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Various Artists

Dr Boogie Presents Shim Sham Shimmy

    A collection devoted to rare and lost recordings from '20 to '60's.Is it really possible to imagine what modern music would sound like if a few pioneering geniuses had not had the idea of electrifying their instruments, especially guitar and harmonica, between 1945 and 1950? Some purist will regret this evolution, but, in the '50s, the new sound will be heard in all the studios and night clubs of the United States; it will become a staple on the radio, in stores, at weddings, and private parties. It will radically transform the music scene and allow hundreds of artists to express themselves, create, hope, and innovate.

    This collection pays tribute to about thirty artists, some of which later became known, like Albert Collins, Jack Dupree, Homesick James, Sam Myers, Dr. Ross, and Joe Hill Louis. However, the real treat is having an opportunity to hear fabulous unknowns who all, one day, had the chance to be recorded, either in a studio, on the street, or on a back porch, before going back to anonymity shortly after. Almost all of the artists presented here hailed from the south of the USA. Some of them stayed there their whole life, other emigrated toward the north, moving up the Mississippi, or toward the west to settle in California. The music included here is part of the foundations of all the modern music that would take the world by storm up to our time. 

    'I believe the use of noise to make music will continue and increase until we reach a music produced through the aid of electrical instruments which will make available for musical purposes any and all sounds that can be heard.' - John Cage 1937. Although John Cage occasionally worked in large, sophisticated studios - for example, when he composed Fontana Mix in 1958 - his approach to electronic and tape music was often uncomplicated, makeshift, and pragmatic, employing simple tabletop devices: tape machines, phonograph cartridges, contact microphones, record players, portable radios, etc. He developed a soundworld that was utterly new, radical and demanding. It heralded the age of the loudspeaker, mass communication and Marshall McLuhan's 'global village.' The hiss, crackle and hum of electronic circuits, and the disembodied sounds, snatched by radio from the ether, spoke of the 20th century.

    Langham Research Centre works within the tradition firmly established by Cage, using resources that would have been available to him. For the realisation of Cartridge Music, moving iron phonograph pickups were sourced and restored. These have a knurled screw designed to hold a steel phonograph needle and, in the piece, other objects are inserted and amplified: pieces of wire, toothpicks, paperclips, etc. The realisation of Fontana Mix includes the individual mono tracks from Cage's original tapes created in 1958. These are played using open-reel tape machines. These practices ensure we work within the limitations that Cage experienced and enable us to get close to the soundworld he inhabited. (Robert Worby, LRC).


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