FIRE MUSEUM RECORDS NEWS & REVIEWS
The place to find out about new & upcoming releases, events and other
goings on in the world of Fire Museum Records and associates:
|The return of Fire Museum Records?
Time for the annual announcement on this page. For more timely info the Fire Museum Presents facebook page is the best bet. With the show listings, having a full time job, and trying to fit a life in there every so often it's just easier than updating this page on a regular basis.
However, we're pleased to announce two new vinyl releases on the Fire Museum label! The first one is Cauldron by Alan Sondheim, Helena Espvall & Azure Carter. The other is Circle of Crosses by Dora Bleu, Tom Carter and Sam Shalabi. These releases are domestically produced 140 gram vinyl, housed in an offset printed cover with j-card style obi. These are split releases with Tequila Sunrise Records. From the write ups:
Cauldron - Cauldron deals out a three of cups: Alan Sondheim, a pioneer of mystical ear-tweak and sci-fi sonic ritual sound, chamber-improv gypsy cellist Helena Espvall, and eco-trance singer Azure Carter… thrice to thine and thrice to mine, and thrice again, to make up nine. Channeling the ghosts of Opal Whiteley and Lou Harrison, Cauldron conjures the scratch and shush of the Big Bang out of wood, wind and cat-gut. Whenever you listen to it, this album is always over too soon, just like life. Fire Museum and Tequila Sunrise Records deal out a two of pentacles: not to get all “Yankee Candle” here, but we only made 250 of these, so grab one before they melt away like chemtrails in the sunset sky,
Circle of Crosses - Fire Museum (39.955117°N 75.161240°W) and Tequila Sunrise Records (39.969203°N 75.14505°W) present this gathering of guitar-driven emanations, the first side leafy, lyrical and acoustic, the second side an astringent application of electric gnarl. “Circle of Crosses” brings together folk pythia Dora Bleu (guitar and vocal) with psych-improv wizards Sam Shalabi and Tom Carter (guitars and other instruments). It links Tripoli (32°548N 13°119E) to Washington D.C (38°5342.4N 77°0212.0W) and Houston (29°4546N 95°2259W), not to mention Mile End (45°3130N 73°3500W) to Louvain-la-Neuve (50° 40 4 N, 4° 36 42 E). Consider these songs map coordinates for safe-houses from das Überwältigensein, a set of precise locales for ecstasy, atheist shrines, or open spaces for reverie in the forgotten recesses of the planetary connectome.
As standard, the pages have brief mp3 samples, but don't mess around, pick up the actual artifacts! We are offering a special with Cauldron orders – orders place by the 31st of March (2012 of course) will also receive a complimentary copy of Ski/nn, the 2006 “comeback” release by Alan Sondheim! Foxy Digitalis had this to say back when:
“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.”
In other news, we are down to 5 copies of Cavallo Meraviglisio by Wondrous Horse, and I really think this news page looks a lot better than facebook does. Oh well, more time in life please!
|For those that waited this long..
It's been almost a year since I've written anything here, don't expect the pace to pick up all that much. With the transition from label to live event presentation it has become far easier to update people about the shows via the Fire Museum Presents page on facebook.
I'm writing here to announce that all remaining full-length releases on Fire Museum Records and Majmua Music are 50% off – meaning $5 for the Fire Museum releases and $4 for the Majmua Music releases (plus postage). The Majmua Music 3” e.p. Releases are now $3 plus postage. Some of these releases are pretty much down to a few copies.. The price for the One of each available release special has been dropped as well, to $45 for the Fire Museum releases (14 total) and $70 for all available Fire Museum & Majmua releases (25 total). People in/visiting Philadelphia can stop by any show we are presenting and I'll be glad to bring by copies of releases that you are interested in to save on the postage cost, the only exception to this being the Helena Espvall release, as I don't personally have the remaining copies (and it's my understanding there's only a couple of them anyway).
|Curia release is now sold out!
the s/t release by Curia is now sold out. (I believe Forced Exposure still has some copies). Accordingly, the price of the Buy one of each release special has been dropped to $90 for the Fire Museum Records titles. Since 3 more releases have come out on Majmua Music, the one of each Fire Museum Records and Majmua Music special remains at $150.
