Secret Museum of Mankind Vol I (Yazoo 7004)
Was a little late getting to these - due to finances -
and, so...its perhaps only appropriate that Ive
also been a little late in getting around to reviewing
same. But, still...here we are - and, ifn youre
yet to latch onto these beauties, then all I can say is...get
thee to a shop, immediately!
Because, so-called world music simply doesnt
get more unique than this...
Basically, the story is the same as for the U.S. works
of the same period - the initial burst of commercial recordings
of vernacular musics remains purely unsurpassed on the
uniqueness score, and any understanding of these musics
needs to be built upon a real recognition of this fact.
To be sure, in particularly isolate areas, the first recordings
were made later- by folklorists - of peoples that still
had never heard recorded musics. But, in the vast majority,
our first real glimpses of these musics are via commercial
product - and, we certainly shouldnt
let that undoubted fact impose some (spurious) notion
of impurity on these marvellous results...
And, so...what do we get? Well, just to latch onto some
purely ecstatic highlights: we get a droning & radically-driven
Sardinian triple-pipe performance by Effisio Melis, thatd
truly give the great Pan a real run for his money. We
also get intensely antiphonal Sri Lankan cafe music thatd
(justifiably) curdle the milk of any cow that crossed
its path, and an astonishing Rumanian small group that
powers through its savagely-modal song like the veritable
hounds of Hell were on the collectives trail. After
this one, let me tell you, youll never see lust
the same way again... Maiden, what do you seek on
the hill, they ask, as the drones relentlessly drive
on, and the rigorously plangent fiddle churns the dust:
A cow and a calf...and a wicked lover comes
And this, of course, is not to mention Macedonian fiddle
music that uncannily echoes hillbilly breakdowns - not
at all surprising to one who has read the
(great) Curt Sachs, perhaps...but, as a matter of fact
I have - and, my jaw still dropped, I can assure you.
Furthermore, we also get ecstatic falsetto & locked-groove
guitar from the marvellous Zwabesho Sibisi, as well as,
perhaps, the highlight here - amidst such riches - by
the Imperial Household Orchestra of Japan... Near-simultaneously,
an arpeggio sounds, and droning voices strike up...only
to modulate, away... The pattern continually shifts -
slowly - and the intensity never lets up. Beats the hell
out of God Save the Queen, let me tell you...
Look...theres simply no better place to start re
the musics of the rest of the world than this series.
Forget the modern syntheses that leave out
the guts of the matter - and, even, the undoubtedly great
artists of today, for the moment... Because, here, at
times...you can truly taste the musics of peoples that
had never even heard of jazz...let alone the rest of the
American musics that are, inescapably, the veritable backdrop
of our lives...
John Henry Calvinist