November 13, 2014

special announcement



Eataly: 200 5th Avenue, New York, NY
Analog-A-Go-Go NYC 2014 Event Page

We're always excited to get together with our friends from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery for some great music and beer, and after trekking to their Delaware brewery for the last few years for the always awesome Analog-A-Go-Go vinyl market, beer and craft festival, we convinced them to take it on the road and set up shop in New York! On Sunday, December 14, we are hosting a very special party with Dogfish Head and Eataly, featuring rare beers, great food, some amazing handpicked craft vendors, and records! Other Music will be curating a selection of our favorite LPs of the year, as well as a ton of other vinyl goodies. We'll also be DJing some of the best music of 2014, and we invited Steve Gunn to perform too! All the details are listed here and tickets are limited and on sale now. We hope you will join us for this premiere edition of Analog-A-Go-Go NYC!

in this week's update


William Onyeabor (LP Box Set Vol. 1)
Dream Police
Dirty Beaches
Shinichi Atobe
Julee Cruise
Shintaro Sakamoto (7" & T-Shirt)
Sylvie Simmons
Sebastian Mullaert and Eitan Reiter
Master Mix: Red Hot & Arthur Russell

Air Texture Volume IV (Various)
Livity Sound Remixes
Arkansas at 78 RPM: Corn Dodgers & Hoss Hair Pullers


Lead Kindly Light: Pre-War Music and Photographs from the American South (Book+2CD)
Parchman Farm: Photographs and Field Recordings 1947-59 (Book+2CD)  




Rough Trade: 64 N. 9th St. Brooklyn, NY

Supporting her excellent second album, Unflesh, British multimedia artist Gazelle Twin (a/k/a Elizabeth Bernholz) is playing this Monday at Rough Trade NYC and we've got a pair of tickets to give away! Email for your chance to attend what is sure to be an all at once chilling and enthralling performance.



Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew: 263 W. 86th St. New York, NY

Wordless Music presents German composer, musician, producer and experimentalist Nils Frahm for a special performance on Tuesday, November 21, with Dawn of Midi. The show is long sold out, but Other Music has a pair of tickets to offer to one of our Update subscribers. Email for your chance to win.


NOVEMBER 19 & 20

IFC Center: 323 Sixth Ave. New York, NY

Oscilloscope Pictures' latest release, Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets, documents the legendary Britpop band's return home to Sheffield as they prepare for their final UK show. The movie is playing in New York City for two nights only, November 19 and 20th at the IFC Center, and we've got a pair of passes to give away (good for either screening) to one lucky winner. Email for your chance to win.



Le Poisson Rouge: 158 Bleecker St. New York, NY

Next Thursday, Le Poisson Rouge welcomes this great bill of New York City music boundary breakers, featuring Oneida's Kid Millions and guitarist/violinist Tony Diodore (of Lou Reed's live band), with special guest, Laurie Anderson! Other Music is giving away one pair of tickets, and for your chance to win, email

this week's update

Box Set Volume 1
(Luaka Bop)

Luaka Bop turned heads last year with the label's release of their Who in the World Is William Onyeabor? compilation, a vital and long-overdue overview of the work of a Nigerian synth-funk recluse. They've just upped the ante considerably by reissuing his albums in their entirety via two vinyl boxsets (and one CD box, out next week) that split his oeuvre into two hefty halves. The first of these two vinyl boxes assembles some of his best, most essential material -- 1978's classic Atomic Bomb, 1979's Tomorrow, 1981's Great Lover, 1985's Anything You Sow, and the first version of his 1977 debut, Crashes in Love, which was released in two different editions (the second version will be included in the following box). Also included in the set is a 7" single featuring re-edits and remixes of two tunes from the box, a number of inserts and booklets, as well as complete mp3 downloads for all of the music included.