Over on the preorder page you can pick up the three new Majmua Music 3" ep releases for $10 (plus postage and packaging). Two sister releases, You start Fights by the Shitty Listener, From The Living Tomorrow by Daymoon and Gliomasby Psychotic Quartet. Shitty Listener and Daymoon are currently anchored in Berlin, where as the majority of Psychotic Quartet were based in Philadelphia, but currently are scattered all over and about the place. The preorder special ends on Thursday, April 15th, so order today!
We are presenting a few shows we are calling the "Highwire Gallery in Exile" series (the gallery is being rented out in April & early May), so check out the events page for info there. First show up is Prince Rama right across the street from the gallery at vwvoffka on Monday April 5th. Working on finalizing the lineup for Crazy Dreams Band on April 16th and a date for Occasional Detroit!
|Happy New Year!
Haven’t posted here in awhile, but not for a lack of being busy. We have shifted activities for the time being to presenting shows, up to 4 a month at the Highwire Gallery. So far so good, since returning from India we have had 3 shows, with 2 more to go in February and 4 in March. Go to the events page to check it all out! We started a page on facebook (trademark, etc, all that) As a way to be informed of upcoming events, another way is to sign up to our email list – all you have to do then is send an email to media at museumfire dot com with the words “Philly subscribe” in the subject header.
We also have 3 new Majmua Music 3” e.p.s on the way, 2 from Berliners ( The Shitty Listener and Daymoon, a gathering consisting of Jason, Michael Northam & others) and one from past & present Philadelphians (Psychotic Quartet). A couple more are in the works, so stay tuned..
|Two September shows, and a Moving Sale!
The benefit for the Kensington Community Food Co-op was a grand success, the park was packed, money and awareness of the project were raised, and people had a great time! Here’s a picture of Lillie Ruth Bussey rocking for the cause!
Look over here for some more photos from this event.
Which brings up to September – bring yourself over to our events page and check out the two excellent gigswe have scheduled for September. First up, on Wednesday the 2nd it’s Crazy Dreams Band with Lexie Mountain of Lexie Mountain Boys & Nate Nelson of Mouthus & Religious Knives). It’ll go down at the Danger Danger Gallery in West Philly, also making the scene will be Hex Nine, and Serpents Of Wisdom and Trufflehunter.
Next up, on Monday the 28th, we bring you a cavalcade of experimental electronic sounds from Finland and Russia with Pekka Airaksinen (perhaps most famous as a member of the 60’s Finnish psychedelic noise group The Sperm), the duo of Alexei Borisov (Russia) & Anton Nikkilä (Finland), Kotra from the Ukraine and Philadelphia’s own Color is Luxury (also known as Charles Cohen and Hair Loss) over at The Rotunda!
In more personal news, we are moving to a somewhat smaller place than we have been living in soon. It’s only a few blocks from where we’re living now, but the occasion has prompted us to hold a moving sale from now until the end of September.What that means for you, dear reader, is that you can acquire any still in print Fire Museum Records or Majmua Music release for half off! That’s any Fire Museum Records release for $5, and any Majmua Music full length release for $4, a 3” e.p. will only set you back $2.50. The releases that are sold out are Axa Hour of Dora Bleu, Arborea, (((vlubä))), Susan Alcorn and Pink Saliva. The releases that are in short order are all the Majmua Music releases and Nimis & Arx by Helena Espvall and The Songs by Alan Sondheim.
There’s no way I’m going to go through every page and adjust the sales buttons to reflect these prices (it takes me long enough to finish these news updates these days) so the way the sale works is as follows. Send payment by paypal to sales at museumfire dot com mention the recordings you want and send the payment in full. If anything sells out we’ll reimburse you the difference. Postage within the U.S. is free with the order, outside the U.S. please add $1 per disc up to $5, after that pay nothing else in postage. If you have any questions about the special send a note to media at museumfire dot com and we’ll be glad to assist you.
