Nominations for the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards were announced this morning and we're pleased to announce that Michael Graves has been nominated twice (for mastering) in the Best Historical Album category! Fellow nominees include Nicolas Sheikholeslami & Vik Sohonie, (compilation producers) for Ostinato Records' Sweet As Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes from the Horn of Africa and Michael Corcoran, April G. Ledbetter & Steven Lance Ledbetter, (compilation producers) for Dust-to-Digital's Washington Phillips And His Manzarene Dreams. We're so excited that these albums will be getting some much deserved attention in the coming months.
The folks at the Oxford American Magazine have done an outstanding job compiling the tunes for this year's music issue focusing on Kentucky. Sturgill Simpson, The Torques, Loretta Lynn, King Kong, Harry Dean Stanton, Dwight Yoakam, Joan Shelley, Bill Monroe and so many more great artists are represented here. Mastered by Micheal Graves, the CD and magazine will be on newsstands November 21. Get one while you can!
The 143rd AES Convention was held in New York City this year and on October 21st, as part of the Preservation Track, Michael Graves took part in the, "Is There Life On MARS? Preservation Techniques for the 21st Century" panel. Hosted by MARS founder, owner of the former Magic Shop and all around cool guy, Steve Rosenthal. The panel, moderated by Rebecca Feynberg, included an eclectic mix of individuals sharing interesting work being done in the field of audio preservation and restoration such as:
- Gotye and his Ondioline restoration projects
- Summer McCoy's Mixtape Museum
- Nora Guthrie and Woody Guthrie's wire recordings
- Michael Graves on archiving and restoration of Somali recordings and the release of Sweet as Broken Dates
Backstory: In 1965 Jan & Dean made a comedy/live album for their record label. It was wacky, groundbreaking, and an all around fun listen. Unfortunately the label didn't see it this way and the album never saw the light of day. 50 years later, the only surviving copy is Dean Torrence's personal acetate. When Omnivore Recordings decided the world needed to hear this record, Michael Graves was fortunate enough to be sent Dean's well used acetate as the source for the new master. It was not without challenges.
Read more about Filet Of Soul Redux: The Rejected Master Recordings here.
In 2016, the Ostinato Records team traveled across the Horn of Africa to compile an album of Somali music from the 1970’s & ’80’s. The result was the critically-acclaimed “Sweet As Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes from the Horn of Africa,” released worldwide on August 25, 2017 on double vinyl, CD, and digital. Under the guidance of Osiris Studio, Ostinato digitized a large portion of a 10,000 cassette tape archive of songs from before the war, when Mogadishu and Somalia were a music mecca, filled with some of the funkiest bands and the most incredible singers. Songs ultimately selected for the album were restored and mastered by Michael Graves. This project took the Ostinato team to Hargeisa, Djibouti, and Mogadishu, and across the Somali diaspora scattered in all corners of the world.
" 'These recordings carry the trauma of Somalia. They have been remastered without abandoning the sweetness in their brokenness'. The result is near miraculous in its quality." - The Wall Street Journal
"This extraordinary set, compiled largely from cassettes that had been hidden away for decades, is a reminder of “swinging Somalia” in the 1970s and 80s, before the country was torn apart by civil war." - The Guardian
"This music comes to us thanks to the bravery, defiance and years of work from many dedicated people. It also sounds divine." - Stamp the Wax UK
"An absolute gem of archival diligence. Grade A." - The Vinyl District
"Perhaps the most beautiful music in the world, finally rediscovered." - Radio Nova Paris
"A mega mixtape of Somali classics" - BBC
"Somalia has an almost endless abundance of funky music for you." - THUMP Germany
Ginsberg's, The Complete Songs Of Innocence And Experience is being released today for the first time on CD & Digital. In the June 11th 1970 issue of Rolling Stone, Lester Bangs reviewed the LP:
"The distinctive sinuousness of Allen's reedy voice is one of the set's most compelling qualities. Nothing here sounds strained or pretentious, which should make it the last word in concept albums. It sounds, rather, like a labor of love, a salute from a young visionary to an ancient sage, executed with delicacy and charm in a vocal style reminiscent of an Anglo-American muezzin."
