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Explorer Series: East Asia

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  • December 09, 2008

    The reissue of the groundbreaking Nonesuch Explorer Series titles from Japan is now complete, with the recent addition of two more titles. The Independent exclaims, "It's wonderful that Nonesuch is reissuing the 92-LP Explorer Series, which put ethnomusicology on the map in the Seventies," and says of the recently reissued Koto Classics: "[I]t's wonderful to hear once more koto master Shinichi Yuize in his prime ... and these classic pieces display [the koto's] suggestive power to the full."

  • November 14, 2008

    "Never again will a record company essay what the producers of the Nonesuch Explorers did in 1967, bringing out a series of superb field recordings to make, eventually, a 92-record set," says The Scotsman in its five-star review of the two titles that marked the reissue of a number of Japanese Explorer Series albums on CD this fall: Koto Classics and Geza Music from the Kabuki. "The vinyl LPs ... brought to light a wealth of hitherto hidden traditions," says the review, and their return as remastered CDs "is simply wonderful, because much of this music—four decades on—is now either extinct or grievously debased."

  • about Explorer Series: East Asia

    The Nonesuch Explorer series is “the series that introduced countless listeners to music from afar," says the New York Times, "opening up the delights of world music by mingling the scholarly and the sensuous ... The albums, recorded from the ‘60s to the ‘80s, have held up magnificently.”

    The revival of the series began in August 2002 with the release of 13 volumes of African music, including the popular Drum, Chant, and Instrumental Music; Witchcraft and Ritual Music; three mbira (thumb piano) recordings from the Shona people of Zimbabwe; and Hamza El Din’s The Water Wheel.

    Originally recorded beginning in the 1960s, the series re-issue sees these legendary titles remastered and repackaged for the new millennium, including newly designed o-card covers, and the inclusion of original liner notes.

    While much of what is released today as “world music” reflects the influence of many cultures, most of the recordings in the Explorer Series offer a musical window to a specific community at a specific point in time, without the strong imprint of Western society or pop music. These recordings have served as source material for much experimental and world music today, and the series itself continues to stand on its own as a unique document of musical culture.

on August 21, 2008 - 10:25pm

The Nonesuch Explorer series is “the series that introduced countless listeners to music from afar," says the New York Times, "opening up the delights of world music by mingling the scholarly and the sensuous ... The albums, recorded from the ‘60s to the ‘80s, have held up magnificently.”

The revival of the series began in August 2002 with the release of 13 volumes of African music, including the popular Drum, Chant, and Instrumental Music; Witchcraft and Ritual Music; three mbira (thumb piano) recordings from the Shona people of Zimbabwe; and Hamza El Din’s The Water Wheel.

Originally recorded beginning in the 1960s, the series re-issue sees these legendary titles remastered and repackaged for the new millennium, including newly designed o-card covers, and the inclusion of original liner notes.

While much of what is released today as “world music” reflects the influence of many cultures, most of the recordings in the Explorer Series offer a musical window to a specific community at a specific point in time, without the strong imprint of Western society or pop music. These recordings have served as source material for much experimental and world music today, and the series itself continues to stand on its own as a unique document of musical culture.

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