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steve roden passed away on september 6th, 2023. we are dedicating two shows to him: this first one, a repeat of the edition of framework:afield he produced for us back in 2008, and a second one next week which is a mix of our own favorite steve roden / in be tween noise works. here are a few words i wrote last week about his passing:

a few days ago, we lost another artist who has been incredibly important to framework radio, and to my personal development as an artist, for years, or rather decades. steve roden was a gentle, open, kind, incredible composer and visual artist with a spectacular ear for detail, texture and structure. his early work as in be tween noise was one of my first discoveries in the world of experimental music as a young hopeful in the 90’s, and his subsequent development of and into the lowercase sound movement under his own name never failed to impress. i never had the pleasure of meeting him in person, despite many failed attempts on the rare occasions when we found ourselves in the same city, but our correspondence over more than 15 years was always encouraging, warming and thought-provoking. steve’s work made regular appearances in the show (the first in one of our earliest editions), he contributed a beautiful program to the first round of our framework:afield series of guest-produced programs, and he graciously contributed a new track to our very first release on framework editions, 2009’s framework250 compilation. steve passed away far too early, at the age of 59. we are heartbroken that we never got to shake his hand.

producer’s notes for this edition:

“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.

steve roden, 2008.03

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 2023, framework:afield, tributes

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