Where old news and reviews go to be archived:

Fire Museum Artists on European Tours

Arborea are about to begin a European tour, the dates are below:

12/06  Fundao, Portugal   MOAGEM
12/07  Faro, Portugal  RUA Radio Universitaria do Algarve
12/07  Faro, Portugal  Sociedade Recreativa Artística Farense "OS ARTISTAS"
12/08  Madrid, Spain  Islas de Robinson radio show/Spain Radio 3
12/09  Madrid, Spain  El Perro Club
12/11  Huesca, Spain  Matadero
12/12  Castelleon, Spain  EACC (EspaiSonar)
12/13  Valencia, Spain  TBC
12/15  St. Gallen Switzerland   SCHWARZER ENGEL
12/17  Trieste, Italy  Tetris
12/18  Rimini, Italy   The Velvet Club
12/19  Ancona, Italy  TBC
12/20  Bolzano, Italy   Circolo Masetti
12/21  Carpi, Italy  MATTATOIO CLUB

Dora Bleu is in the midst of a European sojourn as well, here are the dates:

12/05  Ghent, East Flanders  Etoile-Polaires
12/10  Porto  O Meu Mercedes
12/13  Lisbon  O Seculo - Centro Cultural
12/15  Rome  Fanfulla 101
12/18  Parma  Veronika Club
12/20  Mogliano, Treviso  La Svolta
12/21  Malegno, Brescia  Sergola 15

Be sure to check them out if you live in these areas!

Price Adjustment for One of Each Release!

Since Clones of Eros is now sold out, it’s time to update the pricing for the One of each available release special. Head on over to the page and you’ll see we now offer the 16 available discs still available for $108 plus postage.

Investigate the page further, and you’ll see that for $30 more you can pick up one copy of each available release on Majmua Music along with the Fire Museum releases for an $30 more, with no additional postage charges for the Majmua Releases – that’s $138 (before postage) for the entire available Fire Museum Records/Majmua Music catalog! 24 discs in all, instant excellent collection! More titles are coming close to becoming out of print, so take advantage while you can..

Clones of Eros – The Draft Recordings

As stated in the previous update, we are now sold out of copies of Clones of Eros by Axa Hour of Dora Bleu. I thought this would be a good time to point you in the direction of the superfine new Montreal label Givin’ It Records as they have just released the Clones of Eros draft recordings. Here’s an excerpt from the write up on their website:

”On this release we find Dorothy's more intimate side; raw sketches, home recordings, which would eventually lead to the "Clones of Eros" cd release on Fire Museum Records. We're very excited that Dorothy has agreed for us to release these, hope you'll like'em as much as as we do!”

This one is a must even (especially?) for those that have Clones!!

Fire Museum Records Sells Out!

Well, of one title.. We are now out of copies of Clones of Eros by Axa Hour of Dora Bleu. Copies are still available from Forced Exposure and Dorothy has some copies that one can pick up on the upcoming Dora Bleu tour of Europe, check her Myspace page for more details.

3 New Majmua Music releases – preorder now!

Three new releases on Majmua Music are ready for pre-order! Official release date is the 25th of November, but why wait, get yours now. The releases are Jambient Excursions by My Country of Illusion, Curandera by Susan Alcorn and Boojum by Alan Sondheim. Go to the pre-order page to get all 3 for $15 (plus postage), or follow the hyperlinks in the previous sentence to order any one individually.

For readers in Philadelphia, we’ve put together a last second gig for Apothecary Hymns tomorrow, Sunday the 16th at Germ Books – 2005 Frankford Ave. Start time 8:30pm. The rain is supposed to be over by then so come on over!

New Sonarchy Review!

Here’s a great review of Sonarchy 1998 from the good people at KZSU:

Abstract improv, mostly acoustic but dealing out a rich palette of unconventional sounds. It's violin, drums, and bass, but you'll have trouble telling which instrument is playing: Ringing tones from the percussion (Robair rubbing things on the cymbals) mix with clattery clanks and scrapes from the strings. A great slice of the rich Bay Area improv scene 10 years ago, with a sound that's one step more removed from jazz than even Derek Bailey & Co. were.

Here's what I mean -- let's focus on Matthew Sperry on bass. One of Sperry's favorite tricks was to stick his bow (or similar long object) through the bass strings, then twang the bow, turning the bass into a rattly percussive instrument. That shows up a lot (especially on 2); you'll also hear a lot of string-scraping sounds and some deeply bowed bass so low it sounds like a rattling drum (that's the ultra-low 5th string Sperry outfitted his instrument with.)

Fans of the Derek Bailey or Fred Frith zone of improv will find a lot to like here. All three musicians here are local treasures
-Craig Matsumoto

Just heard from the manufacturer that the next round of Majmua Music releases are almost ready to go, so more on these soon!

Three was a magic number!

We had a great time at the three Fire Museum Shows this month! Thanks to those that performed and those that attended. Here is a short video from the Liz Allbee, Charles Cohen & Katt Hernandez Trio performance..

At the moment there’s nothing on tap, but we’re floating a few ideas around, so stay tuned!

Article in the Seattle Weekly

Just passing along this article about the label from Seattle Weekly. Titled A Museum of Post –Sun City Freak, the writer (Justin F. Farrar) is shining a light on who and what he feels to be kindred spirits to the late great Sun City Girls. Here’s a bit from the article:

"Because Tobin participated in post-hardcore's first awakening to life beyond the American pasture, his Fire Museum imprint isn't so much SCG's offspring as a kind of younger brother. He even nixed the label's second proposed release, a collage of field recordings made in India, when Sublime Frequencies, which mines a similar aesthetic, dropped its first release while Tobin was still in production. "I thought people would say we're just trying to ride the same train, so I put it aside for a while," says Tobin of Indian Sonic Omnibus, which finally came out this summer on Majmua Music, Fire Museum's new specialty imprint.

Tobin has built a unique catalog of obscure treasures which span traditional ethnomusicology, specialty reissues, and modern experimental music. The first release that tickled these ears was Madras 1974 from the Nathamuni Brothers, a south-Indian classical brass band that goes nearly as all-out as those awesome Ayler records Tobin found in that dollar bin. He acquired the archival recordings from Robert Garfias, a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Irvine.

Even better is the mysterious Keijo Virtanen. He's a Finnish axe-master who has one foot in his country's experimental scene (Avarus, Kemialliset Ystävät, etc.) and the other, believe it or not, in Marin County circa 1971. Rhythm Kingz of Bushel Finland, Virtanen's second and latest release for Fire Museum, takes Hot Tuna's LSD-spiked country blues and gets it even higher. We're talking stoners in flying saucers obsessed with Skip James and Robert Johnson.”

See you Philly folks at the Liz Allbee gig on the 22nd!

Previews & Reviews

Had a great time at the Highwire Festival, we posted some pictures here, and here’s a pic of Make A Rising from their headlining set, the last show with the six person line up.
highwire festival 9/13/2008

The show received a nice write up in the “A List” section of the Philadelphia Weekly which went like this:

Highwire Gallery and Fire Museum Records have teamed up to bring about the Highwire Festival, just in time to tie off this summer with some quality noise that’ll inspire equal parts of excitement and confusion. The performers have been described as psychedelic so many times that their chaotic conglomeration on Frankford Ave., in front of the gallery, may just bring Humphry Osmond back from the grave. West Philly’s Make a Rising will hold down the fort with their usual theatrics—somewhere between musical exquisite corpse and a schizophrenic band recital—while Helena Espvall and Katt Hernandez will sedate and immobilize with haunting string pieces on the cello and violin, respectively. Nico-esque Noa Babayof, drone-mad Zaimph and worldly Eric Carbonara provide some nice variety (although they make strange bedfellows). It seems that “the label that releases whatever pleases [them]” has the same theory in organizing shows, and that pleases us just fine. (Irina Zhorov)

The Avarus gig at the Green Line was a hit as well, cool sets from all involved! Many thanks to Sherman Arts for the co-present! Here’s a digi cam video from the Ashoke Sen set:

Be sure to check out the last show we are presenting this month, a sure to be incredible trio of Liz Allbee, Charles Cohen & Katt Hernandez!

In other news, Arborea were played on NPR, reviewed in Italian at Losing Today and in Portuguese at Bodyspace. Meanwhile Wondrous Horse wowed ‘em over at Ptolemaic Terrascope (scroll to the end for the review) and at Dream Magazine. Since their reviews aren’t online, here it is:

Wondrous Horse Cavallo Meraviglioso (Fire Museum)
A marvelously dreamy sounding exploratory eleven track collaboration between Salvatore Borrelli and Vanessa Rossetto. The edges bleed between different hybrid frequencies and sets of influence and stylistic textures. Meshing in contrasting off-kilter meandering that blurs circus scenes and farmyards, video games and bucolic afternoons, wispy ectoplasmic emanations and mysterious psychic weather of a wide variety.

George of Dream Magazine also reviewed a number of releases from our back catalog, here are those reviews!

Keijo Whose Dream We Live In? (Fire Museum)
Finnish folkies in high smokey cabins in the northern sky jamming and exploring territory from free-form to bluesy. Carving big Mayan glyphs in the stone with eternal guitar scuptural forms doing a chugging folk dance from venus, tribal spy themes to a film from ten years in the future, chugging nerve-endings, sly old histories slowly unravelling at the seams, all spilled out with unbounded ease and magnetic grace.

What We Live Sound Catcher (Fire Museum)
Subtle chamber jazz with bass, female vocals, drums, saxophones and electronics. Curious and intriguing with lots of twists, turns and surprises along the way.

Alan Sondheim SKI/NN (Fire Museum)
Nineteen instrumental excursions by Alan Sondheim playing Martin tenor guitar, 19th century parlor guitar, 1920’s prime alpine zither, and 1860’s elegie alpine zither. Some of them are similar to ancient folk songs, other wiggle and squirm as spectral forms or alien communications. Sometimes quite direct, and other times oblique and sideways. Abstraction merges with emotional representationalism. Like errant chaotic spiderwebbing spelling out unsolvable mysteries, or old spinal recognition sensory manipulation.

Alan Sondheim/Ritual All 770 The Songs (Fire Museum)
This extremely strange recording first surfaced on Riverboat Records in 1967; the fine folks at Fire Museum have seen fit to reissue this impossibly rare mutation for the modern listening audience. A single forty minute song suite broken into ten pieces, all from a live in the studio performance with Alan Sondheim employing a plethora of instruments including: electric and classical guitar, koto, clarinet, violin, flute, xylophone, alto sax, shenal, bass recorder, cor anglais, sitar, mandolin and more with contributions from half a dozen others utilizing bass, tabla, Moroccan kettledrums, trumpet, cornet, jazz drums, and vocals. The results are an unclassifiable tribal classical free jazz operatic enterprise. Quite unlike anything else I’ve heard. Obviously mastered from vinyl, this still has the power to stun the listener over forty years after its creation. Listed on the notorious NWW list, this supremely odd and beguiling recording is deservedly legendary and well worth seeking out by the more adventurous among you.

Various Azadi! A Benefit Compilation for the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (Fire Museum)
An international cast turns out to benefit RAWA over the course of the thirty six tracks spread over two CDs. The range of material and artists includes well known and lesser known artists but a unifying high quality if widely divergent mix. Avant jazz folk of Different Strokes, the oddball eccenticity of Bran(...)Pos with it’s manic cartoon theme and choir of 10,000 birds of the world turning into haunted cuckoo clocks, the nuanced chamber musical formality and aching emotionalism of Danielle DeGruttola, a translucently beautiful oud Taqsim by David Slusser, the shimmering whispery psychedelic weightlessness of The Thums, the hip-hop verebalizations of rappers Deep Dickollective. Faun Fables delivers their/her most beautiful song ever in the form of A Village Churchyard, tons of goodness of a wide variety.

Nai Htaw Paing Ensemble Mon Music of Burma (Fire Museum)
A gorgeous thirteen track album of the traditional music of the Mon people of Burma. An endangered and vanishing musical resource being enlivened and rescued by this superb musical troupe. Truly beguiling and charmingly human sounds that transcend through sheer emotional accessibility, while remaining utterly and deliciously otherly to westernized ears.

Thanks George!!

Make that three September gigs, FMR on KZSU!

We are pleased as punch to be presenting the Philadelphia performance of Liz Allbee on Monday, September 22nd at Brickbat Books. For this performance Liz will be joined by Charles Cohen and Katt Hernandez! There are also some changes to the line-up for the Highwire Festival on the 13th. Sadly, Linda Hagood is out but Noa Babayof and Dead Folk are in.. get on over to the events page for all the info on these gigs!

We are now sold out of Eternal Magical Music For the High King From the High Spheres by (((vlubä))), however there are still copies to be had at Tomentosa Records and Eclipse Records.

While in San Francisco (for the first time since moving to Philadelphia) Steven will be a guest on the Red West show on KZSU airing Friday, August 29th at 9am pacific time. At the time of this writing, I have absolutely no idea what I’ll bring to play..

