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Noise in the Groove: The Origin of Sound Recording

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Episode 16 – Alessandro Moreschi and the Blessed Knife

This episode begins (just about) and ends (indeed) with recordings of Alessandro Moreschi - AKA the Angel of Rome - AKA the Last Castrato. His recordings are the only surviving sounds of a tradition of castrated male singers that lasted over 350 years, and mutilated countless thousands of innocent children in the process. We chart the rise and fall of the castrato voice, and along the way we encounter: Casanova, Teresa Lanti, Farinelli, Luigi Marchesi and more.

Duration: 00:22:01

Episode 15 – Lost in Transylvania

This episode concludes our recent discussion on death and the phonograph. It features: the last message of Cardinal Manning, a poem read by Alfred Tennyson and Bram Stoker's Dracula. It concludes with a lesser known story by Jules Verne that I'm sure you will enjoy.

Duration: 00:20:33

Episode 14 – The Resurrection of Robert Browning

This episode continues our exploration of spiritualism, death and the phonographwith a discussionof the life, death and resurrection of the great English poet Robert Browning.

Duration: 00:21:16

Episode 13 – Blavatsky and the Etheric Planes

We broaden our discussion of technology and Victorian spiritualism to include: WT Stead and the sinking of the Titanic, more on the 19th century connections between magic and science, as well as HP Blavatsky, the Theosophical Society, Annie Besant and Jiddu Krishnamurti.

Duration: 00:20:39

A Voice from the Dead

In this episode we begin an exploration of death and the phonograph that will continue for a few more episodes. We begin this particular journey into the beyond by taking a deeper look into the connections between technology and Victorian spiritualism. This episode features an excerpt of a recording of Arthur Conan Doyle describing how he became a spiritualist.

Duration: 00:24:13

Episode 11 – Ich bin ein Emile Berliner

This episode starts by sharing a few popular stories inspired by the hopes and fears of a phonographic future, before moving on to introducing Emile Berliner (who you get to hear sing) and his gramophone. After that, I ponder what was lost in the disc record's victory over the cylinder. Also: talking sponges, Egyptian colossiand a parrot.

Duration: 00:23:27

TITG 3 – Copywrongs: Starring Lawrence Lessig, John Oswald and Mickey Mouse

This is the story of how Mickey Mouse has been covertly destroying our cultural heritage. Well, his management at least. We continue questioningcopyright by checking out the wonderfulwork of Canadian composer John Oswald.Who's Dab?

Duration: 00:23:31

Episode 10 – Gladstone and the Undead Stenographer

The show is on the road again! This episode is mostly about Edison's somewhat doomed attempt to market the phonograph in the UK as a business dictation machine in the 1890s. The discussion includes: a recording of William Gladstone's voice, the 'I'm not quite dead yet' death of stenography, and brief looks at the histories of headphones (via the stethoscope) and the jukebox.

Duration: 00:23:13

Episode 9 – Severed Ears in Quebec

This episode is mostly about Alexander Graham Bell, the Volta Laboratory and Bureau, and severed ears. Enjoy!

Duration: 00:17:29

Tales in the Groove 2 – Dot Dot Dot Dash – Victory – Vendetta

A story of how the first four notes of Beethoven’s 5th symphony became an audible symbol of resistance against Hitler’s Nazi Germany, by way of Guy Fawkes, Alan Moore, V, Morse code, the BBC and Churchill. Bob Marley gets a mention as well, obviously.

Duration: 00:11:04

Episode 8 – 1888

In this episode we begin our discussion of the new and improved phonographs that began to emerge in the late 1880s. We start with a poem, and towards the end we listen to the world’s oldest surviving recording of music (from a certain point of view), followed by the world’s oldest surviving recording of music+ Read More

Duration: 00:25:08

Episode 7 – Talking Head

This episode wraps up our discussion of the tinfoil phonograph and the talking machines that came before it. We talk about: a talking head named Euphonia, ghosts in shells, the first android, the first phonographic doll (which you get to hear), and a few fears for a phonographic future.

Duration: 00:19:46

Episode 6 – Dawn of the Talking Machines

We cast our metaphorical nets into the deep sea of talking machine history and find: Baron Munchausen, Her, Hal, IBM, Dr. Sbaitso, Sigmund Freud, Der Sandmann, a defecating duck, a chess playing robot(allegedly), and, to end the episode, an 18th century talking machine.

Duration: 00:21:25

Tales in the Groove 1 – An Adagio for Stalin

Welcome to Tales in the Groove, a NITG spinoff exploring my favourite stories, legends and myths from the history of sound recording and recorded music. We start the series with astoryabout the death of Joseph Stalin, the life of the amazing Maria Yudina, and a midnight Mozart recording session. The episode ends with the adagio+ Read More

Duration: 00:17:33

Episode 5 – It’s Recording : Say Something

This episode starts with a story that sends us back to the 10th of March of 1879. From there, we try to get a sense of what it was like to encounter and listen to recorded sound for the very first time. After that, we add a bit of physiology and music to the mix,+ Read More

Duration: 00:25:55

Episode 4 – I Hear the Phonograph a Comin’

It’s rollin’ round the bend. We begin where we left off in episode 2, and from there: Moore’s law, AI, alchemy, the Emerald Tablet, Edison, the earliest recording of a train, self-help books, Darwin, scientists, proper operators, Yankee swindles, and beyond.

Duration: 00:25:49

Episode 3 – The Reading List

In this episode I discuss the ideas and research of the historians and philosophers who have informed and influenced the way I think about recorded sound. I talk about: fabulous phonographs, soundscapes, perfect prisons, self-subjugation, technological determinism and the wonderful worlds of Friedrich Kittler and Jonathan Sterne.

Duration: 00:20:20

Episode 2 – How Do You Open This Thing?

Here we go. We set off on our unexpected journey into the audible past, beginning with the question, ‘Why are we in England?’ But then: Edison and Tesla, deafness, tinfoil, circus elephants, mechanical menaces, canned foods, corpses, and a new and wonderful phonograph.

Duration: 00:23:51

Episode 1 – Mind the Gap

Hello, and welcome to the show. This episode introduces the main themes of the podcast. I explain what sound recording means to me and why I think it’s worth thinking about. You’ll also get to listen to the first recognisable and audible recording of the human voice.

Duration: 00:19:05