While all of Onyeabor's LPs are killer in one form or another (much like fellow Nigerian funk maestro Fela Kuti, one can throw any of his records on and guarantee themselves a deep, grooving good time), volume one in many ways hits hard with a grouping of some of his most desired LPs packaged together -- Atomic Bomb is probably the best entry point, and his last LP, Anything You Sow, is his most adventurous and wild. If you were enchanted and hypnotized by the compilation and have been ravenous for more, take note; while the box set isn't particularly cheap by any means, its cost is still less expensive than trying to acquire any one of Onyeabor's original LP pressings, which remain rare as hen's teeth and have actually been increasing in value with his renewed attention. As the holiday season approaches, this is one of the most primo splurges one can make, be it for themselves or a loved one. This set is all killer, no filler, and its presentation is, frankly, quite beautiful. Limited to just 3000 hand-numbered copies, if you want one of these don't sleep -- it gets my absolute highest recommendation!! [IQ]

$84.99 5LP+7"+MP3

(Sacred Bones)

Dream Police is the long-running side project of Mark Perro and Nick Chiericozzi of the Men, and Hypnotized is their first ever full-length, for the esteemed Sacred Bones label. It's a slight departure in sound from where the Men ended up, but at the same time serves as a return to form for the guys who delivered a slew of walloping punk LPs before veering down the alternative country/rock road. This album is chock full of heavy riffing, melodic synth work outs, blissed guitar solos and motorik rhythms; it's part punk, part Krautrock, part backwoods twang, and a sound entirely their own. Opener "Hypnotized" mines similar territory to bands like Loop or Wooden Shjips, whose way with a repetitive distorted motif never tires. Later, "Sandy" has a psych-folk vibe with plenty of melodic finger picking and guest vocals from Juniper Rising's Holly Overton, and I'm sure it's no coincidence it sounds like a damaged Sandy Denny b-side in its delicate delivery. Album highlight "Let It Be" is a staple of their recent live set; a searing guitar line ties together a driving Neu!-like pulse that's ultimately filtered through a messy punk lens. Hypnotized is a truly accomplished debut and they're taking this show out on the road this week! Check it out! [RN]

$13.99 CD
$17.99 LP

(Zoo Music)

After close to a decade, Alex Zhang Hungtai has announced that this will be his final album as Dirty Beaches with Stateless, a haunting and drone-filled ambient instrumental record -- he's said all he needs to say. It's been a consistently compelling project with a distinct but ever-evolving sound, nodding to a broad range of influences including rockabilly, noisy pop, primal electro and more cinematic stuff, always filtered through Huntai's particular moody lo-fi aesthetic. And despite few direct connections to any of his earlier albums, Stateless still comes off as the perfect coda to the catalog, a melancholy, drifting and droning sonic exploration that combines sculpted synth tones, guitar feedback, woozy saxophone, keening string arrangements and subtle instrumental textures into a powerful final statement. With four sidelong pieces, the album is itself a journey, and somehow it ties together the long journey Dirty Beaches has already taken us on, and gently nudges us out to sea, all on our lonesome. [JM]

$14.99 CD
$18.99 LP


One of the fastest-rising young producers in hip-hop and electronica of late has been the Venezuelan-born (and formerly Brooklyn but now London-based) Alejandro Ghersi, p/k/a Arca. Following a handful of EPs on NYC's UNO label, an excellent free mixtape &&&&&, and some beats for Kelela and Mykki Blanco, it was his production work for Kanye West's Yeezus that dramatically raised Ghersi's profile. More recently he's taken a key spot on FKA Twigs' team, and word is that even Bjork has hired him for her next record. With Xen Arca offers a mesmerizing instrumental debut for Mute, the album being best described simply as "new music." If you can remember the first time you heard Aphex Twin, Autechre, even FlyLo, this has that kind of next-level computer music nowness, a type of creation that you may have to retrain your ears to really hear, a sonic fusion of art and science.

