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Sublime Frequencies

VA - Sound Storing Machines: The First 78rpm Records from Japan, 1903-1912

"The first commercial recordings from Asia were made in Japan in 1903 by Fred Gaisberg, the legendary producer and recording engineer who traveled the world making recordings for the Gramophone Company (later His Masters Voice). The recording industry barely existed at this time. Man's ability to record and reproduce sound had only existed since 1877 (with the invention of Edison's cylinder phonograph) and flat disc records, what we all collect and obsess over today, had only come into being in the late 1890s. It is a miracle what these fragile discs have survived: wars with Russia and China, the fire bombings (and worse) of World War II, modernization, the onslaught of Western media.They document, through a dreamlike haze of surface noise, a Japan that had just barely begun to open its doors to the rest of the world. Including gagaku, shakuhachi, shamisen, storytelling, folksong and more. these recordings are a unique glimpse into an ancient culture and an important document of the beginnings of the recording industry. Simple and complex. Alien and familiar. Featuring important artists and those who only appeared to sing before the strange Western recording horn and then vanished. Sound Storing Machines spans only nine years of recording -- from 1903 and the first commercial recordings made by Fred Gaisberg to 1912, the beginning of Japan's homegrown record industry, including a few sides taken from Japan's notorious bootleg 78rpm industry. Collected on various trips to Japan and compiled by sound artist Robert Millis (Indian Talking Machine, Victrola Favorites, Climax Golden Twins, Phi Ta Khon: Ghosts of Isan, This World is Unreal Like a Snake in a Rope, etc.) This is part three in a series (all produced by Millis) of early recording from Asia -- including Sublime Frequencies' The Crying Princess: 78rpm Records from Burma and Scattered Melodies: Korean Kayagum Sanjo. Features Suenaga Togi and gagaku musicians from the Imperial Household Orchestra, Toyosawa Heikichi, Azumaya Kamanosuke, Sumako of Shinbashi, unknown artists, Uehara Sakima, Takahashi Kiyokusa, Fukushira Kado, Yanagiya Kosan, Mimasuya Kachiguri, Umewaka Manzaburo, Umewaka Rokurou of the Kanze Noh school, Nokiken Hanadou, Shimeju of Yoshiwara, Takemoto Sumitayu, Toyozawa Danpei, Toyozawa Sennosuke, Takemoto Haruko Tayu, Toyozawa Shinzaemon, Inoue Satokishi." - Sublime Frequencies


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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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