Wednesday, December 05, 2012


The idea of "educed sound," that being the ability to capture audio from printed material that was not intended to be reproduced as sound and in fact might have been created before technology would have even made such an idea thinkable, is one that really stretches the boundaries regarding what lost fragments from the past there are which can be retrieved here in the computer savvy present. Patrick Feaster has done just that with his canny abilities to take early (and visually) recorded sound patterns and translate them to fact, you might have remembered when, a few years ago, he took such an example of sound patterns (which were not intended to be reproduced as sound but to study how voice and music could be produced visually) that were created by a Edouard Leon Scott de Martinville and, through the abilities of modern computer savvy, was able to create the sound of the man singing the French classic "Clare de Lune" that was made in the year of 1860!

That one appears on the enclosed disque, though at a slower, more distorted speed that pretty much hides the snappy melody under a pile of hiss and distortion. Actually, many of the educed audio that appears on the recording accompanying this rather engaging read are distorted to the point you think you're listening to some bedroom avant gardist from the eighties, but the whole idea of translating early written down formations of patterns into actual sound is so brilliant you can't help but congratulate Feaster for his efforts and hope that the technology of the future will uncover even more lost artifacts of the past that hopefully will pave the way for a better future (though I doubt it).

It's uncanny just thinking of how we have advanced in the realm of science to the point where Feaster could actually take an advertisement showing a printed recording made by long-time raconteur Chauncey Depew that appeared in a late-nineties issue of COSMOPOLITAN and derive sound from the groove patterns presented therein! Or in fact take various "phonophotography" featuring early gospel quartets and actually get some semblance of sound for his efforts. Some of this does seem far fetched with results that really don't say anything special to me (such as the translation of the FBI "Sound Spectrum") but when Feaster takes early scrolls and gets 17th century compositions out of them, or Russian folk melodies from transcribed patterns I can't help but feel that something long-gone and crucial has been recaptured for the present. It would be like if the long decayed beyond belief films of the past could be restored (or in some cases even recovered) to pristine beauty with a science that at this point in time is far beyond our grasp but someday will allow people to see images we long thought existed only in the minds of the few who could remember.

A fantastic effort which FORCED EXPOSURE has been selling as of late, though if you want to get it from the source click on the link above which will take you not only to the Dust-To-Digital website where you can order this, but fill you in on even more educed audio that Feaster is continuing to produce for perhaps an even newer edition of this worthwhile endeavor.

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