Subject: Archiving
From: Rick (
Date: Mon Jun 20 2005 - 18:43:09 EDT

The answer is laser etched micro-groove analog carbon composite (or
ceramic) discs, probably in B-format for best-chance format
conversion. Just invent it so we can all do our final mixes on them
and get a nice gatefold cover with groovy artwork. (anyone who
actually does invent this owes me dinner (in the south of France(in
Spring(no snails, but frogs are fine)))


On 6/20/05, Dennis Bathory-Kitsz <> wrote:
> At 03:26 AM 6/20/05 EDT, wrote:
> But things have gotten worse. Since that article appeared, I have
> increasingly been helping artist recover and transfer works to digital
> format, but it is only the beginning of a brutal process of deciding which
> of our works will be put to rest forever ... unless we are to become our
> own full-time archivists rather than artists who continue to work on
> present and future projects!
> You mention reel-to-reel tapes. Michael Gerzon's essay "Don't Destroy The
> Archives" (also called "Don't Destroy Your Analogue Originals") is crucial
> reading, but was moved from site to site and is sadly no longer available
> online. (Please email me if you would like a copy.)
> Except for rare occasions, money is not available for proper archiving. EA
> composers come to me regularly to help them recover their analog originals
> -- especially those gummy Ampex mastering tape formulations from the 1980s.
> And that's just the beginning, as we all tend to start with the 'everyday'
> formats. Obscure formats or hardware (or even software) we've developed
> ourselves are headed for the trash heap.
> I can barely keep up with my own work -- the work I think is worth keeping
> around, that is -- despite being a meticulous self-archiver. When I did the
> "In Bocca al Lupo" project in the mid-1980s
> (, the technology was pushed
> to the edge, and I was very happy with the results. So I carefully stored
> all the material ... only a few years ago to discover that the system was
> stone dead -- all the EPROMs that contained the quasi-intelligent programs
> had self-erased and the cassettes from which the source code was loaded
> were unreadable. I didn't anticipate the problem, as the service life info
> for EPROMs was buried in the technical specifications for the chips.
> Even converting to digital format is an endless chase, as I mentioned in
> the article -- and worsened again by usable life limitations of what we
> might think of as stable formats, if we're to believe a Dutch report of a
> year or so ago which revealed the deterioration of CD-Rs is severe (10
> times or faster deterioration than expected) ... even if the hardware and
> software to read and run the entombed programs and files is functional in a
> decade or so.
> I'm beginning to feel the cause is lost if we are not Famous Figures in the
> EA genres. I personally maintain four archives at home (three of arts
> organizations and one of a deceased composer), and have been shopping these
> around for years. But there is no money to take them and preserve them in
> their current state, much less maintain them and upgrade formats as time
> passes. Who wants recordings, from cassettes through 4-channel 1/4-inch dbx
> I reels through limited-edition 45rpm records through Beta hi-fi audio
> through PCM-F1 through DAT and minidisc and...? Boxes of documentation
> negatives and slides and reels of 8mm film and Portapack videotape and
> fading photocopies and prints? Handmade acoustic and electronic instruments?
> In a few generations, I suppose the same universities and the successors to
> musicologists who spend small fortunes deciphering and publishing and
> presenting yet another classical-era chamber ditty will lament the loss of
> important original late 20th and early 21st century musical sources. Maybe
> there are dissertations to be written?
> (Oh, and this doesn't even touch on the tangle of intellectual property
> issues!)
> I hope somebody has something more cheerful to say...
> Dennis

Rick Nance
De Montfort University
Leicester, UK

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