Arborea are reviewed at Broken Face:

"Maine’s Arborea is the husband and wife combo of Shanti and Buck Curran and together they make classic British folk brought through an Appalachian filter. Although this self-titled disc on Fire Museum is all draped in forested history it’s still not too far away from the most traditional branch of the free folk scene that’s been bursting in recent years. It’s a desolate sound journey that sounds like the time of biting frost, cold northern winds, shining white snow and compact darkness. You can sense the weather slowly changing and suddenly it is here, another long winter. But the cold season that we like to refer to as winter is also something completely different. It’s the time of beauty, reflection and pondering.”

Two September gigs, more reviews!

The hiatus of the past two months when it comes to presenting shows comes to an end in September, when (as the events page will tell you) we are putting on two stellar events for those fortunate enough to reside in the Philadelphia area. First up is the return of Avarus (a co-present with Sherman Community Arts) from Finland on September 4th. Then on September 13th, we are rolling out the day long (12 noon to 8pm) Highwire Festival, a day on the green (weather permitting, if it doesn’t permit we’ll have to bring it all indoors) next to the Highwire Gallery in Fishtown. Ten acts in all, so as mentioned earlier check out the events page for all the info then get yourself on over to these shows!

The new issue of The Wire reviews the debut release by The Rhythm Kingz of Bushel Finland recently released on Majmua Music.

"Finnish improviser Keijo Virtanen has previously explored the hinterlands of spacey Improv with his Free Players combo. Here he’s assembled a new trio to pursue a blues themed direction. This is purposefully inauthentic roots music, taking the flavour of one thing and adding it to something quite different. From the opening “Rattlesnake Pan Soup” onwards, the trio push at the limitations of the form, sometimes drifting off-message altogether but retaining a firmer, earthbound centre to which the spiraling players can return. Parts of it are played more or less straight, as extended John Lee Hooker boogie workouts, but also there are moments when abstraction beckons and Rhythm Kingz’ blues dissipate amid skeletal guitar picking and a general air of drifting. There’s also a touch of Quicksilver Messenger Service-style guitar dueling on “Late Funeral”.”
–Tom Ridge

Arborea have an interview posted at the Terrascope website, and are reviewed at Foxy Digitalis:

"…Their music is a strong mix of old-world and American folk traditions, with a smattering of other elements, both modern and antique. For their sophomore album, Buck and Shanti Curran incorporate vocals, guitars, banjo, violin, and percussion into their beautiful works.

One of the most striking aspects of the duo is Shanti Curran's clear, powerful voice, which anchors most of the songs. It's direct, but never overbearing as it balances with the rest of the instruments. On the opener, "Forwarned," her multi-tracked vocals intertwine with spare percussion and electric guitar to set a dark, moody precedent for the album. Another excellent track is the hazy, bluesy song "Seadrift." The light guitar and simple, subdued vocals evoke ancient blues recordings. Still, Arborea keeps things fresh and unpredictable with a small touch of violin. Throughout the entire album, there are moments like this, where a song is seemingly one thing, but quickly becomes another in the blink of an eye. The instrumental tracks on the album prove themselves no less powerful. One example, "Leaves Among the Ruins," is a simple, meditative acoustic guitar track, but has the same strong impact as the more fully arranged pieces.” .”
- Matt Blackall

As always, thanks for reading!

Axa Hour of Dora Bleu and George Korein reviewed.

The latest issue of the always fine read Bixobal offers a review of Clones of Eros. To quote:

"Frail and delicate are the voice and acoustic guitar of Dorothy Geller, which is backed by a mixture of guitar, vibes, piano, cymbals, bells, double bass, clarinet and electronics. The music moves furtively like her shy voice. Adhering to a song structure. The instruments play out slowly as they are unhurried by any percussion, save the cymbals which seem to accent more than set a pace. The playing does get unconventional enough to perhaps fall into that foggy area called “freak folk”, whatever that might mean. However, there is enough of an angelic, calm quality to this album to make it worth speaking of on its own. Gentle and mysterious, the double bass playing of Alexandre St-Onge especially helps to set the mood, while the others (Brooke D. Crouser, Francis Amirault and Justin Evans) fill out the sound with richness. Even in those few places where the ensemble fly off into crazier free playing it fits into the whole as they match the peculiar character of this personality.”
-Eric Lanzillotta

The Startlingly Monikered one that is behind the radio program ITDE has just opined about Another Corpse by George Korein. Let us read, shall we?:

" How lovely is it that I can write, “I’ve never heard anything like this before,”? As seems to be his practice, George Korein has upped the weird ante, this time with an album of noisy-ambient corpse-themed program music. Yep, there’s flying corpses who make crash landings, pulsing corpses, and even a pesky encroaching “Rotodrone;” which is one of those you-know-it-when-you-hear-it type of things. Korein builds these unlikely themes from even more unlikely sounds– piercing electronic tones, dissonant loops of feedback, distorted horns, Helena Espvall’s cello, kissing noises, and a sizeable portion of his own unique approach to guitar. In many ways, the enjoyment of “Another Corpse” is watching Korein keep it all up in the air. Overall, it reminds me of what my old driving instructor used to say, “it’s a series of small adjustments”… well, expect when it isn’t. At times, particularly during the black metal drum pounding of “Pulsing Corpse,” Korein crashes this bizarre vehicle just for the fun of it. “Another Corpse” does seem to have a bit of structure to it, though, with the somewhat cold and austere beginnings gradually leading towards the introduction of more organic instrumentation. I’m not saying it’s boogie rock, but hey– a shift from the frequency test of “Gleaming Corpse II” towards (gasp!) vocals in “Liftoff” is probably significant. Besides, Korein’s last disc had songs like “Moved By Your Emoticon,” so clearly this cracked genius/800-pound gorilla can go anywhere he damn well pleases. If that happens to be boogie rock, I’m there.”

We will be presenting the upcoming Avarus show in Philadelphia in early September, more info to be found on the updates page and here when the line up is finalized. This show is a co-present with Sherman Community Arts.

All about Majmua Music!

Thurston Hunger, D.J. at the wonderful KFJC has recently reviewed two releases on Majmua Music, those being Indian Sonic Omnibus and Sonarchy 1998 by the Kihlstedt/Robair/Sperry trio. Let’s start with the Sonic Omnibus review:

"Look out for the horns blaring off the street. It’s as if we are a blind third person joining the tour for bits and stretches. Hard for me not to find the “Varanasi Boat Ride on the Ganges” anything short of remarkable but don’t look for it on a Starbuck’s compilation. Other recordings have the raw recording like a long echoey cafeteria or some bizarre bazaar (see track #25 “Hassan Bazaar”). That’s a short blast, as is #5 for you birdbrains! Questing for the Qawwali-style, check out #11. Also parades and marching band practices and even some sweet sax galloping (”Sravanbelagola Jain Temple Group”). “Mysore Hotel Mandolin & Tabla Duo”, you can check out…but you can never leave. It has an entrancing entrance…”would you like some wine” gets voiced over! Dig the sarode less travelled!”
-Thurston Hunger

Now on to the review of Sonarchy:

"Haire-raising sounds from a long-running KEXP program, dating back as the title suggests to 1998. That year bassist Matthew Sperry was selected as an assisted artist by the folks at (Tucker Martine notably was on the list as well). Sperry is well-paired with violinista fatale Carla Kihlstedt, kindred string spirits…there is a section deep into the first piece with about 3-4 minutes left, where they slither perfectly parallel…very nice. The first encounter has an askew classical vibe, abetted by the man with the Rastascan plan, Gino Robair on piano, of course lots of under-the-hood plunking and spelunking, but actual notes too. The closing section has a kind of oriental gypsy vibe to my ears, very pretty but invites headphones for ye olde deep listening. The second track is the “radio single,” the track with the most impact. One hightlight is Robair on those rototoms (?), you know the watery, pitch-rising drums on Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly” there’s some more Kihlsted/Sperry string alignment later on that piece.”
-Thurston Hunger

For retailers (and mail order of course), Majmua Music titles are distributed by the good people at Tomentosa Records.

Look for a rundown for the September 13th fest in the next update!

Dora Bleu on WFMU, Mediacology book released.

(Axa Hour of) Dora Bleu will have a live session of theirs (recorded during their recent tour of the north east) broadcast on Sunday, August 3rd at 10pm (eastern time) on Stochastic Hit Parade with Bethany Ryker an excellent program that airs on WFMU from 9pm to Midnight eastern time on Sundays. Don’t miss it!

In literary news, Antonio Lopez of My Country of Illusion has just had his first book, Mediacology, released by Peter Lang Publishing. From the synopsis:

" Mediacology proposes a design-for-pattern approach called “Media Permaculture,” which restructures media literacy to be in sync with new media practices connected with sustainability and the perceptual functions of the right brain hemisphere. In the same way that permaculture approaches gardening by establishing the natural parameters of its ecological niche, Media Permaculture explores the individual’s “mediacological niche” in the context of knowledge communities. By applying bioregional thinking to the symbolic order, Media Permaculture redresses the standard one-size-fits-all literacy model by taking into account diverse cognitive strategies and emerging convergence media practices.”

In related news, a new release by My Country of Illusion will be released on Majmua Music later this year.

Three New Releases on Majmua Music!

We are pleased to be bring you not one, not two, but three new releases on Majmua Music! First is the debut recording by Solar Dynasty, a maelstrom of scorching fire music indeed. Next up are The Rhythm Kingz of Bushel Finland, who are in fact a new trio featuring the unmistakable stylings of Keijo. Digging a little bit deeper into that blues vein while still mining those psychedelic and experimental touches we all love, the Rhythm Kingz strike the motherlode with their debut release. The third release is Sonarchy 1998, one from the vaults by the incredible improvising trio of Carla Kihlstedt, Gino Robair and Matthew Sperry. As always, you can order these discs individually, or preorder all three for the insanely low price of $20 (plus postage)! Why do we do it, because we love you of course. Like all releases on Majmua Music these discs are limited to 75 copies, so don’t come crying to us if we run out, act now – the preorder offer ends on July 21st!

We had a great time with the end of June gigs we presented, thanks to all who attended. It looks like there will be a round two for the Summer Solstice Reverie some pictures are below:

summer solstice reverie - ashley deekus, tom medeja & nicole bindler

summer solstice reverie - color is luxury

There are also some videos posted at the label's You Tube page.

We are going to be taking a break from putting on shows in July and August, but will be back on September 13th for an all day revue at the Highwire Gallery, which again is shaping up to be pretty amazing!

Arborea Live session on WFMU

Arborea were recently guests on the Irene Trudel show on WFMU! You can listen to the archived performance by clicking here. Their set begins at approximately 2hrs 36 minutes into the show. Thanks to Irene for hosting!

arborea on wfmu

Summer Solstice Reverie @ Zagar’s Magic Gardens!

Announcing perhaps (the going-away show at 21 Grand was quite an undertaking) the most ambitious show we have undertaken yet, Summer Solstice Reverie @ Zagar’s Magic Gardens. Taking place on Saturday, June 21st from 3 to 6pm at Zagar’s Magic Gardens, 1020-1022 South Street in Philadelphia.

Three hours of continuous music taking place on 4 staging areas, this afternoon of sound, vision and movement features (in no particular order): Ashley Deekus, Charles Duquesne (Public Record, etc), Toshi Makihara, Lisa Spero (Radio Eris, etc), Daniel Fishkin (Dandelion Fiction), Eric Carbonara, George Korein, Katt Hernandez, Steven Parker, Michael Parker, Brendan O’ Connor (S.O.W), Grass Hair, Jack Wright and Alban Bailey, Ryan Frazier, Beau Mick, Brother Buckroar, John Barrios, Megan Cauley & Mike Mc Dermott (Gemini Wolf), Tom Madeja, Tony Cenicola, Andy Giles (Eichen Oaks), Charles Cohen & Tyler (Color is Luxury), Natalie Mering (Weyes Bluhd), Latralmagog and Lenny Siedman w/ tba (that old favorite). There will also be dance performances by members of Amnesiac Dance Company & visuals by Brooke Sietinsons! Sorry, but I’m not up to providing links for everyone on this, I want to get some sleep tonight. Needless to say, we are quite excited by this event and are looking forward to it!

Then on Friday, June 27th at Mascher Space Co-op we’ll be hosting the Lexie Mountain Boys. More info on both of these events to be found on the events page soon.

Will add one more review here on the Arborea disc, this time coming from the latest issue of The Wire:

"..In contrast to the summer nostalgia of their 2006 debut, Wayfaring Summer, Arborea evokes the Currans’ Maine home as a place of murky pine forests, snowbound winters and unquiet ghosts.

According to the CD sleeve, most of the music is here a first take improvisation. Presumably this refers to the sung melody or guitar lines that form the core of each song, for much of the record’s charm comes from the blending of Shanti Curran’s vocals, which bring a more desolate edge to Vashti Bunyan’s breathy purity, with sparse but carefully conceived accompaniment. On opener “Forwarned”, the menace hinted at by her lilting melody is made apparent by a counterpoint of piercing, discordant cries like the wailing of supernatural mourners, trickling percussion and guitar plucked with lingering vibrato. “Red Bird”, meanwhile, adds a moan of cello from Espers’ Helena Espvall to a crisp lament. Psychedelic touches are used sparingly but effectively: “ides of March” pairs slide guitar with backwards drones redolent of dragging tides, whereas “Black Mountain Road” starts out like a hillbilly nightmare of reversed banjo and glossolalia before an about turn revels its flipside to be an ethereal ballad, a rare sunny moment made more fleeting by the darkness that surrounds it.”
– Abi Bliss

Thank you Abi, and thank you for reading..

