If I were to scribble my own Overlooked in Ohio piece, Brian Harnetty would likely be my artist of choice. I’ve written about Columbus’s gentle giant quite a few times, and I began wondering what Harnetty has been up to lately. Turns out, quite a bit.
Like he did for his collaboration with Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Silent City, and his previous full-length, American Winter, Harnetty continues his excavation of the Berea College Appalachian Sound Archives in Kentucky, finding old folk songs, interviews and other odds & ends from Appalachia and layering the found sounds with his own instrumentation. His new album will be called Rawhead & Bloodybones, and it’s a collection of old archival folk tales as told by children. “The combination of the children’s innocence and the often gruesome tales is a pretty powerful combination already. I added some instrumental parts, and other samples,” Harnetty says. This one will be out in late winter/early spring of next year — on vinyl this time, too.
Harnetty also has a sound installation that will open Nov. 12 at a sound art gallery called the Audible Gallery, which is part of the Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago. The installation is based on the archives of enigmatic jazz musician Sun Ra. (He’s hopeful that this, too, may become an album, pending permission from the Sun Ra archives trustees.) Full description of the installation below. I particularly like this excerpt from Harnetty: “I am not a jazz musician. I cannot lay claim to Sun Ra’s history, nor can I ever fully understand him or his music. But I can listen, intently, and enter a dialogue, bringing my own knowledge and thought and experience.”