Centuries of Sound - pre-jazz-era recorded music

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Thought this didn't really belong on the DJ mixes thread, so here it is in its own thread.


Centuries of Sound is a monthly mix of music and other audio from a single year - starting with the first sound recordings around 1860 and working slowly towards the present. So far I've completed these years-


I can only find the slightest of references to anything included here on ILX, and for good reason - very little that has survived from this time is really listenable, and the popular American music of the time is deeply problematic, to say the least. Still, there is a reasonable amount of at least interesting stuff out there, and I'm enjoying researching this stuff a great deal, even if it has turned into a life-encompassing project.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Monday, 3 July 2017 20:53 (one month ago) Permalink

An inspired project indeed!

Ned Raggett, Monday, 3 July 2017 21:01 (one month ago) Permalink

I need to follow this, will be a fascinating journey. George W Johnson (1891) is an interesting character not least that he apparently recorded each wax cylinder (25-50,000!) individually. Tim Brooks' book 'Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1890-1919' has quite a big section about him.

Dan Worsley, Monday, 3 July 2017 21:13 (one month ago) Permalink

Ha, just noticed you've linked to that book in the sidebar. Co-sign on Greg Milner's 'Perfecting Sound Forever' too.

Dan Worsley, Monday, 3 July 2017 21:22 (one month ago) Permalink

didn't realize richard jose was recording as early as 1892! i enjoy his last recording, an electrical recording of one of his early hits made in 1930. i have such a rough time with most recordings before about 1924 or so, though! the portable action keyring player analogy is right on. so little of value from these years was recorded, so little of that is preserved. just your occasional recording by joseph taylor, or polk miller, or europe's society orchestra.

The Saga of Rodney Stooksbury (rushomancy), Tuesday, 4 July 2017 02:48 (one month ago) Permalink

This is awesome. Great project.

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Tuesday, 4 July 2017 03:00 (one month ago) Permalink

Thanks for the encouragement, all. Rushomancy - I had never heard of Richard Jose before this project, there are a lot of tenors to be dealing with in the early 1900s so quite possibly that's it for him. I agree of course that there is a lot of rubbish to get through in this era, but (as I'm doing everything a year ahead of schedule) I'm currently listening to 1906, and have to report that there is a wealth of great stuff already - Vess L Ossman, Bohumir Kryl, Bert Williams, Arthur Pryor, plus all manner of wonderful Russian discs. There is a big uptick in quality around 1897 and I'm still finding more than enough for each year (though I am working through over a thousand mp3s per year now and am going to have to come up with new strategies soon)

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 4 July 2017 22:09 (one month ago) Permalink

Oh wow, I'll be looking into this for sure.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Tuesday, 4 July 2017 22:32 (one month ago) Permalink

oh, vess ossman totally holds up great today (when he's not being racist). that's the thing there - damn near everything that got recorded back then was racist! jesus, poor bert williams; shit back then was fucked. bohumir kryl i hadn't heard, but man, people just went totally bonkers for the cornet back then, didn't they?

The Saga of Rodney Stooksbury (rushomancy), Wednesday, 5 July 2017 00:29 (one month ago) Permalink

Oh christ, yes, the racism everywhere is terrible, and applies on so many levels, major hurdle to get over, this is why there's still no Arthur Collins compilation out there, even though he was clearly the biggest star of the time. And yes, lots of cornet, also lots of xylophone and banjo, but very little piano recorded in the ragtime era. OTOH there are Russian, French & other recordings at this point, and much of this doesn't apply.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 5 July 2017 06:06 (one month ago) Permalink

Fantastic project, Camaraderie, will be following this closely!

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 5 July 2017 09:15 (one month ago) Permalink

Ooh, this looks great - I'd been slowly working through a bunch of Canary Records comps plus Jonathan Bogart's Just One Song More project (1900-1930).

etc, Wednesday, 5 July 2017 10:37 (one month ago) Permalink

this is great stuff, i think i mentioned on the dj mix thread

Shat Parp (dog latin), Wednesday, 5 July 2017 10:38 (one month ago) Permalink

this is awesome!

niels, Friday, 7 July 2017 10:35 (one month ago) Permalink

And the attention ramps up


Ned Raggett, Friday, 7 July 2017 16:50 (one month ago) Permalink

great project, excited to follow along ...

tylerw, Friday, 7 July 2017 17:31 (one month ago) Permalink

And the attention ramps up


― Ned Raggett, Friday, July 7, 2017 5:50 PM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Yes, thanks influencers of ILM! Must keep it up now (I would have anyway, but good to know someone's actually listening to it, none of my friends / family / colleagues are remotely interested, best I've got it "tell me when you reach the 20s")

Re: Alessandro Moreschi, yes, I like him (not many do) and will be including at least one recording at some point. One of his cylinders also has the first ever recording of a pope.

Thanks for the link to Just One Song More, shamefully wasn't aware of that.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Saturday, 8 July 2017 18:41 (one month ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

New entry up - 1893


Unique Quartette – Mamma’s Black Baby Boy
Louis Vasnier – Adam And Eve And De Winter Apple (Excerpt)
23rd Regiment Band Of New York – A.O.O.S. March
John York Atlee – Anvil Chorus
George J. Gaskin – After The Ball
Issler’s Orchestra – On The Midway
Ada Jones – Sweet Marie
Unknown – Brown Wax Home Recording Of Speech In Afrikaans
Sergei Taneyev And Leo Conus – Leo Conus- Suite For Piano Four-Hands
Russell Hunting – Casey At The Bat
United States Marine Band – The Kiss Waltz
Arthur Houston – Flute Solo
Edward M. Favor – The Commodore Song
George H. Diamond – When Summer Comes Again
John York Atlee – Why Should I Keep From Whistling?

I'm currently editing 1895 and listening to 1907, so if anyone has any suggestions for those years, they would be welcome.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Monday, 7 August 2017 05:37 (two weeks ago) Permalink

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