We are happy to introduce a digital release of new music from Carl Stone arriving March 1, 2019.  Track 1 from the album, "Okajouki," is now streaming.

Despite non-stop activity (live concerts, festivals, collaborative records, and his well loved Electronic Music from... 70s-80s and 80s-90s compilations) and non-stop new music creation, this is somehow the first release of new Carl Stone solo music since 2007's Al-Noor.  A second full-length album of new material is in the works for September, and Carl will be appearing for some US dates (outside of his Tokyo home-base) this March, including Big Ears festival.
Upcoming Live Dates:

2019 March
  • March 16 - Brooklyn NY - Murmrr Ballroom w/ Eli Keszler
    (save $5 w/ advance tickets)
  • March 17 - Washington DC - Rhizome DC
  • March 21-24 - Knoxville TN - Big Ears Festival 2019
2019 June
  • June 26 - Berlin, Germany - Kiezsalon

Does music mean anything?
Can you say what it is?
If not, do you ask it?
If it doesn’t reply, do you call again?
Has music ever asked a question of you?
Can music speak meaning without words?
Can music speak no meaning with words?
Does music keep you company, or do you keep company with it?
Does music improve your life or does it improve the life around you?
How much music can fit into your life?
How much meaning can fit into a piece of music? 
If it sounds good, is music true?

If words sound good, are they true?

Sam Ashley

Some of the best records ask more questions than they answer, and others answer questions you didn't ask.  I’d Rather Be Lucky Than Good is a new recording collaboration of Sam Ashley and Werner Durand, recorded in 2016.  When it was sent to me for consideration for release on Unseen Worlds in 2017 we had just had a year of Donald in the White House and the gruesomely plain chatter around it, something like small talk at an execution, which still dominates day in and day out.  I was thankful to find something new being made that searched for bigger, non-personal truths, and was plain about the fact that it was.  What else could I do to reciprocate but give it a release?

Werner Durand

Sam Ashley’s mystic parables imbued with benevolent humor are drawn from a lifelong pursuit of a present-day shamanism. Werner Durand’s wind work on invented and traditional instruments stems from the minimalist tradition, routed through his own unique studies of obscure world musics.

The two artists first met in Berlin in 1984 while Sam was touring Atalanta with Robert Ashley’s opera company, with whom he was a principle vocalist for many years. Sam Ashley’s work has appeared on other Unseen Worlds releases (J. Jasmine: My New Music) and in solo and collaborative performances alongside “Blue” Gene Tyranny and other artists across the world.

Werner Durand, also active since the late Seventies, performs music for saxophones, Iranian ney, and self-made wind instruments. He is a linchpin figure in the experimental music scene in Germany and abroad following formative studies with Ariel Kalma and Gilbert Artman in Paris, Indian Classical Music with Kamalesh Maitra, and Iranian Ney with Ali Reza Asgharia. He has worked notably with David Behrman (Music With Memory), Arnold Dreyblatt (Animal Magnetism), Muslimgauze, Henning Christiansen, Catherine Christer Hennix (Born of Six), David Toop, and Amelia Cuni (AshtayamaDiasporagas). He also was a longtime employee of Ursula Block’s gelbe MUSIK (Broken Music).

I'd Rather Be Lucky than Good is out on LP/CD/DIGITAL formats March 08, 2019.


Sam Ashley: Love Among The Immortals from maulwerker on Vimeo.


When we first began our work reissuing Laurie Spiegel's The Expanding Universe in 2008, you could still purchase sealed copies of the original pressing on Joel Chadabe's Electronic Music Foundation (EMF) webstore.  A lot can change in a short time.  Between that time and 2012 when the release finally made it out, EMF no longer had that webstore.  Between 2012 and 2017, when it began time to start repressing the album, it was clear that we should bring more of the tracks from the 2CD collection into the vinyl format.  We've managed to fit onto three LPs most of the tracks that on the 2CD collection, except for "Music for Dance" and "Dirge" which remain exclusive to the digital editions, and have all been newly cut for vinyl by Rashad Becker.


On the same date, January 18th, 2019, we are bringing into circulation Laurie Spiegel's second album, Unseen Worlds. created using her own computer program "Music Mouse: An Intelligent Instrument." At the time of its original release in 1991, the issuing record label, Scarlet, turned out to be going out of business, dissolved and disappeared, sending the album immediately into obscurity.  Outside of a private CD edition issued by Spiegel on her own Aesthetic Engineering label in 1994, this new edition represents the first proper commercial release of Unseen Worlds.


