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Since the birth of this nation, our leaders have recognized the value of a civil service merit system to the orderly administration of our country's day-to-day affairs. During his Presidency, George Washington set high standards for federal government service based upon the individual's qualifications for the position sought. This concept was eroded in subsequent administrations by preference for veterans, geographical distribution of appointments, and reliance on Congressional recommendations. Culminating in Andrew Jackson's administration the use of patronage and the building of political machines led to low morale, indifferent service and payment for jobs." The excesses of the "spoils" system eventually led to public demand for reform. In 1851, Congress passed a resolution requesting Cabinet officers to draw up a plan for the classification of their subordinates, to equalize salaries and to provide for "'a fair and impartial examination of the qualifications of clerks and for promoting them from one grade to another'. Subsequently, in 1853, Congress passed legislation which carried out those recommendations. At the state and local levels, the evils of the "spoils" system also led to pressure for reform. In 1877, New York be- came the first state to form a Civil Service Reform Association. That system served as a model for reform associations in other states, all dedicated to the regulation and improvement of civil service. Following the movement initiated by the federal and state governments, municipalities and counties began to incorporate civil service systems into their local governments. - Rea T Markin (1974) --- Regional Bears, March 2021

Downwardly Mobile Renaissance Man – Seeing The Elephant

"Born in 1945, Guo Yongzhang has performed zhuizi - a traditional Chinese style of narrative singing - for half a century. An artform whose history spans over a century, zhuizi originated in Henan province. Its main musical instruments are the zhuihu, a two-stringed bowed lute, and the zhuibang, a wooden percussion played with foot tapping.  Almost completely blind, Guo Yongzhang is known for his peculiar, resounding yet smooth vocal style. He sings with deep feelings and great verve. Lyrics deal with both the hardships and good values of life while always maintaining a sense of humour. Despite being long regarded as a folk master, Guo has continued to play tirelessly among ordinary people, often travelling from village to village and performing for a whole day at a time. As he nears the end of his life, Guo regrets that nowadays, few people wish to learn the art ofzhuizi. He worries that this precious art form may soon be lost.  This release, titled after one of Guo Yongzhang’s most well-known songs, Lao Lai Nan, commemorates his performance at the 5th Tomorrow Festival. Guo co-headlined the last day of the festival with French prog-rock act Gong on May 20, 2018. His performance was recorded live and is due to be released on both CD and LP by the Old Heaven label in November 2019. --- Guo Yongzhang /  Zhuihu, Zhuibang, Vocals --- Recorded in the late-1980s, Released in 2018

Guo Yongzhang – Lao Lai Nan (Old Man’s Blues)

Jikken Weekend, also known as Experimental Music Concert, is a small artist/composer group based in Tokyo. They mainly hold performance events at l-e, a small venue/art space in Osaka. Two CD compilations of their works have been released on the Taku Sugimoto’s label Slub Music, Experimental Music Concert (2015) and Experimental Music Concert Vol.2 (2017). Early on, many of the members of Jikken Weekend were participants of Sugimoto’s composition workshops. Aside from that, the members are almost unknown, even to Tokyo’s experimental music scene. In recent years, some of the original members have left, and some new names have joined in. It is said that some of their latest compositions are not suited to audio recording. So, this cassette can be seen as a chance to check in on Jikken Weekend’s recent work. Hirohiko Yamada, Toshihisa Hirano, Hisayo Kobayashi and Mamoru Nakajo are original members. Similar to their previous releases, each of them brings their own compositions in for recording, while they also contribute as musicians in other pieces. Besides these four, other musicians in the recording sessions include other members from Jikken Weekend, l-e buddies, and even some Korean mystery guys including Ryu Hankil and lo wie. One piece on this cassette was recorded in Seoul. --- A1, B1, and B2: Recorded at l-e, Tokyo, December 21, 2019 A2: Recorded at namsan/flat, Seoul, October 13, 2018  A1 combs Composed by Hirohiko Yamada  Mamoru Nakajo, Reiko Shioda and Hirohiko Yamada: Melodion A2 Don’t Look Away Composed by Toshihisa Hirano  Ryu Hankil, lo wie, Yijinkee, Inkyung Kim, Takuya Sakamoto, Mamoru Nakajo, Reiko Shioda and Guests: Humming Toshihisa Hirano: Conductor  B1 from the faucet Composed by Hisayo Kobayashi Hisayo Kobayashi: Water jug, LED light  B2 DJ (Digest Jockey) Reiko Shioda, Hirohiko Yamada, lo wie and Ryu Hankil: Speaking about 2019 news Toshihisa Hirano, Hisayo Kobayashi and Takuya Sakamoto: Reading about 2019 topics Mamoru Nakajo: Conductor  --- Released: Zoomin' Night Released: April 29, 2020 Recorded by Hirohiko Yamada and Toshihisa Hirano  Mastered by Toshihisa Hirano

Hirohiko Yamada, Toshihisa Hirano, Hisayo Kobayashi, Mamoru Nakajo – 山田寛彦, 平野敏久, 小林寿代, 中条護 Jikken Weekend

A collaboration made in the the throws of the Cocid-19 pandemic between Parisian duo, CIA Debutante (Nathan Roche and Paul Bonnet) and Zoomin' Night head and multi instrumentalistn Zhu Wenbo. 'I first got in contact with Zhu Wenbo through my friend Toni. Nathan and I wanted to contact Chinese musicians to organize a CIA Debutante tour in China. Zhu Wenbo kindly answered me, and when I proposed releasing a cassette of our material on Zoomin' Night in preparation for our tour, he instead suggested that we collaborate on a new release. Zhu Wenbo quickly sent me a collection of recordings. The first phase of our collaboration consisted in Nathan and I recording live on top of these sounds. I had a few books laying around my bed, an edition of Marx's "1844 manuscripts" and HP Lovecraft's collected works. Nathan started recording himself reading these texts, but quickly began to improvise and parody the material, while I was playing simple sounds on a Korg MS20 going through a tape echo. The boundaries between serious music and amusement started getting blurry, and we fashioned ourselves as fancy actors  performing a pretentious stage play. When Covid-19 hit France and we couldn't play together anymore, I transfered these recordings to a 4 tracks tape machine and tried to piece together these various materials. Nathan and Zhu Wenbo kept on sending me new materials, sometimes by my request, sometimes out of the blue. The amount of sounds was overwhelming, and I'm still not sure if these recordings are finished or in a constant state of shifting. It was the first time I used a computer to edit and compose a sound piece. I tried to use the recordings from the 4 tracks as raw material, and arranged our various contribution into something that could feel satisfactory to me. Sometimes it felt like I was merely using  the music as an illustration to Nathan's voice, like those corny radio plays you can hear at 2 AM while driving on the highway. At other times, the combination of voice and sound seemed like something really special. In any way, I hope people can enjoy these recordings made in strange circumstances, and that we will have the opportunity to play all together in China.'   Paul Bonnet, April 202  --- Instruments, voices and field recordings by Paul Bonnet, Nathan Roche and Zhu Wenbo, with guest Zhao Cong and Shi Leqi. Mixed by Paul Bonnet Mastering by Benoit de Villeneuve Painting by Paul Bonnet Design by Liu Lu --- Released May 27, 2020 Released: Zoomin' Night

CIA Debutante, Zhu Wenbo – 老耗子 小老鼠