A combination of crystalline grime, celestial sound design, cubist hip-hop, chilling vaporware, and classical-minded abstraction, Ghersi's pieces are constructed of treated and heavily manipulated sounds, manmade and otherwise. Where his mixtape was an exploration in the dissection of the bass-heavy sub-genre trap, the feeling is even more alien, warped and pitched, swirling, throbbing, and dizzying on Xen, resulting in an unsettling yet emotively cinematic soundscape, and at times an oddly lush display of skills. Like amniotic fluid, his productions are thick and liquid, alive with microcosms of sonic life. The instrumentation sounds like mostly software synths with traces of harps, strings, piano, and maybe flute, yet one of the wonderful things about this record is not being able to always tell exactly what you are hearing.

The album title refers to Ghersi's gender ambiguous alter ego, Xen, and is presented through that persona, where confident femininity is brought to the forefront through an HD sonic version of cyber-drag, presenting the blemishes and flaws as well as all the shimmering sequins, blinding silver, and slippery latex. Ghersi often collaborates with visual artist Jesse Kanda, whose CGI imagery graces this cover as well as FKA Twigs' hyper-stylized ceramic self portrait on LP1. Together they create a universe where the organic world is fused with technology in a vibrant and refreshingly original way, often creating marriages of sound and vision that are equally exquisite and grotesque -- be it the dancing alien b-boy babies in the visual for "Trauma Pt. 1," the gyrating bottom heavy figure in "Thievery," or their beautiful video for the single "Now You Know." The recent footage of a drone flying through a fireworks display might be the best way to describe the experience: earth and air, fire and sparks, gunpowder and smoke, projection and explosion, small crackles, fading sizzles, and big pops, with grand moments and awe-inspiring collections of color, primitive and magical. Yet throughout, there are more intimate passages that show off Ghersi's training as a classical pianist, like "Failed," with its almost new age solo synth shimmering with reverb and effect, or "Family Violence," a duet of synth strings -- the strength is in the whole, not really the separate pieces, which last around two minutes. Made up of improvised sessions, each piece has a raw and natural feel, even though the palette is synthetic.

Xen is a rich and original debut onto the increasingly repetitive electronic scene, sitting well among adventurous contemporaries like Oneohtrix Point Never, Fatima Al Qadiri, Evian Christ or Clams Casino. It's overall more haunting and eerie than say dark, more personality- and imagination-driven than dance floor, but that said he does provide several deep head-nod grooves. To me this is really reminiscent of the Art of Noise's watershed Who's Afraid of the Art Noise?, with a skewed pop aesthetic made from found sounds, hip-hop beats, classical exploration, and of-the-moment technology pushed into unexplored territory. It's an alternate universe where all sound is processed and sculpted, twisted, pitch-shifted and bent into new forms and images, making for a truly intriguing listen that is definitely in the running for a top spot on my year end-list. [DG]

$14.99 CD

Butterfly Effect
(Demdike Stare)

Self-released by Demdike Stare, this first full length by the elusive Japanese producer Shinichi Atobe follows his quite legendary Ship-Scope 12" that appeared via Basic Channel's Chain Reaction subsidiary back in 2001. Thirteen years have passed since that initial enigmatic EP, and on this new album Atobe remains equally shrouded in mystery. With no to little information available, the inscription on this limited edition and hand-stamped record playfully contradicts its press release. Whereas the caption on the CD mentions, "Recorded May 2013 in Saitama, Japan," and thus suggests a month-long recording session, the PR material constructs a rather epic story of Demdike Stare tracing down Shinichi Atobe after a source at Basic Channel disclosed an address in his native country. As the story goes, the duo of Sean Canty and Matt Whittaker eventually compiled a number of tracks from his archive, presenting it here as the first official full-length by the obscure producer. Of course, such perverse play with anonymity, secrecy, and misinformation is a significant part of the Basic Channel philosophy. Up to this day no one has revealed Atobe's true identity, leading to rumors that he could be a member of the infamous German crew.

