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AGP178 - Inuit Throat and Harp Songs (1979)




  1. Inuit Throat and Harp Songs, side A, tracks 01-03 [6:59] [MP3]

  2. Inuit Throat and Harp Songs, side A, tracks 04-07 [8:56] [MP3]

  3. Inuit Throat and Harp Songs, side A, tracks 08-11 [9:27] [MP3]

  4. Inuit Throat and Harp Songs, side B, tracks 01-03 [6:15] [MP3]

  5. Inuit Throat and Harp Songs, side B, tracks 04-06 [4:58] [MP3]

  6. Inuit Throat and Harp Songs, side B, tracks 07-16 [14:39] [MP3]

  7. Inuit Throat and Harp Songs, side A, tracks 01-03 [6:59] [FLAC]

  8. Inuit Throat and Harp Songs, side A, tracks 04-07 [8:56] [FLAC]

  9. Inuit Throat and Harp Songs, side A, tracks 08-11 [9:27] [FLAC]

  10. Inuit Throat and Harp Songs, side B, tracks 01-03 [6:15] [FLAC]

  11. Inuit Throat and Harp Songs, side B, tracks 04-06 [4:58] [FLAC]

  12. Inuit Throat and Harp Songs, side B, tracks 07-16 [14:39] [FLAC]

  13. AGP 178 notes [TXT]

  14. LP liner notes [PDF]



NOTES

AGP178 is one more in an occasional series of installments of "found" avant-garde music,meaning that the recordings are not avant garde compositions per se, but I have for years enjoyed listening to them in the same spirit as I listen to late 20th century music. See AGP28, 44-47, and 145 for other such installments.

The LP transcribed for AGP178 is one of my most cherished. It contains recordings of Inuit women from the far Canadian northeast. Most of the tracks are throat songs, involving two or four women facing each other at close quarters and producing syncopated sounds in the broad borderland between tone and noise. Though commonly called "songs", they have no lyrics and in most cases no melody. Many of the sounds they produce would feel right at home in an electroacoustic composition.

More information on this remarkable musical tradition can be found in the Wikipedia article "Inuit Throat Singing" and on other websites linked to from that article, and in the notes scanned for this installment. The last track in this installment has recordings of jew's harp playing by one of the woman featured in the other tracks. Listening to these tracks was the first time I appreciated the potential of this simple instrument, in which rhythm and melody both emerge from subtle changes in timbre produced by changing resonance in the mouth.

I can't emphasize strongly enough that I mean no disrespect in referring to these recordings as "found" avant garde. I call them that only to underline that the very different musical tradition and range of sounds in these recordings should have a place in the library of any votary of avant-garde music.

The detailed and vibrant recordings were produced by Marvin Green and engineered by Paul Hodge, on location in Povungnituk, Quebec, in July 1979. The installment includes a PDF file with scans of the notes on the back cover and in an 8-page booklet included with this LP, including information on the performers and their compositions. These recordings have not to my knowledge ever been re-issued on CD, and are available now only in rather lo-fi streaming links here




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