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stranger calls to land - cassette selections 2010​-​2017

by chik white

self 03:38
seep 04:30
contrition 04:49
askasker 07:14
germ sucked 02:00


Released by Feeding Tube Records on November 3, 2017.
Limited edition of 250 LPs.

To ORDER LP, visit - feedingtuberecords.com/releases/stranger-calls-to-land/

From the liners:

chik white is our favorite jaw harp player. And that's saying something. There's a lot more jaw harp music out there than you might suspect. From traditional Inuit recordings to contemporary minimalist composition, the jaw harp's sonic qualities and easy portability have assured its global popularity for a long damn time. “It's one of the older instruments around,” white says. “There are references to it in Chinese drawings dating back to 300-400 B.C. Technically, it's a plucked idiophone like an African thumb piano or a whale drum.” Regardless of its categorical classification. a jaw harp, in the grips of chik white, is one of the craziest sounding things we've heard in a while.

Based in Nova Scotia, chik white (née Darcy Spidle) came out of the Maritime punk scene with a quartet called The Hold. He founded the excellent Divorce Records label in the process, and eventually began organizing the OBEY Convention (an annual music/arts fest in Halifax). A few years ago, a pal gave white a cheap music store jaw harp. He started carrying it with him, fooling around with it when he'd go on hikes, and really started getting into it. White began researching the jaw harp's history and current uses, eventually buying a few high-end harps of Hungarian and German design.

One thing led to another, and he started recording his experiments. Cassettes began emerging on small labels and they blew us away. white's approach to improvisation showed some of the same environmental qualities as those of people like Jeph Jerman, but because of where he lives, this meant there was a lot of water in the mix. Some of the material was recorded on hikes near the ocean, and one -- raft recordings from economy -- was actually done on a self-made raft (designed to be an instrument itself) while bobbing on the Bay of Fundy.

“I built the raft and just floated around,” white says. “It was during a week-long artist's residency I had, and I was quite out of my mind. The raft was strung with lines, so it could function as a sort of a stand up bass, and there were shells for percussion. It's pretty different from most of the other stuff I'm doing.”

stranger calls to land is a compilation of tracks from released cassettes and also previously-unheard archival work. Some of the wildest pieces involve the playing of “prepared” jaw harps, which means wrapping wire around them, or using magnets, thimbles and other foreign objects to alter their tonal qualities. These cuts have drone qualities that are particularly otherworldly. Other personal faves include the throat miked pieces, which have a guttural glottal feel resembling a form of sound poetry. Which is part of the idea.

“After an OBEY one year I was chatting with Kaie Kellough,” white says. “He had used a throat mike in videos and it really stuck in my head. Miking small sounds from my throat and running them through large loud P.A. systems is an interesting process. It makes the music into a kind of sound poetry, which is great because I got a lot of inspiration from people like The Four Horsemen and Nihilist Spasm Band and other kinds of non-narrative non-musical stuff. When I play festivals, people are often taken aback by what a visceral experience it can be. These last shows I was bleeding every night from my lips while the audience was laughing nervously and kind of freaked out. But the music has been really well received. It started as something folky and meditative. Now it's begun to resemble a type of
performance art.”

Whatever you call it, the music of chik white shreds. More than lips. Dig in.

--Byron Coley
Florence MA 2017


released November 3, 2017

all sounds and and songs - Darcy Spidle
track selections - Byron Coley
art and layout - Meg Yoshida
mouth photos - Darcy Spidle
mastering - Kyle MacDonald


all rights reserved



chik white Nova Scotia

chik white is the moniker I use for my work as a free improviser. For years, my instrument of choice was the jaw harp, but recently, I’ve expanded my practice to include voice, nose flutes, horns, guitar, and harmonica. Along with the many chik white releases chronicled on this page, I’ve also included select field recording works issued under my proper name, Darcy Spidle. ... more

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