The album also happens to be a namesake for this releasing label.  We empathize wholeheartedly with Laurie Spiegel's reason for selecting the name for her album:

"The title 'Unseen Worlds' was suggested to me by I Ching Hexagram #16, "Enthusiasm", which says "It fell to music to construct a bridge to the world of the unseen" (Bollingen Edition, p. 72). After not having used the I Ching for some years, I thought it might help me put this recording together, and so it did." - Laurie Spiegel, from the Unseen Worlds liner notes

So has music like Laurie's helped us put recordings together and make a number of other difficult connections hiding in plain sight.

We are excited to share with you EXTREEMIZMS early & late a new recording of works composed by maverick American composer Philip Corner, dating back to 1958 and up to 2016.  Our previous release with Philip Corner was the well-received 2CD set Satie Slowly [UW12, 2014].  This new recording is a testament to just how early Corner's compositions arrived at the forefront of the American avant-garde, and it puts into relief not only how well he has enjoyed his freedom as a composer through his varied output but how true he has remained to his practice over a career spanning 60+ years.

Silvia Tarozzi, violin, and Deborah Walker, cello, are the driving force behind this new recording.  As active members of the Dedalus Ensemble, they have worked with composers Tom Johnson, Jürg Frey, Christian Wolff, Michael Pisaro, Phill Niblock.  As a duo, they have worked extensively with the music of Eliane Radigue, Pascale Criton, Pauline Oliveros, and Charlotte Moorman.

Silvia Tarozzi and Deborah Walker performing at REDCAT in Los Angeles, CA in 2017

Having discovered Corner living not far from them in Reggio Emilia, Italy, it was not long before a collaboration was born. Rhodri Davies, also a long-time performer of Eliane Radigue and Philip Corner's music, was a natural fit for the project as well.

Given the radical climate of the present moment, nevertheless eerily surrounded by a steady proliferation of placidity, it has been personally important and rare for us to find the EXTREEMIZMS Corner, Tarozzi, Walker, and Davies have conjured herein.

Imagine for a moment that you could freeze frame a piece of music, like an image in a movie, then zoom in with a microscope, closer and closer, with ever more detail revealed at each increment, in a similar fashion to the Powers of Ten films by Charles and Ray Eames, where we expand into the edges of the universe and then reduce inward until a single carbon atom remains. Using whatever resources were available at the time Carl Stone has continually enabled such a re-examination of the familiar, offering listeners an opportunity to reflect upon the minute detail within sound.

However, such descriptions can easily deflect from the sheer emotional impact of such works. My first encounter with Stone’s work was revelatory. Hearing Banteay Srey in 1992 for the first time was entrancing, a blurry world of sonic exploration, as soothing undulations settled beneath a warm ambience, all constrained within an elegant structure and frame. Taking a sample of a child’s song, then stretching it and re-contextualizing it with a music bed is something that apparently came to the composer in a dream and it certainly maintains that feeling of reverie and vision.

In the days when the floppy disc ruled triumphant, Stone composed Sonali for the Prophet 2002 sampler and Yamaha TX816, the latter famously used by Michael Jackson and Chick Corea. Resampling one of his very own works into a minimalist style keyboard-led work it offers up a kind of moldable elastic atmosphere, but just as you get comfortable the supple melody is interrupted by finely diced samples of opera. Any intimations of new age music potentially suggested by the opening are now shattered into a sputter of stuttering harmonic grains.

Working with rather more restrictive means when he composed his works at this time, Stone had to be ever more inventive. We often hear of tape pieces in electronic music, works that have evolved over time through careful crafting and editing but Stone was always keen to maintain a live character to his productions. In Mae Yao, Stone was able to create loops of sound, playing against one another until about midway through when it evolves into resonant washes of sound, as drifting organic melodic patterns move across the soundscape, recalling the textural work of Roland Kayn’s Cybernetic series from the 1970s. As often in his works, it’s the reveal at the end of the piece that surprises the listener, where the original source emerges like the curtain pulled back in the Wizard of Oz.

