PYGMY UNIT - Signals From Earth

"Reissue, originally released in 1974. Blending Native American references into a body of sonority that draws on free improvisation, experimental electronic music, and spiritual jazz, Pygmy Unit's Signals From Earth -- originally self-released by the band in 1974 -- forges a singular and almost entirely unknown path, and stands almost entirely on its own in the history of west coast American jazz. First appearing on the San Francisco scene sometime during the early 1970s, almost nothing is known about the Pygmy Unit, a seven-piece band steered by Darrel De Vore, who contributed flute, bass, percussion, piano, and vocals to the band's lone LP, first appeared with percussionist Terry Wilson within the psychedelic folk rock band, The Charlatans, who belonged to the legendary Family Dog scene. Jim Pepper, a Native American tenor saxophonist known for being a member of the Mal Waldron Quartet, played with Charlie HadenDon Cherry, and numerous others, and produced the cult favorite, Pepper's Pow Wow, for Embryo Records in 1971. John Celona, who contributes parts on sax, synthesizer, and percussion, would later go on to be regarded as an electronic composer of some note. Of the remaining members, saxophonist Frank Albright, bassoonist Ron Grunn, and percussionist Marvin Kirkland, very little else is known. It seems this LP is more or less all they recorded. While undeniably jazz -- riding a remarkable line between avant-garde electronic music, spiritual jazz, and free improvisation -- the band was very much a product of the diverse creative ferment that developed in their hometown of San Francisco during the 1960s. Embodying the raw spirit of DIY (many of the instruments used in the recordings were made by DeVore himself, self-described as an "itinerant flute-maker") the ensemble channels references -- via passages of chanting and percussion, as well as conceptual underpinnings -- from Jim Pepper's Native American roots, intuiting them with the soulfulness of spiritual jazz, wild moments of avant-gardism centered around synths and electronic effects, and explosions of wild free improvisation. "Development of new music is a continuous path that grows directionally according to psychoacoustical phenomena available for unification. This record is evidence of that development, containing 12 performance pieces, at 12 separate times in different acoustical spaces with various combinations of musicians and instrumentation. The music is shaped by signals, received and sent by life forms on this planet. It is unwritten, unrehearsed, utilizing new and traditional approaches to energy, motion, and form. Eventually, music develops as a natural extension of the environment in which it exists. It is the aim of the traditions... to signal the universe from the Earth." Includes two booklets/replicas of original DeVore's publications; edition of 500." - Holidays.
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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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