February 13, 2013

Hemp is Here

This month Digitalis will deliver its reissue of Peter Karkut and Maggi Turner's eccentric masterpiece, Hemp is Here, packaged in the above photo of some green algea (I presume) in order to continue the album's long edition history without any direct visual reference to hemp in its packaging, begun in 1985 by Unlikely Records and Cordelia. For those that support pro-hemp legislation, the original cassette will have looked depressingly abstract while a configuration of peacock plumage is the closest thing on the original LP's slip to the fanned leaves of a hemp plant. Like the oblique invocation of hemp, the clear international influences on Hemp is Here reveal the constructed world of Karkut's instrumentation. He makes a sort of deconstructed pop cast in the light of fundamentally "community" oriented music like southeast Asian gamelan ensembles, though an Eastern European flare in his composition furthers the album's distinctiveness. Gamelan traditionally involves primarily instrumental ensembles (individual gamelan being composed of integrated, more or less idiosyncratic instrument sets) of flute, plucked strings, and various metal instruments, a range that very nearly defines Leven Signs were it not for Turner's vocal contribution. Her vocals, however affected, echo the range of Karkut's compositions and their ambiguous mysticism. 

Stream: Leven Signs - "Prague Spring"

No official release date yet, but it's this month and I'm a week late with my announcement, so fair bet we won't have to wait too long for news - whatever the case, it will manifest on Digitalis' website.

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