The palindromic shape of Woo Lae Oak brings a genuine symmetrical satisfaction to the listener, as the eerie sampled wind instruments balance against the strings, circling around one another, like boxers in the ring. It makes me think of Robert Fripp’s ‘Frippertronics’ guitar process that he applied to his recordings, especially with Brian Eno in the early 1970s, and would later tour as a small mobile unit, based around two reel-to-reel Revox decks and live guitar. This in turn was informed by the kind of systems music first used by Terry Riley and Pauline Oliveros in the 1960s. So, in a sense, it’s all part of one big loop, in both time and creativity. Curiously Woo Lae Oak is a tape piece originally envisioned as a composition for radio and one can only imagine how listeners would have responded to hearing this work at the time formulating its seemingly static shape over the crackling airwaves.

Stone’s voice is truly that of a pioneer, joining the dots between computer music and composition as an avant-garde explorer and playful provocateur. Contextualising his work today one can hear decades’ previous foretellings of William Basinski’s hypnotic The Disintegration Loops, the pastoral abstraction of Boards of Canada, the glitchy experiments of Oval and the melancholic industrial soundscapes of Abul Mogard. To listen to his work today is to listen to the spaces in between sound, projecting a future from the past, creating something unforgettable from the fragments of time.

- Robin Rimbaud

The four pieces by Carl Stone on this recording span a remarkable period in the history of music technology. In 1981, when Stone composed Woo Lae Oak, digital samplers had only just become available, MIDI did not exist, and desktop computing was still something for hobbyists. By 1990, when he composed Banteay Srey, rack-mounted samplers, sequencers and other processing units had become widely available; MIDI was ubiquitous; and laptop computers powerful enough to control all of this were on the horizon.

Stone – one of art music’s early adopters – was composing on the forefront of all these changes. So while Woo Lae Oak was still composed entirely with tape loops, Mae Yao (1984) uses a Synclavier and a rack-mounted digital delay box (the rare and expensive Publison DHM89, able to transform sampled sounds in real time), and Sonali (1988) was written for the Prophet 2002 sampler and Yamaha TX816, controlled (via MIDI) from one of the relatively affordable Macintosh computers that were now on the market. Banteay Srey was composed a few years later, just before he could shift in the mid 1990s to the still more compact digital workstation enabled by the programming language Max (and later Max/MSP).

Yet what is remarkable about this story of fast-moving technical innovation (aside from the fact that it was made independently of the major institutions for electronic music) is how little affect it had on Stone’s aesthetic – a fact he cheerfully admits. The main impact, he says, was to make his music-making more efficient (no more cutting little loops of tape or searching endlessly for the right sample). He clearly hit on something early on as a composer. And while technology has since caught up to facilitate that idea, it wasn’t inherent to it.

The fundamentals of Stone’s music are these. First, sampling, as a way of capturing sounds so that they can be electronically processed, but also as a way of introducing semantic content that can be played with through recognizability, juxtaposition and surprise. Next, repetition, as those samples are made into loops (often very short, but not always so – as in the case of the more relaxed Banteay Srey, for example). Finally, change, as a result of processes applied to those loops.

Alvin Lucier (I Am Sitting In a Room, 1968) and Steve Reich (Come Out, 1966) are clear, and frequently cited, antecedents, and Stone knew their work when composing his own early tape pieces. His approach differs, however. Reich, as is clear from how he developed the discoveries of Come Out (and It’s Gonna Rain, 1965) into instrumental music was interested in gradual change aligned to the traditional matrix of pitch and rhythm. For Lucier, the gradual process of Room magnified a situation that was already present – the resonant frequencies of an architectural space – and the way in which they were activated by sound.

Stone’s interest in gradual change, however, originated in timbre and meaning. Considered in the abstract, samples are just particular configurations of musical information. And that information – details of timbre, duration, pitch and so on – can all be processed and altered electronically. On top of this, however, they also have an identity.  For other sample musicians contemporary with Stone, it was important that their sources be recognizable: Public Enemy and the Bomb Squad used samples to construct a canon of Black music; John Oswald on his Plunderphonics album uses them to deconstruct and estrange familiar tunes and performers.

That recognizability is not always important for Stone (indeed he sometimes goes to some lengths to disguise his sources). However, we can hear that his sounds come from somewhere, and that there is a “correct” or “complete” version of them in theory; and so we can hear when they are being changed. This tension between identity and difference is a very contemporary concern, in the real world as in music. What drives Stone’s music is the flow that he draws out of those differences: the way an Indonesian gamelan morphs into a chorus built from one female vocalist over the course of Mae Yao’s twenty-three minutes, the surprise emergence of a Mozart chorus out of the synths and skip-glitches of Sonali, or the slow, ambient evolution of Banteay Srey.

