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Genre > Rock > Alt & Grunge
Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 1: Nommos / Visiting (Awaiting Repress)Includes Detailed Artwork And Two Essays By Leon
Craig Leon’s seminal synthesizer albums Nommos and Visiting are finally re-editioned in definitive form as the Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 1 for RVNG Intl.’s archival series.
Issued respectively by John Fahey’s Takoma record label in 1980 and Leon’s Arbitor private press in 1982, Nommos and Visiting were the twin brainchildren of studio wizard Craig Leon. Leon’s production was pivotal in realizing the debut recordings by Ramones, Blondie, Richard Hell and Suicide. While those albums broke ground in new worlds of sound, Leon’s own debut album was arguably, if not literally, more alien.
In 1973 , the Brooklyn Museum hosted a comprehensive collection of sculptures by the Dogon of the Republic of Mali, a tribe whose religion is based in reveries and recollections of a visit from an extraterrestrial species they named Nommos. Years after experiencing the exhibit, Leon remained fascinated by the idea of alien visitors sharing not just stories of their home-planet, but musical traditions as well. For the classically trained Leon, a puzzle was presented and a challenge in place: what would music sound like if handed down from an ancient alien species? And how best to imagine it?
Upon meeting Fahey in the late 70s, Leon pitched the concept as an opportune time to employ the latest and greatest synthesizer technology available. An avant empathist and eternally free spirit, Fahey enthusiastically green-lighted the project for his Takoma imprint. After a secluded week in an Austin, Texas studio with his partner, wife and collaborator Cassell Webb, Leon returned with a collection of incorporeal melodies generated by the Oberheim OB-X, Roland JP-4 and Arp 2600 synthesizers propelled by primitive rhythms programmed on a prototype of Roger Linn’s nascent drum-machine, the LM-1.
Issued by Fahey with zero expectation of the same radio airplay Leon accomplished with his pop productions, Nommos now stands as an innovative example of cosmic-synth composition that wasn’t made for its time or any other. For this edition, Leon has in fact re-animated Nommos by re-recording the exact audio signals as preserved in the album’s original studio notes. Every patch, tape-delay speed and outboard setting was transcribed as first scored, materializing the best possible audio from an album whose masters were lost in major label merger milieu years ago.
Additionally, the re-master of Visiting was supervised firsthand by Leon. As its title suggests, Visiting materialized in 1982 as a conceptual continuation of Nommos. The album is in equal measure more improvisatory and constructed than its predecessor. Both albums were intended to be listened to as a set in the first volume of Leon’s Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music (the title was an homage to Harry Smith’s influential collection of folk music issued two decades prior). A creative evolutionist, Leon made subtle edits and compositional additions to both albums to enhance the connectivity and encourage infinite interpretation.
While reissues and bootlegs have appeared to relieve the demand for these records, this collection will stand as the first ever version authorized by Craig Leon himself. The vinyl edition will be housed in a 2xLP set that includes detailed artwork and two essays by Leon. The first tells the complete story of the stargazing Dogon people and their prescient understanding of cosmology. The second details Leon’s adventure in creating the Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 1, an epic story bookended on this side of history as one seamless synth classic.1. Ring With Three Concentric Discs
2. Donkeys Bearing Cups
4. Four Eyes To See The Afterlife
5. She Wears A Hemispherical Skullcap
6. One Hundred Steps
7. Region of Fleeing Civilians
8. Three Small Coins
10. Details Suggest Fidelity To Fact
11. The Customs of the Age Disturbed
$29.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs SealedAWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
An Evolutionary Music (Original Recordings: 1972 - 1979)An Evolutionary Music (Original Recordings: 1972 - 1979) compiles unreleased recordings from the archives of multiversal artist Ariel Kalma. Concerned as much with musicality as spiritual facility, Kalma’s work vibrates aside fellow travelers along the great rainbow in curved air of the 1970s avant-garde.
