A box of 78s recording - 3 Oktober

by Smikkelbaard

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Dinah Bird's LP, 'A Box of 78s' is a record that is designed to evoke memory through sound. The recordings used on the LP are taken from the old 78 records owned by Dinah Bird's grandmother in the 1910s and 1920s. To quote the sleevenotes: "This piece is about rekindling lost, and perhaps forgotten, sounds. Are they so very different to those my grandmother heard? It is a personal response to the people and places of Salt Spring Island." The record is also one that - contrary to the current obsession with owning vinyl - should be handed in after completing what is called a "relay run"; an exercise where the owner listens to the LP in a series of places. Once a listening log is completed, the record and log should be sent back to Dinah, and exhibited "before being laid to rest".

Taking up the spirit of the challenge, and (in true Smikkelbaard fashion) trying to subvert Dinah's plans in the most genial of ways, we decided to create new memories of our lives, using the LP's recorded sounds. We would record 'A Box of 78s' in four different places in The Netherlands and see what would happen to the original recording if played in a new place.

A walk through the beer-soaked streets of Leiden during the annual 3rd October celebrations with Dinah Birds A Box of 78s was an opportunity that could not be missed. Somehow the sentimental lakeside conversations, unearthly sounds and ancient songs of Bird's original piece have been given a new booming backdrop. The whole recording sounds like a pliable film, a sonic membrane which we never really burst through.

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released October 6, 2016

SMK080

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smikkelbaard Leiden, Netherlands

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