June 30, 2016
Some say "it's 'bout damn time..." but we just smile.
Loren Connors graces the cover of The Wire for a fantastic, indepth feature by Kurt Gottschalk that is teased as: "The pioneering free blues guitarist has more than six strongs to his bow, as demonstrated by his debut release as a pianist." Suzanne Langille makes a co-staring role as Gottschalk examines Loren's recent bout of Family Vineyard releases.
That debut release is, of course, The Red Painting 7-inch (just a few more copies of it left...).
After some gnarly vinyl manufacturing delays, very excited to release Little Howlin' Wolf's The Guardian. This 1982 LP brought together a slew of Wolf's self-released 45 singles to create a sorta jigsaw puzzle of style and influence that spans Chicago's fabled Maxwell Street scene to much deeper, outside movements stepped in free association and ethnic traditions. Unlike the scrabbled, overload of Cool Truth (1985 - FV83), The Guardian presents Wolf's most accessible and deeply emotional songs, yet still orbits a universe known only by the likes of Captain Beefheart or Albert Ayler.
This reissue features replicated LP jackets, with Wolf’s original transcendent liner notes, and labels bearing his Solidarity Solidarnosc Records name; never before seen photos; essay by ethnomusicologist/ Canary Records head Ian Nagoski; and download coupon.
Now with both of Wolf's early 80s album back in print, listeners can finally get a full send of his "fractured, contemporary urban folk music," according to Pop Matters. "Borrowing from a host of stylistic traditions, Pobiega creates an unsettling amalgamation, an aural melting pop of sorts, that distills the disparate genres to their basest elements to create something distinctly American."
Finally -- Loren Connors & Clint Heidorn's debut Light is out this week. It's quite a package to match the music: a one-sided, clear vinyl 12” packaged with two pieces of Connors’ art -- a detail of a recontextualized Matisse painting. One piece is transparent plastic, the other paper. Together, the opaque block of 11-inch x 11-inch sheets are intended to be hung in your window so the light can illuminate the hidden colors.
As for the music -- it sounds just like that.
Only 300 copies of this record were made and only a few remain today.
My heart goes out to all of Jed Speare's friends in Boston, beyond and his family. I truly loved how Jed remained wholly committed to his art over the decades and searched for the perfect combination of "holistic, ecological, and even spiritual" means to create.
In 2006 Jed contacted me after hearing I'd bought some CDRs of his music he'd consigned at Twisted Village. Soon after we began talking about producing, what would become, Sound Works 1982-1987 -- the first collection of his long-form musique concrete compositions. His immaculate liner notes spelled out the origins, the collaborators and insight about himself.
Jed lived and breathed these sound sources, knew them more intimately than anyone, yet as he prepared them for release, he wrote "... I could sometimes lose track of where the sounds came from; it seems that the course and flow of the work might go far beyond the actual origins, somehow surpassing the source, and create a whole new reality. At those moments I experienced at once an existential remorse and an exhilaration of venturing into the unknown."
When the 2xCD set was released in January 2008 it was the only way to hear his groundbreaking audio sculptures (unless you knew to dig up his 1982 Folkways LP Cable Car Soundscapes). We both expected the collection to sell like hot cakes -- it didn't.
But a lot of people took notice and I believe it clearly made the case for Jed's standing in contemporary sound art. It also laid bare the utterly human emotion he could amplify/construct through rumblings, cracks, bellows, howls, scree, murmurs, clangs and all those many voices, especially in works such as: "Taboo Death" the accompaniment to Pons Maar's dance performance about AIDS in 1982; and the cathedral-like sheets of tone and shifting clouds that make up "Sleep Tight" (1983).
And overall, it was just a badass collection of exhilarating sound (expertly mastered by Bhob Rainey).
What struck me at that time was how Jed was so open to living inside those pieces he created more than 20 years earlier, celebrating those collaborations and looking to the future. Sound Works will always be one of my favorite releases and an undisputed document of Jed's power and dedication to art. -- Eric Weddle/fv
Jed passed away the morning of March 22, 2016 with family at his bedside.
(Photo: Susanna Bolle)