A partnership between the Smithsonian Institution, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Library of Congress has recently demonstrated that current technologies can play back experimental recordings made in Washington DC between 1881 and 1885 by the Volta Laboratory Associates. With the support of a Lemelson Center Fellowship and the help of curator Carlene Stephens, I spent approximately ten weeks between October and December 2011 studying all of the experimental sound recordings preserved in the collections of the National Museum of American History. By combining direct artifactual evidence with laboratory notebooks and other written sources, I’ve been piecing together a more comprehensive history of the Volta group’s work in recorded sound than has been available in the past, as well as identifying the place of many individual recordings within it. Here’s what I’ve concluded so far about the six specific recordings played back as part of the recent pilot project.
The Creative Audio Archive (CAA) is a Chicago based center for the preservation and investigation of innovative and experimental sonic arts and music. CAA is an initiative of the Experimental Sound Studio (ESS), formed in response to growing concerns over the general state of historical preservation of non-mainstream audio, in particular, recordings, print, and visual ephemera related to avant-garde and exploratory sound and music of the last five decades.
In order to explore the current limits of 3D printing technology, I've created a technique for converting digital audio files into 3D-printable, 33rpm records and printed a few functional prototypes that play on ordinary record players. Though the audio quality is low -the records have a sampling rate of 11kHz (a quarter of typical mp3 audio) and 5-6 bit resolution (less than one thousandth of typical 16 bit resolution)- the songs are still easily recognizable, watch the video above to see the process and hear what the records sound like. Also check out my laser cut records, made on wood, paper, and acrylic.
My varied artistic approaches to sound includes the generation, recording and production of works through techniques that range from the construction of original instrument devices and installations, to the capture of acoustic phenomenon through environmental field recordings to digital multi-tracking and manipulation. The resulting compositions are often studies in extended evolutionary permutations of a selected set of sound sources. These sources can concentrate on different properties of sound instigation and emanation that can range from the textural animation of inanimate objects or an open-air mechanical noise field to overtone resonances from a set of wires stretched across a room.
Christian Fennesz (born 25 December 1962) is an Austrian guitarist active in electronic music, often credited on recordings simply as Fennesz. Fennesz uses guitar and notebook computers to make multilayered compositions that blend melody and treated samples with glitch-influenced sounds and washes of white noise. He lives and works in Vienna, Austria.