Woo Lae Oak, the earliest recording here and issued in a single side edit for the first time, is an exception. Its samples – a tremolo string and a bottle being blown across the top like a flute -  are simple in the extreme. Yet Stone still finds their inherent emotional properties – the tingling anticipation of the string and the calm nobility calm of the wind – and takes them into unexpected expressive territory. The combination of strings and wind is also one shared by Western and East Asian musics: even in this relatively early, and abstract work, the Stone hallmarks are clear.

- Tim Rutherford-Johnson

One might ask of J Jasmine: My New Music: what are you? Actually, not what—which? Which style? Which format? Which history? Which narrative? Which music?

A first listen might suggest some answers: this is an album of songs, mostly under three minutes, mostly of a type that would not be out of place at a cabaret—a chanteuse and her piano. But what is that mbira doing there? Or those ebullient electric flourishes that peek out of the reverb for a second? Isn’t David Rosenboom known for making music with brainwaves? And why would this album be made for the Ann Arbor Film Festival?

As the title of its first song suggests, My New Music feels androgynous: it resists categorization. Yet the stuff it is made of points towards categories: singer-songwriter confessionals, ballads of heartbreak, desire, and fantasy, country violin harmonies, honkey-tonk tack piano. The lyrics of that song continue: “androgyny / it’s happening to me / it’s just one more thing that I’ll use to be free.” The melting away of categories—the freedom that that melting reveals—is one among the tools of liberation. Androgyny may be “happening” to this song’s narrator. But it may also be happening to her, putting her in a state of becoming. My New Music records this state of becoming, showing us how to use music to be free. Humbert dedicates this album to “the hope that one person’s fantasies can contribute to another person’s freedom.”

How did we get here? By the mid-1970s, the idea of “popular music” had already been around for a few generations, enough for a few cycles of the nostalgic re-purposing of old tools for new tasks a few times over. If, as Lyotard suggests, the modern is always-already contained within the post-modern, then Humbert and Rosenboom’s play with musical signifiers should be seen not as an ironic nod to their meaninglessness—but rather as a rather sincere commitment to their affective power.

David Rosenboom had moved to Toronto to help found York University’s Department of Music in 1970. He had already begun a career as an experimental musician, bouncing between the University of Illinois, where he studied with Lejaren Hiller and Salvatore Martirano; New York City, where he worked for the Electric Ear series at the Electric Circus, and worked alongside Morton Subotnick in his legendary Bleeker Street studio and NYU’s Intermedia Program; and the Center for Creative and Performing Arts in Buffalo, where he was a Creative Associate. Rosenboom played the role of composer, producer, musician, recordist, collaborator, and engineer: “music” meant media, and media meant experimentation. Everything seemed up for grabs.

Around 1972, George Manupelli—whom Rosenboom had met in the late 1960s while producing a performance of a Robert Ashley work at the Electric Circus—moved to Toronto and joined the faculty at York. Manupelli had founded the Ann Arbor Film Festival in 1963, and had most recently released his Dr. Chicago series of films, staring Alvin Lucier, Mary Lucier, Steve Paxton, and the mime Claude Kipnis, who had studied with Marcel Marceau. Manupelli had also participated in the ONCE Festivals in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which included Robert Ashley, Gordon Mumma, Mary Ashley, Milton Cohen, and many more. For both Manupelli and Rosenboom, collaboration was a way to experiment not only with their own respective media, forms, and conventions, but also to experiment with taking on different roles in the creative process.

Whereas Manupelli got his start collaborating with Milton Cohen to produce the legendary “Space Theater” in Ann Arbor, and Rosenboom had been deeply involved with brainwave research and multi-media, both brought their sense of experimentation to new political realities in the 1970s. Among their close friends and colleagues at York was Chilean printmaker and painter, Eugenio Tellez (1939—); and soon after Manupelli had relocated to Toronto, so did a large group of Chilean refugees, fleeing Pinochet’s coup in 1973. Rosenboom had established a Laboratory for Experimental Aesthetics at York where he and his students were pursuing advanced work in biofeedback and the arts. Jacqueline Humbert was one of those students, and soon, she and Rosenboom collaborated on a brainwave performance work, titled Chilean Drought, which used human brainwaves to control how versions of a news story describing the Chilean people’s challenges with multiple natural disasters are heard.

