June 8, 2012

Obscure Records Catalog on UbuWeb

I'm not writing in particular about Obscure #9, visual artist Tom Phillips' collaborative multimedia "opera" with experimental composer and noted cellist Gavin Bryars, who himself produced Obscure #1, the initial offering from Brian Eno's Island Records distributed imprint, Obscure Records. Nope, but it is available alongside the label's other nine releases for free, its catalog having become available via the sound department of internet-based archive UbuWeb. For further context, this is the imprint that released Eno's own Discreet Music, which is in large part a set of variations on Pachelbel's Canon in D, each called variously the "Fullness of Wind", "French Catalogues", and "Brutal Ardour". The b-side of Obscure #5 has John Cage overseeing pitch perfect song-style recitations of E. E. Cummings and James Joyce with a delicate, minimal instrumental accompaniment, exemplifying why the label called it "avant-mellow" in the liner notes. In short, Obscure was Eno's arena for promoting 20th century classical music, as he and many others imagined that might look and it's well worth a gander. That it's a free gander should just make it that much easier.

Download the entire Obscure Records catalog here.

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