Saturday, May 05, 2007

They muuuuurdeeerrrrrrrrrrred himmmmmm


TONY SCHWARTZ “Religion (Street Preacher, Jewish Prayer)”


TONY SCHWARTZ “Imagination & Music”

OK, so things seem a bit less harried and crazy and nuts and busy around here today so I aim to post with regularity -- we'll see!

The EMP Pop Conference remains the best thing happening in music criticism (as Christgau has claimed I believe? -- don't want to misquote him, especially now that I finally really like the guy and his work).

I was honored to be included, and the presentations I saw by Scott Seward, Michaelangelo Matos, Erik Davis, Ned Sublette, Simon Reynolds, RJ Smith, and this guy whose name I forget who had super interesting things to say about the ways Hawaiian culture interpreted / appropriated minstrelsy, he was awesome too. I missed as much great stuff as I saw, too. My brain's still processing stuff from then, and it was two weeks ago now (also just getting over a cold I picked up on the trip, yay).

One of my outlets, eMusic, has recently uploaded hundreds of Folkways titles. Hundreds!

There's music from the rarely recorded Tuareg people of the Sahara and cool looking weirdo classical people I've never heard of and a great Fugs record and some weird guru chanting recordings and Tim Leary telling you how to get high and a recording of the way a Manhattan street sounded in the early '50s. I know it's been said dozens of times, but if Folkways is not the most judiciously interesting label that's ever been launched, what is? They should have just sent the entire Folkways catalog up in the Voyager -- or sent an extra one along with it, crammed with a nice hi-fi and a robot eager to cue up every Folkways disc.

Even more obscure titles from the Folkways catalog remain un-digitized, though presumably it’s only a matter of time before everything is released—hopefully including archival recordings that never got put on LPs or CDs in the first place, going back to acetate 78s and early wire recordings! I personally can’t wait for the release of Elder Charles Beck’s awesome and super rare recording Urban Holiness Service, though it looks like it's digitzed elsewhere. The Blind Willie Johnson LP that Sam Charters did in the '50s which has his second wife taking credit for stuff his first wife did; I have it on vinyl but it would be nice to easily have it in bits, too.

The two things that have me really freaking out are the near-complete recordings of the genial, New York City-based musique concrete/ collage artist/ contemporary sound ethnographer dude Tony Schwartz, which just got added (you may know him for his Moondog recordings.)

Also just added is Nancy Dupree’s brilliant 1969 album Ghetto Reality, essentially an inner city version of the Langley Project with the kids writing their own songs. Holy fuck, it's so good!!! Hope you like these samples. I urge you to check out more at your earliest convenience.