It’s not often that a writer has the opportunity to bill something as either unique or unmissable, but if there is any night that we’ve come across in recent times that fits those criteria this is the one.
Mississippi Records On Tour is billed as a film, talk and presentation from Eric Issakson, Mississippi Records label head. Based in that bastion of effortless cool, Portland, Oregon – Mississippi Records has developed a reputation as one of the best record stores in the world, whilst the record label has become renowned for releasing underappreciated, hard to find classics from across the world as well as remarkable compilations and a limited selection of their own picks.
The subject of the talk is probably about as broad as Issakson can tackle. It’s a guide to the highs and lows of North American music history with the intention of encouraging the audience to believe that with artistic pursuit, anything is possible. The presentation promises to reach deep into Mississippi Records’ vast archive of film music and art. Specific subjects to be hit upon include:
– The cosmic patterns that resemble music generated by stars being born and dying.
– The musical patterns in the natural world that work on the same principals as music.
– The untold early history of recording technology; including tales of Archeoacoustic technology that allows us to hear recordings from 2,000 years or more ago, cat pianos, the phonautogram which reproduces sounds from dust and much more.
– The rise of the blues, rock and roll, and other revolutionary American music forms and their subsequent destruction by the powers that be.
– Hopeful messages about the future.
– 45 minutes of incredibly vibrant archival footage of some some the greatest musicians on Earth (as well as some novelties) including Bo Diddley, Rosetta Tharpe, The Collins Kids, Gary Davis, and the Staple Singers.
As if this wasn’t enough, we are promised performances from three of the label’s brightest talents. Marissa Anderson is guitarist and lap steel player of incredible repute who has worked with Godspeed You! Black Emperor, The Devil Makes 3 and Sharon Van Etten in the past couple of years. Her album Mercury received glowing praise from Pitchfork.
Lori Goldston is an accomplished and versatile cellist who has worked with Nirvana, David Byrne and Cat Power.
Dragging an Ox Through Water is Brian Mumform, a guitarist and vocalist who augments his music with feedback, drones, tape hiss and homemade oscillators. He plays in a variety of acclaimed underground outfits as well as having collaborated with John Weise, Vic Chesnutt and Pete Swanson amongst others.