Shows and special offer for May!

Let’s start with a recap of the label showcase. Everyone put in great sets and it was a grand evening of music. Unfortunately in the rush to get everything over to the venue I forgot to bring my camera, but did get some pics from friends.

fire museum label showcase 4/21/2008

Eric Carbonara with MC Needles Jones.

fire museum records showcase 4/21/2008

Dora Bleu with special guest Helena Espvall.

There is also a video of George Korein performing “It Came From the Woods”!

The show is also being posted as streamin audio by dmusic, who helped us out on the evening as well. Much of the show is posted already, the rest should be up before too long.

My sincere thanks to everyone that performed and came out for the gig!!

Speaking of George Korein, here’s another review of Another Corpse, from Foxy Digitalis.

"Indeed it was the metallic nature of this disc that left the strongest impact on me- sharp, piercing machine tones sounding like possessed alarm clocks buzzing in a symphonic celebration of the undead. Tones are twisted into uneasy melodies only to shatter into shards of distorted sound. It's unusual stuff for sure, and that's what initially excited me. However, it's Korein's ability to hone and define this particular sound over the course of an entire album that really drives "Another Corpse" home as an innovative and captivating whole.
Most of the disc seems centered around one particular tone that Korein is investigating. It's kind of like the lo-fi buzz of a black metal guitarist, but somehow more mechanic, as if it's being made by a malfunctioning machine. This sound is isolated for much of the disc and allowed to breath and really sink into the listeners subconscious. It's a little reminiscent of Kevin Drumm's masterpiece, "Shear Hellish Miasma" in that both albums share the same obsession with turning seemingly dissonant atonal noise into hypnotic walls of sound.
There are some great surprises as well including a duet with cellist Helena Espvall and some brutal drums from Keith Abrams that come out of nowhere and totally crush everything in their path.”
-Charles Franklin.

The same folks also weigh in on the (((vlubä))) release.

"Vlubä are an Argentine group that has absorbed and blended drone, psych freakout jams, Latin and Asian folk percussion to create a mix that sounds mystical and personal at once. You can imagine hearing the 2 long tracks that make up “Eternal Music” around a campfire, with friends, with or without peyote. The first track is the more trad sounding of the two untitled pieces here; the second uses more ambient and electronic washes.
There is definitely a trippy aspect to the affair, with both tracks employing minimal themes and repetition. What makes this music eternal, aside from whatever spiritual aim its players may have had, is the timelessness of the arrangements. It is difficult to place it, as it fits easily into many of today’s underground genres as well as ancient local rhythms.
They make music that playfully explores form while remaining grounded in a single unifying line or two in each piece. Use it for whatever you want; it is good, powerful music for fore and background.
-Mike Wood

Over on the events page those in the Philadelphia can read more about two gigs were having this month. On the 17th at the Coffin Factory it’s Larkin Grimm, Orion Rigel Dommisse, Satellite and Katt Hernandez. On the 31st the fine folks at Sherman Community Arts present the Arborea CD release party at the Green Line. Also performing are Woodwose, W-S Burn & Alexander Turnquist. Thanks for getting together a great evening of music!

For the rest of the month of May, we’re having a buy 2 get one free special as a way of celebrating the showcase and other good fortune. When ordering via paypal, in the comments just mention which disc you want in the comments section (hopefully how to do this when ordering by check is obvious). Feel free to mix Fire Museum and Majmua Music releases, of course if you do the Majmua release will be the free one. This special will end on May 31st, right after the Arborea gig!

Will wait until the next announcement to go into detail regarding our summer solstice event, it’s shaping up to be amazing!!

Article in Philadelphia Citypaper & early Arborea reviews

The current issue of Philadelphia Citypaper features a page long article about the upcoming label showcase gig (happening in a few short days, check out the events page for all the details) and an overview of both Fire Museum Records and Majmua Music as well. Many thanks to the fine folks at Citypaper!

Early reviews are coming in strong for the Arborea release. First one is from the English website Electric Roulette:

"Normally, a band has to find their feet before really hitting stride, however, Arborea aren't your average group. Like The Band, which they share a certain woody charm with, this is a band that has landed fully formed. Where The Band did the Rag Mama Rag, Buck and Shanti Curran make beautiful, timeless albums that seem to almost make time freeze like the winter stopping streams. And if you think that's flowery, you ain't seen nuthin' yet. This is a band that demands you get your poetic hat on.

If the first album had something of Pagan sexuality about it, then this album continues in the same way, only this time, with the help of the sirens. 'Arborea', slowly fades in with a cinematic peer through the mist with the creepy Forwarned before melting into the breathtaking Red Bird. If Forwarned was the opening credits, then the opening dialogue of Red Bird really sets the tone. With some cello help from Helena Espvall of psychedelic folkies The Espers, the earthy strings, coupled with the rootsy pickings of the Currans, are a marriage made in heaven.

Arborea seem to drag influences from every corner and twist and forge them into their own unique shapes. There's drones, the ghost of Smithsonian Folkways field recordings, Celtic music, murder balladry, psychedelic backward guitar, even the leafy weirdness of Goldfrapp's 'Felt Mountain' can be heard in some of Shanti's delivery.

If you think that folk music, which this undoubtedly is, is a lesson in real ales and cardigans, you couldn't be more wrong. Arborea are a band that, on record at least, aren't afraid to get naked and draw blood. There's a toughness in their sound that says 'don't mess'. This isn't a band that will fist-fight you in the street, but rather, cast a spell that will leave you in the forest - lost. I'd like to say that they are in fact in league with a band of demonic witches who will cast a wicked spell on you if you don't buy this album as it's that good. However, amongst the sinister magick is some truly wonderful, sensual, hip-shaking twang.

If this album was released on some obscure label in the early seventies, you'd be stumping up £300 for it. Black Mountain Road has a timeless quality... it could be a Joe Boyd production... it could be found on a discarded reel-to-reel in the middle of some remote outpost of the Hebrides... it's a staggering track. There's something of the Watersons about this record. There's something of Pentangle. I can't rate this highly enough! In short, you can't live without this album. It's the way albums are supposed to be - exciting, beguiling, enchanting, intriguing - quite simply, it's superb and needs a place in your home now.

George Parsons of Dream Magazine weighs in:

" Our friends Buck and Shanti Curran continue the fine work begun with their debut album Wayfaring Summer with this superb self-titled second album. Shadows and mysteries spill out through thier mix of voices, guitars, banjos, violins, frame drum, bells and drums, with Helena Espvall guesting on cello. Elements of traditional acoustic sounds blend with eerily hallucinatory droning dreamy aspects, and unclassifiable international folk melodies. The feelings range from sorrowful loneliness, to warm shared intimacy, otherworldy spectral emanations, to very earthly emotions. All in all a lovely set of eleven superbly subtle sonic excursions from this Maine-based couple.

Finally, a few words from the Belgian site Psychedelic Homestead:

"The circular intro has such heavenly vocal arrangements with frame drum bass sounds. (W)e can also hear beautiful cello arrangements by Helena Espvall (Espers). “Swan” features interesting arrangements of ghostly strings with whispery vocals and background cello. “Seadrift”, with another cello improvisation on it, is humming folk-blues with banjo and blues guitar. On “Echo of Hooves” she sings only wordless vocals. And on “Dark is the Night” she shows, with the right echo effect, that she can also sing like a beautiful folk-blues voice. But also Buck sings well with his own whispery male voice on “Dark Horse”, which is with subtle bass drums, powwow-like and banjo. In between are a few instrumentals played on nice blues (slide) guitar, like on “Leaves among the ruins”. On the last track, “Plains of Macedonia” the slide guitar mood sounds more Indian flavoured.

The release date for both the Arborea and the Wondrous Horse cds is April 28th, so there is still some time to take advantage of the preorder special going on.

See all the Philadelphia area folks at the Trocadero Balcony!!

More Reviews, More Shows!

A few new reviews to pique your interests, first one is for Whose Dream We Live In from Dusted Magazine.

"A Keijo album is always a disorienting experience. One can never be sure what mode he’ll be in. Electronic primitivist? Loose-limbed psych-guitarist? Seasoned blues-hound? Multi-cultural researcher? He approaches music-making from such varied perspectives and records so often, that he could release albums every month and they would all be different. For the latest entry in Keijo Virtanen’s sprawling discography, the Finnish writer/traveler/motorcyclist/musical adventurer has gone it alone, taking turns here on synthesizer, drums, percussion and his main instrument, the guitar.

All of the material here has the air of the informal, intuitive jam, yet there’s a focus to the whole that can’t be denied. Previous solo efforts have often come off as more hermetic; this one is more illusory, as Virtanen multi-tracked himself into sounding like a live band.

Two themes are prevalent: Keijo the bluesman and the cosmic-daze/gaze of Sun Ra’s Arkestra. These aspects are usually ever-present in Keijo’s music, but on these 11 pieces they are especially acute.

The Ra period most echoed here are the Moog jams from the mid-1960s collected on Atlantis. “Living in the Forest” would challenge the faculties of even some Ra experts, so close and complete is the effect. All the hallmarks – the mid-tempo trance percussion, wobbling moog-bass, even the random background noise – are all present. On “Landing Here,” a shambling drum pulse shores up a rickety synth-and-guitar dialogue that grows eerily infectious on repeated listenings.

Keijo’s guitar, blues-informed at nearly every turn, is at the center of all these pieces. On “Dog’s Dream” and “Never Been There,” Keijo spins melancholy themes. On the acoustic “Cup of Juice” and its electric cousin “Under the Stars,” Keijo also shows how the blues form can induce almost meditative states.

A piece like “Jump” ties the album’s two themes together. It’s a cosmic-fried version of Chicago Blues. The rhythmic strut and moaning guitar is familiar, but with a big buzzing synth-line standing in for bass guitar, it feels odd. When combined with Keijo’s unstable shuffle on the drums, an otherworldly aura is evoked.

Whose Dream We Live In? succeeds because Keijo doesn’t try to push the material in any specific direction. He sits in grooves and riffs until they become well worn-in. But he also adds sly twists, like the dog lapping water on “For What to Wait,” or the accordion pulse on “When We’ll Meet.”

When Keijo loosens the reins, like on the clattering, dissonant title track, the effect is more startling than any high-volume freak-out. This music insinuates rather than blows your ears out, the product of one man listening to himself and then following what arises."
- Matthew Wuethrich

Next up, the world of experimental metal weighs in on Another Corpse. From The Lords of Metal:

"Guess who's back again with yet another crazy project to terrorize the senses and question the sane man's very notion of music? That's right, it's George Korein, this time wheeling his way into your living room supported by various other musicians. The best thing about his projects is that it is impossible to have any expectations about them, just because it's all so different. The one single thing you can count on with this Philly mad music scientist is that it won't sound like your regular cup of tea. That is, unless your daily cup of tea is green, bubbly, and smelling of chemicals. If you dive deep into this record you can almost see him sitting there, by himself, with all kinds of pulsating machines around him, experimenting with vibrating sounds like mad professor. Suddenly he has discovered an amazing sound, and often the violin (it’s cello – ed.) of Helena Espvall (Espers) is involved in that. At times you will be hearing sounds that seem completely random, like an accelerating intercity train, a rumbling street drill, or a broken refrigerator. The humor is also typically "Koreinian", just listen to the wild grinding 'Pulsing Corpse' , and the funny bleeps that break the violence."

From the folks at Crucial Blast:

"The newest disc from George Korein goes darker than his previous solo releases, exploring a series of grim, dimly lit distorted soundscapes captured within the smoking ruins of a destroyed hard drive. Each of the tracks on Another Corpse is a grim miniature portrait of dread titled after a different "corpse". "Gleaming Corpse I" opens the disc with a string of heavily distorted electronic tones that form a sort of overmodulated, atonal horror melody. "Singsong Corpse" marries the mournful cello of Espers member Helena Espvall with an undercurrent of trebly, distorted drones. Thick washes of shimmering reverb and grinding distorted electronic noise swirl throughout "Gleaming Corpse". But then like a lightning strike, "Pulsing Corpse" shatters the droning ambience that made up much of the first portion of the disc with a blown out harsh assault of thrashing drums, super crunchy distorted noise, warped computer sounds, and buzzing electrical humming. There's no doubt that the sounds on this disc are some of the harshest I've ever heard from George. Massive metallic drones are draped in incandescent electronic sinewaves and punishing digital cut-ups. Blasts of deformed synthetic noise rock and black metal riffing show up later on, along with nauseating fretless bass riffs and brutal oil drum percussion. Definitely the darkest, harshest, heaviest solo work that George has created since Infidel?/Castro!, but still as weird and damaged as anything else the guy has been doing, a strange mishmash of hyper-stressed computer noise abstraction, mongoloid noise rock jamming, instrumental mutant black metal, and deeply creepy dronescapes."

