World Arbiter

VA - Bali 1928 - Anthology: The First Recordings

"A compilation from all five of World Arbiter's volumes of the complete Balinese recordings from 1928, newly remastered in 2015 and released for the first time since the days of 78-RPM shellac. Performances of gamelan gong kebyar, semar pagulingan, gender wayang, palégongan, gambangam pajogédan, gambuh, angklung, suling, tembang, kidung, kakawin, arja geguntangan, janger, cepung, unaccompanied vocals, and topeng. When composer Colin McPhee heard some 78s in New York, brought over by anthropologists just returning from the Dutch East Indies, he immediately set out for Bali and spent several years there, immersing himself in local traditional music and penning definitive texts on their practices. A local record store had discs cut only a few years before his arrival, and soon after McPhee bought his collection, a drunken warehouse manager, faced with the fact that no one on the island owned a record player, destroyed his entire unsold disc inventory out of rage. McPhee's rescued discs remain as some of the only surviving copies of a recorded legacy that even the Balinese never accessed. World Arbiter has collaborated with ethnomusicologist Edward Herbst to locate all known and unknown extant recordings, texts, and context, an Indiana Jones-style global search begun in 1998 that ended up with a Mellon Foundation grant covering restoration, publication, and in situ activities to find anyone alive who was linked to the discs, including a 98-year-old singer who proofread Herbst's transcriptions of her discs. The project went further through McPhee's field notes, photos, and his silent films shot in the 1930s of dancers and ensembles, all accessible on Arbiter's website. The restoration and publication of a complete lost legacy is now a cultural repatriation for the Balinese and listeners everywhere. This anthology also reveals how McPhee placed Balinese genres into Western music, a move that led to the styles of Reich, Riley, and Glass, making McPhee the godfather of minimalism. Includes performances by Gamelan Gong Kebyar Belaluan, Denpasar; Gamelan Gong Kebyar Pangkung; Gamelan Gong Kebyar of Busungbiu; Ida Bagus Oka Kerebuak; Ida Boda; Ni Lemon; Ida Bagus Wayan Buruan & Ida Madé Tianyar; Gamelan Semar Pagulingan of Banjar Titih, Denpasar; Gamelan Palégongan of Banjar Tegal, Kuta; Gamelan Gendér Wayang of Banjar Tegal, Kuta; Gamelan Pajogédan; Gambuh of Sésétan, Denpasar; Gamelan Angklung Kléntangan of Sidan; Gamelan Angklung of Pemogan, Denpasar; Arja Geguntangan of Belaluan, Denpasar; Jangér of Kedaton, Denpasar; Jangér of Abian Timbul, Denpasar; and Suling of Ubud, Gianyar."- World Arbiter.

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After nearly a decade of false starts, multiple game plans veering off the rails, and a handful of shattered hopes and/or dreams, the odyssey is finally complete—the new Fusetron site is here.

This is the first phase of a multipart rollout that will span the next few months: the currently browsable stock includes miscellaneous new releases from the past 8+ months (we have a lot of catching up to do), plus approximately a third of our backstock. Note that we’ve reduced/slashed prices on many titles and will continue to do so in order to make room for new stock. We’ll also be expanding / tweaking / improving / debugging the site itself (for example, we still have work to do on the automated international postage system, not to mention the inevitable inventory discrepancies that come with transferring an ancient and massive database to a new system).

Over the next few months, as we take inventory, clean house, and delve into our storage, we will be uploading thousands of additional items, gradually, on a near-daily basis. This will include the majority of the LPs, as well as many titles, in all formats, once thought long-gone. Many currently “sold out” items are likely to resurface.

Finally, once our general backstock is up (probably in the next two or three months) we’ll begin making our extensive stockpile of rarities available online for the first time: tons of random out-of-print titles, "deadstock," warehouse finds, secondhand collectibles, etc., accumulated over the past few decades.

Frequent/returning customers will be getting early access to these items. Details to follow on how this will work (a priority mailing list? a 'frequent flyer'-like program?), but it will not be based on dollars spent. We want to reward those who consistently support us, especially in the discogs marketplace era (to those who show up trying to poach five copies of a one-off rarity, and nothing else, ever… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).

So—we suggest you take some time to dig through the site—even we’ve been surprised by what’s been turning up, and there’s much more to come.
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