Telegraph Harp is a musician-run record label founded to bring visionary, beautiful and strange music to its fans, and to those who don’t yet know that they will be. This is not a narrow and specific label — anything from pop music to free jazz is alright, and our record shelves are filled with brilliant music from A to ZZ Top. But what we love most of all is music that’s eclectic, and that’s moving, whether to the heart or the brain or the little toe. As musicians, music is our lives, and it brings us a thrill to present these sounds to you, just as it does when we’re the ones creating it.
Co-founder Robbie Lee is a Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist, an improviser, composer, and songwriter, who’s played with everyone from Royal Trux’s Neil Michael Hagerty, Cass McCombs, and the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Brian Chase to dark lute master Jozef Van Wissem, and tomorrow’s quiet superstars of electro-acoustic composition. His own recordings run the gamut from one pole to the other, in a collected way with central theme. His love of pop music is unabashed, as is his exploration of music’s outer limits. You may find him playing hour-long harmonic meditations on antique instruments you’ve never seen before, or singing and playing guitar, a lone cowboy in an urban desert.
Co-founder Elisha Wiesner is a writer of subtle yet powerful songs in his longtime band Kahoots, and has more recently come to international attention in his power trio The Martha’s Vineyard Ferries, with rock luminaries Chris Brokaw and Bob Weston. Their new record is out on Kiam Records. If you’re lucky, you may catch a rare solo appearance as the elusive John Pancake, and if you’re even luckier, he’ll be behind the recording console, engineering your next record. He lives in the little island hamlet that is Chilmark, MA.
“No music from the telegraph harp on the causeway, where the wind is strong, but in the Cut this cold day I hear memorable strains. What must the birds and beasts think where it passes through woods, who heard only the squeaking of the trees before! I should think that these strains would get into their music at last. Will not the mockingbird be heard one day inserting this strain in his medley? It intoxicates me. Orpheus is still alive. All poetry and mythology revive. The spirits of all bards sweep the strings. I hear the clearest silver, lyre-like tones, Tyrtæan tones. I think of Menander and the rest. It is the most glorious music I ever heard. All those bards revive and flourish again in that five minutes in the Deep Cut. The breeze came through an oak still wearing its dry leaves. The very fine clear tones seemed to come from the very core and pith of the telegraph-pole. I know not but it is my own chords that tremble so divinely. There are barytones and high sharp tones, etc. Some come sweeping seemingly from further along the wire. The latent music of the earth had found here a vent. Music Æolian. There were two strings, in fact, one each side. I do not know but this will make me read the Greek poets. Thus, as ever, the finest uses of things are the accidental. Mr. Morse did not invent this music.” – Henry David Thoreau, Journal, January 23rd, 1852