The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

August 10, 2009

( mourning the loss of wildlife habitat, jordan river,
salt lake city, utah )

crossing over jordan

crossing over jordan
crossing over jordan
crossing over jordan
looking for a home

crossing over jordan
crossing over jordan
looking for a home
looking for a home

crossing over jordan
looking for a home
looking for a home
looking for a home the last of the lonely pathings

crossing over jordan
finding lovely home
finding lovely home
finding lovely home

crossing over jordan
crossing over jordan
finding lovely home
finding lovely home

crossing over jordan
crossing over jordan
crossing over jordan
finding lovely home

crossing over jordan, looking for a home
crossing over jordan, finding lovely home

Mon Music of Burma and Sondheim cds -

Fire Museum is a small label and needs your support! I've listed my 
favorite cd of theirs - Mon Music of Burma - which is wonderfully complex 
- the kyam solo on track six is incredible. I've also listed my own 
releases, all of which I like, and all of which have been reviewed here 
and there online. Please consider ordering any of these, and supporting 
Fire Museum and its releases, many of which I find amazing. The Fire 
Museum site, with other listings, is at . And 
please pass this on to anyone you think might be interested.

Thanks, Alan, info -

Music from Fire Museum Records

Nai Htaw Paing Ensemble - Mon Music of Burma (FM 02):

The rarely recorded traditional music of the Mon people is vanishing
and endangered, highly developed, and barely known even to Asian
traditional music connoisseurs. Historically the Mon were a dominant,
highly cultured, and influential people in Burma more than a thousand
years ago.

There are several instruments peculiar to the Mon. Most recognizable is
the Kyam (crocodile zither), a 3-string long zither with frets that is
shaped like a crocodile. Another is the Batt Kine, a row of 14 or so
pitched gongs that is upturned at both ends like a crescent. Also,
there is the Mon violin, a 3-string fiddle with a western-like body
played upright. This is incredible music with an unique character!

Recorded in Yangon, Burma by noted musicologist Rick Heizman, the Nai Htaw
Paing Ensemble are recognized as masters of traditional Mon music. There
is currently an effort by concerned Mon people to revive and preserve Mon
culture, language, and identity, and this recording will help further this


Kyam - The kyam is perhaps the most distinctive Mon instrument. It is
often referred as the crocodile zither, and in Burmese language it is
called migyaung, mi kyaung or mijaun. A 3-string, long, fretted
zither, the body is carved into a crocodile shape.

Bat Kine - Another uniquely Mon instrument is the row of gongs known
as the Bat Kine. Rather than the circular set of tuned gongs used in
Burmese, Thai, Cambodian, and Laotian music, the Bat Kine is shaped
like a quarter full moon, upturned steeply on both ends.

Pone Pon - Underpinning most Mon (and Burmese) music is a small set of
drums played by one player. This set is known as the Hta Bone Pone Pon.
It has 4 small drums, a medium drum, and a large drum.

Graw - This 'Upright Viola' is an old and rare Mon traditional
instrument. It has a western-looking body, but is strung with only
3 strings. Before the British colonizers came there were some
traditional 2 or 3 string fiddle instruments, afterwards musicians
copied the body stylings of the western violin.

Battala - 23-key bamboo xylophone. The keys are soaked for up to
three years to elicit the best timbre.

Kha dae-Kha bart - In almost all Mon and Burmese music one hears the
small cymbals and the wood clacker that serve a time-keeping function.

Khanwe - a double reed oboe-like instrument.

Talutt - A bamboo flute of various sizes and types of bamboo.