Soon after this initial collaboration, Humbert and Rosenboom began an art collective named Maple Sugar, after a farmhouse near Maple, Ontario, where they invited artists to present works during the summertime. Maple Sugar grew to include Manupelli and several other artists from York and the greater Toronto area, and soon started presenting shows in galleries and other Toronto venues year-round. Rosenboom remembers the group’s interest in making politically-oriented works, using all of the tools available to them at the time from across technological and aesthetic spectra—from EEGs to Motown. Uniting this group was a desire to study themselves through experimenting with musical forms, aesthetics, and technologies, following what Rosenboom calls “propositional music” to its end, in order to reveal something true. For Maple Sugar, playing with music—like playing with identity—was, as Humbert’s character J. Jasmine sings on “Androgyny”, “just one more thing that I’ll use to be free”.

Humbert and Rosenboom traveled to Berkeley, California, in 1977, during a sabbatical granted by York. Along the way, Humbert began to work on her own political project: a set of song lyrics which expressed her growing interest in second-wave feminism, putting into action the slogan “the personal is political”. Humbert and Rosenboom gradually collaborated on setting those lyrics to music, and turned to a thriving Bay Area community of artists for collaborators, including Sam Ashley and David Behrman—both of whom were connected to the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College. They recorded the album at the CCM studios, with help from Maggi Payne, and at 1750 Arch Street in Berkeley, a studio run by Robert Schumaker—which would later become CNMAT, the University of California Berkeley’s electronic and computer music center.

Manupelli suggested that they press LPs to distribute to all of the entrants to the Ann Arbor Film Festival in 1978, and so they did— a kind of album-as-film, with an image of Humbert as J. Jasmine on its cover, sitting in a peacock chair with a Muybridge-like film still of a galloping horse between her legs, an alternate “origin of the world”. Manupelli shot performances of three of their songs for the festival, but the audio was out of sync; Rosenboom remembers him telling the audience, “watch the mouth, not the music.” They toured the songs along the west coast, performing at art spaces like the Portland Center for Visual Arts and the Western Front in Vancouver. To make a postcard promoting the album, they posed on an old Studebaker (owned by William Farley, who taught filmmaking at Mills) parked on the Mills College campus—Humbert as a resplendent J. Jasmine, complete with a black feather boa—and Rosenboom, Ashley, and Behrman as her backing band, all wearing headphones. During that sabbatical year, while living in Don Buchla’s basement apartment in Berkeley, Rosenboom went to work making “The J. Jasmine Songbook”, which features piano-vocal scores for all of the songs on the album, illustrated with enigmatic cover images of Humbert in the desert and photo portraits of her mother Evelyn Marie Smith Humbert, who had been a child vaudeville star in the late 1920s and early 1930s. A group from the Maple Sugar crew reconvened in the summer of 1978 at Manupelli’s own summer retreat in New Hampshire, where they shot another Manupelli film—Almost Crying—for which Humbert and Rosenboom made a new J. Jasmine song, “Oasis in the Air”. Humbert went on to make another album with Rosenboom, collaborate with Robert Ashley, and release an album in 2004 titled Chanteuse with songs written for her by an array of contemporary composers; but beyond a private-label Korean re-issue in 2010, J. Jasmine: My New Music new music was not heard again in North America.

What does the desert mean for Humbert and Rosenboom in these songs? Perhaps more importantly, what does it mean for J. Jasmine? These songs fantasize a terrain where heartbreak is as big as the Grand Canyon, where one might stumble into an old-time saloon and hear J. Jasmine dedicate her song to “Miss Margo St. James, and the Coyote Organization.” Where men leave women after meeting other women in motels, and where women fantasize about leaving their men for other women. Perhaps the desert represents freedom, but that freedom comes at an emotional cost: heartbreak, loneliness, and burning desire.

Our first clue comes in “Androgyny”, the album’s first track: what seems like a simple country waltz, an aesthetic space often marked with rigid gender boundaries, is actually an ode to becoming androgynous. In “Broke and Blue”, J. Jasmine then takes on a voice with markers of masculinity—calling up a lover only to find out “their love has gone cold”, taking refuge in brandy. And yet—this refuge is also a painting studio, where Jasmine is “painting a picture that’s colors of blue / And painting a picture that’s finally true // It’s homemade to me, But the truth it does speak /It’s a picture of me without you.”

