Tuesday, June 18, 2013

TIMR 16: ...i listen to roden's book

I am slowly circling round my Roden obsession. Eventually to present it, but here is something else of his in my room. 

It is interesting that my two favorite artists collect postcards. Tom Phillips' a postcard century is a great extract from his collection containing 20 cards for each year from 1900 to 1999 - including their text. Roden also collects - though primarily original photocards with an often musical bent. These have often  appeared on his blog (link at side). |

In addition he gathers old singles - in all denominations - musical, spoken, self recorded, flexidisks - whatever. Again some have appeared on the blog or in a radio show he curated. 

Last year the two came together in a book published by dust-to-digital, an imprint that specializes in resurrecting old musics.

... i listen to the wind that obliterates my traces (music in vernacular photographs 1880-1955) is a beautiful book. Through nearly 200 pages we are presented with a wonderful array of photographs of people related to music in various ways: playing, collecting, advertising, amateurs or professionals (players and photographers). Most are black and white, sepia in various tones. Some are damaged, other faulty, annotated. 

Each picture tells a story, but usually one we don't know and which we try and tell ourselves. The book can be wandered through at random, imagining the world around them. Roden has curated his collection carefully - as you go through there a periods of theme: machines, relaxed guitarists, holding a stringed instrument, families, music horns. But these swiftly disappear and smaller and larger themes echo through. There is very little text - a thoughtful introduction and well chosen quotes. The pictures are able to stand alone.

Embedded in the inside covers are the two disks. Again, a seemingly random selection of tracks from his esoteric collection. Cohering around various sound effects, there are home recordings, folk songs, spirituals, country, blues: crackling music that comments very obliquely on the photographs.

The images and sounds here are far from the music of Roden's oeuvre or the images that are available on his website or catalogues (or for those lucky enough to see/hear his works live). What we have is a glimpse of the broader life of the artist (together with his blog) which allows us to see (I originally wrote understand, but that is unrealistic) a more three dimensional artist.

And as well as that it is a beautiful book - solid, robust and wonderfully produced. The http://www.dust-digital.com/wind/, as does Amazon. It is money well spent

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