The University of California at Santa Barbara library has undertaken an heroic digitization effort for its world-class archive of 19th and early 20th century wax cylinder recordings, and has placed over 10,000 songs online for anyone to download, stream and re-use.
There are 2,000 more cylinders to come, and you can adopt a cylinder for a tax-deductible $60, which covers the rehousing, cataloging and digitizing of the cylinder.
UCSB’s own trove has grown threefold over the past decade. The new online database now boasts recordings from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, and they range from hit singles to operatic arrangements to vaudeville songs. There’s also spoken word — including speeches and readings — and everything is searchable by title, genre, instruments, region, and even subject.
Interested in sounds related to disasters? Check out this old-timey song about a 1926 freight wreck. Perhaps you’re in the mood for some jazz — the archives offer plenty to sample. Or if you’re eager for some truly unique recordings, enjoy this man’s bird imitations from 1902, journey to the South Pole in the early 20th century with Ernest Shackleton, or explore home recordings from decades ago (my favorite: these bizarre animal noises). The library also presents curated thematic playlists — one of the website’s new features — from “Central European Mix Tape” to “Tahitian Field Recordings.”
UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive [UCSB]
An Archive of 10,000 Cylinder Recordings Readied for the Spotify Era [Claire Voon/Hyperallergic]
(via Beyond the Beyond)
At Nick Cave’s “The Red Hand Files,” the musician/poet/screenwriter responded to a fan who asked, “What do you do when the lyrics just aren’t coming?” In short, Cave’s answer is to wait patiently. But his full reply is quite beautiful and inspiring. From The Red Hand Files: The idea of lyrics ‘not coming’ is basically […]
For the Seattle Mariners’ virtual Opening Day festivities, my pal Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie brought some good ol’ fashioned melancholy to John Fogerty’s “Centerfield.” Ben pre-recorded this clip in an appropriately, and sadly, empty T-Mobile Park.
Freeman Vines is a luthier in Fountain, North Carolina. For half a century, he’s crafted beautiful guitars from wood taken from a tree used to lynch Black people. Vines deeply moving work is the subject of a new photography book, Hanging Tree Guitars, with tintype images by Timothy Duffy and essays by Zoe Van Buren […]
With everybody working from home now, it’s natural to start thinking about careers where not going into the office is more the norm than the exception. Better yet, many are looking to start careers as freelancers, professionals who build their livelihoods around the scope of their talent and not the fortunes of one all-encompassing employer. […]
“The way to have power is to take it.” — Boss Tweed. We think an 18th-century political power broker probably had a different definition of power in mind when he made that statement, yet the sentiment still applies. We’ve all got devices all but falling out of our pockets and the need for power to […]
If the last 50 years of education have taught us nothing else, it’s that it often requires different tactics to best reach different learners. To pick up a foreign language, some students take best to the old-school high school language lab method, using heavy repetition, verb conjugation and grammar emphasis to embed a new language. […]