Foxy Digitalis Mix #27: Alex Cunningham

I’m having an Alex Cunningham renaissance at the moment. Between the alien zones he and Mark Shippy explore on Ghost Note to the full-on macromeditations of As Slow as the Stream. Cunningham’s approach to the violin is so singular and striking that I started wondering where it all comes from. There are so many moments on these recent albums (and his various solo and collaborative recordings from past years) where I have a hard time believing it’s actually a violin he’s playing. He twists the tone and timbre of the instrument into such new, exciting directions that it’s difficult to keep up. That’s why I asked him to make a mix of violin music and artists that have inspired him. The result is stunning. 

Here’s what Alex had to say about it:

“This mix features recordings by some of my favorite violinists spanning a multitude of styles: jazz and improvised music, rock, minimalism, Carnatic and Hindustani violin, Cajun fiddle, and various traditional folk styles. While the influence of some of these violinists might not be immediately apparent in my own music, I take great inspiration from every one of these players and the endless possibilities they present to the instrument.”


Lalgudi Jayaraman – Dvijaavanthi – 1978
The Revolutionary Ensemble – Ponderous Planets – 1976
Harry Choates – Devil in the Bayou – 1948
Camper Van Beethoven – I Love Her All the Time (Sonic Youth) – 1986
Dennis McGee & Sady Courville – Happy One Step – 1929
Eddie South – Solace – 1944
Billy Bang – Outline No. 12 – 1983
Polly Bradfield – 1. (6/19/79) – 1979
The Raincoats – The Void – 1979
Stuff Smith – A Ghost of Chance – 1943
Michael White – Ballad for Mother Frankie White – 1972
N. Rajam – Raga: Chhaya Nat – Gat: Roopak Tal – Teental – 1985
Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan & Valayapatti Subramaniam – Thunbam Nerkaiyil – 1975
Henry Flynt – You Are My Everlovin’ – 1986
Grayson and Whitter – Short Life of Trouble – 1929
Leo Soileau’s Four Aces – Les Blues de la Louisiane – 1935
Ukrainska Selska Orchestra – Kolomyjka Lubka – 1928-1933 (recording year unknown)
Stéllos Lainàkis & Konstantinos Papadàkis ‘Naftis’ – Three Sirtà of Karaghioulés – 1978
Alexis Zoumbas – Gaitanaki – 1928
Takehisa Kosugi – Untitled – 1980
LaDonna Smith/Davey Williams/Theodore Bowen – Untitled – 1978
Leroy Jenkins – Keep on Trucking, Brother (A Message to Bruce) – 1977
Dirty Three – I Offered it Up to the Stars & the Night Sky – 2000
Dennis McGee – Adieu, Rosa – 1983

With spoken samples throughout by Dewey Balfa from “Cajun Fiddle Old and New” – 1977

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