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    Saturday, January 29, 2005

    Label of the Year

    Before I close the books on another year of great music, I wanted to point out a wonderful music label I discovered in 2004: Sublime Frequencies. Last fall I really started getting into the bizarre music of the Sun City Girls. They're a bit of an enigma usually opting to wear masks in their publicity photos and live shows. Their discography reaches back to the mid-80s and they consistently crank out solid quirky indie/world (?) music.

    Maverick ethnomusicologists Alan and Richard Bishop, two-thirds of the Sun City Girls, launched their own label called Sublime Frequencies last year to promote what they call:

    Music and film, short wave, field, and radio recordings of Asia, Africa, and the middle east from international world music of Java, Bali, Sumatra, Burma, Morocco, Thailand, India, Mali, Syria, Laos, Cambodia, and Nepal to the Nat Pwe Festival at Taungbyon in Myanmar and Jemaa El Fna in Marrakech Morocco film documentaries with a focus on ethnic folk, pop, ceremony, animist, bizarre, ritual, and exotica as an alternative aesthetic of exploration and research of global sound and culture.

    So there you have it. An eclectic mix of music from around the world filtered through the offbeat tendencies of the Sun City Girls. The music on these compilations sound not unlike interludes you'd hear on NPR, but with a rougher, more visceral quality that gives them a personality all their own.

    To show you what I mean, here's a track from my favorite Sublime Frequencies comp Cambodian Cassette Archives. The collection was culled from over 150 ageing cassettes found at the Asian Branch of the Oakland Public Library in California, and it's definitely worth seeking out.

    Sim Sisamouth "Don't Let My Girlfriend Tickle Me"

    With this track, the countdown has officially come to a close for another year. The full list can be found in the sidebar, but the mp3s will be available for only another day -- so grab 'em while you can! The Tracks of the Week will start up again on Monday. Thanks for listening.