As the true story behind the Japanese producer will most probably remain unknown, we should welcome this wonderfully packaged new release and focus on the splendid music it contains. And what a delight it is! As a proper album, Butterfly Effect is somewhat fractured and jagged in the best way imaginable, meaning it offers a quite adventurous ride through its creator's often eccentric and daring sonic universe. Opening with "Free Access Zone 1," a brief, slowly building sketch, the 12-minute-long "Butterfly Effect" is a lusciously contemplative piano house track in the finest DJ Sprinkles tradition. Imagine the latter's sound universe without its implicit political content, which is also rendered a bit more clinical in nature, until suddenly a deliciously off-kilter, overriding beat starts inserting itself onto the otherwise seamlessly floating music. What happens next is quite hard to describe. Delivering hypnotic textural structures that constantly override or undo whatever was built up before, cuts like "Bonus Break" and "Waste Land 2" present abstract listening experiences that hark back to experimental 1960s film soundtracks. Offering bizarre, phased-out drones accompanied by unusual string and synth arrangements, these tracks' rather unusual glitches offer a highly immersive sound world.

Every once in a while a deliciously offbeat deep house track emerges from the rubble, such as "Free Access Zone 2" and the perplexingly deep "Free Access Zone 5," after which things start inevitably crumbling down again. What's left to say about this vividly sequenced, timeless release? If you dig marvelous, outcast electronic music by people as varied as Aphex Twin, Actress, or Terre Thaemlitz, you should get this as fast as you can! [NVT]

$15.99 CD

Floating into the Night

Floating into the Night, the 1989 debut album by American chanteuse Julee Cruise, was unique and unsettling upon its release, and today, its impact has proven more lasting than ever. Written, arranged, and produced by maestro Angelo Badalamenti (who handled the music and arrangements) and auteur David Lynch (who co-wrote the songs and penned all of the record's striking, deceptively simple yet powerful minimalist lyrics), many of its tracks were featured in Lynch's then-newly airing TV series Twin Peaks -- a show which has recently seen reignited attention with the announcement of its resurrection for a third season -- and the atmospheres Cruise, Lynch, and Badalamenti conjure here have gone on to inspire countless dream-pop bands, shadowed crooners, and nostalgic spacey noir jazzers straight into the present day.

Listening to Floating into the Night now, it's perhaps difficult to understand just how DIFFERENT this record was, even in the big, sleek, shiny pop and hard rock world of 1989. As we've moved back into frighteningly similar territories with contempo popular music, Cruise's album is ripe for reappraisal, and as someone who has cherished his original vinyl copy of this LP for a long, long time (this is a personal desert island disc for me), it's nice to see it back on shelves for younger generations to be able to fully appreciate. This is the real deal, taking Lynch's nostalgic love of old backroom rockabilly, blues, and jazzy teenage soda shop pop into wholly noirish, synthesized ambient alien forms whilst remaining true to the structural roots of the sounds. It also presents an alternate underbelly to the indie dream-pop/shoegaze scene happening contemporaneously as well -- if My Bloody Valentine, Loop, and Mary Chain were the Beatles, Stones, and Kinks of shoegaze music, Floating into the Night was the sound of the scene's Ronettes or Les Paul & Mary Ford; seemingly more innocent, wholesome, and family-friendly on the surface, but infused with a dark, creeping dread that Twin Peaks so eloquently and dazzlingly displayed during its airtime.

