life that alternate the reality we’re after – sculpting with nihilist tools our being left alone can backfire, our willingness to try it all out forever carries it under the recording lights. Everything’s a moment to record when those perfect playback results don’t necessarily matter. Pitch and direction and cover-up then, piling on, magnetic timeframes collecting disparate dust like a series of stones getting re-wet, continuous splashes, touching and moving past the same spots, lengths of time the dust that moves from one segment to the next in recorded-over legacy, what remains remains, winner take all then. This is the sound of the water right before it hits rock, if I were to put an image to it.

CD-Rs were burned in a small run of 20 copies, and each home-prepared package includes the disc itself, two black-and-white photo prints by myself and three text art pieces by Joe, and a small zine ‘Dry Air in Voice’ that I collaborated on with my good friend Ryan Waldron. I wrote a longer poem and he illustrated it, randomized it, turned it into a chance collage, and put it all together. The 20 envelopes include all of this, each part only available as part of this total package, and I think priced fairly cheaply. I hope you are interested in grabbing one. Digital files are free, available to stream and download at Bandcamp and on Free Music Archive.

From the both of us, we hope you dig it and can pass it on.

Bonus, if interested in future new release info and general riff raff blather, please sign up to the Power Moves Library / Excavation Series Tinyletter I’ve just fired up.

Peace,
Kev

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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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