Umeko Ando (1932-2004) was a folk singer from Japan. She was a representative of the Ainu culture on the Hokkaido Island in the north of Japan. “Ihunke” is her first album which was recorded with the Ainu musician and dub producer Oki Kano in 2000. It was released on CD in Japan only and is finally available on vinyl (2LP + linernotes, DL included). “Ihunke” is following last year’s single “Iuta Upopo” [Pingipung 58, incl. M.RUX Remix] which had been received with overwhelming enthusiasm and was quickly sold out. The 16 Ainu songs on “Ihunke” are delicate, natural gems. They are built on Oki Kano’s Tonkori patterns (a 5-string harp), over which Umeko Ando develops her repetitive, mantric vocals, often in a call-response manner. Oki Kano is one of very few professional Tonkori players who performs worldwide with his Oki Dub Ainu Band. The songs possess a mystical energy – when crows call accurately with Ando’s brittle voice in the first song, it seems like natural powers join in with her music. Her voice sounds like animals of the sky and the forest. Oki Kano: “It was a lot of fun to record with Umeko Ando. Many Ainu hesitate to break from tradition - if Umeko hadn’t been so flexible to work with the younger generation and recording technology, this album would never have happened. Our sessions were intense, and we were proud and happy about making such beautiful music.” Upcoming in autumn: remixes of “Ihunke” by Tolouse Lowtrax, M.Rux, DJ Ground, El Buho Mark Peters, Gama, Andi Otto, and Dreems.
Historical background: Only recently (in 2008) have the Ainu officially been acknowledged as indigenous people who are culturally independent from Japan. This record is an example of how their music has been passed on through generations in the underground Ainu communities while it was oppressed by the Japanese hegemony. It deserves a huge audience.
"Bridging the gap between American primitive pioneers John Fahey, Robbie Basho, and Leo Kottke, and the California modernists William Ackerman, Alex de Grassi, and Michael Hedges, Guitar Soli explores the private side of the solo guitar movement from 1966-1981. While Takoma and Windham Hill were laying the groundwork for the new age marketing juggernaut of the mid '80s, these fourteen loners were picking away in tiny cafes, selling records hand to hand. The single disc set comes housed in a digipack chipboard slipcase with a 40-page booklet and features Ted Lucas, Daniel Hecht, Dan Lambert, Jim Ohlschmidt, Tom Smith, Mark Lang, Richard Crandell, Tree People, William Eaton, George Cromarty, Scott Witte, Brad Chequer, Dwayne Canan, and Dana Westover."
Tucson, Arizona interdisciplinary artist Karima Walker walks a line between two worlds. Aside from her long resume of collaborative work with artists in the diverse fields of dance, sculpture, film, photography and creative non-fiction, Walker has long nurtured a duality within her work as a musician, developing her own sonic language as a sound designer in tandem with her craft as a singer/songwriter. The polarity within Walker’s music has never been so articulately explored, or graced with as much intention, as on her new album, Waking the Dreaming Body.
Waking the Dreaming Body was written, performed and engineered entirely by Walker, with the exception of some subtle upright bass from C.J. Boyd on the song “Window I.” Producing the album on her own wasn’t Walker’s original intention, though; after flying to New York in November 2019 to develop some home-recorded tracks with The Blow’s Melissa Dyne, a sudden illness forced Walker to cancel the sessions and return home to Tucson to recover, and soon after, the COVID-19 pandemic ruled out the possibility of a return trip to New York. Instead, Walker decided to finish the album herself in her makeshift home studio. She spent the following months recording, processing and arranging her self-described “messy Ableton sessions” into densely harmonic arrangements of synthesizer, guitar, piano, percussion, field recordings, tape loops and her own dulcet singing voice, allowing trial, error and intuition to guide her way. The final result is a 40-minute dream-narrative of her conscious and subconscious minds that oscillates between the rich textures of her ambient compositions (as in the instrumentals “Horizon, Harbor Resonance” and “For Heddi”) and the melody and poetry of her melancholic, Americana-tinged songwriting (as in the lyrics-focused tracks “Reconstellated” and “Waking the Dreaming Body”), their ebb and flow recalling liminal states of half-sleep where images and emotions are recalled and forecasted from the previous night's dreams. Night falls in regular intervals throughout the album, forming a natural dialogue between waking and dreaming.