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  noun 1. The act of immersing oneself in other cultures without crossing national borders. 2. Local cultural diversification. 3. Traveling on a budget. 4. A website that will allow you to accomplish all the above from the very seat in which you sit.


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The World: "Victrola Favorites: Artifacts From Bygone Days"

Dust-to-Digital's mission is to produce high-quality, cultural artifacts, which combine rare, essential recordings with historic images and detailed texts describing the artists and their works.

The material coming from Dust-to-Digital is very special. For music and history lovers, it's a fantasy; for anyone, it's a treat to experience such peculiar treasures in so glorious a packaging.

Today we are introducing to you:

This beautiful cloth-bound book is a catalog of vintage music - two CDs - and artwork.

Care is given to every detail. The visuals are beautiful. As are the colors, vibrantly mixed throughout the thick pages.

...the bulk of this handsome book is made up of gorgeous archival images, 78 labels, old record tins, posters, pamphlets, old greyed photographs, mailing labels, instruction booklets, all sort of Victrola ephemera. It would be well worth it just as an art book. Makes you dread the oncoming MP3 takeover, what will future generations discover of our music, old busted hard drives? None of these cool old sleeves, decaying from years of moisture and insects, gorgeous little visual artifacts offering clues as to the music contained inside... So absolutely recommended.

The recordings were compiled by Rob Millis and Jeffery Taylor, and span the 1920s-50s. To our border hopping taste, they also span the globe. Chinese opera, Burmese guitars, Persian folk songs and Blues are just a small smattering of the eclectic and worldly playlist.

Victrola Favorites features a bewildering array of exotica, religious chanting and barroom bawls from an equally bewildering array of countries — India, USA, bamboo flutes in Korea, Chinese Buddhist monks chanting in Hong Kong circa 1915, Thailand, bamboo xylophones from Japan circa 1910, Zulus, Persia... We’re talking about field recordings and beyond from the dawn of recorded music, pretty much. And yes, it totally is the s**t... you get a sensation of what the original recordings sounded like...

Some of the material is just strange, "like a midway point between Yazoo's Secret Museum of Mankind and Sublime Frequencies," as Brian Turner puts it.

Brew a cup of coffee; settle into your favorite chair. Turn on the stereo and get lost in this collection's sights and sounds.

As it turns out, we are not the only folks to fall for this curious collection and share our joy with the world wide web. To titillate the senses of audio and motion, here is a film introduction:

For more information on this collection, visit Dust-to-Digital's website >>

You can purchase Vitrola Favorites on amazon.com >>

[images of Vitrola Favorites material © Dust-to-Digital]

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Spain: "Hola, Flamenco"

If you have not already read the work of Colin Mulligan, please do. A BH contributor over the past couple years, his travels in the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe appear in our archive, though we've had the pleasure of reading some of his other work during the process, such his intriguing Conversation with Osman.

Currently he is in Spain wrapping up the filming of his upcoming documentary, Hola, Flamenco. In his company's words:

Flamenco is Spain's national art form, and a UNESCO-sanctioned 'Intangible World Heritage.' However, despite its continued prominence on the world music scene, few people know of Flamenco's wide range of influences, or the various forms it takes throughout the country.

"Hola, Flamenco" seeks greater understanding about the origins and evolution of Flamenco. We will be traveling through Andalusia this summer to film performances and interviews with some of Spain's top performers and personalities--along with musicologists, historians and ordinary Spaniards. All demonstrations will emphasize the more subtle aspects of Flamenco, including guitar strum patterns, dance postures and gestures, as well as song lyrics.

The film will present Flamenco as an ever-changing art form with, and will include differing opinions about its "true" style. It will also include a survey of Spain's colonial history, as well as its Muslim, Jewish, Catholic and (Roma) Gypsy influences.

Your generous funding will help our film crew with travel expenses, equipment rental (lighting & sound in particular), as well as post-production costs and promotional expenditures.

For a sneak peak of the action:

View more video footage on Hola Flamenco's YouTube channel >>

You can support this project by heading to Hola, Flamenco's Kickstarter page >>

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BH.net: a close look at two wondrous shimas

You know those days. The same project, never dying, bordering on tedium. One too many lunches of the same soup and sandwich combo. A stubborn and menacing cloud of ennui in the air.

The remedy: a careful concoction we are now supplying, in two hearty doses. Take two parts culture + one part history + one part architecture + one part human ingenuity, mix thoroughly. Add one large dash of curiosity and a satsuma slice for garnish. (Vitamin C, of course!)

Read up.

Hiroshima, Japan
1. Hiroshima's Genbaku: Story of a Skeleton by Brent Katte
Everybody knows about Hiroshima. A lot of people visit. And everybody who goes there, goes there; the genbaku, or A-Bomb Dome. An international icon and World Heritage site, the Dome commands a steady stream of visitors day in and out, regardless of weather or season. Many people have seen it, stark and haunting. Most will remember. But not many know much about the building itself, the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall; its brief, colorful history overshadowed by the bomb it takes its nickname from.

Kagoshima, Japan
2. Kagoshima: Japan's Forgotten Father by Brent Katte
The Shiroyama observatory, perched 100 meters above Terukuni shrine, provides a stunning panorama of southeastern Kyushu, birthplace of so much of Japan. Just past the towering concrete tori lies downtown Kagoshima, prefectural capital; five kilometers offshore the giant sleeping in her midst. The ridge isn’t the mountain its name implies, but the western edge of a huge volcanic caldera 20 kilometers across. Sakurajima, one of the world’s most active volcanoes and symbol of the city, though formidable and looming, is just a fraction of the geological maelstrom that formed much of the region 22,000 years ago and continues to do so today.

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