Is it live or is it... Edison?
July 19, 2004 10:10 PM   Subscribe

"Close your eyes. See if you can distinguish the voice of the New Edison from that of the artist. Did you ever believe it was possible to recreate the human voice?" As featured on the July 16 episode of NPR's Next Big Thing, Thomas Edison's promotional tone tests have been recreated by composer Nicholas Brooke for the stage, which New York MeFites can see at the Lincoln Center Festival later this week. (More wonderful phonographic ephemera here, by the way.)
posted by scody (1 comment total)
I attended a preview performance of this piece sometime last year. It's interesting music. What it isn't is an accurate historical recreation of Edison's tone test, though elements of the tone test recordings do show up in it. (It's a two-character opera; Anna Case, the live performer of the Edison tone test, is one of the characters).

Though it's composed primarily of samples of victrola recordings, in most instances Nick has heavily treated them digitally, sometimes to the point of unrecognizability. I didn't find it to be an easy piece of music (and didn't expect it to be), but it rewards the effort that you put into listening to it, especially if you appreciate good sound design.
posted by Prospero at 6:18 AM on July 20, 2004

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