this edition of framework:afield has been produced in pasadena, california, by steve roden.  for more information see  steve says:

“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.

for the geeks, here’s pertinent info:

john jacob niles: lulle, lullay
victor, M604, album: early american ballads (3 discs), 1938
niles’ arrangement, played on his own hand made dulcimer

mohammed rafi: unknown song (disc label in hindi)
columbia, 55403, 1963, india
music by madan mohan, from the 1964 film haqeeqat

josh white: strange fruit
keynote, 542, 1942, usa

artist and song name unknown (disc label in japanese)
teichiku records, 9534-2, japan

dick reinhart : girl i left behind
brunswick, B1024, 1947 (recorded earlier), usa
from the album (4 discs) american ballads recorded by alan lomax

lale hanim: sari sachlarin
victor, 26402B, turkey, probably 1930’s

artist and song name unknown (disc label in japanese)
nipponophone – 15549A, probably 1930’s

omme kolsoum : Afdihi en hafeza
victrola, 6-4063A, egypt

Josef rosenblatt / leivi rosenblatt: oh god, our king
victor, 55163B, usa, probably 1940’s

sri deva ram sukul: spiritual vibration chant
wor recording (probably unique or test pressing), 3-4429, usa
healer, president of yoga institute of america, 1930’s

rifat bey – Hikaz sarki kim arar
Sahibinin sesi (hmv), 1224, turkey

peace jublee singers, in that city
info unknown (i can’t find the record in this mess…)

greek record, all info unknown
once again i’ve misplaced a 78 and can’t find it in this mess…

Harry mcclaskey – jesus savior, pilot me
columbia, 16742A, probably 1920’s

roy smeck trio: reaching for the moon
perfect records, 11318B, usa, 1920’s
voice by jack parker

weather effects: victor, E580, usa
unknown humans making wind, sea and storm sounds

edward davis, an evening in birdland
columbia, A2860, 1920’s
bird call master, making bird songs

spoken texts: short descriptions of sound from gerhart hauptmann’s novel
the fool in christ, fragmented and ordered alphabetically based on first
word of each sentence.

patrick 2008, framework:afield

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