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I Listen to the Wind That Obliterates My Traces - Music in Vernacular Photographs 1880-1955 Hardcover – 15 Jul 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Dust-to-Digital (15 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981734243
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981734248
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 17.1 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 515,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I just wanted to add my voice to the excellent reviews here. Just for the two CDs of OTM alone, it's worth having. The musical selection is eclectic, full of humanity, melody and joy, and chosen for pure enjoyment rather than as any kind of historical document. Which is how I like it. That said, combined with the wistful, beautiful and haunting book of early US photography that links the human with the inanimate objects that produce music, it is also a window to the past.

I've had this for about 18 months now, and I still have it on regular medium rotation when I need those sweet soft sounds of musical performers putting their all into their brief few minutes of recording time. Too many favourites to mention, but, okay, big ups for the wonderful mouth-harp track performed by Obed Pickard.

Thanks, Steve Roden and Dust-to-Digital. Highly recommended.
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By Ping Buzzer 1 on 28 Oct. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brilliant. A must have for anyone interested in life.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
if songs were lines in the conversation, the situation would be fine 3 Dec. 2011
By Damon Cleckler - Published on
Format: Hardcover
have you ever picked up a photograph of something or someone you didn't know at all, and wonder, "what was happening here?" or "why is this a photo?" and then imagine that you can hear and see what was actually going on by letting yourself go for a moment? have you ever held a record in your hand that has no information other than a label and two side and wish that you could just run your hand over the grooves to feel the sound contained within? through his own successful career as both a visual and sound artist for the last 20 years, mr. roden has made a life's work out of such inquisitions. with the release of this book on the dust-to-digital imprint, roden has used his mastery as an artist with a knack for not exactly knowing what he sees or hears into an acutely poetic and gracefully informed journey back in time to something that may or may not have existed. it's purely revisionist in its assembly, yet not because it is interested in presenting any theory or narrative by which we are supposed to be informed of the facts of what these photos or sounds were doing in their place and time. rather, roden curates a revisionist fantasy in which another time is created where spirits and souls are completely alive and frozen in time at the same instant. there is no academy here, rather matter of fact presentation of things not intended to ever be seen or heard together and in succession. it becomes a narrative of emotion that cannot be translated or transcribed. sound is impossible to describe, as are visuals. one must hear and see each to full comprehend. and here, both sound and visual are presented together in such a way that yet another indescribable sensation is beckoned: that of the spirit. look at the book without listening to the cds. listen without looking at the book. and of course, do the obvious of the two together. again, no narratives. yet, there is a journey in this collection. and you will find great enrichment through each path you take.

okay, so i'm sure you wonder what's exactly here in this hardback book and two disc set. well... that's what i've been trying to tell you. you don't get an index of the stories and experiences you'll have when you buy a novel. this isn't a two disc vintage 78s collection focusing on blah blah blah with essays by professor blahblah. this is something special, and it's why you'll find it on top ten lists throughout the publishing world for 2011. but i can tell you this, just in case it will help... the personal and commercial sepia toned photos of musicians (and musical things and things about music and the spirit of music) were probably never seen by any more than a few when they were first printed and then abandoned to an album or shelf somewhere for the next 90 years. the recordings, though some collector snobs will surely know a track here or there, are not things generally known to you and me, and are really here for the very first time in the same way the photos from the bottom of grandpa's cigar box are new to all of our eyes. probably stuff you are not that interested in if you were to be subjected to a "category" of music, but it's certainly old timey. hey, it's even got sound effects and some home recordings. but this is about the words, the sounds, the pictures, the faces, the hands, the eyes, and the soul found within. so, for indexing purposes, in the end, none of it matters. it's about the entirety of the experience, which can be had in many different ways.

do i think you should buy this? yes.

do i think you'll like it? yes.

do i think it's a great gift for your poetic or artistic or musically inclined friend? yes.

do i think i've had any sway in your decisioning on whether or not you should buy this right now with this paltry set of mumbles? no...

