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Record release signals new venture for Anchorage Museum

Jan 31, 2019

Indian Agent will join two other Alaska-based musicians to perform for a record release party Feb. 8, 2019, at the Anchorage Museum. The record is on the museum's new label, Unbound Records, and features a collection of music from the circumpolar north. (Contributed photo by Jesse Hughey)

Experimental music group Indian Agent and two other artists with Alaska connections will contribute to a new compilation of music from the circumpolar north.

In total, nine artists will be featured on “ARC: A compilation of the Circumpolar North,” a record released on Anchorage Museum’s new label, Unbound Records.

The museum’s learning and engagement director said the museum wanted to push expectations of how museums publish content.

“It's a real labor of love to create a physical production for music,” Hollis Mickey said. “I think it becomes in that way an art object itself as well as this really exquisite compilation of diverse sound from the circumpolar north.” 

The museum contacted artists – including musicians Olga Bell, Indian Agent and Fairbanks-based group, Harm -- to see if they wanted to contribute.

“We wanted to reach out to a variety of different artists across the circumpolar north who had experimental, cutting-edge sound that were really pushing the edges of genres,” Mickey said.

About a year ago, the museum reached out to Indian Agent, band member and Alaska Native artist Nicholas Galanin said, to see if his band wanted to be on the album. Indian Agent chose the song “We Move Lightly on Land and Sea.” 

The submitted tracks were remastered to match volume levels, a test pressing was made, and eventually mass production and shipping. For Galanin, the wait will be worth it.

“I really do love vinyl for the analog and the quality of sound and then the listening experience as well,” he said. “Especially in this digital age to have something that’s tangible I think is great.”

Vinyl record and jacket design. (Photo courtesy of Anchorage Museum)

The record release party will be 6-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, at the Anchorage Museum, 625 C Street, Anchorage. It will feature live performances by musicians Olga Bell, Indian Agent and Rebecca Menzia of the Fairbanks-based group, Harm.

Tickets are $18, or $45 for admission and a copy of the record.

The record will feature a blue-and-green splash on the vinyl. The album and cover were designed in-house, Mickey said, and was meant to represent the aurora borealis, a common sight in the Arctic region.

“I'm really thrilled about the representation from across Alaska but also across the circumpolar north,” Mickey said. “We have folks from Finland, and Iceland and artist from Siberia so it's a really dynamic compilation representative of lots of different sounds.” 

A second release already is in the works, Mickey said. It will be a compilation of circumpolar hip-hop.