The fine folks at Omnivore Recordings have also included a bunch of rare and previously unissued material in the set. Ommmmm.
The iconic 1971 release – expanded with 10 bonus tracks!
The great Bobby Rush just walked away with two Blues Music Awards last night from the BMAs in Memphis, TN. Omnivore Records' boxed set, Chicken Heads: A 50-Year History of Bobby Rush, won Historical Album and his most recent release, Porcupine Meat, won Album of The Year. For Chicken Heads, 74 tracks from various sources were gathered together, restored and remastered by Michael Graves here at Osiris Studio. It was super funky. Bobby Rush was on hand to accept the award along with producers Cheryl Pawelski, Cary Baker, and Jeff DeLia. Congrats to all!
The 59th annual GRAMMYs are history now. Big congratulations go to Steve Berkowitz & Jeff Rosen (compilation producers) and Mark Wilder (mastering engineer) for their beautiful Bob Dylan box set, The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series, Vol.12 (Collector's Edition). Even though the Music of Morocco team didn't take home a GRAMMY, it was a fun ride all the same. We kept good company to be sure; unreleased recordings from Vladimir Horowitz, an Ork Records retrospective from Numero Group (the first punk rock collection to ever be nominated for Best Historical), and a breathtaking collection of the earliest known wax cylinder recordings from Archeophone Records.
Music of Morocco producer, Philip Schuyler summed up the whole experience nicely on his Facebook page:
"For those who don’t know the back story, Paul Bowles conceived of an anthology of Moroccan music around 85 years ago, in the early 1930s. In 1959, he realized his dream in an intense, 4½ month recording expedition. He deposited 60 hours of tape in the Archive of Folk Song at Library of Congress, and in 1972, the Archive published a 2-LP set of excerpts from the collection. Sometime in the mid-1990s, Bill Nowlin, of Rounder Records, had the idea of reissuing the original album on CD and, at Paul’s suggestion, asked me to edit it. Time passes while I collect my thoughts. More time passes. Stlll more. By the time I finished the notes, about 15 years later, Rounder had been sold and the new owners were not interested in obscure recordings of Moroccan music. Bill Nowlin never gave up, however, and he continued to look for a home for the project until he found Dust-to-Digital, where Lance and April Ledbetter had a vision of how important this could be. Michael Graves and Rick Fisher made the music sound as good as new. Barb Bersche put it all in a magnificent treasure chest as beautiful and clever as any I’ve ever seen.
After collaborating remotely with the team for years, it was wonderful to meet Lance, April, Mike, and Barb for the first time at the Grammys. We missed all the others who couldn’t be there: Bill Nowlin himself, whom I still hope to meet someday; Irene Herrmann, Paul’s musical executor, who has been unfailingly supportive of the project; and the many people at the Library of Congress who have kept the original tapes safe through six decades, including Judith Gray, Jennifer Cutting, and the late Alan Jabbour, who oversaw the first publication at LOC, and who approved the re-edition. I think that Paul would have been satisfied with the results, and I hope that Moroccan scholars and musicians will be, too. The moral of the story is not, as you might think, “Procrastination Pays,” but rather, “We get by with a lot of help from our friends.”
Our category at the Grammys included unreleased live recordings by Vladimir Horowitz, the first wax cylinders of Gospel music from 125 years ago, and bootleg tapes of Bob Dylan in the mid-1960s. Dylan is Dylan, so it was no surprise when they won. Still, there’s no shame in losing to a Nobel Laureate, and it turns out that the cliché is true: it really was an honor just to be in the company of our fellow nominees. I like to imagine going to dinner with Bowles, Horowitz, Dylan, and the pioneers of Gospel, but it was just as much fun to hang out at the events with my son, Karim."