People in the Philadelphia area take note, the first of our April shows is coming up in a couple of days. Big Jar Books, Wednesday the 9th - The Skaters (group and solo) Dolphins Into the Future from Belgium and Weyes Bluhd.

As if this and the label showcase weren’t enough, Helena Espvall has been added to the Tom Greenwood (Jackie-O Motherfucker) & Joanne Robertson show at the 1st Unitarian Church Side Chapel. (it’s a R5 show, so scroll down to get to the gig info.)

Preorders for Wondrous Horse and Arborea are doing quite well, so what can we say? Like all releases, these will be limited to 500 copies, so get on board and order yours!

Preorder Wondrous Horse & Arborea, 2nd gig for April

Available now at the preorder page is the preorder special for our forthcoming new releases! On the preorder page you can order both together for $16 (plus postage) or of course you can order the Wondrous Horse debut release Cavallo Meraviglioso or the new release by Arborea separately if you prefer. Wondrous Horse is a fantastic collaboration between Vanessa Rossetto (1/2 of pulga, TMAOG, and so much more) and Salvatore Borrelli, who is perhaps better known as (etre). This release finds the two working in an avant folk idiom, a very fine listen indeed.

Arborea’s release for Fire Museum Records, their second overall, continues to build on the strengths of their highly acclaimed debut Wayfaring Summer and (in what seems to be becoming a tradition here) features prominently the cello playing of Helena Espvall. A psychedelic folk group with a strong footing in traditional music as well, Arborea is a group to watch out for. The official release date for both of these excellent recordings is April 28th.

Over on the events page, besides the most excellent label showcase gig there is an announcement for another show we put together happening in the month of April. Over at Big Jar Books on Wednesday the 9th, those living in Philadelphia won’t want to miss the return of The Skaters. Performing as a group and in solo sets, the evening also features Dolphins Into the Future from Belgium and Philly’s very own Weyes Bluhd.

We are also working on a summer solstice event, more news on that when the current activity subsides.

Stella Richards Memorial Auction

Here’s a rare opportunity to use the collector impulse to help out some folks in need. Recently the ten month old daughter of Adam & Katheryn Richards (Adam runs the House of Alchemy label) passed away after battling cancer. Some friends of theirs have set up an online auction to help with the family’s medical expenses. Lots of great items on the block, and more importantly you’ll be able to help out some people in a difficult spot in life.

April 21st Label Showcase Gig!

Just wanted to point out to all that over on the events page is the complete line up and other information regarding the Fire Museum Records/Majmua Music Label showcase gig! First ever Philadelphia appearances for Alan Sondheim, Dora Bleu (although to be fair From Quagmire were no strangers to this town) and Aditi Tahiti, joining them are locals George Korein and Eric Carbonara.

More news to be posted very soon, including preorder specials for Arborea & Wondrous Horse, but I need to get off this compter now before I lose it…

Pre-orders, Events and More!!

Available now for preorder special are the two upcoming releases on majmua music - Indian Sonic Omnibus and Eternal Magical Music For the High King From the High Spheres by (((vlubä))). Get them both for $10 plus postage. Indian Sonic Omnibus has been a long time coming, these are recording we made traveling through India – on mini disc and cassette – on three separate trips. (((vlubä))) of course are the Argentinean “Weird psychedelica, drone rock, free(ak) rock, no music, harsh acid noise, long distant folk, electronic noise; cosmic kingdom music, conceptual art music, free improvisation” etc group that present two long form works on their release. Of course, since majmua music is just getting started, it is still an excellent time to subscribe to the first 10 releases! Besides the releases previously mentioned, Alan Sondheim, the harmonium stylings of Aditi Tahiti, and more tba soon.

The sound folks at The Sound Projector give a mention to Pulga in a recent review. To quote Ed Pinset:

"(they) declare their amorous intentions with Pulga Loves You, their utterly alien CD of same name. The prospect of these disorienting and shape-shifting mindscapes may make many a potential suitor think twice before pressing their romance with Vanessa Niwi Rossetto and Valerio Cosi. Any possible grasp on linear logic has been expertly effaced with digital reprocessing, smudging, blurring and overlaying, to produce five semi-nightmarish quagmires of fascinating multi-textured hookery-pamookery, droneage, and melted glorp. The eighteen-minute ‘Raga Pulga’ which closes the disc will subtly but inexorably work the listener’s mind into a state where straitjackets are required apparel. This is taking ‘tough love’ to new extremes!

We are putting together two upcoming events that we are quite excited about. The first is the Fire Museum Records/majmua music showcase happening on April 21st at The Balcony @ The Trocadero, 1003 Arch St in Philadelphia. In one evening you get Alan Sondheim, Dora Bleu, George Korein, Aditi Tahiti and maybe one more. Should be great!

The other event we are working on is a sound shift event at The Magic Gardens, 1020 South Street in Philadelphia. We are still working on the line up for this one, so visit this space for updates.

Yes, we have decide to make the One of Each Release a permanent feature. Since the masters for Wondrous Horse and Arborea have just been sent to the manufacturers, the price will soon be going up to reflect the fact that you are getting two more excellent discs, so if you are attached to the idea of 15 discs of $100 better order soon.

As always, thanks for reading!


Reviewed in the newest edition of The Wire is a review of our release by Curia. From the pen of Dan Warburton:

"Imagine, if you can, what Tony Williams Lifetime – in its classic trio incarnation with Larry Young and John McLaughlin – might have sounded like if it had jettisoned any semblance of rhythm regularity, recognizable harmonic progression and clearly defined song form, and you wouldn’t be far away from the world of Portuguese free rock quartet Curia.

Google Maranha and the word drone is likely to come up, but the entropic slow motion thunderstorm of Curia is far removed from the pristine stasis of Phil Niblock, with whom both Garcia and Mota have worked extensively; more Richard Youngs than La Monte Young, as it were. Maranha seems content seems content to let himself be buried alive under Simoe’s swirling cymbals and rolling toms plus Mota’s inspired wah-wah pedaling, a kind of divine cross between Pete Cosey and Derek Bailey. Garcia avoids pulsing riffery altogether, concentrating on bowing the instrument to produce a slowly drifting harmonic-rich cantus firmus”

Also weighing in on the disc is Rob Funkhauser over at Hawaiian Winter Music Reviews:

"At times I am skeptical of improvised experimental projects, simply because they seem to be able to get away with calling anything they can capture on a microphone music. However, upon listening to this album, I was pleasantly surprised by how focused the group was in the execution of a unified musical vision. The improvisation relies heavily on spatial and atmospheric aspects of playing, creating a broad, sparse sound world that the musicians explore throughout the duration. This album has some unique sounds in it and is a great listen for fans of ambient and experimental improvisation. This group has found their sound and their niche, and has the ability to take their music as far as they want in the future, as long as the focus and unity stays intact."

While we are on the subject of Curia, they also have both a review and interview on the Portuguese site Bodyspace.Here are the links to the interview and the review in Portugese; and here are the links for the interview and the review in Google translated English.

Giving credit where credit is due dept.. The Axa Hour of Dora Bleu review mentioned in the last news update was penned by Nick Southgate.

News of the new and 2 reviews!

Besides the previously mentioned Wondrous Horse, Fire Museum Records will be releasing the second CD by Arborea. We are planning for an early March release on these titles, and they will be a grand start to the 2008 release schedule!

Majmua Music, in addition to the releases that have already been mentioned (please see the previous news entry for the complete scoop!) will also be releasing “The Time Canvas” by Aditi Tahiti.You can go to her page to hear a bit of a sneak preview.

Comet III just had a write up over at Dusted Magazine. From the pen of Matthew Wuethrich:

"The duo’s specific launching point appears to be pre-Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd and the early, open-ended experiments of Tangerine Dream. On the opening of “C1,” keyboardist Carlo Matanza pulls off a vintage performance, his Moog, Wurlitzer and organ work weaving a dense network of thick, bold tones. The space sounds (whooshes, alien radio signals and the like) are also on full display, but Matanza embroiders those, too, into the fabric of each piece.

For a debut, Matanza and guitarist Delfo Catania show a surfeit of confidence. They let ideas unfold over time and hurry nothing. Layers accrue slowly, meaning each one receives due recognition. A two-note guitar figure rings for much of “C1,” and at times its sway is the rhythmic center of the piece, amid a spiral of organ washes, keyboard stabs, stout bass notes and other assorted effects. At the piece’s climax, the air is heavy with activity, but there’s a clarity that lets every layer stand out.

They also have no problem with concision, as “Part 2” and “Part 3” hover around the five-minute mark. The core of “Part 2” is a sax and acoustic guitar dialogue with its DNA in the blues, mutated and obscured just enough that it dissipates into a fever dream. The idea of “Part 3” is similar, but the textures differ. Organ and sequencer parts pulse vibrantly, and the end effect is more collage than performance.

They’ve internalized the restraint and control of prog and then grafted it with the energy and discovery of improvisation. “Part 1” is a prime example. Textured percussion, piano clusters and the wordless vocals of guest Shirin Demma careen around space and collide into each other without ever losing focus.

Not once do the duo use the instrumental excess of this era – cathartic noise, ecstatic improv or ad-hoc ritual percussion – for cheap effect. In fact, there’s very little percussion here at all. It’s scope, tone and meditative pace that Comet III excels at. When they combine these with their sense for dynamics and narrative, Astral Voyager is transcendent.”

From the latest issue of The Wire comes some words about Clones of Eros by Axa Hour of Dora Bleu. (this review was forwarded to me without writer’s credit, apologies…):

"What marks out Clones of Eros is the longform narrative song structures the Geller weaves, finding a mid point between folk songs and the now ubiquitous free folk freakout. The overall mood is malevolent and dark. The self-evidently vicious “Gashed and Bloodletted” is exemplary: it contrasts the savage lyric delivered in Geller’s faux-innocent breathy vocals with accompanying eldritch whines of the instruments. It’s a sound as comforting as the creak of a noose held taught by a twisting corpse”

Happy trails to all!

Introducing Majmua Music!

We are now accepting preorders for the 1st release on our new sister label, Majmua Music! This will be a limited run (50 to 75 copies) cd-r label, allowing us to release more excellent material!

Our debut release (as with Fire Museum Records) is a split release, this time with BatHotAxe who are also based in Philadelphia. The release in question is titled Another Corpse, A study in Grey Metal ambience, noise and texture by George Korein. Release date is scheduled for February 4th, 2008.

To get things started, we are offering up a subscription offer for the 1st ten releases. In addition to Another Corpse, releases scheduled include Indian Sonic Omnibus (a travelogue in sound), (((vlubä))), Susan Alcorn, Omit (a reissue or 2 of long out of print cassettes), Carla Kihlstedt, Matthew Sperry & Gino Robair trio, Rutro & the Logs (aka Liz Allbee, Porest, Zeek Sheck, Bran Pos & Matt Ingalls), My Country of Illusion, The Rhythm Kingz of Bushel Finland featuring Keijo, free jazz skronkers Solar Dynasty and more! The next two releases should be out in February as well, so subscribe and get some excellent sounds as soon as they become available!

New Year Reviews!

This first review is for Clones of Eros by Axa Hour of Dora Bleu. It is on the Sound of Music website, and is in Swedish so I have no idea what to trim to save space here.. Anyone want to send me an English translation? (To read the review on the site, scroll down and click on the cd cover.

"Dorothy Geller har tidigare skapat stillsamma folkimprovisationer med From Quagmire och emotionell kammarrock i Laconic Chamber. Hennes senaste projekt, Axa Hour of Dora Bleu, bär förvisso spår av båda dessa band men tillför också något nytt till ett redan spännande musikaliskt CV. Tillsammans med medlemmar från Jackie-O Motherfucker, Shalabi Effect och Et Sans skapar hon en sorts genreöverträdande musik som visserligen andas folk till sitt sammanfattande uttryck men som i sina olika beståndsdelar är betydligt mer komplex. Gellers röst och slingrande gitarrspel bildar vägg mellan elektroakustisk improvisation och komposition som rakt igenom skivans 51 minuter tilldelas ungefär lika mycket utrymme. Musikaliska ingredienser är utöver de redan nämnda piano, ståbas, keyboard, percussion och elektronik men lika viktigt är faktiskt också de korta sekvenser av tystnad som ofta får chansen att skapa stämning i de långsamt sipprande melodierna.”

Another visit to Foxy Digitalis brings us this review of Keijo’s masterwork:

"(T)his cd on Philadelphia’s Fire Museum Records offers yet another glimpse into the sonic landscapes and homegrown blues only he can provide.

The affair starts off in perfect fashion with “when we’ll meet”, an accordion drone, simple drum beat and psych guitar leads. It’s an appropriate invitation into Keijo’s world, and it’s an easily accessible entryway. From there, things get far more introspective and hypnotic. Analog synths bump up with gentle drums and lilting guitars. The second track, “landing here”, evokes the ghost of Sun Ra in the most mellow of moods. In fact, Ra’s influence is felt throughout the disc, not only in the synth action, but also in the percussion grooves and sense of rhythmic exploration. Along with these Saturnian influences, it’s tough to escape Keijo’s constant blues references, but who’d want to when they’re this good? His particular take on the blues is a wandering and searching one that is almost always filtered through a slightly shambolic lens of psych, drone, and the type of organic, acoustic improvisation that have colored so much music from Finland in the past five years or so.