Immediately after this realization, we are treated to the album’s first extended instrumental section (“Wild about the Lady”), as if the affective powers of Jasmine’s realization have been finally let loose: a disorienting 7/4 piano ostinato, with delayed and reverberated mbira and vocals panning throughout the stereo spectrum. While articulating her desire “for that lady over there / the one with the platinum hair”, Jasmine gains the accompaniment of fast-moving percussion, adding to the propulsive desire of the verse—all before breaking the song’s rhythmic meter to relish in her “merging of souls”, illustrated by a trill- and octave-heavy piano solo reminiscent of “Blue” Gene Tyranny.

After this reverie, the listener is snapped back to reality—a kind of filmic cut—to the auditory space of a horse racetrack, with narration by George Manupelli. In the most cinematic song on the album (“Rented Car, Painted Lady, Borrowed Time”), written by Manupelli, Jasmine is accompanied by a tack piano and country violin, as we hear the story of a breakup: with a rented car, a painted lady, on borrowed time, in a “lonesome motel room”. There is then a song of longing—eerily similar to “Androgyny”—in which Jasmine craves her lover’s “Strong Arms”, but ultimately needs “more than a man / I need him to see who I am”.

This is followed by an extended instrumental break—an excerpt from Section VIII Rosenboom’s ongoing composition, “How Much Better if Plymouth Rock Had Landed on the Pilgrims.” Rosenboom had made this particular recording in 1968-1969, playing trumpet, Hammond organ, and piano—using analog delay and feedback to create a kind of canonical form, which he later spatialized into two stereo tracks. Perhaps this section illustrates the postcard Jasmine receives from her lover in “Grand Canyon Heartache”—another country waltz with all the right genre markers.

But this heartache seems to be productive: it enables Jasmine to see a “Clear Light”, in one of the most complex and emotionally-laden tracks on the album. It begins with an out-of-time, harmonically complex introduction accompanied by a solo piano, but is followed by new territory: a fast rhumba rhythm in the piano, accompanied by bongos and female backup vocals. And as soon as we’re in time, we’re out of time again: Jasmine tells us “You can shine sister, shine / It’s your time, it’s your time.” After yearning, betrayal, heartache, and remorse, J. Jasmine has “actualized her wildest dreams”—she’s a whole person. Androgyny—the blurring of identity, the assertion of selfhood—has happened to her, as she promised it would at the very beginning of the album.

As an epilogue to this long narrative arc, the album—without the later addition of “Oasis in the Air”—ends with what Rosenboom calls an “environmental collage”, carefully constructed from field recordings he made during happy hour in a large hotel lobby in San Francisco, mixed with a rock band playing Section VI of “How Much Better…” (Rosenboom recorded every part of the band himself.) Jasmine speaks directly to her audience in the sound-world of the album—in which we imagine ourselves—and, in alternating verses, reveals that she has become a sex worker—and an enthusiastic one at that. Rather than see this as a kind of return to the scene of trauma—her character’s betrayal comes from her husband leaving her for a different sex worker in a motel—this is an assertion of the space of the “clear light”, a kind of actualization of the self: J. Jasmine is finally free.

J. Jasmine: My New Music is, yes, an album of country ballads and cabaret songs. It could be read as an intertext to the so-called “cabaret revival” of the mid-1970s, and the growing interest of female-identified singers, like Patti Smith, in experimenting with the raw material of two generations of American pop music. But it is also “new music”—and in Humbert’s community, this term meant something. For Rosenboom, Ashley, and Behrman, “new music” often meant a kind of cultural production that defined itself in opposition to “old music”—what most might call “classical music”—but which kept much of its infrastructure: the role of the composer, the support of the institution, the use of scoring, the economic and social networks of patrons and performers. J. Jasmine, Humbert’s alter-ego, declares: this is my new music. It’s the music of old weird America—country ballads and cabaret songs about love, fantasy, and “the world’s oldest profession,” yes—but also androgyny, intergenerational love, and feminism, sequenced with a filmmaker’s flair: a complete new world.


