About Audio Letter: The Past… In 1979, long before Seattle was known for Cobain and Cornell, vocalist/violinist Sharon Gannon and guitarist Sue Ann Harkey formed, as Gannon describes it, "a stream-of-consciousness experiment" which they dubbed Audio Letter. Although other musicians would drift in and out of their orbit, the duo remained a constant as their experimental nature allowed Gannon to incorporate her interests in alchemy, meditation, and Eastern philosophy into their work.
Relocating to New York in 1983, Gannon and Harkey became fixtures in the downtown experimental and world music scene, finding fellow musicians such as John Zorn, Fred Firth and Ikue More to be kindred spirits. Audio Letter’s wholly improvised gigs in East Village venues like Life Café and 8BC attracted a growing number of fans including legendary jazz trumpeter Don Cherry, drummer Denis Charles, and artist/musician David Life. Collaborations with Cherry, Charles, and Life resulted in It Is This, It Is Not This, Audio Letter’s first album, released in 1987.
The album garnered enthusiastic critical acclaim in the underground music world exemplified by future Rolling Stone critic Ann Powers who, then writing for The Rocket, described it as a "philosophical and musical stew different than any other aural communication in Seattle." However, the world had not yet awakened from the Reagan years and Audio Letter disbanded in 1988. Gannon and Harkey simply waited for the times to catch up to them.
The Present… In early 2002, Gannon and Harkey, on the advice of Meta Records’ founder (and noted avant garde musician) Bill Laswell and his associate Janet Reinstra, suggested that they remix the entire project. Enlisting a battery of Gannon’s friends, willing to work on the project simply to be involved, Audio Letter has impressively reworked the visionary It Is This, It Is Not This, christening the album Neti Neti (the Sanskrit translation of its original title).
The talented artists contributing to Neti Neti begins with Bill Laswell, who is distributing this unique project through his Meta imprint, but hardly ends there. Neti Neti incorporates styles that range from alternative hip-hop ("Sound Is God") to jazz-inflected mediations ("Neti Neti") to rock-tinged psychedelia ("Smoke And Mirrors") and the breadth of contributors reflects the eclectic mix. Seamlessly, acclaimed producers such as the Beastie Boys’ Mike D and Def Jam impresario Russell Simmons weave a diverse tapestry with the help of DJ Cheb I Sabbah, Run-DMC’s Reverend Run, ex-Sky Cries Mary leader Roderick Romero, Sean Dinsmore, and the Latch Brothers.
Neti-Neti Remix Description
The new remix version of the acclaimed Group Audio Letter is a pastiche of musical styles boldly spanning the landscapes of electro hip-hop, worldbeat, experimental jazz and psychedelia. The seven remixed pieces are a collaborative effort where the original members of the band, Sharon Gannon, Sue Ann Harkey, David Life and Jazz Greats, Denis Charles and Don Cherry are joined by Beastie Boy, Mike D, with a pro vegetarian message from animal rights activist, John Robbins, djs Sean Dinsmore and Cheb i Sabbah, Sky Cries Mary’s Roderick Romero, Ambiant wizard, Bill Laswell, hip hop wonders, Russell Simmons and Rev Run (run DMC) to create a musical journey which shimmers with the dust of ancient wisdom and proves that great music doesn’t have to be forced fit into one limited category. Produced by Sharon Gannon, distributed through META records
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