What comes through most clearly is Keijo’s joy in sound making. It’s not overly ambitious and never reaches too far. Instead, it compiles a series of successful notions and sketches, deftly weaving them together with a consistent narrative thread. The best of the tracks here take simple ideas and explore them fully. The recording quality is nice, but thankfully avoids too much polish. There’s just the right touch of lo-fi ambience to evoke the organic mystery of his other records. And like those past successes, this one coalesces into a magical whole that is far more than the sum of its parts and influences. It’s got a very immediate accessibility, and while it doesn’t offer the abstract excursions of some of his Finnish counterparts, don’t let that distract you. This record is an unqualified success and one that should help bring some more folks on board.”–Eric Hardiman

And finally The Broken Face weighs in on Käärmeenkääntöpiiri

"Käärmeenkääntöpiiri is a gloriously soft-spoken soundbath installation based around all things droning, but this is so much more than just another timeless drone so don’t let that scare you away. Exploratory and glacial, but ever-changing, soundscapes constructed from guitars, saxophone, electronics, organs, effects, strings, field recordings, percussion and all sorts of noises move like dark cosmic clouds across a dense galactic plane. It’s strange that these sounds somehow make me think both of some cosmic whirlpool and the unconditional love of a hidden valley. I guess what I am trying to say is that this disc manages to stand with both feet on the leaf covered forest floors but also aim for the stars. Blend all this with elements of psychedelia and distant traces of free jazz and you get yourself a release that touches deeper than most recordings ever will.”

While all around mastering magician Mitch Altman (who really deserves much credit for his mastering work on a number of our releases) is in town we hope to finish up work on Indian Sonic Omnibus. Watch this space for news about new releases in the not too distant future (one hopes!)

One of Everything Sale Extended, Pulga on Tiny Mix Tapes

And a hopefully happy 2008 to all! I’ve decided to extend the One of each release for $100 special because I can, and because it’s cool to see all the releases go out to someone at the same time, some people have impeccable taste after all!

On a year end roundup at Tiny Mix Tapes appears this write up of Pulga

”Oh, the lines this album walks. Deft performance on traditional musical instruments complemented by electronics, yet it’s a far cry from the dry and lifeless domain of electro-acoustic improvisation. Wandering, opulent, woozy songs with a broad array of instruments, but not at all free/freak-folk. The soulful wails and tortured squeals of a saxophone, yet by no means jazz. Droning, but not drone. Noisy, but not noise. Avant-garde, but not pretentious. The album negotiates through the musical garden, plucking off what it will, and completely ignoring the trappings usually bundled therein. The resulting gumbo is an amalgamation of (almost) all my favorite musical things, and, unsurprisingly, it’s one of my favorite listening experiences of recent memory. It’s not like the common album that drifts so far from the mentally linked first impression that I’d forget what it is I’m listening to. And certainly not with the natural ease in transition found here. Any listener with even the most slightly of open minds should be able to appreciate the sheer musicality found on Pulga Loves You..” - Leveer

In Majmua Music news, evidently the plant is dragging their heels on the George Korein release Another Corpse. So who knows, it might come out around the same time as some of the other releases lined up after all! (see previous news update for more info on those.)

On the Fire Museum Records front, the amazing Wondrous Horse should be galloping our way!

Stay Warm!

Year End wrap –up!

Happy end of 2007 to all! This will be the last update of the year, so let’s start things off with a deal for the new folks to the world of Fire Museum Records. One of each release for $100 (plus postage of course). That’s 15 cds for the price of 10 for those that would rather not mess around with the math, even less when you take in the postage discount! Special ends on January 1st (or later if I’m too busy to update the webpage before then).

A couple of quick reviews, first off from Foxy Digitalis this one of Käärmeenkääntopiiri

”If you are looking for a soundtrack to meditate to, and then to help you return to the temporal plane with a burst of renewed frenzy, here ya go. Experimental music veterans Jani Hirovnen (Uton) and Valerio Cosi have collaborated here on a grand scale. “Kaarmeenkaantopiiri” is a humble but at times majestic and noisy affair, that incorporates found sounds and minimal drone with psych and krautrock hubris.

The centerpiece of the record is the fifteen minute opener, “Silmaympyrakolmio,” which introduces many of the themes to be explored, and then explores them with the most passion to be found on the four song set. Yet “Hetken Aika (Kolmessa Maailmassa)”, “Kiertoilmakristalli,” and the final track, another fifteen plus epic, “Yhdentekeva,” hold their own and deepen the colors assembled on the palate by the first tune.

What does it all mean? “Kaarmeenkaantopiiri” is a powerful release, and like most of life, the fact that the road map here is presented in incomprehensible words—at least for Western adepts-does not detract from the mood that urges one on to higher planes. Uton and Cosi bring a bag of magic tricks to these improvs and drones, and we are wise for digging in and giving them some of our space.” - Mike Wood

From the Cleveland Scene comes this fun one of Whose Dream We Live In?

”Every decade or so, a pagan-psychedelic scene sprouts that involves a bunch of longhaired hippies dedicated to a let's-get-naked-in-the-mud ethos. For the past seven years, Finland has been the center of that scene, and Keijo is the main reason why. He's a one-man band who plays guitar, percussion, and keyboards — venturing from subterranean blues ("Under the Stars") to rickety, lo-fi folk weirdness (the title track).

But unlike the far-out Finns he's influenced, Keijo excels at more traditional fare. In "Only So," he actually sounds like a stoned bluesman passing jazzy licks through hazy clouds of tape hiss. And in the playful "Cup of Juice," his chops feel downright delicate. There's a midnight-in-my-bedroom vibe to Whose Dream We Live In? that hints that Keijo just might have a great blues record inside him if he ever decides to put some clothes on.” – Justin Farrar

Look for a late January debut of the Fire Museum Records sister label Majmua Music. Dealing in more limited edition cd-r runs, we have many excellent releases lined up for the project. Besides the mentioned in previous updates release by George Korein, also scheduled are the long-promised (to some) Indian Sonic Omnibus, (((vlubä))), Susan Alcorn, Omit, Carla Kihlstedt, Matthew Sperry & Gino Robair trio, Rutro & the Logs (sort of a SF Bay area “out” music super group with Liz Allbee, Porest, Zeek Sheck, Bran Pos & Matt Ingalls), My Country of Illusion, Keijo’s excellent new group The Rhythm Kings of Bushel Finland, Solar Dynasty – did I forget anything?

For people in Philadelphia, there will be a show on January 18th at the Highwire Gallery with Oakland’s own Mary Clare Brzytwa and Dominque Leone. They also have gigs in New York and Baltimore, check out their pages for more info.

Here's an article from a recent Philadelphia Weekly. I'm not posting this to just piss of a handful of people, I'm hoping to provide some food for thought.

Thanks for making 2007 a great year for us, and all the best to everyone for 2008!

Three Reviews

First up from the Aquarius Records updates this review of Comet III:

”Frickin' gorgeous! This hitherto unknown to us Sicilian duo (Delfo Catania on guitars, sitar, flute, tapes, homemade instruments, percussion, etc. + Carlo Matanza on Moog, organ, theremin, and suchlike synths) delivers a sparkling slab of late-night, outer-spheres, electro-acoustic dronepsych improv. Good listening with the lights off, eyes closed, headphones on, suitably relaxed, ready for the "astral voyage" that this indeed simulates and/or stimulates. The ceremony begins with reverbed tones in placid alternation, heralding a gentle, crickety/treefroggy drone bedecked with ringing pulsations, swirling electronics, pretty ping ping pings and hummmmmummmummm... It's all quite organic and lovely, sort of like Jewelled Antler meets Popol Vuh, all new weirded out. An abstract ritual of chiming and tinkling opens track two, which also is graced with wordless female vocals, moaning on high, the contribution of guest Shirin Demma. Echoing piano chords also punctuate this haunted voidscape... strings zing, as things drift sweetly and serene but with an undercurrent of ominousness. On track three, Comet III introduce some non-sucky saxophone exhalations (courtesy of another guest, Caetano Firlito), bringing more smoky, somnolent, and melodious atmosphere, steering our astral voyage into the dreamlands of track four's thicker haze of slo-mo synthesizer spinning out wobbly drones. And then finally, on the album's 15 minute title track, a suspenseful electronic rhythm is begun, amidst bells and bloops and a bed of soothing synth that sometimes rears up into a denser, spookier sizzle. This one's a bit like a spaced-out John Carpenter soundtrack, as heard (hallucinated?) through the walls of a New Age isolation tank... towards the end some simple folky guitar meander adds to the mesmerizing mood. An altogether satisfying voyage, is Comet III's debut trip though our headspace, a perfectly mysterious and evocative tribute to its kosmiche krautrock forebears for sure...”

Now for a couple of quick ones, first up a review of the Nathamuni Brothers from the Cleveland Scene:

”While traveling South India in the mid-'70s, anthropology prof Robert Garfias crossed paths with the seven-member Nathamuni Brothers. But forget the whole Ravi Shankar-with-sitar stereotype. That's primarily North Indian music, which drones far more than the busy, almost manic brass bands popular at the southern end of the country. The Nathamuni Brothers employ Western instruments (saxophone, clarinet, trumpet) and traditional percussion to create a form of world-jazz fusion that nicks tricks from Middle Eastern grooves, Indonesian folk music, and English military bands. The group's high-pitched melodies, winding runs, and nervy drum whacks have much in common with Don Cherry and Albert Ayler's free-jazz explorations of the '60s, which looked to global folk sounds for inspiration. “
-Justin F. Farrar

Last up this time is a review of Käärmeenkääntopiiri at Jazz E Arredores:

”Käärmeenkääntopiiri – isso mesmo – disco de colaboração entre os experimentalistas Uton (nome artístico do finlandês Jani Hirvonen) e Valerio Cosi, um puto italiano de 22 anos, já nosso conhecido das colaborações com a magnífica Vanessa ‘Niwi’ Rossetto, no duo Pulga, e com Brad Rose, da foxy digitalis, Wilson Lee ou Enzo Franchini. Uton (guitarra, violino, ruídos e percussão) e Cosi (saxofone – cita a este respeito, entre outras, influências de Coleman, Coltrane, Ayler, Zorn, Brötzmann, Sanders, Dolphy e Henderson – electrónica, sintetizador, field recordings e percussão), originários das cidades de Tampere (Finlândia) e Taranto (Itália), chegam a uma muito curiosa mistura neo-psicadélica de free jazz, electroacústica, drones, ragas e ambientalismo electrónico extravagante, susceptível de convencer quanto aos meios e propósitos. Ao longo das quatro instalações sonoras do disco, feitas a partir de colagens e sobreposições hipnóticas, o duo persegue e encontra o equilíbrio sonoro entre melodia e ruído, abismos tenebrosos e superfícies cristalinas. É fascinante o espírito exploratório que a dupla põe em movimento.”

Those in the Philadelphia area who like to mark their calendars far in advance take note! April 21st 2008 will be a Fire Museum Records showcase, taking place Upstairs @ The Trocadero. More info closer to the date of course, but expect to see some of “our” recording artists in performance!

Preorder Curia Plus One!

Available now for preorder is the debut release by Curia. This Portuguese group is a coming together of some of the most exciting players in the Lisbon underground: David Maranha, Manuel Mota, Margarida Garcia and Afonso Simões. They create a sonic mélange that defies easy categorization, and are a fitting final release for our busiest year yet! Helena Espvall guests on one of the tracks.

Since, unlike our usual release schedule, this CD isn’t coming out in conjunction with any other release, for the preorder special this time around you can order Curia and another disc of your choice for $16 plus postage. In the comments section when you order be sure to mention what the 2nd disc you would like to have sent is. Release date is December 17th.

Nathamuni Brothers & Keijo reviewed in The Wire!

Both the Nathamuni Brothers and Keijo are reviewed in recent issues of The Wire. The complete Nathamuni Brothers review appears in the November issue, Keijo in December. Here are the highlights! (After all I have to type these out…)

Nathamuni Brothers – Madras 1974
Leader Lakshimipathi Naidu squeals fluently on high-pitched E flat clarinet. Kriti melodies by early 19th century composer Tyagaraja are cherry devotional hymns, performed in unison by two clarinets, sax, trumpet and euphonium. Then short ragas are combined into medleys, over wonderful swaying beats from a double-headed drum and the chink of finger cymbals. Some tunes quote western brass directly: a quick warm up waltz and a so-called “English Note”, which turns out to be an incongruous version of the reel “The Irish Washerwoman”

There are occasional echoes of Albert Ayler’s raids on themarching band tradition, but although the surface may be busy, with clarinetist and drummer taking turns to display virtuosity, there is a massively relaxed quality to the whole thing. You can hear that, for all its oddity, this group sit astride centuries of oral tradition.”
-Clive Bell

Keijo – Whose Dream We Live In?
”Though recorded in his hometown of Jyväskylä, in the heart of the lake country 270 km north of Helsinki, as well as at Leila’s place in Kuusankoski in the Kymi valley of south east Finland (Leila appears on 4 of the 11 tracks) much of Virtanen’s vocabulary on the guitar originates in another delta several thousand miles away to the west. But the additional instrumentation, which includes miscellaneous toys, percussion instruments and an ancient casio synthesizer, and the way the music unravels – rather than develops – is decidedly strang. “Jump”, with its lo-fi ring modulation ever teetering on the brink of feedback, comes from another planet altogether, more Sun Ra than Sun House, and if Joy Division (minus Ian Curtis but with Martin Hannett) had grown up in central Finland, they might have come up with “Never Been There”. Elsewhere, the rocking riff that underpins “For What To Wait" sounds like a new weird country cousin to The Fall’s “My New House”.