Ariel Kalma’s boundary-blurring electronic music is heard here in radiant detail across a selection of work spanning his early free-jazz and spoken word trips to his infinite modular synthesizer and primitive drum machine meditations. Kalma’s story is one of world travel, musical discovery and ego-abandonment. Yet for an artist who often discarded public recognition in favor of the ascetic truths in music making, An Evolutionary Music offers the imprint of an outright auteur.
Born in France, but rarely in one place for long, Ariel Kalma’s 1970s migrations took flight through the decade’s furthest spaces of musical and spiritual invention. As a hired horn for well-known French groups, the young musician toured as far as India, a place where Kalma would learn circular breathing techniques enabling him to sustain notes without pause against tape-looping harmonies configured through his homemade effects units.
Those effects evolved from Kalma’s loyalty to a beloved dual ReVox set-up— two tape machines “chained” together to form a primitive delay unit. Over looped saxophone melodies, Kalma would mix in all shades of polyphonic color, synthesizing fragments of poetry with ambient space or setting modal flute melodies to rippling drum machine patterns and starlit field recordings.
In France during the mid-1970s, Kalma was staffed as a technician at Pierre Henry’s legendary Institut National Audiovisuel, Groupe de Recherches Musicales (INA GRM) studios - the same music concréte laboratory that spawned masterpieces by members Luc Ferrari, Iannis Xenakis, and Bernard Parmegiani. Like his predecessors and colleagues at INA GRM, Kalma’s relationship to sound was both formal and non-hierarchical. To Kalma, all music existed as related universal patterns, in perfect harmony with the people, places and environments it was created.
Kalma’s recorded output of the 1970s culminated in the now scarcely-available Les Temps des Moissons (trans. The Time of Harvest) in 1975, and a masterpiece of birdsong exploration with Osmose in 1978. Osmose is double album featuring sculptor Richard Tinti, who had supplied Kalma with hours of field recordings from the rainforests of Borneo.
An Evolutionary Music harvests uncatalogued music made between Kalma’s private press records and onward through the many small-batch cassette releases Kalma would tender. With this collection of musical hybridity and distinct genre-corrosion, Ariel Kalma’s righteous bucking of both popular music trends and the academic tenets of the avant-garde falls squarely in the spirit of other renegades of sacred new-music such as Terry Riley, La Monte Young, and Charlemagne Palestine.1. Almora Sunrise
2. Ecstasy Musical Mind Yoga
4. Sunset Inside
5. Chase Me Now
6. Enuej Elleiv
7. Sister Echo
8. Les Mots de Tous Les Jours (Rêves Etranges)
9. Rainy Day
10. What Would You Say
11. Les Etoiles Sont Allumées
12. Voltage Controlled Wave
13. Montparnasse Morocco
14. Head Noises
15. Asalam Yamarek
16. Love and Dream
17. Yogini Breath
$30.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs SealedBuy Now
A Period of Review (1975-1983)Expert Mastering By Greg Davis, Liner Notes By K. Leimer And Dave Segal
Double LP Packaging Features Unique Reverse Flap Exterior, Full Color Eurosleeves, & 16-page Booklet
For the third installment in RVNG Intl.’s archival series, the tape is wound back to 1970s Seattle, home place of ambient music savant K. Leimer. A Period of Review (Original Recordings: 1975–1983) unearths unreleased portions of Leimer’s vast archives and highlights the work of a self-taught visionary whose use of generative compositions ferried his music to infinite resonance.
Kerry Leimer was born in Winnipeg, Canada. He was raised in Chicago before his family permanently settled in Seattle in 1967. Kerry’s teenage interests and artistic experiments blossomed from the seductively strange tendrils of Dadaism and Surrealism. In the early 70s, Leimer found musical parallels to these visual movements by studying import copies of NME and Melody Maker and inquiring with local record store clerks about the exotic descriptions he read of Can, Neu! and Faust—innovators who were bringing the wild dictates of 60s art-discourse into music
The tape-manipulated serenity Leimer experienced with Cluster’s II was a key revelation. Leimer realized the potential to compose with minimal training and scoured pawnshops for cheap instruments and recording equipment to transpose his wayward musical instincts. Leimer’s sound palette and composition soon refined and heightened with the accessibility of dynamic equipment such as the Micromoog and TEAC multi-track tape machines.
