Monday, March 03, 2008

the dj speaks...

since i am out of town until tomorrow and unable to load photos, here's the complete "liner notes" to the radio program below...

"a strange wonderful sound filled the room, a sort of singing, though accompanied by words, was so supernaturally soft and touching that you could not believe it came from a human throat... "
gerhart hauptmann, the fool in christ.

for this show, i simply wanted to present some of my favorite 78's. i've
included not only songs, but 78's containing fabricated field recordings
(nature sounds made by people in a recording studio), and a recent recording of spoken excerpts from gerhart hauptmann's novel "the fool in christ" that describe sounds (kind of a written equivalent of audio field recordings - and an excerpt from a larger text work recording every sound in the book).

the songs were chosen because of their relationship to the hauptmann quote above - and each track has singing that for one reason or another, makes me tremble. the weather sounds are pauses - stopping by the side of the road to take in the view - while the text is kind of an architectural structure that frames the older recordings. after selecting the parts, i just allowed things to collide in various ways until it felt right.

the order of the songs has a bit of an upwards trajectory - beginning with a john jacob niles rendition of a lullaby (birth/earth), and ending with a song that references the moon. songs were recorded in the usa, japan, turkey, greece, egypt, and others. they explore everything from meditations and prayers, to love and wandering. the players are hillbillies, divas, hawaiian guitarists, gurus, gospel singers, the most famous male indian playback singer, and others.

everything, other than the voice reading the text, comes from old worn 78rpm
discs. one features weather sounds made with drums, metal, etc., while the other features bird songs made by a man (presumably with his mouth). the scratches, scars, and crackles tend to sound a bit like weather conditions as well (and in one section the sound of rain is completely inaudible beneath the similarly sounding active surface of the record itself.)

i've been collecting 78's for years, but i've hardly gathered the caliber of
material that would constitute a bonafide record collector's collection. for
me, the gathering has become a journey of wander, leading to various destinations of wonder. i don't look for specific artists or genres (although, i have tendencies of course), as much as i kind of bump into things - during weekly 6 am visits to the flea market or late night virtual jaunts online. i generally have little idea of what i'm going to hear until i drop the needle onto the surface of the disc. often enough, a
recording will be unbearably dull (what can you expect when purchases are based on a song title, artist name, or disc label art); but when there are surprises, they tend to be good - and once in awhile, mind bending. these are some of the gems.

(link in the post below...)


Anonymous billy g said...

I really enjoyed this mix. I even recognized a track or two from following the blog, but it was very enjoyable to listen to this more curated selection...also a bit instructive in terms of what you are really listening for in your collecting. thanks!

10:46 AM  

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