Various Artists: An Anthology of Noise & Electronic Music, Vol. 7 (3xCD, Sub Rosa, June 2013)

This is the final (sob!) entry in this fantastic series by the fantastic Sub Rosa label, which has been enriching my life regularly since 2001. As always, the range of music is phenomenal, and while not everything will be to anyone’s taste, there’s always loads to keep me interested. One standout track here for me is quietly brilliant electronic collage of Novi_sad’s The Insolence Of A Poppy from 2011. But the most striking has to be Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville’s recording of Au Clair De La Lune. This was made in 1860 using a machine called the phonautograph which predated Edison’s phonograph by two decades. It mimicked an ear, using a membrane, an arrangement of levers, and a stylus to scratch a record of the music onto a glass cylinder coated in lamp black. The tragic flaw was that there was no way to replay it (this may be why Edison is a household name and Scott de Martinville is not). So this, the first known recording of a human voice, went unheard until 2008, when clever scientists at Berkeley digitally recreated the sound from a high-resolution scan of the cylinder. It’s easy to get over-sentimental about the poignancy of all this, but it’s hard not to be a little bit moved by this crackly ten seconds. (More about this on wikipedia.)

I bought this from Juno. They call it Industrial / Drone / Noise.

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