2006/12/01

Music For The Gods - The Fahnestock South Sea Expedition Indonesia

this was literally the first gamelan disc I bought, includes a wide range of styles. was hooked roughly 10 seconds into the first track.

"This classic of ethnomusicology was originally recorded in 1941 by the Fahnestock brothers, Bruce and Sheridan, on what was then state of the art aluminum discs. The music is amazing both for the quality of the sound and the beauty of the performing gamelans -- the sound is rich and clear; individual notes hang shimmering in the air like rainforest hummingbirds. The enclosed booklet tells the story of the expedition that the Fahnestocks organized to capture these sounds, recorded just before the creeping invasion of Western influence. The journey included shipwrecks and lugging the unwieldy recording equipment through impenetrable jungles. It reads like a possible musical adventure for a future Indiana Jones flick." -- j. poet

and Mickey Hart likes to stress his involvement / make things sound like he's mainly responsible for them:

"Music for the Gods, the Fahnstock Expedition was one of my Endangered Music Project recordings that I curated and released on the World Series for Rykodisc in the 90’s.The Fahnstocks were recording the Indonesian archipelago in 1939-1940 as spies for President Roosevelt. He was searching for information about his great uncle’s adventures in Indonesia. This is a fantastic story. I found this collection at the Library of Congress and digitized it, not really knowing the far-reaching implications that were to arise from its rediscovery. When I visited Bali about 4 years ago I brought my recording equipment with me. I was on the track of the rarest of gamelon music, the iron gamelon. When I arrived in Bali, I went to the Institute for Music in Denpasar and met with Pak Dibia the leading ethnomusicologist on the peninsula.
He was the most knowledgeable ethno on gamelon and all of its sub-sets. I asked him if he would give me 5 of the most important works or examples of gamelon music that he knew of. He handed me 5 recordings; one of them was Music for the Gods. He was not aware that I curated and produced this CD. So this music had made the round trip; it had worked its way back into their culture and was now considered the finest example of post war gamelon. This music was long forgotten, but was now being played by the many large ensembles scattered across the island. We were all overjoyed by this discovery and I was from then on treated like family wherever I went. They were given back their greatest treasure that the war ripped away from them and they saw it in those terms. It was like a prisoner of war or a long lost relative that had returned from battle." -- Mickey Hart

http://www.sendspace.com/file/xeacxb
or
http://rapidshare.com/files/5626397/Music_For_The_Gods__The_Fahnestock_South_Sea_Expedition__Indonesia.zip.html

13 comments:

bb said...

100% right about that first track. OK - it's not my first gamelan "experience" but that track is, for lack of a better term this morning, money.

Count Reeshard said...

First, thanks for this extraordinary blog. In this entry, you've certainly pegged Hart's penchant for relentless self-agrandisement. His 'ethno' coffee-table books always read as though written by several contributors; his own voice surfaces in the passages where we're reminded of his world-beating importance as a drummer for the Dead (the latter being meaningful because...?). I wrote a profile on Hart for The Wire a decade ago. His people made me jump through hoops to access The Great Man: submit xeroxes of my many reviews of his 360 label CDs, my own bona fides, etc.. Finally, I was granted 15 mins. with Hart. The interview was, charitably put, frustrating. If Hart had been any more vague in his responses to my questions, he could have held public office.

bb said...

huh. I was not aware of this Mickey Hart character (yeah I know about this "grateful dead" band etc) but his website is totally hilarious. have a copy of that interview by chance? I'm always in for a good chuckle...

Pak Harto said...

These are great recordings - not just for their age and the technical challenges (2 miles of microphone cable from the ship to the recording location!) - but also because they're not all recordings of gamelan, and not all in Bali. There are earlier recordings of Balinese gamelan out there - on the CD: The Roots of Gamelan, Bali 1928 on the World Arbiter label - I think these are the earliest recordings of Indonesian music.

Check out the 20 CD set: Music of Indonesia (Smithsonian Folkways) if want to know what Indonesian music is really about. Amazing stuff. Gamelan is just the tip of the iceberg...

I know what you all mean about Mickey Hart... his book Songcatchers is a pretty good read though, summing up the early pioneers of sound recording pretty well, and his enthusiasm for it all is certainly genuine... (But his Planet Drum album is just the dullest thing I've ever heard.)

STFU said...

great post, and thanks again for caring enough to post to a filehost other than rapidshare.

urijenny said...

Hola.

Podrás reupload el archivo.

Los links de descarga están muertos.

Gracias.

Kerri said...

Hi, this looks absolutely fantastic, but the link has expired! Pretty please with a cherry on top could you re-up this??? :)
Thanks for the delicious music- I love your blog!

oiche said...

melting my blues on a saturday night. thank you.

vaubu said...

http://rapidshare.com/files/5626397/Music_For_The_Gods__The_Fahnestock_South_Sea_Expedition__Indonesia.zip.html

(still active link)

zhao said...

thanks vaubu. but the link in the post is also still working... cheers!

Barbara said...

My father Rollin E. Grant who was on the Fahnestock South Sea Expedition passed away Feb. 12, 2011. I remember growing up to the stories of all his adventures in South Seas. The video and photos of the 1939-1940 expedition will be shown at his memorial.
It would be nice to have some of the music for the memorial also.

Barbara (Grant) Retelle

Barbara said...

My father was on the Fahnestock South Sea Expedition in 1939-1940. He passed away Feb. 12, 2011. The video of the films and photos taken during the expedition will be shown at his memorial. It would be nice to have some of the music played at the memorial also.

zhao said...

my condolences to you Barbara. if i could i would say a word of thanks to the man!