i just think you know you want to go to that place. to let go. just for a moment.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A Mysterious Work 2 Sept. 2012
By Ed C. Fields Jr. - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bob Dylan said, as misquoted by me from the essay included in The Basement Tapes, that mystery is a fact, a traditional fact. Every part of this marvellous book is proof positive of that statement. The music is real and can be heard, the photographs are real and can be seen, but whenever I look and listen, I feel as if I have visited the land of spectres and phantoms. Steve Roden opens the book with an essay which actually gives insight into that swirling mist he has set in front of us and presents us with epiphanies, which is appropriate and useful when the journey is intuitive and not necessarily logical. He has assembled a collection of songs and sound effects from what Greil Marcus calls the old, weird America, back when media had discovered that world but had not yet homogenized and destroyed it. Every selection sounds as if it had been floating around in the ether with no clue as to how it got there and Mr. Roden just happened to snag it as it drifted past. On one level, the songs have no earthly connection. At the same time, each of them is firmly grounded in space and time and human experience. People clear their throats, they sing sharp and flat and slide off the notes, the timing and tempos are ragged. Nothing here has been prettied up and polished for the hit parade. A trained linguistics/dialect expert could probably tell, within one hundred miles, where each singer grew up. Two of my favorite tracks are Montana Calls and Yes I Know. The arrangement for Montana Calls is a jazz/Nelson Eddy hybrid that makes Montana look and feel like a dreamland floating in the clouds. Rev. Calbert and Sister Billie Holstein-what a wonderful name!-sing their gospel selection with such fervor and passion that you've got to believe their message. Sister Billie gives the 'yes, I know' chorus a pinched nasal reading that's straight out of Minnesota and her clumsy attempt at improvising is positively endearing.
The photos are firmly rooted in the past and you can't get there from here. The beauty of images by, say, Brassai and Atget, is that they are both in the past and the present. You know it's old Paris but you get the impression that you could just step into the image and walk down the street. Not so with the images in this book and there's the mystery. Who are these people? Who did they play for and what did they play? There are no famous faces here, did they ever get beyond 'local talent'? What are those weird things on the wall? Why is that guy carrying a pistol? Where was this past, I don't recognize it. The contraptions constructed by the 'one man band' contingent must be seen to be believed. Those guys were incredibly ingenious and one can't help but wonder what the music sounded like or if it was even recognizable as music.
To overstate the obvious, I highly recommend this book as a great source of awe and wonder and an excursion into the mystery that we often miss because it is right in front of our noses. Also, I thought I recognized Tom Waits in two of those old photos, which does make perfect sense. He's the only person I know who can step through time and space.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Magical(I know, it sounds corny). 22 Jun. 2012
By Once a soldier... - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I went four or five times thorough the Cd's already. The sound is excellent. I looked at the pictures a number of times already. They are excellent, and rare. The feel of the book in the hands is top notch. Great cardboard, great paper. Excellent quality and presentation. Grade ten design. I like Old Time Music but I am no expert. I have a number of collections(JSP, Yazoo, Blues..., the usual suspects)but most of the songs here are new to me. They are all marvelous. I'll single out two that are beyond belief to me: Xango, by Roland Hayes and Reaching for the moon, by Roy Smeck. OK, this is unfair for the rest of the songs so I take it back.
I can't think of any reason why anyone with even minimal interest in OTM wouldn't buy this. I feel like I have crossed a line here. Something happened. See it(and hear it) for yourself.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A spiritual tonic. 5 Jan. 2013
By Michael Engel - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Turn off your iPhone. Stop twittering. Stop Facebooking. Turn off the TV--and if the Country Music [sic] Awards are on, throw a rock at the screen (OK, maybe just a pillow). Tune out the whole 21st century. Sit back and close your eyes, or leaf through the book and study the amazing pictures. Then put on one of these CDs. Go back to the time when popular music was an actual expression of real people (although if you're reading this review, you probably do that a lot anyway, like I do). Enjoy the wonderful combination of natural sound effects, blues, religious exhortations (thank you, Mr. Roden, for one of my favorites, Alfred Karnes), folk songs, and homemade recordings. This book and its CDs are a wonderful spiritual/meditative/time-travel remedy for all the ills of modernity, even if only temporarily. It is a truly unique audiovisual creation. So what are you waiting for? Buy it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great photos and a look into the past 15 Jan. 2013
By Peter G. Blue - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i would prefer capitalization and punctuation in the text. then i could read it without being mildly annoyed. still recommended.
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