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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who says history is boring?, February 13, 2009
This review is from: Before The Revolution: A 1909 Recording Expedition In The Caucasus & Central Asia By The Gramophone Company (Audio CD)
This exceptional album boasts a selection of recordings made by Franz Hampe on behalf of the Gramophone Company, on his 1909 expedition throughout the Caucasus and Central Asia. The selection of 23 recordings from a total 1200 makes for a cursory but incredibly strong sampling. Songs on the disc range from vocal choirs to solo singers with musical accompaniment, to complex, hypnotic and rousing instrumental numbers featuring a wide variety of instruments. Sound quality is absolutely top notch for recordings almost 100 years old: That is to say there is some crackle and hiss, but it is never obtrusive and is present in order to maintain as much of the original depth and clarity of sound as possible.

Stellar music aside, if anyone is considering downloading this disc, the wealth of added materials make the actual CD well worth having. The packaging is beautifully designed, and features original artworks from Caucasian Gramophone catalogues. The booklet also provides biographical details on some of the performers, a glossary of the instruments used, and an extensive outline of the expedition.

As the proud owner of many vintage world music collections, including the Secret Museum of Mankind: Central Asia disc, I can easily rank this as my favourite collection of Central Asian/Caucasian music. I have no qualms about giving this album my highest recommendation for anyone with an interest in vintage world music, and this particular time and place in world history. This release manages to be both extremely informative and historically significant, all the while being completely captivating, moving, and at times, overwhelming.

Very Highly Recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars wild vocal music from the steppes, November 3, 2013
This review is from: Before The Revolution: A 1909 Recording Expedition In The Caucasus & Central Asia By The Gramophone Company (Audio CD)
Has this CD gone out of print? That's terrible! This music is crazy stuff, like cold wind blowing through the tall grass, like geese flying south. Grab it while you can. There's othing else quite like it, aside from the Secret Museum Central Asia CD.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious and wonderfully strange tonality, December 24, 2012
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This review is from: Before The Revolution: A 1909 Recording Expedition In The Caucasus & Central Asia By The Gramophone Company (Audio CD)
I loved this collection of very early vintage recordings. If you care about clear fidelity it's not for you but for any musician or lover of world music this is an exciting disc. I love the extremely unique tonality and find it inspiring my own music in new directions.
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