As always thanks for reading!
|New Release on Majmua Music, 1st Friday Fundraiser for KCFC!Ocean of Snakes by Many Arms is the latest release on Majmua Music! Another in the series of delicious bite sized morsels (3” ep) this release is one of the strongest you’ll here from the intersection where the passion of punk collides with the science of prog. Shred that pavement! Just back from a short tour, they are hosting a local release party at the Danger Danger Gallery (50th & Baltimore in West Philly) this Monday, July 27th at 8pm.
We are joining forces with Frankford Ave Arts to present a fundraiser/public awareness event for the Kensington Community Food Co-op on the next First Friday on Frankford Ave. event, which is on August 7th. Go on over to the events page to find out more about the excellent line-up (Shot x Shot, Eric Carbonara, Lillie Ruth Bussey and more), and the Co-op project (which we hope some of you that live in the area will decide to get involved with of course).
Byron Coley gave props to the Hexlove 3” in the most recent issue of The Wire, comparing it to the mid-late 70’s output of Eno (which is great by me, I’m listening to “Music For Films” quite a bit these days). I’ll post it when I can find my copy of the issue, or when someone decides to be nice and email me the review.
|Odds & EndsTwo shows ready to go over on the events page, and what fine evenings they are as well! July 22nd brings us “A night at 21 Grand only it’s at The Rotunda instead” with Blevin Blectum, Wobbly, Matt Davignon & locals Mincemeat or Tenspeed!
On September 28th it’s an evening of Finnish & Russian experimental music featuring Pekka Airaksinen from the legendary art/noise instigators The Sperm. More are in the works, and will be posted when the line-ups are finalized.
On the Majmua Music front, we will soon be releasing a 3” ep release from those hard hitting improv/prog giants Many Arms. A great review of the now out of print Pink Saliva release by Exclaim! Can be found here. In the Terrascopic Rumbles for July Eric Carbonara’s latest gets a rave review. You’ll need to scroll down to read it at the source, but here it is as well as I’m too tired to excerpt it (although you should check out the Terrascope for other fine releases):
"From Philadelphia comes Eric Carbonara, a guitarist who’s exploring the possibility of various expressions of his instrument. Inspired by noise and electro-acoustic music as well as Andalusian Roma-Flamenco and Hindustani and North African folk music he transfers his inspiration sources to his own playing, now presented on his album release “Towards A Center Of Infinite Flux”. The album starts of with its most appealing track, ‘Splitting two into one’ a ten minute feedback and free noise guitar excess with a hidden highly distorted solo of Northern African scales. The tracks brings me some Sunn O))) vibes which are really nice. Before the album ends up with its sixth track, the beautiful and reflective ‘A brief rest from the long road to nowhere’ the trip takes us through landscapes of jazz guitars of the 50s, flamenco inspired amplified and reverb acoustic guitar, soft jazz guitar interrupted by free form approaches and fast chord changes and the very appealing ‘Transfixed between open space’ where Eric Carbonara shows his high skills in the ambient drone-guitar territory. An album that shows the multiple faces and talents of Eric’s playing."
Mentioned in the same Rumbles is a review of our Hexlove release, this time I'll do the "highlights" thing:
Even though it’s a small genre of art of its own it’s more unusual to find soundtracks without movies than movies without soundtracks, but here we got one, a CD-R 3” EP release on Majmua Music (their first mini-disc ever), “Music From the Film Es Noonar Covencha (Music for Unmade Films)”. Eleven short tracks lasting 21 minutes. His music is like walking in a corn-field where each corn is a specific sound, effects, melody, chord, voice or instrument - all of it clear and acoustic or harshly distorted - and picking a bit of this and a bit of that and then mixing it together in a most fascinating way where all of these various ingredients creates the most delightful meal of deconstructed sounds and noises with sometimes hidden melodies."
Finally, I can’t let this update end without mentioning the death of Philadelphia’s finest scribe, Steven Wells. Although musically we went different directions post – punk, his writing was almost always spot-on and filled with a passion for life and indignation over social injustice. Hell, even when he slagged off friends I had to laugh. The Philadelphia Weekly has many of his articles and many tributes archived., go and read them if you aren’t familiar with his work. Hopefully someone will release a Seething Wells collection of rants. Your voice is missed.
|Two Great Shows to kick-off Summer!Over at the events page, cast your eyes at two incredible musical offerings we have to start your summer.
