February 2, 2023

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Julius Eastman’s Femenine is being released on vinyl for the first time

Frozen Reeds is bringing Julius Eastman’s Femenine to vinyl for the first time. The Helsinki-based label has announced a re-issue of a 1974 performance by SEM Ensemble, with Eastman on piano. The Femenine vinyl remaster will be released on November 19th.

The album was remastered from the original high definition tape transfer by Jim O’Rourke at his Steamroom studio in Japan. It includes new liner notes written by composer and writer Mary Jane Leach, who first met Eastman in the early 1980s and was a central figure in efforts to archive his work. In 2015, the University of Rochester Press published Gay Guerrilla: Julius Eastman and His Music, a collection of essays on Eastman that Leach co-edited with Renee Levine-Packer.

As Leach said in a statement, “Eastman’s stated goal with Femenine was to please listeners, saying of the track that ‘the ending sounds like the angels are opening the heavens… should we say euphoria?'”

The reissue of Frozen Reeds Femenine is one of a handful of efforts to preserve Eastman’s work. Last year, Los Angeles-based collective Wild Up released new studio recordings of the composition. They followed him with Julius Eastman, Vol. 2: Joy Boy, the ensemble’s second entry in a seven-volume Eastman anthology. In 2017, Frozen Reeds released “Joy Boy,” an Eastman composition first made available as part of a Bandcamp fundraiser for the Transgender Law Center.

Check out Pitchfork’s 2016 review of Femenine.

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