The cover image of a guitar half buried in dense foliage is certainly appropriate. “There’s too much emphasis on patterns and not enough on sound” Virtanen told Matthew Wuerthrich in The Wire 2502, and there’s a magical forest of sounds to explore here”
- Dan Warburton

The Museum is on fire!

Over at the fine Broken Face webpage is a review of 3 of our recent releases; Madras 1974 by Nathamuni Brothers, Whose Dream We Live In? by Keijo, and Astral Voyager by Comet III under the heading “The Museum is on Fire” (which I’ve stolen for the title of this update). The complete review can of course be read at their site, but here is an edited for space version:

"Fire Museum is building a reputation of being one of the most reliable purveyors of interesting music from unexpected corners of the world. The latest addition is Indian Nathamuni Brothers’ Madras 1974. (This) is a fluent and trance-inducing folk/jazz album that is as natural as the cycle of days and seasons and which in a stellar way displays what’s possible in that zone between Indian, Eastern and Western culture. The percussive work is inventive and groovy and the brass instrumentation is played flawlessly all the way through but the one thing that strikes you the most is the sonic interplay. It's like the different players exist as one spirit that guides them through their ethnic jazz structures.

More on the same label comes from prolific Keijo. I think this is one of my Keijo favorites and that’s definitely saying something. What we get is a surprisingly psychedelic disc that blends a myriad of styles: ranging from rumbling drones, jazzy skitter, dark cosmic sound clouds, meandering free folk, psychedelia, acid-fueled rock and abstract free noise to impressive tribalism. All these styles are branches of the Keijo tree and I am happy that now there is an album that manages to display them all.

Comet III is the duo of Delfo Catani (guitar, percussion, field recordings, flute, sitar etc.) and Carlo Matanza (various synthesizers) and their music sounds a lot like its name; like the soundtrack for some particularly meditative space odyssey. The ethereal guitar sound and pulsing, oscillating synth work achieves that perfect balance between alien wonder, peculiarly dissolving space whispers and sheets of hazy elegance which reaches its cosmic zenith with the help from haunting, non-word fem vocals in “Part 1.” Listen to the sounds sink into gravity, try to remember the seamless supernatural dreams it generates, get a glimpse of that wide horizon that comes along with such sonic vision."

2008 will see us starting a more limited edition cdr label named Majmua Music. Things are only in the planning stages but the first release will be a split with Bathoaxe of some groovy George Korein soundscapes. More info soon!

Preorder Now! Axa Hour of Dora Bleu and Uton/Valerio Cosi!

Available now for preorder are two more excellent discs available together for $16 as a preorder special or individually of course at the normal price. Clones of Eros by Axa Hour of Dora Bleu marks the recording return of Dorothy Geller, perhaps best known as the leader of vhf recording artists From Quagmire. Dorothy has relocated to Montreal and has assembled an incredible band whose membership also perform in such stellar ensembles as Jackie O’ Motherfucker, Shalabi Effect, Et Sans, and more !

The other release is Käärmeenkääntopiiri, a duo recording by Uton and Valerio Cosi. Both have been recording a lot of incredible music by themselves and in collaboration with others (Valerio of course is ½ of the untouchable Pulga) this release brings them together for the first (and hopefully not final) time. Release date for these is November 26th, dare I say in time for all your consumerist shopping needs.

The self titled debut by Curia (with one track featuring Helena Espvall! will be released by years end, so be on the lookout for this and more from Fire Museum Records!

Foxy D on Comett III!!

Just a quick update this time around to bring to your attention a review by John Cramer at Foxy Digitalis of Astral Voyager by Comet III.

You can read the full review by clicking here, edited version below:

"These are long form, stellar projections of spacey music, calling you away from the comfort of earth, and out into the cold expanse of space. It would be too easy to turn this into an exercise in sappy pretense, but thankfully, this release has enough strength to avoid those pitfalls.

This is a five track trip into the furthest reaches of spectral exploration. Track three (titled “Part 2”), contains a sax solo from Gaetano Firlito that owes more than just a little to the classic use of sax on the middle period of Pink Floyd’s classic material. On track two (titled “Part 1”), Shirin Demma contributes a beautiful and ethereal vocal performance that elevates this recording further into the stratosphere.

Overall, this is an effective launch into the cold expanse of space, guided by the capable hands of our Italian explorers: very effective, and a great addition to any space rock collection."

We have just returned from a wonderful trip to Montreal, unfortunately the Axa Hour of Dora Bleu CDs did not arrive in time for a pre-release party, but Dorothy still put on excellent show. Look for a Late November release on this and the Uton/Valerio Cosi release, more to follow soon!

Early Notice for Comet III & Keijo!

It seems they are always the first ones with a review, often (as is the case here) before the official release date. The folks at Jazz E Arredores have up a review (in Portuguese naturally) of our upcoming releases by Comet III and Keijo, in particular giving high praise to the Comet III disc.

The preorder special for these will end on the 25th of October, so (announcer voice in effect) act now!

Alan Sondheim feature in debut issue of Bixobal Magazine

Alan Sondheim is interviewed in the first issue of Bixobal Magazine, a new publication out of Seatlle put together by Eric Lanzillotta (head of Ri Be Xibalba Records, late of Anomalous Records and Distribution). Also featured in this inaugural issue is an interview with Dave Nuss of the No Neck Blues Band, an Indian travelogue from Sir Richard Bishop, Rob Millis of Climax Golden Twins with an overview of Korean 78 rpm records, and more. Looks great, we’re looking forward to getting our copy!

Preorder Keijo & Comet III discs, Broken Face on Pulga.

Just posted on the preorder page is the preorder for our next two releases for $16 plus postage. One can also choose to preorder the latest by Finnish experimental psych master Keijo titled “Whose Dream We Live In?” or Comet III’s debut sojourn “Astral Voyager” individually. The release date is set for October 29th, the preorder special ends on the 28th.

Sweden’s Broken Face has a review of Pulga Loves You up now, Mats had this to say:

”All sorts of sounds seep in and out of the mix and what at times first might seem as merely another great drone is soon transformed into something whole lot more grand, with the addition of wailing saxophone, shamanic percussion, electro-acoustic experimentation, subtle sonic chaos or unexpected beats. The icing of the cake is unquestionably “Raga Pulga,” the 19 minutes long dynamic closer which manages to transcend both time and space with some truly otherworldly saxophone playing, bowed strings and clusters of droning splendor.”

We are hoping that we will be able to bring copies of the debut disc by Axa Hour of Dora Bleu with us when we go to Montreal at the End of the month to catch their gig at Casa Del Popolo on the 28th of October. It would be a first for us, a proper CD release show. Right now it is up to the manufacturer, when I know one way or another I’ll be posting here.

Just Reviews…

With the rechristening of this section as “News & Reviews” I’ve decided to have this posting list some reviews for our earlier releases. This time around I’ll limit myself to reviews that are still online (as of this writing) but I may post some no longer online reviews in the future.


SF Weekly
All Music Guide

My Country of Illusion:

KZSU Zookeeper
Jazz E Arrrdores (Portugal)

The Songs:

Music Emissions
Blog to Comm
Jazz E Arredos
SF Weekly
Paris Transatlantic(scroll down for review)

Nai Htaw Paing Ensemble:

Global Rhythm
Foxy Digitalis

Which brings us up to some new mentions of the newest releases!

Nathamuni Brothers

Hawaiin Winter
Dia Pa Zon (Poland)


Startling Moniker
Hawiian Winter

Coming soon – preorder special for the next two releases!

Nathamuni & Pulga reviews and news, and more!

Happy false Mayday to all here in the states! Starting things off are two quick reviews that will be appearing in the next issue of the excellent Dream Magazine. First, Nathamuni Brothers:

Nathamuni Brothers Madras 1974 (Fire Museum) The Nathamuni Brothers were a seven piece South Indian band that played their own distinctive variations on Indian classical themes on clarinets, alto sax, baritone horn, and trumpet, along with tavil, talam, and harmonium drone. But they are quite playfully inventive as they incorporate traces of Scottish folk, and a tin pan alley waltz and much more into their material. Performed on the patio of a friends house in Madras, this was recorded by musicologist Robert Garfias one afternoon in 1974. Very tangible and accessible, this feels like marvelous music made by human beings, masterful they may be, but you can feel the muscle, mind, breath and heart behind their playing. Not sweetened or produced, their powerful natural magic is all in the moment. The sounds here bring to mind sacred Indian mysticality, trance-inducing rhythmic interactions, woozy cartoon themes, Turkish music, jazz, New Orleans marching bands, gospel, klezmer, and lots more along the way.

Next up, Pulga:

Pulga Pulga Loves You (Fire Museum) Trance-inducing assemblages of layered tribal percussion, noise, free jazz extrapolations, atmospheric hoodoo, abrasive droning, microscopic life forms whirling and darting, vaguely sinister dark hallways, coolly arcane mysteries, and much more over the course of the five expansive tracks surveyed here. Valerio Cosi of Taranto, Italy and Niwi Rossetto of Austin, Texas whip up some very tangible transportational magic here. Tequila Feast is chilly ambient whispers, and distant acoustic strum over deep subterranean industrial chug with spiky saxophone shapes.

The Startling Monikered Dave X interviewed Vanessa Rossetto, the results can be read here.

The masters for the Keijo and Comet III discs have been sent to the pressing plant, so be on the lookout for the preorder special coming soon. We are also hoping to have the Axa Hour of Dora Bleu CD ready for a show in Montreal on the 28th of October. As mentioned previously, this is the new project of Dorothy Geller, formerly of From Quagmire and Laconic Chamber. Hopefully we’ll be seeing some of you in Montreal then!

Nathamuni Brothers & Pulga out now! Early notice and reviews!

Out for just 2 days now, Madras 1974 by the Nathamuni Brothers is at #3 on the KUSF world music chart as of this writing, and has been getting substantial airplay on WFMUand other outlets as well. As for Pulga, the reviews are coming in strong - like this one from foxy digitalis which gave it a 10 out of 10!

I was thinking that I really wanted to just sit down and listen. “Ah, these clothes ain’t gonna put themselves away,” I said and began folding and hanging shortly after the music began to play, slowly building. It occurred to me that there was a grinning disconnect between doing something so mundane and listening to such grand sounds. Folding towels while being irradiated by geraniums hardly seemed appropriate, bordering on the absurd, and I wondered if I could continue both tasks. Not to worry. The music provided ample transportation for the soul, enabling it to soak in the dream, ebbing and flowing from gentle tickles to boiling orchestras. Igor Wakhevitch came into view as percussion textures reminded me of whips and galloping animals. {Heart} tugged by {strings} and breathtaken. Erotic fragrances, curling wisps and bright paintsplatters of sax. Strange bowed strings that ask things of you. This is a truly marvelous musical ride with surprises around every turn, like a delightfully absurd repeated guitar phrase that becomes as insistent as a toddler tugging at skirts, contrasted against the somber, droning background where it dances. You go where Pulga takes you. After all, they do love you. This much is clear. 10/10 -- John Bullabaugh (31 July, 2007)

The oddity to emerge from the activity is the Portugese site Jazz E Arredores. It looks like they have given the cds both grand reviews, but somehow they have the notion that we are the label of Alan Sondheim.While we are honored to have released both Ski/nn and The Songs (if you haven't picked these up already, you are really missing out!) I (Steven) pretty much run things here - with massive help from friends. Another thing to clear up is that they mention that we are releasing a cd by David Maranha, we are in fact releasing a cd by Curia, a group in which David is a member, along with Margarida Garcia, Manuel Mota and Afonso Simões. This will be out by year's end (fingers crossed).

In an effort to act more like a proper label, we hope to be sending off the masters of the Keijo and Comet III in a week or two. Check back here for details!

Preorder Nathamuni Brothers & Pulga, we eat the postage hike (for now)

Up now on the preorder page is a special deal when you order both of these amazing discs together - $16 for both! Of course you have the option to preorder the Nathamuni Brothers or Pulga discs individually as well. The release date for these is July 30th, the preorder special ends July 28th. We hope not to take nearly as long between releases, and pretty much have the next two ready to go off to the manufacturer after the preorder mania dies down.

As most of you residing in the usa are probably aware, postage rates have gone up recently. After thinking about it for awhile, we have decided not to raise our postage and handling charges. It'll mean that we make less on each sale obviously, but it won't take that much longer to (hopefully) reach the break even point. Of course, when rates go up again we will probably have to follow suit.

