The North Has a Musical Sound All Its Own
And it sounds better on vinyl
January 14, 2019
The Anchorage Museum is launching a record label as one way to convey the landscape, people and complexity of the North. The label, Unbound Records, releases its first vinyl record, ARC, on Feb. 8, 2019. The label is part of a series of projects the museum has launched to present stories, research and content through nontraditional forms and new media—or, in this case, analog and retro media.
ARC is a curated collection of works by nine contemporary musicians with connections to the Circumpolar North. Featured artists include Mari Boine (Norway), Cris Derksen (Canada), Olga Bell (Russia, US/Alaska), Foresteppe (Russia), múm (Iceland), Harm (US/Alaska), amiina (Iceland), Indian Agent (US/Alaska) and Tsembla (Finland). Each track offers a distinct musical perspective on place, connecting points across the North through rhythm and sound.
Vinyl Still Delivers
In an era of digital music, vinyl still delivers what many people think is unmatched audio quality, an important consideration with music so keyed to capturing environment and atmosphere.
“Similar to the feeling of vastness evoked from Northern landscape painting, all of the works on this album are expansive,” says S. Hollis Mickey, director of learning and engagement for the Anchorage Museum. “Themes include indigenous identity, winter, returning and leaving, and sense of place.”
Although this is not the first vinyl album the museum has been involved with, it is the first under its label Unbound Records. In 2015-16, artist/composer/curator Paul Walde of Canada participated in a Polar Lab residency through the Anchorage Museum that resulted, in part, in an album, titled Alaska Variations, featuring performative sound and music compositions.
Work is already underway on a second Unbound Records vinyl to be released later in 2019.
Feb. 8 Release Party
A limited-edition, ARC will be available for purchase in the Anchorage Museum Store and through the museum’s online store for $30. At the release party, scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, all tracks from the album will be played accompanied by immersive visuals in the planetarium. Live performances by Olga Bell, Menzia from Harm and Nicholas Galanin and Zak Weiss of Indian Agent immediately follow. Tickets are $18/individual or $45/individual plus the album. Tickets available at the door or online at anchoragemuseum.org.