Numero Group: By The Numbers

David Blair Stiffler Does Good Work
September 29, 2014, 11:03 am
Filed under: Music From The Mountain Provinces, Numerophon


When you were coming of age, did you think you were so special that one day you would do something exceptional with your life? Perhaps write The Great American Novel Greeting Card Blog or conjure up some composite occupation, blending the itinerary of Indiana Jones with the intentions of Mother Teresa? Even if we all had followed our dreams to the end of the Earth, chances are we’d be a bore compared to David Blair Stiffler. For here is a man who dedicated his life to documenting humanity. In essence, the sounds we make and how we make them. The geographical coordinates tend toward the under-documented and remote; places where mosquitoes take prisoners and AAA denies TripTiks. Stiffler’s website,, goes deep into his released and unreleased discography, and doubles as an online store that sells many of the featured instruments. The Baule (a trumpet from the Ivory Coast) is already sold, but don’t let that stop you from purchasing a flute from Burkino Faso. Our Numerophon imprint just released his recordings from the Philippines, Music From The Mountain Provinces. Below are some other albums Stiffler sent home, auditory postcards, and we pun, “Wish you would hear!”

“Music of the Haut Oyapok River: Brazil & French Guyana”
Documentary of the Oyampi & Ermillion Indian Tribes.
Folkways Records FE 4235 , New York 1981
(Folklife Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington)

“The Palicour Indians of the Arucua River Brazil”
Documentary Recording. Folkways Records FE 4238, New York 1982
(Folklife Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington)

“Music of the Miskito Indians Of Honduras and Nicaragua”
Documentary Recording. Folkways FE 4237, New York 1981.
(Folklife Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington)

“Traditional African Ritual Music Of Guyana”
Documentary Recording of Queh Queh songs.
Folkways Records FE 4238, New York 1982
(Folklife Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington)

“Coastal Amerindians: The Arawak, Carib and Warrau”
Folkways Records FE 4239, New York 1982
(Folklife Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington)

“The Vanishing Indians: Maya & Kekchi Of Belize and Guatemala”
Lyrichord LLST 7371, New York 1983.

“Music of the Pipil Indians of El Salvador ”
Folkways FE 4244, New York 1983
(Folklife Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington)

“Folk Music Of Honduras and Nicaragua, Songs Of Patria”
Lyrichord LLST 7364, New York 1984

“The Vanishing Indians: Costa Rica and Panama Tribes of the Talamanca Division”
Lyrichord LLST, New York 1984

“Music of the Indians of Panama; The Cuna (Tule) and Choco (Embera) Tribes”
Ethnic Folkways Records FE 4326, New York 1983
(Folklife Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington)

“Lowland Tribes of Ecuador”
Ethnic Folkways Records FE 4375, New York 1986
(Folklife Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington)

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(Pictured: the Ethnix brick-and-mortar location, in the wilds of New York City at 636 Broadway)

Fall Semester Mixtape (Free download)
September 12, 2014, 8:28 am
Filed under: Bedhead, Cavern, Jordan De La Sierra, Music From The Mountain Provinces, Unwound


In the spirit of heading back to school, the world’s finest purveyors of aural academia have created this walkman (or iPod if you’re digitally inclined) ready tape of selections from our forthcoming fall releases. All tracks are free for you to download, distribute, dub, and digest.

Pitchfork Traverses Music From The Mountain Provinces
August 15, 2014, 12:46 pm
Filed under: Music From The Mountain Provinces, Numerophon


Although individual copies have already begun trickling out of our mail room, Music From the Mountain Provinces reaches the shores of Earth’s retail stores on September 2nd. Pitchfork recently cracked the shrink on their copy of our latest Numerophon release, comparing its backstory to Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, calling the music “arresting right from the beginning, with tension and pace gathering quickly then loosening at the close.” Nice and accurate thoughts, for sure. But Music From The Mountain Provinces is more than simply script fodder for an action film, as the astute music critic concludes by noting, “this is a vivid snapshot of a particular place and time, with all its divergent moods bursting into life again after being lost for so long.” 

Read the Pitchfork review at  

The Missing Link In Your Music of the Philippines Collection
August 1, 2014, 12:11 pm
Filed under: Music From The Mountain Provinces, Numerophon






Just when you thought our releases couldn’t get anymore obscure… If you’re not already a fan of ethnic/field recordings, let us warn you—it’s a slippery slope. The intimacy and simplicity of a high-quality field recording is unrivaled, and once you develop a taste for musical expression in the raw, it can become habit forming. In fact, our Numerophon imprint was established to pick up where the iconic Folkways Records left off, to satiate our own desires to consume sounds from all corners of the globe. Music From The Mountain Provinces was slated for release on Folkways, inhibited only by founder Moses Asch’s passing in 1986. So it is with great pride that we bring into being these unique and beautiful recordings, captured in the most remote regions of the Philippines in the mid-’80s. To answer several of your inquiries at once, there are plans to issue more recordings from the archives of David Blair Stiffler so stay tuned.

Music From the Mountain Provinces is shipping RIGHT NOW from our webstore, and should begin arriving in shops worldwide September 2nd.

Music From The Mountain Provinces
July 3, 2014, 1:03 pm
Filed under: Music From The Mountain Provinces, Numerophon


In 1988, David Blair Stiffler risked life and limb to document under-recorded cultural groups living lives of extreme isolation in the mountainous Philippine regions of Nueva Ecija, Aurora, and Luzon. These are the fruits of that expedition.

In the grand tradition of ethnographic recordings that made up the majority of Folkways’ vast and significant catalog comes Music from the Mountain Provinces. By the mid-1980s, David Blair Stiffler was already a most-decorated recordist, with eight Folkways LPs under his belt. These are among the most obscure documents in the entire Folkways catalog. Although the works of Jose Maceda and Nicole Revel heavily documented much of the Philippines’ countryside inhabitants with a thorough and sober effort protracted over the decades, Stiffler brought his own panache into the equation, capturing gorgeous and revelatory moments from some of the archipelago’s least visited regions. Even without the harrowing tale of himself and his crew being taken hostage, contained within is a rare aural experience. These masters, originally intended for release on Folkways, were shelved when Stiffler returned home to news of Folkways founder Moses Asch’s death.

Preorder here (and now!) for Music of the Mountain Provinces (Numerophon)