As always, thanks for reading!

Nathamuni Brothers, Pulga, and other upcoming releases

The masters for both the Nathamuni Brothers and Pulga discs have been sent off to the manufacturer. As soon as I get word back from them on the progress of the discs we will have up a pre-order special. These are two incredible discs that I am very glad are finally seeing release. Getting situated in our new place then landing a job which demands more hours from me then my previous one were two issues which set us back, but with any luck we should be releasing things on a bit more of a regular schedule for the immediate future.

Speaking of future releases, we have quite a few gems lined up, with more in the planning stages. At this point releases by Dora Bleu (the new project of Dorothy Geller – formerly of From Quagmire), Keijo, the kosmiche sounds of Comet III, a new project featuring David Maranha called Curia, An Uton & Valerio Cosi collaboration and Argentina’s Vlubä are in the works – and more are on the horizon.

Just wanted to thank Justin of Diaspora Series Presents for putting together the first shows that we had a hand in here in Philadelphia. We’ve posted a short video clip from the Bolivar Zoar set.

Justin has lined up a great show with Alash from Tuva and “Extra Special Terrestrial Guests” (including Marshall Allen from the Sun Ra Arkestra). Monday June 18th at The Rotunda.

Ending this news posting, here is a video of Curia joined by Helena Espvall!

Shows now up on the Events Page!

At last I've updated the Events page to list not only the previously mentioned Türköz/Espvall/Hernandez trio show on the 25th of this month but also a gig on the 11th with Oakland's "experimental rockabilly" trio Bolivar Zoar and Providence's own Alec K. Redfearn & the Eyesores. Again, many thanks to Justin of Diaspora Series Presents for making these shows happen! Check out the events page for all the details.

The Night after the Türköz/Espvall/Hernandez gig (Saturday the 26th) Justin's group F! will be having their CD release party at World Cafe Live. From their bio: The music of F! pulls from influences around the world. From classical composers such as Bartok and Grieg, to Italian Opera, Parisian Polka, Balkan or Klezmer music. F! paints an atmosphere akin to a Fellini film or a Man Ray dream - the ultimate cartoon score for high society. Music for the villain. Nostalgic God Jazz. Sounds good by us!

Saadet Türköz to perform in Philadelphia, 2 upcoming releases just about ready.

We are pleased to announce that Saadet Türköz will be performing in Philadelphia on Friday, May 25th at The FUEL Collection 249 Arch Street 7PM. Saadet will be joined for the performance by Helena Espvall on cello and Katt Hernandez on violin. Opening will be Bulgina, who are Evan Lipson - double bass, Carlos Santiago – violin, Eli Litwin – drums and Rustin Gross – Bazuki. Presented by Diaspora Series Presents, this promises to be an incredible evening of music, and a very good start for Fire Museum related shows in our new home. Just to sweeten the deal, the performance is free.

We have two releases now pretty much ready to go. For The Nathamuni Brothers (mentioned in previous news announcements) we are waiting for the liner notes to be completed and for Pulga, pretty much waiting for the final word on the artwork. Pulga are Niwi (aka The Mighty Acts of God) and Valerio Cosi (solo and many, many collaborations). This incredible disc is a high point for both of these artists and is not to be missed! Watch this space for upcoming release dates.

Sound Catcher & Afternoon Dream Reviews, Nathamuni Brothers Release

Just Checking in with a quick update, since moving to Fishtown I’ve been working full time so between that and adapting to our new surroundings I just haven’t spent enough time keeping folks up to date on label matters.

To start things off, Sound Catcher has a great review in All About Jazz, an abridged version appears below:

Creative music is called such because, regardless of instrumentation, it tests boundaries, develops new approaches and fosters originality. In addition, by serving as a stimulus, it engenders creative listening. Saxophonist Lawrence Ochs, bassist Lisle Ellis and drummer Don Robinson are collectively known as What We Live, a trio whose works meet these criteria on all counts. Sound Catcher, a structured integration of traditional Kazakhstan folk music with jazz improvisation, is a live recording that captures a highly organic musical experience in time.

Ochs, a founding member of the ROVA saxophone quartet, makes his tenor and sopranino saxes speak in tongues and assume other identities. Ellis uses a specially constructed bass and electronics to set up a process he calls “string, circuitry, confluence,” which creates a juxtaposition of natural and electronic sounds. Robinson is a wonderful meld of percussionist and drummer who can equally thrill with technique or create tension with minimalism.

The amazing style of vocalist Saadet Türköz takes this session to the next level. She uses phrasing, improvisation, range and sheer power to match each player’s virtuosity or rise above them in song. She jousts vocally with sax, drums and bass, or melds with their timbres, all the while (or most of it, anyway) remaining true to her Central Asian roots. Her presence transforms the trio: the bass magically becomes an oud, the sax transmutates into a flute, and the drums morph into percussion. Creative music for creative listeners and an outstanding vocal treat.

Next up is a review of Afternoon Dream that appeared in The Wire:

After a series of releases of his sitar playing on CD-R, for his debut CD Erik Amlee adds an acoustic guitar to the throbbing drone with amazing results. The instruments twist around each other like a pair of mating cobras, letting loose passionate and dreamy drones of transcendental turbulence that softly rise and fall in the loop stream that Amlee adds to enhance the mood. Sounding like an alliance between Ravi Shankar and John Martyn, Afternoon Dream is an exquisite tangle of re-energised Eastern and Western roots music. - Edwin Pouncey

We are waiting for the liner notes to come in for the Nathamuni Brothers CD, will hopefully have an estimated release date on that soon. In other news, the good people at Diaspora Series Presents are working on getting a gig for Saadet Türköz here in late May. At the present time the only scheduled gig during her visit is at the Stone in New York.

More to come soon!

Foxy Digitalis Label Spotlight: Fire Museum Records!

Up now at the Foxy Digitalis website is a label spotlight of Fire Museum Records, a short interview featuring yours truly. Since the link takes you right to the article, I’ll reprint the intro text from the home page here:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's Fire Museum Records was one of the most consistently great labels in 2006. Their output ranged from a CD of traditional Burmese music (the brilliant Nai Htaw Paing Ensemble) to the decidedly and deliciously psychedelic (Erik Amlee, Helena Espvall of Espers, etc) to the experimental (Alan Sondheim), and more. Each album is excellent and worth hearing. This is a label to keep your eye on because there is no telling what they'll release next...

Many thanks to Brad Rose for the feature!

Some Year-End reviews and dialog

After a near silence on the News section since relocating to Philadelphia, Here is a longer than usual entry which presents some recent reviews, but we are also using the opportunity to present some open dialog, the topic of which will make itself known towards the end of this entry.

We will start things off with a review of Mon Music of Burmaby the folks at Foxy Digitalis:

The Mon were a historically dominant group of people revered for their cultural aesthetic and traditions and power within Burma, though like many other cultures, today the Mon people are engaged in efforts to preserve their culture, language and identity. This record features traditional material played instruments native to Mon and Burmese culture. The most dominant in the overall sound is the “Kyani”, which is often referred to as a crocodile zither. It has one string for melody and the others for drone. Another interesting sound is that of the “Talutt”, which is a bamboo flute. Though most of the tracks are instrumental, some feature singing, such as the light psych drone rambling of “Waygoon”. Where some tracks are lively and feature densely layered modes, others are repetitive ragas. Listen to it while it’s raining. Sara Saljoughi (18 December, 2006)

Another nice one for Nimis & Arx from Aquarius Records:

For those of you, like us, who may only know the Swedish cellist Helena Espvall from her work with the recent crop of neo-psych folk artists like Espers, Fursaxa, and Samara Lubelski, as well as being a member of Vashti Bunyan's touring band, you may be surprised, like we were, at the avant-garde leanings on her solo debut Nimis & Arx. However, after learning that Espvall has played with numerous free improv, dance and theater groups as well as with 20th century avant luminaries Pauline Oliveros and Eugene Chadbourne, we shouldn't really be surprised at all. With production and electronics provided by George Korein of Infidel?/Castro!, Nimis & Arx is a free improv maelstrom of cello, recorder, guitar and voice that is equal parts beautiful, difficult, tense and transcendent. Even the late, great Arthur Russell had not dragged his cello this far out into uncharted waters and that's saying something!

Moving along now to Afternoon Dream once again from the pages of Foxy D:

Erik Amlee creates music fit for all seasons: it’s the perfect accompaniment for lackadaisical summertime reveries, and a talisman for warding off the bitter grip of winter’s chill. “Afternoon Dream” couldn’t be a better title for this first legitimate release of Amlee’s solo guitar/sitar improvisations. With acoustic guitar work that beguiles the listener with its austere beauty, Amlee is reverential yet exploratory. His sitar melodies shrink the globe to the size of a small marble, cleverly dancing across the vastness of the heavens.

“Melting Trees,” with its fuzzed out tones invites somewhat of a sense of urgency. But it’s the urge to rejoice with which we are filled. That’s what “Afternoon Dream” is: a terrestrial hymn. Creation in the face of destruction. Amlee weaves shards of sound into a blissful concoction for our ears to devour. This is readily apparent on closing track “Between Space,” with its seemingly endless echo. Amlee is calling for us to join him on an everlasting sonic journey. I recommend that you go along for the ride. Bryon Hayes (27 December, 2006)

Wrapping things up are some reviews of Ski/nn, and some dialog revolving around one reviewers take on the non-musical content of the release. First up, another review from Foxy Digitalis:

Guitarist, visual and sound poet Alan Sondheim has been making records for over 40 years, and continues to challenge both himself and his audience. “ski/nn” is a document of solo guitar and zither songs, played on vintage instruments. Some of these include a 1927 Martin, a 19th Century “parlor guitar”, and a couple of zithers from roughly the same period. The songs here range from free-jazz and psych-folk, to countrified drone. Like Eugene Chadborne, Derek Bailey or Zoot Horn Rollo, these are merely labels to describe the fringes of each piece; the depth of the improvisation and absorption of various American styles defies categories. While the instruments add extra colors to these 18 songs, these challenging, whimsical songs would still be powerful and evocative on contemporary shitty guitars bought at K-Mart. “Take one”, “Death Three”, “1969", “1898", “Dervish Two”, and “Take Nine” are personal highlights, and as you can see, the record explores recurring themes and phrases, as if to emphasize their eternal pull. Sondheim, like the best artists, only cares about the next note, but here, he finds the new by building off the past. His choice of instruments play a part by having held on until someone noticed them and decided to jam on them again. Mike Wood (11 December, 2006)

Another from Aquarius:

Yes, this is a brand new recording by the same Alan Sondheim who made records on ESP and Riverboat in the late 1960's. A multi-instrumentalist, a poet and a visual artist, Sondheim has been making culture a little more interesting and innovative for the last four decades. Ski/nn finds his fingers navigating vintage instruments like a 19th century parlor guitar and a prime alpine zither from the 1920's. The results are so amazing! Primitive psych-folk that is sometimes really pretty and at other times freaked out and menacing. Sharing a similar spirit and freedom as the late Derek Bailey. Short pieces that together create a ghostly and timeless sensation.

And finally, a review from The Wire:

After his astonishing acoustic ensemble improvisation with Ritual All 770 - released as a 1967 Riverboat LP, The Songs (revived on CD last year by Fire Museum) - and his two subsequent LPs as the only electronic music composer and improvisor on ESP-DISK, Alan Sondheim has released nothing more than a couple of cassettes since 1968. Ski/nn presents 19 new tracks of his freely improvised music, played solo on a 1927 Martin Tenor, a 19th century Parlor guitar, a 1920s Prime alpine zither, and a 1860s Elgie alpine zither. He wades into each track using a strong sense of rhythm to tame and shape his often harshly dissonant figures. Whether at a stately pace ("Yearn One") or in rapid scrabble ("1973"), the music evokes an ethnographic hybrid of countless string instrument traditions, from koto to bluegrass, vigorously wiping past idiomatic technique as it does so. As a rough equivalent, you'd do equally well to imagine either David Fair or Derek Bailey punking out in imitation of Robbie Basho. The results are so compellingly idiosyncratic that any number of newly bearded Americans and brazen improv festival tryhards pale as extremely corny in comparison.

However, then the review takes a turn that we disagree with beyond the concept of disagreeing with a “bad review”, to the point we felt it important to address the charges openly:

An uneasy connotation of the world-ranging ethos, though, is amplified by the packaging. The poem "Familiar Wood" Sondheim includes may refer to nothing more phallic than his trusty musical instruments, but as the album title's skis and skin go together like knives and muscle, sexualized violence is disturbingly evident in the writing's misogynist imagery.- Jon Bywater

While conceding that the definition of such terminology will differ from person to person, we would never publish anything, be it music, liner notes, etc. that we felt to be misogynistic. I feel the short story in question could be considered transgressive, or perhaps in the tradition of Acker et al. Alan wrote a quick email to The Wire, the text of which follows:

I found the review of my recent cd in the current Wire a bit odd, which may well be my own doing. The reviewer states: "An uneasy connotation of the world-ranging ethos, though, is amplified by the packaging. The poem 'Familiar Wood' Sondheim includes may refer to nothing more phallic than his trusty musical instruments, but as the album title's ski and skin go together like knives and muscle, sexualized violence is disturbingly evident in the writings misogynist imagery." I can't argue with the interpretation (writing is always open to interpretation of any sort of course), but I do want to point out that misogyny was not my intention (and no one else has found the text such); it _was_ dealing with violence - with the bedrock of sex and violence in our society, which, at least for me, underscores the music as well, however slant. The title was a perhaps misguided reference to the old M. Gira/Jarboe Skin group, as well as "nn" - Netasha Nevanova (who created Nato55). I certainly wasn't thinking of skis or knives or phalluses, however it might appear.