This is a high-point in the careers of all three parties involved, its magic akin to lightning in a bottle, where all of the pieces seemingly assemble in a rare opportunity to capture a zeitgeist. (Now let's just hope that their follow-up, The Voice of Love, finally gets issued on vinyl after all these years... it's never been done, and I've long hoped to be able to put it on my turntable.) Floating into the Night is a classic of the era, both retro and modern on a multitude of levels (even more so today), and I give it my absolute highest recommendation, folks. [IQ]

$21.99 LP

You Can Be a Robot, Too

If you are a fan of Let's Dance RawShintaro Sakamoto's wonderful and surprising second solo album that Other Music Recording Co. released a few months back, then you will want to take note of this limited 7" we just got in from Sakamoto's own Japanese imprint, Zelone. Last week NPR premiered an incredible new video, animated by Sakamoto, featuring a reworking of the album track "You Can Be a Robot, Too," this time sung by the Kamome Children's Choir, adding several thorny layers of meaning to the lyrics, and some truly stunning images to the sounds. You can check out the video here, and we know you will want to grab one of these cool Japanese-only singles with all-new artwork from Sakamoto, the exclusive version on the A-side, and a brand new recording on the B-side, Sakamoto's first-ever solo cover (and favorite karaoke track), a Japanese AOR classic, Goro Noguchi's 1978 hit single "Good Luck." [JM]

$8.99 7"

Let's Dance Raw T-Shirt
(Other Music Recording Co.)

And speaking of Shintaro Sakamoto, we printed a run of Let's Dance Raw t-shirts to celebrate the album, a hunter green shirt with Sakamoto's post-apocalyptic cover painting of skeleton-Sakamoto-san playing lap steel amongst the mushroom clouds, with the album title in bold block letters on the back. They look awesome, if we do say so ourselves, so get 'em while you can! [JM]

$19.99 S, M, L, XL

(Light in the Attic)

Light in the Attic, the label we've come to appreciate for uncovering such lost vintage gems as Donnie & Joe Emerson, Rodriguez, and Lewis, comes through with an album from a brand new artist: the debut from esteemed London-born music journalist and poet Sylvie Simmons, whose music has never before been released. Sylvie is an intimate, beautiful collection of folk songs recorded in the Arizona desert last year. Joined by Howe Gelb from Giant Sand on many tracks, Sylvie's voice aches with a tender, aged beauty, and a raspy quality that is both soothing and melancholic. Her range, which if you could imagine is like Karen Dalton meets Hope Sandoval, is slightly bent, deep and meditative; it's consistent in its understated yet provocative delivery. The songs on Sylvie range in style from woozy blues ("Moon Over Chinatown") to late night Billie Holiday balladry ("My Lips Still Taste of You") to country waltz ("Lonely Cowgirl") and never cease to evoke a beautiful sense of nostalgia and deep spirit. However, the highlight of the album for me is the centerpiece, "Midnight Cowboy," which pairs a lonesome ukulele against muted strings, ghostly backing vocals, and a reverb-drenched chorus, approximating a Vashti Bunyan level of dreamlike song form. What a revelatory debut, and a classic slice of Americana song form for lovers of new and old music alike. Highly recommended. [RN]

$15.99 CD

(Lucky Dog)

While UK outfit Tindersticks have released a number of instrumental albums over the course of their near 30-year career -- many in the form of scores for filmmaker Claire Denis -- their new album is a considerably different and more heavy affair. Commissioned in 2011 for the In Flanders Fields World War One museum in Ypres, Belgium, the record's atmosphere is a mournful, haunting work of orchestral ambience instilled with deep sorrow; bells toll, slightly discordant strings hover and bend in the air, with the usual romance and wit stripped away from the group's sound. This is dark, serious music, and it succeeds fully in establishing its tone and working through variations on it. These six pieces play less like anything else in the band's discography, and closer to that of William Basinski or the heavily emotional, turbulent orchestral arrangements of Scott Walker's masterpiece Tilt. Each movement rotates on a minimalist cluster of three notes -- E flat, F, and F sharp -- and that thematic motif instills a familiarity amongst the overarching work as a whole while the movements offer subtly changing variations. This is a breathtaking, elegiac left-field highpoint in the long-running career of one of England's most talented and still largely unsung groups, and Ypres opens up their sound to new audiences masterfully. In these tense, frustrating political times, it's a stark reminder of the prices many have paid to help keep our societies moving forward, our progress cycling around as we struggle for change. [IQ]