On Sunday the 21st there’s the 2nd annual Summer Solstice Festival at the Magic Gardens. This year the emphasis is on World & Psychedelic musics, along with the acrobatics and more that you’ve come to expect..The next Sunday (the 28th) is the Philly return of Susan Alcorn at Gojjo in West Philly. This will be your last chance to pick up a copy of her Majmua Music release Curandera. We’ve been sold out for awhile, Susan is bringing the handful of copies she has left up to sell at the gig.
Again, go to the events page for all the details, and see you there!
|All About Alcorn Curandera gets a rave review in the newest issue of Signal To Noise:
“The pedal steel has suffered an ignominious fate, culturally read as the instrument that makes country music weepier and, by supposedly logical extension, cheesier. The tone of the pedal steel – either pearl-like and teardrop-fragile, or wantonly cherry – doesn’t help its case. But for the pedal steel player to drop her lexicon and explore outer space seems as cheap an option as unthinkingly playing to the instrument’s chintzier excesses, which is why Susan Alcorn is the instrument’s greatest current exponent. She’s aware of the instrument’s history and language, but is equally careful to draw on those signifiers only when they advance the cause of the composition she’s exploring, whether an original or cover. Curandera features both, and it proves Alcorn’s compositional and improvisational mastery is just as potent when she moves into interpretation. – Jon Dale
On the title track and “Twin Beams”, episodes where single notes are fired into silence’s gaping maw alternate with periods of seismic disturbance, yet the transitions always feel logical, natural; her transcription of Messiaen’s choral piece “Sacrum Convivium” finds humility at the heart of the composer’s tendency toward grand gestures. But it’s the two takes on popular music here that most resonate – Alcorn sources the and warmth in Tammy Wynette’s voice in her version of “You and Me” and finds a new kind of joy in Cutis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready.” Both versions are true to the personal and public politics of their originals while giving Alcorn space to comment on current times, and in this respect her interpretive approach recalls that of Diamanda Galas. But most of all, Alcorn’s playing reflects her own description of Wynette: “(she) sang with an aplomb, an intelligence, and a precision of emotion”
In a recent posting on Arthur titled “The Hovering Glass Angel of Susan Alcorn’s Guitar”, Ian Nagoski adds to the accolades:
“(I)n the unlikely event that anyone ever holds a gun to my head and demands to know, “who is your favorite musician in the city?” I’ve got my answer all ready: Susan Alcorn.
Alcorn is a Texas native who plays the pedal steel guitar. The journey from playing country and bluegrass and straight jazz to her mature style has aided by advice from Muddy Waters and Paul Bley. The wide-open ears, keen intellect, emotional sensitivity and rigorously-honed skill as a player that she has developed has brought her into collaborations with Pauline Oliveros, Peter Kowald, Eugene Chadbourne and Jandek among many others. But it’s her solo work as a composer, improviser and interpreter of songs, which are more aching sequences and clusters of crystaline sounds than tunes, that always blows me away.
With clarity and precision and a gift for invoking sweeping landscapes, Alcorn is able to perform arrangements of Curtis Mayfield or Olivier Messiaen highlighting both their structural and spiritual aspects simultaneously and then attacking the strings zen-slap-loud or hovering stained-glass mobiles of sound-clouds. Dreamy stuff, full of emotion and one of the more Universalist twists on Americana.”
UPDATE 4/20/09: We are now sold out of this release, copies still available from Tomentosa & Eclipse.
|Pre-order special extended to April 14thAfter all this time, you’d think I’d know to wait until you have everything in hand before publicizing upcoming releases.. I guess my excitement got the better of me this time. When I received the initial shipment of the new Majmua Music releases the shipment didn’t include all of the copies of two of the releases. Assuming that they would be arriving soon I went ahead and started publicizing these new releases.