- Ted Gordon


Ted Gordon is a musician and musicologist based in Chicago. His research lies at the nexus of experimental music, critical organology, and science and technology studies. He is a PhD Candidate in the History and Theory of Music at the University of Chicago
February 23rd Unseen Worlds is releasing the first ever vinyl and download/streaming re-issue of Jacqueline Humbert and David Rosenboom's J. Jasmine: My New Music worldwide via Secretly Distribution.  
Recorded in 1977 and released in 1978 as a private press LP made specifically for the 1978 Ann Arbor Film Festival under just the pseudonym "J. Jasmine", the record has enjoyed some cult status as a private press curio for many years, with little to no recognition paid to the fact that this was a significant performance-art, post-genre song cycle masterminded by Jacqueline Humbert (famed for voice and set design work for Robert Ashley) and David Rosenboom (legendary avant-garde composer).  It is also the precursor album to Jacqueline Humbert & David Rosenboom's Daytime Viewing (re-released by Unseen Worlds in 2013). 

On J. Jasmine: My New Music, we get to hear the organic arranging style of Rosenboom that was also used on early versions of the songs on Daytime Viewing, but eventually replaced with primarily electronic orchestrations.  Featuring a cast of Mills College personalities like David Behrman and Sam Ashley on backup vocal duties, this song cycle is at every turn boundary-pushing and gender-busting, yet still hilarious, sweet, and genuine, all delivered in a post-genre, art-song, cabaret musical style that happens to boast some serious avant-garde chops, courtesy of Rosenboom. If it weren’t so spot on, you’d swear it was a guilty pleasure. As "J. Jasmine" writes, "My New Music is a collection of personal stories and private desires, exposed, articulated, performed and dedicated to the hope that one person's fantasies can contribute to another person's freedom." 
In additon to the LP and digital editions, we are also offering a limited number (300) of the of the original 1978 printing of the J. Jasmine Songbook, which has scores, lyrics and images for all the songs on the LP.  Printed but never distributed because of the book distributor going out of business, this is a must-have item for fans of Humber and Rosenboom.

Unseen Worlds just launched a year-end campaign that is something more like a 10-year-end campaign, it being the end of our 10th year of releasing music. We are very pleased and honored to still be doing it.   

This ten year mark is not only a rare time to ask for your support to help push Unseen Worlds into its next ten years, but it's also a time of great growth and potential for the label. The funds raised with this campaign will not just be an affirmation and celebration of the label's life up to this point, but also a real building block that will facilitate growth at a key time.

We have some great rewards for donating:   

  • A limited-edition, campaign-only Laurie Spiegel 12" single featuring a late 1970's collaboration with Don Christensen (impLOG, The Contortions) and an alternate version of "Patchwork"   
  • A special edition of our February release from Jacqueline Humbert & David Rosenboom J. Jasmine: My New Music paired with a a vintage J. Jasmine Songbook   
  • Totes, shirts, hats   
  • 2018 release plans and subscriptions   
  • and more...    

Thanks for pledging however best you can and for being a supportive part of our music community. 


We're very pleased to announce that this month we will release new music from Robert Haigh (SEMA, Omni Trio).  His new album, Creatures of the Deep, is a new high point in his catalog of piano driven ambient compositions.

Our newest release from German composer C-Schulz has arrived.  We will start shipping very soon!  
Entitled FRÜHE JAHRE, this collection is the first time C-Schulz’s early work from late 1980s and early 1990s has been reissued in any format. Schulz’s first LP, 10. HOSE HORN, was introduced alongside other debut LPs from Jim O'Rourke and Frank Dommert on Dommert's Entenpfuhl label in 1991. Combining the cathartic sounds of industrial, early techno, and innovative pop with inspiration from acousmatic, New Music, and Dada, Schulz’s music is a prime example of the Cologne experimental music scene of the time. Rhythmic delights, outlandish juxtapositions and a sustained, unresolved, aurally-fascinating tension evoke dramatic, film-like meditations.  Also included in the collection are the tracks from 7. PARTY DISCO and various other cassette, 7" singles, and compilations, as well as a previously unreleased digital-only bonus track.

The release comes as a digital download, LP, and CD, with new liner notes by Marcus Schmickler, who also co-produced many of the tracks.

Remastering of the original master recordings was done by Rashad Becker. 