$14.99 CD ON SALE
$27.99 LP+MP3

Reflections of Nothingness
(Mule Musiq)

Every once in a while a record comes along, without much fanfare, perhaps even hardly noticeable at first, but its effects ripple across time to gain strength and momentum. The first collaborative work of Swedish producer Sebastian Mullaert and Israeli artist Eitan Reiter, Reflections of Nothingness nestles itself slowly but decisively into atmospheric headspace. Following 2014's excellent stream of ambient releases by the likes of Function & Vatican Shadow, Neel, and Vladislav Delay, this unique collaboration shares with these records that it stands entirely apart from any current trend or hype. Each of them carving out a territory suspended from time, they establish alternative pathways for a new electronic future through which ambient once again arrives at the vanguard of everyday musical life. Recorded during extended improvisational sessions on the Swedish countryside, there's a sense of oneness and careful realignment shimmering throughout Reflections of Nothingness' impeccably structured 78 minutes, Mullaert & Reiter exploring a cosmic, dynamic voyage of both existential quietness and subtle disquiet.

Opener "Enter the Spiral" could be an epitaph for the entire album, its serpentine structure inaugurating anticipation and a sense of explorative longing. Over the course of the remaining eight epic tracks, the duo's free-flowing studio improvisations, which are largely made on a minimal set of Roland machinery, further feature Fender Rhodes, odd vocal samples, occasional singing, and an evocative use of cymbals and sound effects. Despite introducing the cold, acid-evoking TB-303, the album has a warm and analogue vibe to it, which feels wholly organic and enveloping. But there's tension rising up as well. Midway through, a subtle beat comes in that pulls things into trance-like territory, hinting at eerie psychedelic conditions. These states, however, feel rather detached, like faraway echoes creeping in from outside.

Albums like these are becoming increasingly rare. Barely perceptible in the maelstrom of hyped-up releases, they don't make a big fuss and exist at the fringes of musical exploration. Yet their impact is everlasting and can be quite transformative. Testament to the unique artistic symbiosis between two singular musical minds, Sebastian Mullaert and Eitan Reiter have crafted a contemporary classic which exists outside the spheres of traditional ambient music yet masterfully appropriates its essential motifs. Just listen, quietly, and be mesmerized. [NVT]

$17.99 CD

Master Mix: Red Hot & Arthur Russell
(Yep Roc)

For the latest collection from this long-running AIDS charity organization, Red Hot pays tribute to Arthur Russell's impressive and extensive catalogue. As one of the most intricate and exciting figures in modern music, Russell bridged gaps between traditional singer/songwriter approaches, disco, and experimental music of the early-'80s downtown New York scene, and he was tragically felled by AIDS in 1992 before his groundbreaking music had fully seeped into popular culture.

The producers commissioned a diverse roster of artists such as Blood Orange, Sufjan Stevens, Robyn, Hot Chip, Cults, Sam Amidon, and Lonnie Holley. The mixture of different approaches in this compilation brings fresh new interpretations to Russell's work, showing how his legacy and influence are ever-present in the current state of pop music. Highlights of this release include Jose Gonzalez's delicate, pulsing version of "This Is How We Walk on the Moon" and Hot Chip's extended and beat-heavy take on "Go Bang," the original no less an iconic track in leftfield dance music by Russell's avant-disco ensemble, Dinosaur L.