As it turns out, I don’t have sufficient copies of everything to mail out all the preorders today, so the official release date has been moved back to the 14th. I do this with a fair amount of confidence because the discs were shipped on the 3rd, and the manufacturer is just in another part of the state.
As a result, the preorder special has been extended until that date as well, so there’s still time to act and pick up all five releases for $23 (plus postage and handling).
Yes, that’s the new releases by Aditi Tahiti, Hexlove, Libellula (aka Michael Northam, Hitoshi Kojo and Sebastian Clinger), Eric Carbonara and Pink Saliva (Gordon Allen on trumpet, Alexandre St-Onge on bass and laptop & Michel F. Côté on percussion). Individual preorders at normal price are possible as well, of course.
|Boojum review at KZSU!Since we’re spending too much time updating webpages these days, let us bring it to your attention that Boojum was just reviewed over at KZSU.
”I’d bank that this guy took the same keyboard that Wesley Willis uses and decided to see what he could do, sans the mildly retarded social commentary and off-key singing. Bizarre compositions that utilize the rhythms and sounds of a “one man band” cheesy keyboard, but with dissonant playing and all the fun you’d expect from something that I would gleefully put on the review shelf, review, and add... in a mess of bodily fluids, vicodin daze.... Josh: this does NOT sound like Frippertronics, Eno, Do Make Say Think or Flying Saucer Attack at all. Fans of fucked up twisted shit take note.”-Your Imaginary Friend
Philadelphians, and those that enjoy coming here take note over at the events page. We will be showing City of Photos at Brickbat Books on April 25th. Be there!
|PREORDER 5 NEW MAJMUA MUSIC RELEASES!!Over on the preorder page you will find the Majmua Music March madness preorder special in full swing – Five (yes, count ‘em, 5) great discs for $23 (plus postage and packaging)! A fine batch of discs if we do say so ourselves, check out the latest offerings by Aditi Tahiti, Hexlove, Libellula (a trio of Michael Northam, Hitoshi Kojo and Sebastian Clinger), Eric Carbonara and Pink Saliva (Gordon Allen on trumpet, Alexandre St-Onge on bass and laptop & Michel F. Côté on percussion).
You may have noticed that the Pink Saliva is being released in an edition of 100 copies, as opposed to the standard Majmua Music edition of 75 copies. Paradoxically, this is a release that we personally will have fewer copies on hand ourselves than usual. Most of the copies disc will be available via Distroboto machines throughout Montreal.
Don’t sleep on this special, it will end on April 3rd.
|Arborea now sold out!Our release by the good folks known as Arborea is now sold out, thanks to everyone who purchased a copy.
A few copies are still available from our distributor, Forced Exposure.
|Curandera review in The WireNormally we wouldn’t do a news update for a single review, but this one of Curandera in the new issue of The Wire is quite nice. To quote:
”Pedal steel guitar player Susan Alcorn describes the title track of Curandera as a song based on the music of the Mapuche people of Chile. This beautiful solo CD also includes versions of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready”, Tammy Wynette’s hit “You and Me” and Oliver Messian’s choral work Sacrum Convivium. As that list indicates, Alcorn sings atop the glistening metallic glide and swell of her instrument. As it also suggests, she places no boundaries around the pedal steel’s expressive potential. Her musical awareness is broad and refined, extending from the heart of Country and Western Swing through the language of the high modernist avant garde to the communicative urgency of free jazz. The less vocal aspects of her improvising often recall Fred Frith’s tabletop guitar soundings – harmonically expansive, tinged with ghostly overtones or vividly metallic. In more vocal moments, especially on “Curandera”, you could be listening to Meredith Monk or Joan La Barbara, not just in terms of tone and timbre but in the pacing and the breath that seems to flow so naturally through Alcorn’s playing. Pedal steel guitar can sound glacial, in Alcorn’s hands it’s got soul”-Julian Cowley
Next week we will be announcing the preorder special for the new Majmua Music releases (Eric Carbonara, Libellula (aka Sebastian Clinger, Hitoshi Kojo & Michael Northam), Pink Saliva, Hexlove and Aditi Tahiti), so check this space soon!