Synchronously, the Terry Riley indebted loop-based compositions of Robert Fripp and Brian Eno’s No Pussyfooting inspired Leimer to form recursive musical passages of bare timbre and melody that would become hallmarks of his sound. “The loop provided an instant structure—a sort of fatalism,” recollects Leimer in A Period of Review’s liner notes. “The participation of the tape machine in shaping and extending the music was a key to setting self-deterministic systems in motion and held a clear relationship to my interests in fine art.”
The underground music scene of Seattle/Olympia in late 70s was small but seeded. The vestiges of prog rock pompously pummeled the few clubs and record shops before punk and New Wave became the rage. Leimer sought to support a growing community of experimental composers by launching the Palace of Lights record label in 1979 with his wife Dorothy Cross (this was years prior to the birth of regional titans K Records and Sub Pop).
Leimer rarely performed live, averting the litmus of instant appreciation for his solitary studio pursuits. Tellingly, the “K.” that abbreviated Leimer’s first name was a nod to Kafka’s doomed pariah Josef K (from The Trial and The Castle). This gives a sense of the reclusive and literary realm Leimer was fond of working in. Despite his reticence, Leimer’s debut 1980 album Closed System Potentials would reach a receptive audience, and eventually sell more than 3,000 copies thanks in part to Cross’s persistent advocation to independent distributors and magazines.
A Period of Review focuses on unheard material outside of the work Leimer offered on Palace of Lights, though even that music could be considered relatively “unheard.” The thirty tracks of A Period of Review may have remained a mystery on moldy reels until now, but Leimer’s entire catalog of generative music remains pristine in its absolute power.
Liner notes were crafted by Seattle writer David Segal. Top-tier mastering was done by Greg Davis, who produced the compilation with Palace of Lights artist Robert Carlberg, RVNG and Kerry Leimer himself, who continues making music to this day.LP 1
2. My Timid Desires
3. From A Common Center
4. Explanation of Terms
5. From One To Ten
7. Bump In The Night
8. (aka accident)
9. Facing East
10. At Daybreak
11. A Spiritual Life
12. Honey To Ashes 13. Stop It!
14. Two Voices
15. Lonely Boy
16. Practical Demonstration
3. Archie’s Dub
6. Assemble and Diffuse
7. Eno’s Aviary
8. Almost Chinese
9. Agfa / Lupa
10. The Phonic Chasm (feat. Dawn Seago)
13. All Sad Days
14. Porcelain (feat. Nancy Estle)
$29.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs SealedBuy Now
Syndrome SyndromeSyndrome Syndrome is Gardland’s debut fulllength album. Its timely release captures the fever pitch of Gardland’s off-kilter electronic music at the tail end of the group’s first year.
Assertive, though “elegantly wasted,” as they describe it, Gardland is the laboriously cracked energy exchange of alex murray and mark smith. The duo solidified the young partnership during a psychedelic desert excursion far from their urban dwellings in Sydney, Australia. Over a ten-day stretch, Murray and Smith recorded hardware based wigouts with neither boundary nor fear of judgment from the godheads that loomed ominously over the lysergic liturgy.
Gardland shared a swathe of this desert delirium as the first release via their newly formed Hunter Gatherers label. With this gesture, they posed a new paradigm for Sydney’s sometimes-static social-musical consciousness by delivering uncompromising electronic music rife with rigor and real-deal feel.
Syndrome Syndrome was written and recorded in a small room over a series of slavishly inspired sessions. Living within earshot of each other, Murray and Smith bucked the unconventional confab this comfort allows in favor of a workingman’s deftness. In the middle of this process, Gardland’s primary synthesizers were stolen at a gig. Impervious and industrious, the blank slate catalyzed their creative flow instead of stunting it, eventually filling to the frame with the eleven uneasy pieces of Syndrome Syndrome.
