I Listen to the Wind That Obliterates My Traces: Music in Vernacular Photographs 1880-1955

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9780981734248: I Listen to the Wind That Obliterates My Traces: Music in Vernacular Photographs 1880-1955
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i listen to the wind that obliterates my traces brings together a collection of early photographs related to music, a group of 78rpm recordings, and short excerpts from various literary sources that are contemporary with the sound and images. It is a somewhat intuitive gathering, culled from artist Steve Roden s collection of thousands of vernacular photographs related to music, sound, and listening. The subjects range from the PT Barnum-esque Professor McRea - Ontario s Musical Wonder (pictured with his complex sculptural one man band contraption) - to anonymous African-American guitar players and images of early phonographs. The images range from professional portraits to ethereal, accidental, double exposures - and include a range of photographic print processes, such as tintypes, ambrotypes, cdvs, cabinet cards, real photo postcards, albumen prints, and turn-of-the-century snapshots. The two CDs bring together a variety of recordings, including one-off amateur recordings, regular commercial releases, and early sound effects records. There is no narrative structure to the book, but the collision of literary quotes (Hamsun, Lagarkvist, Wordsworth, Nabakov, etc.). Recordings and images conspire towards a consistent mood that is anchored by the book s title, which binds such disparate things as an early recording of an American cowboy ballad, a poem by a Swedish Nobel laureate, a recording of crickets created artificially, and an image of an itinerant anonymous woman sitting in a field, playing a guitar. The book also contains an essay by Roden.

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About the Author:

Steve Roden is a visual and sound artist living in Pasadena, California, his work includes painting, drawing, sculpture, film/video, and text. He has been exhibiting and performing his works in museums and arts spaces internationally since the mid 1980 s, including: Centre Georges Pompidou Paris, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, UCLA Hammer Museum Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art Athens Greece, Serpentine Gallery London, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Center Minneapolis, Singuhr-Horgalerie in Parochial, Berlin. Recently, the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena mounted a 20 year survey of Roden s visual and sound works, the exhibition was picked by the LA Times and ArtForum Magazine as one of the best of 2010. Roden has released over 20 solo recordings on various labels internationally, and has received numerous grants and awards, including a recently announced grant from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts in the Sound/Music category. Steve Roden has previously co-authored Krazy Kid s Food (2002), Taschen; and co-edited Site of Sound (1999), Smart Art Press. He has written numerous articles for various publications related to art, sound and design - such as: The Wire, Musicworks, Echoes, Open for Design as well as numerous exhibition catalogs. His text works have been published in various literary journals such as: Twenty Six, Errant Bodies, Drunken Boat and others. Some of his writing was included in the recently-published MIT Press anthology Sound as part of the Documents of Contemporary Art series.

Review:

I listen to the wind feels like something altogether different, though, more like a silent movie, a collection crafted from crumbs of the past. Tucked within the simple, minimally designed book's front and back covers is the music, which Roden organized into a two-volume mix of similarly excavated documents culled from flea market 78 rpm discs. --Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic July 31, 2011

A book of coffins; a book of openings to the sky. Americana but something more than that - a collection of aged photographs, brief literary texts and 51 recordings haunted by melancholy, not just the corrosive scour of time on photographic plate and shellac surface or scenes and distant art from another world; also a record of displacement and loss from times when ancestral memories hung close and poignant, each blemish on the surface of a photographic print a scar of war and poverty, great depression. dustbowl and epidemic, Steinbeckian passages of migration and loss, and all the while a ruthless thrusting of progress to liquefy the solid ground. --David Toop, Wire Magazine August 2011

The vintage photos inside this 184 page book are completely lovely... Pages and pages of interesting images to provoke curiosity and evoke reverie. Altogether, Roden has compiled over 150 photos and 51 tracks for this stunning document of sonic obsession from Dust-To-Digital! Hard to imagine NOT wanting this. --Aquarius Records August 12, 2011

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