Sublime Frequencies celebrates 100 releases.
Sublime Frequencies complete LP collection from SF 001 up to SF 102.
Sometime back in the latter half of 2003, I was boning up on the latest weekly email list of new LP and CD releases from music distributor Forced Exposure, when I noticed that a new label called Sublime Frequencies was being launched by world travellers Alan Bishop and Sir Richard Bishop of my favorite ethno psych folk improv art damage spaghetti eastern throw-it-all-in-a-blender band of all time, the Sun City Girls. Along with label co-founder and fellow hardcore traveller Hisham Mayet, the Bishops began to disperse the massive amount of international music and video they had collected on their frequent trips around the world over the previous two decades. After reading the descriptions of the first batch of releases, I completely creamed my jeans! I had always wished I could dive into and look through / listen to the legendary and massive archives of other-continent goodness compiled by these guys, and finally the day had arrived. It was like a dream come true.
Sublime Frequencies CD collection.
Sublime Frequencies complete DVD collection from SF 004 up to SF 094.
Focusing mostly in the regions of Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa, the output of the Sublime Frequencies label encompasses myriad categories, including radio dial-spinning collages, field recordings, various artist collections of folk and pop culled from old vinyl and cassettes, and contemporary live recordings–the latter of which also includes the occasional DVD. Far from the halls of academia, Sublime Frequencies’ founders operate at the real-deal street level, offering up the most raw and vivid viewing and listening experiences imaginable–all packaged up in cover artwork juiced up with super-saturated colors straight out of a Southeast Asian cassette stall circa 1983.
Sublime Frequencies complete book and 7-inch collection.
Sublime Frequencies complete collection from SF 001 up to SF 102.
In fact, the Sublime Frequencies label was one of the first to present international music in this manner; released in 1995, the Cambodian Rocks comp on the Parallel World label is one of few releases I can think of that beat them to the punch. Needless to say, I’ve bought every single release the Sublime Frequencies label has dished out, sight unseen, and my life has been enriched in so many ways. (Just two examples: I’ve been inspired by Sublime Frequencies to travel* to the Phi Ta Khon mask festival in Thailand once and the Nat Pwe festival in Myanmar twice.) After 13 years’ worth of Herculean efforts, the label recently reached a major milestone: their 100th release, an impressive 3-LP box set of the Music of Burkino Faso in Africa. To celebrate the big 100, I’ve compiled the following list of my very favorite Sublime Frequencies tracks, in the order they were released. So, crank up your speakers and get ready to get real!
Haba Haba Group – “Sitogol #1” from Folk and Pop Sounds of Sumatra Vol.1
Kwanjai Kalasin Yuk Patana – “Chiwit Sal Molam” from Molam: Thai Country Groove from Isan
Group Doueh – “Cheyla Ya Haiuune” from Guitar Music From The Western Sahara
Omar Souleyman – “Leh Jani” from Highway to Hassake (Folk and Pop Sounds of Syria)
Group Inerane – “Ano Nagarus” from Niger: Magic and Ecstasy in the Sahel
Bo Hein & Bo Mein – “Master of the Nine Cities” (second song at 3:06) from Music of Nat Pwe: Folk and Pop Music of Myanmar Vol. 3
Kwan Jai & Kwan Jit Sriprajan – “E-Saew Tam Punha Huajai” from Siamese Soul: Thai Pop Spectacular Vol. 2
Troupe Majidi – “Khoudrini (Lemchaheb)” from Ecstatic Music of the Jemaa El Fna
M. Osman & Orkes Nirwana – “Kisah Disampang” from Pop Yeh Yeh – Psychedelic Rock from Singapore and Malaysia 1964-1970: Vol. 1
Unknown Artist – “Unknown Title” from Choubi Choubi! Folk and Pop Sounds From IRAQ Vol. 1
Rachid & Fethi – “Habit-en Ich” from 1970s Algerian Folk and Pop
Omar Khorshid – “Al Rabieh (Farid Al Atrache)” from Live in Australia 1981
Wow! It’s safe to say Sublime-Frequencies has earned a spot in the list of my favorite record labels of all time. Now I wish you away to Forced Exposure, Discogs or your friendly neighborhood record store to dive headfirst into the wonderful world of Sublime Frequencies.