from the original press sheet:
From the first song of their debut cd, 1998’s The River Nektar (Hub City), one feels a strong affinity for THE IDITAROD’s stark, darkly beautiful home-fi fairytales. Hailing from Rhode Island, the group embodied a uniquely New England mood mixing reservation with unquenchable enthusiasm; scholarly without pretention.
As a duo, Jeffrey and Carin split time between the group and their much lauded MAGIC EYE SINGLES, the label responsible for the wonderful ‘FOR THE DEAD OF SPACE’ tribute to TOM RAPP’s PEARLES BEFORE SWINE.
They toured Scandinavia in October 2000 and released a single to commemorate the occasion. The result was two originals of acoustic strumming, cello, tape loops, and moog married with a KING CRIMSON cover and locked grooves meant to be used as ‘a sonic experiment’ when played simultaneously on various turntables. “The Iditarod's music reminds me of a castle, a medieval castle that from the outside is breathtakingly beautiful. But once you get in there, it's full of tunnels which form a kaleidoscopic system where you're bound to get a little lost.” (Broken Face, Sweden)
Doubling ranks to a quartet, adding Matt Everett (Bonnie Prince Billy fiddler) and Margie Wienk (Difference Engine/Eyesores) they travelled as a member and co-founder of The Poor Minstrels of Song, a traveling experimental folk carnival tour which also featured such wyrdfolk favourites as IN GOWAN RING, DREKKA, and Tim Renner’s STONE BREATH. Live THE IDITAROD transcend even the bliss of their recordings.
‘The Ghost, the Elf, the Cat and the Angel’, the group’s first cd for BLUESANCT (third total) was recorded in this past spring with JESSE POE (Six Organs of Admittance), while also integrating some home recorded experiments. The result is as adventurous as their previous recordings, with an added crystalline clarity as fragile as a dream.
Fans of bands as diverse as CAT POWER, MOVIETONE, FAIRPORT CONVENTION, and KING CRIMSON will be enraptured with this masterpiece.
Download contains JPGs of the original artwork, and a PDF of the original presskit.
released April 2, 2002
• CD = ltd to 1000 copies
• DIGITAL = unlimited
digital re-release 17 February 2014
original liner notes:
CARIN WAGNER voice, guitar, wine glasses, moog, tamboura, bell, finger cymbals, chimes
JEFFREY ALEXANDER guitar, woodface banjo, phonograph, moog, singing bowl, electronics
MATTHEW EVERETT violin, voice, percussion, guitar, recorder, viola
MARGIE WIENK cello, wine glasses
FIT & LIMO bouzouki, voice, dulcimer, organ, glockenspiel (tracks 2 and 7)
JESSE POE musical saw (track 6)
Watercolors by Carin, manipulated by Jeffrey.
Un-retouched photography by Carin and Jeffrey.
Partially recorded by Jesse Poe in Richmond, VA.
Mixed by Jed Marshall in Providence, RI.
Tracks 2 and 7 were home recorded
4-track mail trades. All else recorded
and assembled at home by Jeffrey.
Mastered by jr71
at Redhill, November 2001.
Copyright 2002 BMI. All rights reserved.
THE ROOTS OF THE BUTTERFLY BUSH
For Dusty, a wonderful soul who once was my cat. She will always be with me and I will always be with her. I wrote the lyrics over one of Jeffrey's new tunes.
BLACK STRUNG BOW
Jeffrey arranged this instrumental on the 4-track and then we mailed the basic tracks to Germany. Fit & Limo then added dulcimer and the lovely vocal.
AFTERNOONS LIKE THIS ARE HARD TO COME BY
This is yet another song expressing my love of the sea. Jeffrey recently composed the music - I wrote the lyrics some years ago.
RAGA (IN D#)
One of Jeffrey's instrumental creations.
Inspired by "The Holy Mountain".
This is a song I wrote long before I met Jeffrey. I had recorded this on 4-track with vocals and guitar. Years later, Jeffrey stole my vocal off of my old master tape and added his own new music - creating for me an entirely new song.
THE FALLING OF THE PINE
A gorgeous traditional logging song - Jeffrey re-arranged the original lyrics and composed new music. This is followed by Matt's arrangement of an old Danish fiddle tune called "Hur Var Du I Aftes Saa Silding".
ICH TANZTE WEIT
Another 4-track collaboration with Fit & Limo. Jeffrey developed the melody on guitar - they added all the other instruments, vocals and composed the lyrics.
NEW MAGIC IN A DUSTY WORLD
Jeffrey and I we're having fun with our "electronical" equipment one day at our old practice space. The two of us recorded this original improvisation right before our Fender quad blew up - so we sold it.
LET NO MAN STEAL YOUR THYME
All you fair and tender girls - may your safety be watched over and great care given for those who have been wrongly violated. The music and lyrics are traditional, arranged by Jeffrey.
THE NAMELESS ONE
Matt composed the main melody for this piece - he performs it in one channel. Jeffrey plays his improvised harmony part in the other.
"Beat your drum slowly and play your fife merrily; sound the dead march as you bear me along. Into my grave throw a handful of roses; saying there goes a true girl to her last home." This is another traditional song that was arranged by Jeffrey. It is one of the countless variants in the "Unfortunate Rake" family of folk songs.
Thanks for listening,
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