...I Listen to the Wind That Obliterates My Traces

...I Listen to the Wind That Obliterates My Traces

CD(Includes book)

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Hardcore fans of 20th century music, be it gospel, blues, old-timey, sermons, folk, country, African, Asian, etc., have always been drawn to the Dust-to-Digital imprint since the label's first box set, Goodbye, Babylon, issued in 2004; it consists of five CDs containing 135 religious songs recorded between 1902-1960, and another disc of 25 sermons cut between 1926-1940, all packaged in a wooden coffin-like box containing a 200-page book and cotton bolls for packing. Devotees of both the music and its fetishistic packaging have grown exponentially. The label's latest chapter, however familiar its sonic contents may be, is one of its most mysterious, mercurial offerings yet. ...I Listen to the Wind That Obliterates My Traces: Music in Vernacular Photographs 1880-1955 is compiled from the personal collection of interdisciplinary sound and visual artist Steve Roden. It contains a book of photographs of musicians -- mostly unknown -- and others related to the hearing of music. This beautifully hardbound book also contains two CDs containing 51 songs recorded between approximately 1914-1955, taken from 78s and acetates. The music ranges from the well known -- Bradley Kincaid's 1928 recording of "Froggie Went A-Courtin" and Ukulele Ike's "(I'm Cryin' 'Cause I Know I'm) Losing You" -- to virtually unknown sides taken from home recordings. This is all annotated by a lengthy poetic essay by Roden that attempts to create a social and poetic context from the ephemeral, and is underscored by epigraphs from writers from James Agee, Joseph Roth, and William Wordsworth to Pär Lagerqvist and Gerhart Hauptmann. The collection's photographs offer no sense of context other than "antique." By contrast, the music, which is annotated inside the book, is situated inside particularly American frameworks -- from folk and blues music to vaudeville and traditional pop. The rub between visual and aural lends the package its uneasy, but nonetheless intoxicating, strangeness. Pouring over these photographs accompanied by this soundtrack assures that questions occur in the moment of experience rather than from mere intellectual curiosity. As such ...I Listen to the Wind That Obliterates My Traces feels like an active talisman rather than an artifact, an artwork whose musical story cannot be told fully because its history is wiped out in the gap between the notationally archived and that which has escaped any permanent fixture.

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