The leader of this ensemble, he currently serves as an assistant lecturer
at Yangon Cultural University. He Started studying Mon traditional musical
instruments, singing, and dance from his father, Nai Khin Maung Gyi, in
1965. Regularly performs on Mon National Days, Mon State Day, Union Day,
and other important receptions. He occasionally teaches the new generation
of musicians but has difficulty finding time given the economic situation
of the profession. He would like more Mon nationals to be aware of both
their own music, Myanmar traditional music and other world musics. He is
passionate about rediscovering and preserving the endangered arts of the
Mon culture.

to order:

Alan Sondheim/Ritual Al 770 - The Songs (FM 04):

First ever reissue of "The Songs", the debut recording by Alan Sondheim &
Ritual All 770, originally released on Riverboat Records (later recordings
appeared on ESP Disk). Recorded in March 1967 and included on the
legendary Nurse With Wound list of experimental recordings, on this album
Alan Sondheim played Electric Guitar, Violin, Flute, Suling, Xylophone,
Alto Saxophone, Classical Guitar, Clarinet, Shenai, Bass Recorder,
Mandolin, So-na, Hawaiian Guitar, Koto, Sopranino Recorder, Chimta, Cor
Anglais, Sitar and Bansari.

Joined by Barry Sugarman (Tabla, Dholak & Naquerra), Chris Mattheson
(Bass), Robert Poholek (Trumpet & Cornet), Ruth Ann Hutchinson (Vocals),
June Fellows (Vocals) and J.Z. (Jazz Drums); Ritual All 770 were a group
of improvisors living in Providence, Rhode Island. (Perhaps they could be
considered the sonic forebearers of the Fort Thunder scene...) Rejecting
the notion that avant garde music was solely the realm of isolated
academia, they delved fearlessly and joyously into their music, creating a
work that sounds fresh nearly 40 years later.


This work is a single improvised performance in which one of the
performers sings "Oratorio on the end of illusions", although, in my
libretto the words were originally "Oratorio on the end of visions". A
libretto of eight pages was prepared. The vocalists were not told how to
sing it. They could go backward or repeat any section if they wanted to.
There was no score. The only instruction given to the instrumentalists was
this: no playing behind the koto or classical guitar. I had several
rehearsals with each of them, mostly individually. The session lasted
through two takes, this is the second. After the master was made, I added
reverberation and volume controlling; other than that, all of the music
heard here is from the live performance.

Dan Wharburton of Paris Transatlantic said of the reissue of The Songs:

"an endearingly ramshackle melting pot of free jazz, blues and folk (if
Eugene Chadbourne later described his work as "free improvised country &
western bebop" then this is "free improvised Hawaiian flamenco gospel
blues music theatre).. its influence resonates (indirectly, one imagines,
unless there are more copies of the original vinyl in circulation than I
imagine) in the free folk of today's New Weird America scene."

Now listeners have the opportunity to hear for themselves the present day
song form manifestations of this overlooked creative master.

to order:


Alan Sondheim - Ski/nn (FM 07):

The return of 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!
On this release, Alan performs on the 1927 martin tenor guitar, 19th
century parlor guitar, 1920s prime alpine zither and 1860s elegie alpine

to order:


Alan Sondheim - Boojum (mm 9):

Boojum was our cat, who died recently at 18, and is missed terribly. Most
tracks are recorded mono directly from a Yamaha keyboard output. This is
the 'pure' sounding of the machine; there's no stereo enhancement or
graphic equalization. I determine the state of the machine, that's called
playing it. The accompaniment is automated but its figuration is not. The
keyboard is touch-sensitive, but as you know, touch on an acoustic
keyboard translates not only into volume, but also harmonic structures and
envelope. Here touch is volume only. Note that all playing is live.

The Cluster track is recorded from a very large Beowulf computer cluster
which generates considerable electromagnetic radiation in the radio
spectrum. These are recorded acoustically from a Realistic Patrolman SW-60
radio slowly tuned across various SW, VHF, and UHF bands. This is the
sound of the machine in air, transformed into audio signals within the
range of human hearing. Machine-states and machine exist in the imaginary.
Emanents exist within and without the machine..

Think of the true world in all its glory.

to order:


9/2- Crazy Dreams Band, Hex Nine, Serpents of Wisdom @ Danger Danger

9/28 - Pekka Airaksinen, Alexei Borisov & Anton Nikkil?, Kotra & Color is
Luxury @ The Rotunda

more info:

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