The LP edition comes as an single LP reproduction of the 10. HOSE HORN album and includes a liner notes insert and download card for the completeFRÜHE JAHRE collection.  The tip-on sleeve is coated in a specialty plastic-like paper stock.

The CD edition also comes in a Mini LP sleeve with specialty plastic-like paper stock, metallic-silver ink printing, and also includes a download card and liner notes insert. 

Our friend Jordan Mitchell made a short documentary on Girma Yifrashewa during his recent "Love & Peace" Texas tour.

Congrats to Carl Stone on being named Wire Magazine #1 Archive Release of 2016 for Electronic Music from the Seventies and Eighties.

October 28, 2016 - Austin, Texas
Girma Yifrashewa — Meet-and-Greet & Record Signing at Las Cruxes
RSVP on Facebook

October 29, 2016 - Austin, Texas
Central Presbytarian Church presented by Unseen Worlds and Las Cruxes
RSVP on Facebook
purchase tickets

November 5, 2016 - San Antonio, Texas
Travis Park United Methodist presented by Unseen Worlds and Las Cruxes
RSVP on Facebook
purchase tickets

Photo by Edward Colver
Carl Stone.  Photo, Edward Colver.

Carl Stone's Woo Lae Oak was our third release in 2008 and since then we've been quietly plugging away at a second project with Mr. Stone during his busy schedule of teaching, touring the world, and working on new music.  After an archival recording of Carl performing "Kuk Il Kwan" at The Kitchen in New York in 1981 surfaced, we signed on to release and the project has grown and grown into a lengthy effort to restore and unearth other recordings to accompany.  Just when we thought we were done, another recording or a better version of a recording we had been discussing would emerge.  What we have ended up with is a top-notch collection with many tracks we wanted to include from Carl's early work, like "Shing Kee" – a favorite from his 1992 CD on New Albion, Mom's – along with Buchla tracks like "LIM" and "Chao Praya" from his student days in the early seventies at CalArts with James Tenney and Morton Subotnick.   

This is also Stone's first vinyl release since the original Woo Lae Oak release in 1983.  At 3LPs with rougly one piece per every side (side F has the two Buchla pieces together), this one was a natural for the format.  Check out the release details here and the cover below.

Carl Stone is about to set out on tour this September, just before this set releases.  Dates below and lots more info on his website:

September 6 - Dusseldorf, Germany - Filmwerkstatt Düsseldorf*

September 10 - Hamburg, Germany - Westwerk*

September 12 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Mayhem

September 13 - Aarhus, Denmark - Aarhus Concert Hall

September 17 - Berlin, Germany - St. Johannes-Evangelist-Kirche

September 18 - Berlin, Germany - Spektrum

* = Performing as Realistic Monk (Carl Stone & Miki Yui)


Unseen Worlds will be at the 2015 NY Art Book Fair, sharing a table with two great organizations, Audio Visual Arts and Issue Project Room.  Everyone will have new, old, and special goods for sale. 

Hope to see some of you there!

A collaboration between ISSUE Project Room and The Whitney Museum has generated a very exciting three-day, 50-year retrospective concert series around the work of David Rosenboom.  Full details of the May 22-24, 2015 events at the Whitney.


May 3, 2015 - Bethesda, MD - Bethesda Blues & Jazz    TICKETS
May 5, 2015 - New York, NY - Joe's Pub at The Public   TICKETS
May 23, 2015 - New York, NY - Le Poisson Rouge   TICKETS

     This weekend we are welcoming Girma Yifrashewa back to the States.  He will be here in March and May, with a quick exit to Poland in April.  Shows are in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC and New York City areas, with David Moore of Bing & Ruth on solo piano as a special opening act in New York.  First up is The Lab in San Francisco tomorrow night.  Please come out or help spread the word to your loved ones. 

     We're also celebrating by offering a limited-time reduced price on his album in the Unseen Worlds shop for the duration of his tour dates.  
     More Unseen Worlds announcements upcoming for 2015, so stay tuned . . .

Girma Yifrashewa US Tour dates and ticket info:

March 22 - San Francisco, CA - The Lab   TICKETS  /  FACEBOOK 
March 25 - Los Angeles, CA - The Carriage House
May 3 - Bethesda, MD - Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club   TICKETS  /  FACEBOOK
May 5 - New York, NY - Joe's Pub (with David Moore of Bing & Ruth)   TICKETS  /  FACEBOOK