- Alan Sondheim

Happy 2007 to everyone reading this, hope to have some news about upcoming releases soon

Getting our feet on the ground.

Not too surprisingly, we have hit some snags in our relocating process, but hopefully we will soon be more settled here after I land a job and we move to what I hope will be our home while we are here.

We should be starting pre-production work on the Nathamuni Brothers CD before too long, more details as they come together.

We are now in Philadelphia

We are now pretty much unpacked, have our computer connected to the internet at last, and are ready to go from our new base of operations here in Philadelphia. I want to thank everyone who performed at both of the going away events. Thanks to Sarah and Darren @ 21 Grand for keeping the event running so smoothly as well. The Bay Area has a great Experimental music scene, but we look forward to getting acquainted with Philadelphia.

Changes to Line-Up at 21 Grand 11/12, Espvall videos up on Video Page

The Countdown is on, only a few days until we move to Philadelphia! During the transition there might be a bit of a delay in getting orders out, but nothing more than a couple of days hopefully.

There have been a couple of changes to he line-up for the show at 21 Grand on Sunday the 12th. Axolotl will be joined by Inca Ore and Lemon Bear, and Rose (aka Zeek Sheck) will be performing in her fingerpickin’ storytellin’ incarnation Face instead of as 0th as her collaborator for that project had a schedule conflict.

Up now on the video page are two short videos of Helena Espvall (joined by George Korein and Paul Santoleri) performing live at the Haunted Cream Egg in Philadelphia over the Halloween weekend. It was a great show, so check out these excerpts – they were filmed with our digital camera so don’t expect professional video…

Vidya featuring Prasant Radhakrishnan added to “City of Photos” Screening at ATA 11/8!

Vidya featuring Carnatic saxophonist Prasant Radhakrishnan have been added to the bill for the “City of Photos” screening. Vidya will perform first that evening. Here is a short bio:

Prasant Radhakrishnan is a versatile saxophonist identified with both the Carnatic (South Indian Classical) and Jazz disciplines. A student of Padmashri Kadri Gopalnath, he has accompanied his guru in concerts in India and elsewhere. Prasant has given numerous solo concerts internationally, including regular concerts at the Chennai December music season in leading sabha organizations. Prasant has accompanied his guru in over 200 concerts within India and in the US, putting him in the company of not only Sri Kadri Gopalnath, but also with several of the most senior accompanying artists in the field of Carnatic music. Not limited by genres, Prasant has also been greatly influenced by the Jazz tradition. As a musical mind trained in two traditions, Prasant recently founded Vidya, a group that is a true combination of Carnatic music and Jazz. Vidya will be the liaison between the Jazz and Indian classical music world, and a vehicle to introduce these traditions to new listeners.

Showtime is 7:30, don’t miss it!

Helena Espvall CD Release Party 10/28/06 Philadelphia

The CD Release Show for Nimis & Arx will be at The Haunted Cream Egg at 4207 Baltimore Ave in Philadelphia on Saturday, October 28th. Performing with Helena will be George Korein on electronics and Paul Santoleri action painting. Meat: The Cleavers will be opening. The proceedings begin at 8 PM. Looking forward to seeing everyone there and maybe meeting some new folks as well!

We're Moving! Goodbye Bay Area events and moving sale!

Barring any last minute snafus, Fire Museum Records will be pulling up our stakes and moving to Philadelphia next month. Of course, we couldn’t leave without having a couple of Goodbye Bay Area! events. On November 8th we will be holding a screening of the superb film “City of Photos” by Nishtha Jain at Artists’ Television Access in San Francisco. Then on November 12th we are having a mammoth event at 21 Grand in Oakland. This evening of short "leave 'em wanting more!" sets features experimental, avant jazz, psychedelic noise, electronics, acoustic (acid free and acid full), cracked drum n' bass, dance, hip hop, a 'capella and stuff in a suitcase sounds. Please check our Events page for all the details on these events.

To help lighten our load, we are also holding a Moving Sale buy one of everything on the label for $60 (plus postage and handling) special deal. Be a Fire Museum Records completist in one fell swoop.

Hope to see all you in the Bay Area at one or both of the events, and looking forward to meeting up with our Philadelphia friends soon!

Pre-order Alan Sondheim and What We Live featuring Saadet Türköz now! Budget Burmese Madness & more...

The New CDs by Alan Sondheim and What We Live w/ Saadet Türköz are now available for preorder. Release date on these is October 24th, but why wait on these great releases?

We are having a preorder special this time featuring both of our Alan Sondheim releases. Pick up the release that began it all ”The Songs” (originally released in 1967) along with "Ski/nn", Alan’s new release of solo guitar and zither recordings, for $16 total (plus postage and handling).

Here’s a deal for the cheap out there. We have about 30 copies of over-run discs of our Mon Music of Burma release. We have no idea what to do with these, so we are selling them for a meager $3! (plus postage). We’ll sell these until we run out or think of a good use for them. Of course buying one of these means that you lose out on the wonderful packaging designed by Mark Frischman, but if all you want out of life is the disc then this is the deal for you..

More kind words from Foxy Digitalis, this time to give a quick mention to ”Afternoon Dream” by Erik Amlee. Calling it “an absolute gem. it's six raga-infused acoustic trips. Amlee's sitar playing is magnificent and beautiful, and he accents this with a real proficiency on steel strings. The mix of backwoods porch jams and indian-infused folk are an absolute delight. I can't take this CD out of the player. It's easily one of the 2 or 3 best albums released this year.” Continuing:“(Fire Museum Records) have been on a tear this year. recent CDs by Helena Espvall (from Espers) and the traditional Burmese sounds of Nai Htaw Paing Ensemble are both brilliant in their own right and essential listening.” They have released many excellent recordings on their Digitalis Recordings imprint, if you haven’t checked them out yet then by all means do so. The Tirath Singh Nirmala release "Bluster, Cragg, & Awe” is a favorite around these parts..

What We Live featuring Saadet Türköz Tour Dates, New My Country of Illusion Videos up!

The dates for the What We Live featuring Saadet Türköz October tour are available here. Pre-release copies of their new Fire Museum Records release Sound Catcher will be available for purchase at these dates. We dont have the release date for this & Ski/nn by Alan Sondheim set yet, but should within the week and will have some sort of pre-release promotional deal to announce at that time.

Up now at the Fire Museum Records video page are two videos by My Country of Illusion, in addition to the videos of Alan Sondheim, Erik Amlee and Indian Sonic Omnibus mentioned earlier. Check them out!

Paing, Espvall & Amlee News, New Video Site, Women Take Back the Noise

More great reviews for our two newest releases: Nimis & Arx gets nine lightning bolts out of ten at Foxy Digitalis while Afternoon Dream gets a great write up over at Outer Space Gamelan. In other new release happenings, Mon Music of Burma has been in heavy rotation both at WFMU and at KFJC.

We have just started up a Fire Museum Records video page. At the moment we have two videos of Alan Sondheim live at Tonic earlier this year, Erik Amlee live and two short videos of material that will be on Indian Sonic Omnibus (as well as the commercial length promo for TV B Gone from our friends at Cornfield Electronics), but more will be coming. Check it out, here is the first video of Alan Sondheim.

We want to bring to your attention a very worthwhile and ambitious project by Ninah Pixie of Big City Orchestra. A 3 CD set, Women Take Back the Noise is a compilation of female sound artists from around the world. It comes with elaborate packaging, including circuit bent noise cookies, each one individually circuit bent. Well worth the $30.

Amlee & Espvall CDS out now, What We Live to Tour, RIP Planetsize

Two early reviews for our new releases, one from Aquarius Records for the Amlee disc (scroll down the page for the complete review), and KFJC weighs in on Espvall's release.

From the Afternoon Dream review: "Deep swells of buzzing strings drift lazily, the acoustic guitar strumming along in the background, adding yet another layer of steel string buzz. Some of the tracks are totally loose and abstract, druggy expanses of slippery psychedelic sound, murky and fuzzy, like the jammiest spaciest parts of Spacemen 3 and Hawkwind stripped down into weird stoner acoustic ragas, all drone and shimmer, a buzzing swirl of warm drug den ambience and sunny afternoon sparkle, a seemingly impossible mix that sounds pretty much perfect together."

Guy Montag of KFJC opines of Nimis & Arx: "Faintly whispering strings moan & mourn. Moving forward beyond death's door finds us hovering through ethereal alter realities both foreign & stunning. Serene Central Asian recorder glides smoothly over plink & pluck harp tones and deeply chilling audio manipulations. Venial violoncello sins are cleansed and pronounced purgatorial sounds flicker down vaulted marble corridors. Lamenting liturgical litanies grieve out from Espvall's inspired instruments. Her angelic voice sobs softly, frustrated and torn over death's bittersweet invitation into the afterworld."

Work is in Progress on our next two releases, Ski/nn by Alan Sondheim and Sound Catcher by What We Live featuring Saadet Türköz. Although the official release date will most likely be mid-late October, barring unforeseen circumstances copies of the CD will be available on the What We Live/Türköz European tour this October. Please check out the previous news entry for mp3 samples of these upcoming releases.

On a tragic note, this summer Jeremy Planetsize passed away. Jeremy was a contributor to the Azadi! compilation, and also performed at one of the benefit shows we put on at 21 Grand. His friends are putting on a memorial party on Saturday, September 30th in San Francisco. RIP, Jeremy..

Preorder Amlee & Espvall CDs!

We are now accepting preorders for “Afternoon Dream” by Erik Amlee and “Nimis & Arx” by Helena Espvall. You can either order each CD individually, or preorder both for $16 plus postage and handling. This offer will expire on September 1st, so don’t delay - order today!

Erik Amlee will be performing at the Wickermania Festival happening on the 1st & 2nd of September in Montague and North Amherst, MA., using the event as a CD release party. If you can, GO! An incredible line up including Amlee, MV & EE with The Bummer Road, Christina Carter, Dredd Foole, Meara O'Reilly and many others. And only $3 a day!

We are hoping for an early October release date for both Sound Catcher by What We Live featuring Saadet Türköz, and Ski/nn by Alan Sondheim. Listen to these mp3 excerpts: “Raise Up an Ocean” by What We Live/Saadet and ”Take One” by Alan Sondheim.

Another release in the works is (the tentatively titled) Indian Sonic Omnibus, taken from recordings made during three trips to India. We are also in talks with the famed ethnomusicologist Robert Garfias to release these incredible 1974 brass band recordings of Carnatic music by the Nathamuni Band. Yes, there are plenty of great recordings available of brass band music from the region, but this music is nothing like that, it has to be heard! Of course, we will keep you posted on details as they develop.

Mon Music of Burma out now - Amlee, Espvall discs out soon!

Welcome to the new Fire Museum News section, the updated whenever we feel like section of the site dedicated to the activities of the label and those associated with it.

Out just over a week now, our newest release Mon Music of Burma by the Nai Htaw Paing Ensemble is getting out there to the listening world. A review by Thurston Hunger of KFJC states: “You get the quick flurries that I associate (wrongly?) with shadow puppets; music box muted charms (#3) as soft as Mr. Roger’s sweater; Talutt totem flute bamboo windfall (#9); several tracks get the dizzy Khanwe double-reed buzz, often chasing MI MYA THAN’s serene vocals.” So do yourself a favor and pick one up today.

On the horizon are two new releases, both split releases with other excellent labels (projected release date of both: 9/5/2006). A joint release with Mandragora Records “Afternoon Dream” by Erik Amlee (FM 05) combines solo sitar workouts such as those found on his acclaimed sitar cd-r releases along with crepuscular acoustic guitar pieces. Here's a sample of the track "Float Upsteam" for your listening pleasure. Joining forces with Pax Recordings, “Nimis & Arx” by Helena Espvall (FM 06) is the solo debut by the cellist of Espers. This release will surprise many, but given the breadth of people that Espvall has collaborated with up to this point she was bound to put out an excellent recording like this one which escapes easy categorization. In the meantime, here's an excerpt from the track "Vortex" to hold you over.

On the not too distant horizon, we are working on recordings of What We Live (featuring the incredible Kazakh/Turkish vocalist Saadet Türköz) and the first CD proper of recent recordings by Alan Sondheim. A recording of solo acoustic guitar and alpine zither songs, this release will delight those familiar with his early Riverboat (reissued as FM 04) and ESP Disc recordings as well as the audience for experimental solo guitar - while creating an audience for experimental solo alpine zither!

Other releases are in the works, watch this space for details…