Ear & Eye: Encounters with World Music
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Ear & Eye: Encounters with World Music
Schott Music (www.schott-music.com)
Book: 186 pages with CD included, bilingual (English and German)

"The urge to collect is healthy": this is the opening statement, from a 1915 "Pedagogical Lexicon", chosen for this original and charming book. Christoph Wagner - well known for his work for the respected Trikont label - bridges two kinds of collections: historical postcards and early recordings at 78 rpm. Both productions developed in the same historical period, together with the rest of the first mass media (radio and cinema). Postcards and 78 rpm records allowed the first "virtual" traveling, bringing into American and European houses images and sounds from exotic locations. In the interesting introduction the author examines the development of postcard and record, and then the book develops through a series of brief essays penned by contemporary musicians and inspired by historical postcards depicting musicians and carefully reproduced in the book. Among the invited contributors there are contemporary jazz musicians like Myra Melford and Charlie Mariano, who both worked with Indian musicians, composers like Mauricio Kagel, Pauline Oliveros and Terry Riley, instrumentalists like Teodoro Anzellotti and Robyn Schulkowsky, improvisors like Lol Coxhill, Fritz Hauser and Rüdiger Carl, as well as many uncategorizable figures of European music, from Robert Wyatt to Jah Wobble, Clive Bell, Franz Koglmann and many others. The enclosed CD features 24 tracks remastered from early "ethnic" 78, from the same areas of origin as the musicians portrayed in the postcards; a fascinating visual and sonic landscape, showing how the discographical industry went through an early phase of genuine exploration of the world's musical resources, preserving - not completely on purpose - sonic images of great suggestion, like the sound of Alphorns, the Siam ensembles, the Moroccan trance music and the Hardanger violin from Norway. - Francesco Martinelli

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