If linearity in techno / house is the convention, Syndrome Syndrome avoids flat-lining in its spiral and fractal formations. The beats here don’t “drop”, they appear erratically in uncertain quantum logic. The harmonic architecture forms cavernous canopies in place of metronomic melodies, while the convulsive human hand lays tonal tile that may or may not crumble on contact.
Perhaps the most revelatory aspect to Murray and Smith’s desert quest was their willing submission to co-exist with disorder — to have and to stranglehold for better or for worse. That transcendence only explains the psychosomatic palettes of Syndrome Syndrome though. The distinct other-ness of Gardland’s reach succeeds by laying waste to compositional cliché, by mining the full contour and imperfections of electronic music shapes, and by allowing ghost narratives back into aperture to cause chaos and a spot of fun.LP 1
2. Syndrome Syndrome
4. One In None
5. Ode To Ode
6. Trepan Heke
2. Ride Wid Me
3. Success In Circuit
4. Nothing But Not Zero
5. Hell Flur
$22.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs SealedBuy Now
Fits & StartsLP Packaging Features Custom Adhesive Wrap & 16 Page Booklet
For the tenth volume of FRKWYS, composer, percussionist and sound designer david Van tieghem alongside ten younger artists from across the avant spectrum become a bulletin of Fits & Starts.
In July of 2012, RVNG Intl. was invited to participate in Bulletin Boards, a group exhibition at Venus over manhattan curated by White Columns’ gallery director matthew Higgs. An extension of an ongoing project which resides in the entrance of White Columns’ downtown New York gallery, Bulletin Boards featured 24 artists/entities, each given a new bulletin board as an inspirational starting point.
In 1981, David Van Tieghem produced the experimental music video Ear To The Ground. The film features Van Tieghem “playing” downtown New York City, a world in which Van Tieghem established his rhythmic roots as a member of the love of life orchestra, a frequent collaborator with laurie anderson, and a player on steve reich’s Music For 18 Musicians, robert ashley’s Perfect Lives (Private Parts) / Perfect Lives and david Byrne and Brian eno’s My Life in the Bush With Ghosts among other seminal recordings including his own.
In Ear To The Ground, all city surfaces become communications—or bulletins—under Van Tieghem’s twiddling, thwacking and thumping thumbs. Partially inspired by this and by our blank but physically limited canvas space, Van Tieghem agreed to take part in a sequence of improvised performances and creative editing to become part of our FRKWYS series.
We also invited ten younger musicians to post objects to the board. A cross section of present day New York artists were represented by way of sam Hillmer as diamond terrifier (with the aid of max alper), Future shuttle, Georgia, roberto Carlos lange as Helado negro, darren Ho, eli keszler, Hiro kone and megafortress, alongside the regionally sympathetic Blanche Blanche Blanche and maxmillion dunbar.
In place of business cards, broadsheets, and flyers, the objects/communications contributed were broken toasters, firecrackers, 2x4s, thunder drums and customized electronics, each intended as a percussive device. On opening night, the bulletin board, disguised as assemblage, welcomed David’s dialogue.
In the spirit of Ear To The Ground’s infinite conversation, Van Tieghem returned to Venus Over Manhattan to “play” the bulletin board without an audience. The process of Van Tieghem discovering and responding to the objects/bulletins again was multitracked in high definition.
These recordings were then presented to the ten contributing musicians for further translation, “remix” and interpretation. For the final sequence, the unique pieces were delivered to Van Tieghem to edit and embellish as the sound collages presented as Fits & Starts across two album length sides of our tenth volume in the FRKWYS series.1. Slippery Slope
2. Cooler Heads Prevail
$20.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Alternative rock first emerged in Britain in the late 70s and early 80s, but it didn’t really hit its stride until the 90s with the arrival of bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and
Alternative rock first emerged in Britain in the late 70s and early 80s, but it didn’t really hit its stride until the 90s with the arrival of bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane’s Addiction. That was also right around the time that Nirvana and Pearl Jam fueled the grunge rock explosion.
And when you want the full and real alt rock experience, you’ve gotta try it out on vinyl, and SoundStage Direct is your one-stop shop for all the best alternative rock vinyls.