One of the more unique aspects of this collection are Lonnie Holley's short interludes that pop in between songs every now and then, exploring further abstractions in Russell's music. Other standouts include "Keeping Up" by Richard Reed Parry, "A Little Lost" by Sufjan Stevens, and Blood Orange's combination of "Is It All Over My Face?" with "Tower of Meaning." Some of the tracks are direct and fairly straight covers (it's notable how many singers have adopted some of Russell's distinctive vocal quirks), some are complete re-imaginings, and overall this compilation is certainly a great way to show how powerful and long-lasting Russell's influence on modern music is. [HW]

$17.99 2CD

Air Texture Volume IV
(Air Texture)

Originally launched in 2011 by Agriculture Records co-founder James Healy, Air Texture is a compilation series in which two artists are asked to curate an entire disc of ambient music from a variety of producers. Previous editions featured notable guests like Wolfgang Voigt, Deadbeat, Pole, Oren Ambarchi, and Pauline Oliveros, which set a precedent for high quality ambient sounds from a wide spread of top electronic musicians. This new set, selected by Emerald's Steve Hauschildt and BNJMN, successfully continues the tradition with contributions coming in from Ghostly affiliate Heathered Pearls, Hieroglyphic Being, Teebs, Legowelt, and Pulse Emitter, among others.

Disc One, curated by Hauschildt, focuses on bubbling melodic synths and washy atmospheres, starting off with his own track, "Watertowers." Heathered Pearls and Pulse Emitter follow up with floaty melodic pieces that for me are two of the highlights of the first CD. BNJMN takes over the second disc, and his selections tend to lean more on underground dance producers with an ear for the abstract. The first twenty minutes or so are full of dewy textures, not surprising considering these are tracks from Lukid, Teebs, and BNJMN, who are all known for their unique ambience even when dabbling in more beat-oriented tracks. Legowelt, Best Available Technology, and Hieroglyphic Being close out the second half of CD-2 with some of their best beatless tracks to date. [CW]

$9.99 2CD

Livity Sound Remixes
(Livity Sound)

As one of the UK's most notable indie labels, Livity Sound has been a solid force behind the emerging techno and bass sounds coming out of Bristol for the last couple of years. DJs and producers Peverelist, Kowton and Asusu are the key members behind Livity Sound, promoting forward-thinking club music that leans into the dark corners of the electronic scene. For this remix release, they have called upon like-minded European producers to re-interpret and rework their solo tracks as well their collaborative tracks. Peverelist's "Aztec Chant" gets a heavy bass treatment from Tessela while Pangaea transforms Peverelist and Kowton's "Vapours" into an atmospheric banger. Surgeon's remix of "Raw Code" serves as one of the "brighter" moments on the release, with its shiny synth pads and shuffling beat. The tracks are filled with viscous kick drums, sharp-edged hi-hats, morphing percussion and interferences that make the listeners tingle while being hypnotized by the pulsating deep bass. Overall, this release solidifies the Livity Sound aesthetic into a larger diverse context, showing how vital and existent the Bristol influence is to audiences worldwide. [HW]

$15.99 CD

Arkansas at 78 RPM: Corn Dodgers & Hoss Hair Pullers

Poor Arkansas. For years it was America's most rustic outpost and wildest frontier, and even in the most remote backwaters of the rural South, Arkansas was the butt of the jokes. The figure of the porch-sitting, banjo-thumping, nonsense-talking, proto-psychedelic Arkansan bumpkin was enshrined before the Civil War in the words of "Arkansas Traveler," the popularity of which endured from the turn-of-the-century minstrel stage well past the pre-World War II era of hillbilly music on phonograph records. By that time, though, rural Arkansas musicians were making records of their own, and they were among the best of the era, of which Corn Dodgers & Hoss Hair Pullers: Arkansas at 78 RPM offers ample evidence.

String-bands predominated in the recording logs of labels who recorded Arkansan talent, and they comprise the majority here: Pope's Arkansas Mountaineers, the most popular and best-selling of the period, are represented by two sides, one of which is their sublime "Jaw Bone" (1928), the martial chorus of which recommends it as a candidate for Ozark national anthem. There's much wonderful idiosyncrasy in the records made by the Wonder State's bands, exemplified by the pairing of a woozy cello with vigorous chicken imitations on George Edgin's Corn Dodgers' version of "Cacklin' Hen" (released as "Corn Dodger Special No. 1" in 1932). "Petit Jean Galop," a 1928 side by the obscure Wonder State Harmonists, is a raggy breakdown with a strenuously picked banjo lead that sounds like it might have rolled off a Streckfus steamboat up from New Orleans ten years earlier. And nothing disorients quite like the Reaves White County Ramblers' reading of "Drunkard's Hecups" [sic], with the charming racket made by the clanking of fiddlesticks and the wheezing of a reeded organ (there was no piano in the Vocalion company's Chicago studio).

