Digital technology has enhanced music production, recording and distribution in ways unimaginable just a few decades ago, but are we losing something more essential in the process? Chris May (of The Vinyl Factory) talks to ambient pioneer and friend of technology Brian Eno about the dangers of digital dependence in modern music. “It doesn’t just apply with African recordings. It’s a problem everybody is having at the moment. Do I resist the temptation to perfect this thing? What do I lose by perfecting it?"
Towards the end of the 1800s, there were three primary American groups competing to invent technology to record and play back audio. Alexander Graham Bell worked with with Charles Sumner Tainter and Chichester Bell in at their Volta Laboratory in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., while Thomas A. Edison worked from his Menlo Park facilities, and Emile Berliner worked in his independent laboratory in his home. To secure the rights to their inventions, the three groups sent samples of their work to the Smithsonian. These recordings became part of the permanent collections, now consisting of 400 of the earliest audio recordings ever made. But knowledge of their contents was limited to old, short descriptions, as the rubber, beeswax, glass, tin foil and brass recording media are fragile, and playback devices might damage the recordings, if such working devices are even available. That is, until a collaborative project with the Library of Congress and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory came together to make 2D and 3D optical scanners, capable of visually recording the patterns marked on discs and cylinders, respectively. [more inside]
People used to make records, as in a record of an event — the event of people making music in a room
"The George Sanders Touch: Songs For the Lovely Lady" ...exists. Wow! But Not on CD.
Ron Murphy cut records, but not just any records. Responsible for cutting the actual vinyl master plates of much of the now revered Detroit Techno including Jeff Mills, Carl Craig, Underground Resistance's seminal Knights of the Jaguar, and much more - he demonstrated impeccable craftsmanship and skill in both mastering records for sound and aesthetics at company known as Sound Enterprises source link AKA National Sound Corporation. Schooled in Motown, dubplates and jukeboxes, he is the bespoke-crafted, analog link between the digital future and analog past that is the roots of Techno music and modern techno DJ culture. [more inside]
Philip Kives, the "K" in K-Tel records, built his pioneering record label by cramming up to 24 songs on low-fi compilation LP’s (later cassettes, 8-tracks, and CDs) and aggressively marketing them with TV ads. What's your favorite K-Tel album?