"The second album by the American Gamelan composer and instrument builder, Daniel Schmidt, following In My Arms, Many Flowers (R 017CD), his majestic debut on Recital. Abies Firma lies next chronologically, collecting works from 1976 to 1991, considered the second phase of his compositional form. "We were like children playing with new toys," Daniel recalls of the early days of American Gamelan music. "Though, as we moved into the 1980s, I moved away from Javanese traditional formalism completely, no longer using a constant stream of notes." Daniel became a father twice over in the early '80s, transforming his compositional voice, finding himself open to new affects. Notably, the Sierra fir species, 'abies firma' -- "These trees gave me a sense of rising and rising, all their branches reaching toward sun and sky. Looking at them across open spaces, I felt myself part of their upward striving. The tall mountain trees became rising themes and arpeggios, sometimes even sweeping across the six octaves of the gamelan." This album holds a variety of recordings including an especially immersive tape-delay piece for the rebab, a bowed Javanese instrument. A sort of Eastern Frippertronics weaving the stereo field. Another standout is a semi-improvised flute and gamelan work, ebbing in slowly like a night's wind. "Accumulation" and "Abies Magnifica", the spirited opening pieces, exemplify the precision and dexterity of Daniel's group, The Berkeley Gamelan, who at this time were constantly performing around North America. Two pieces on the album were co-composed by Schmidt and the late Lou Harrison, who helped conceive of the American style of gamelan and enjoyed a similarly long and varied musical career. "Unempins to Sociseknum" is based on arranging Harrison's social security number against Schmidt's unemployment insurance number. A window into the cooperative spirit and experimentation of the late 70s. LP comes with a CD including the additional piece "One White Crow," a three-part tapestry of melodic fragments which epitomizes the second phase of Schmidt's composing; a divergence from both Javanese and European music. Daniel states, "William James once said that one white crow would suffice to overturn science's assertion that all crows are black. I felt myself to be 'one white crow' amidst the prominent, established musical styles." Includes 20-page booklet holding program notes, scores, and a new essay on American Gamelan by Jay Arms. Includes bonus track "Cypress", recorded in 1987." - Recital.
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.