Other fanciful names and tunes will be familiar to fans of County Records' crucial Echoes of the Ozarks series: the Arkansas Barefoot Boys, Dr. Ross' Champion Hoss Hair Pullers, Luke Hignight and his Ozark Strutters. But nothing beats Fiddlin' Bob Larkan and his Music Makers' cartoonish "The Higher Up the Monkey Climbs." There's an almost unbearable joy imparted by this local riff on "Shoot That Turkey Buzzard," sung by batty old Uncle Bob-who, despite sonic appearances, was a savvy businessman and entertainer, leading his family band on the infamous radio programs promoted by the quack "Dr." Brinkley in Arkansas and Kansas. Perhaps Arkansans weren't as rustic as they could sound. [NS]

$13.99 CD

also available

Lead Kindly Light: Pre-War Music and Photographs from the American South

176-page hardcover, clothbound book with 2 CDs featuring recordings of Rural Southern Music: Old Time, String Band Music from Appalachia, extremely rare Country Blues and African American gospel singing from 1924-1939. 159 Photographs from the Collection of Sarah Bryan reproduced in full color. 46 Audio Recordings from the 78 RPM Record Collection of Peter Honig.

A portrait of the rural American South between the dawn of the twentieth century and World War II, Lead Kindly Light brings together two CDs of traditional music from early phonograph records and a fine hardcover book of never-before-published vernacular photography. North Carolina collectors Peter Honig and Sarah Bryan have spent years combing backroads, from deep in the Appalachian mountains to the cotton and tobacco lowlands, in search of the evocative music and images of the pre-war South.

The music of Lead Kindly Light presents outstanding lesser-known recordings by early stars of recorded country music, as well as rarely- and never-reissued treasures by obscure country, blues, and gospel artists. The photographs, mainly images of the rural and small-town South, are richly textured depictions of family life, work, and fun, and the often accidental beauty of the vernacular snapshot.

$37.99 BK+2CD

Parchman Farm: Photographs and Field Recordings 1947-59

124-page hardcover book with 2 CDs, includes slipcase and foil stamping 44 audio recordings, 12 previously unreleased, all newly remastered; 77 photographs, many published here for the first time; essays by Alan Lomax, Anna Lomax Wood, and Bruce Jackson.

In 1947, '48 and '59, renowned folklorist Alan Lomax went behind the barbed wire into the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. Armed with a reel-to-reel tape deck-and, in 1959, a camera-Lomax documented as best an outsider could the stark and savage conditions of the prison farm, where the black inmates labored "from can't to can't," chopping timber, clearing ground, and picking cotton for the state. They sang as they worked, keeping time with axes or hoes, adapting to their condition the slavery-time hollers that sustained their forbears and creating a new body of American song. Theirs was music, as Lomax wrote, that "testified to the love of truth and beauty which is a universal human trait."

"A few strands of wire were all that separated the prison from adjoining plantations. Only the sight of an occasional armed guard or a barred window in one of the frame dormitories made one realize that this was a prison. The land produced the same crop; there was the same work for blacks to do on both sides of the fence. And there was no Delta black who was not aware of how easy it was for him to find himself on the wrong side of those few strands of barbed wire.... These songs are a vivid reminder of a system of social control and forced labor that has endured in the South for centuries, and I do not believe that the pattern of Southern life can be fundamentally reshaped until what lies behind these roaring, ironic choruses is understood."
- Alan Lomax, 1958

$37.99 BK+2CD

the big picture