|The reviews keep on coming...The latest issue of Dirty Linen has a review of our Arborea release which reads as follows:
” Buck Curran handles guitars, bowed strings, and vocals, while Shanti Curran provides hypnotically beautiful vocals, percussion, and downright spooky banjo. Their music has grown by leaps and bounds since last year's Wayfaring Summer. One prime example is the haunting "Black Mountain Road", which begins with the eerie effect of the song being run backwards before it slips almost unnoticeably into real time. "Dark Horse" and the wonderfully titled "Leaves Among the Ruins" are minor-key excursions that evoke images of rust, bare trees, and the decay of time. On the deranged strains of "Swan," Shanti Curran reminds one of a wraithlike sister to Victoria Williams, while "Echo of Hooves" evokes a Hounds of Love-era Kate Bush. In spite of the foreboding quality in the songs, Arborea transmits timeless beauty, such as when Buck Curran chills the bones with his skeletal slide-guitar work on the album's ending track, "Plains of Macedonia."~Lahri Bond, Dirty Linen
What is about to stop (or, to be more accurate, run out) is our supply of this superfine disc. We are down to our last few copies, so order soon! To clarify something from the last post, Buck wrote to tell me that although their next release will come out on Darla, no contracts have been signed so it’s not exactly accurate to say that they are now signed to Darla.
|On short-lived specials & more.Since they last for a short time I haven’t been posting them here, the best way to be notified is to sign up for our email list. Find out about specials on existing releases and other deals (for example when a limited number of “Clones of Eros” were returned we sold those off via a special), and of course shows and events if you live in the Philadelphia area (just mention that you do in the message you send). Send a message to media at museumfire dot com to sign up!
Congratulations to Arborea for signing with Darla Records! In other news, Buck and Shanti are putting together a benefit CD for the World Food Program. The confirmed lineup is - Marissa Nadler & Black Hole Infinity, Devendra Banhart, Mi and Lau, Fern Knight, Rio en Medio, Larkin Grimm, Arborea, Alela Diane, Mica Jones, Big Blood, Micah Blue Smaldone, Cursillistas, Magic Leaves, The Plains, Starless and Bible Black, David Garland, Ora Cogan, Eric Carbonara, Jozef Van Wissem, and Silver Summit. For more information, click here.
Here’s an excerpt from a review of Curandera that appeared recently at bagatellen:
”On her solo effort, Curandera, Alcorn makes the unorthodox seem conventional.. Of Alcorn’s own compositions here, the music is inspired by a range of interests: Chilean natives, visual art, Southern literature, and metaphysics. The accompanying tracks are interpretations of songs by no less varied a group than Messiaen, Curtis Mayfield and Tammy Wynette. Across the album, Alcorn’s playing shows virtuoso discipline and craftsmanship. Her dexterity in picking calls to mind Joe Morris and Derek Bailey, while frequently settling into the loose, sustained cries and decayed whines characteristic of the instrument. For most of the album, only the lightest touch of reverb is used to enhance the pedal steel’s tone. The music is otherwise unadulterated, benefitting primarily from Alcorn’s rich, deep sustains, in keeping with the record’s theme: a perpetual longing for things unreachable. On “Broken Obelisk” — composed out of necessity after Alcorn attended a peace vigil at the Rothko Chapel — she explores the central octaves of the guitar in a slow, contemplative tempo; dissonance is married with conventional slides to bring a unity between the instrument’s naturally opposing attributes. The tune’s disinterested resolution reminds that dilemmas are often conceded and then forgotten, here taking form in the long decay of a single tone. Alcorn’s record seems borne from personal philosophies, those which are important enough to share, but might lose weight in their expansion. A really beautiful recording.”-Al
The next batch of new Majmua Music releases are off to the manufacturer, a great batch of recordings from Eric Carbonara, Pink Saliva (new group from Montreal of Gordon Allen, Alexandre St-Onge & Michael Cote), Libellula (who are Sebastian Clinger, Hitoshi Kojo & Michael Northam), Hexlove and Aditi Tahiti. Check back soon for information about the pre-release special!