Books and CDs by Patrick Feaster

Pictures of Sound:
One Thousand Years of Educed Audio:

Pictures of Sound: One Thousand Years of Educed Audio: 980-1980
(Dust-to-Digital 25) - released November 6, 2012

Using modern technology, Patrick Feaster is on a mission to resurrect long-vanished voices and sounds—many of which were never intended to be revived.

Over the past thousand years, countless images have been created to depict sound in forms that theoretically could be “played” just as though they were modern sound recordings. Now, for the first time in history, this compilation uses innovative digital techniques to convert historic “pictures of sound” dating back as far as the Middle Ages directly into meaningful audio. It contains the world’s oldest known “sound recordings” in the sense of sound vibrations automatically recorded out of the air—the groundbreaking phonautograms recorded in Paris by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville in the 1850s and 1860s—as well as the oldest gramophone records available anywhere for listening today, including inventor Emile Berliner’s recitation of “Der Handschuh,” played back from an illustration in a magazine, which international news media recently proclaimed to be the oldest audible “record” in the tradition of 78s and vintage vinyl. Other highlights include the oldest known recording of identifiable words spoken in the English language (1878) and the world’s oldest surviving “trick recording” (1889). But Pictures of Sound pursues the thread even further into the past than that by “playing” everything from medieval music manuscripts to historic telegrams, and from seventeenth-century barrel organ programs to eighteenth-century “notations” of Shakespearean recitation.

In short, this isn’t just another collection of historical audio—it redefines what “historical audio” is.

Description: CD packaged in a 144-page hardback book; Book dimensions are 10 x 8 inches; 164 images reproduced in full color; Gold gilt edging and gold-foil stamping on cover and spine [order from dust-to-digital]

A stunning entree into the science and art of historical audio.—Boing Boing Gift Guide 2012

[A] fascinating, haunting and indeed defining, new work.... The CD is a surreal listen with 28 tracks sequenced to be heard while reading the book. Lost voices rise up, theoretical tones designed by conjecture and imagination jump out of indispensable document of recording pre-technology.—Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times

When's the last time you heard a long, loud rasberry that's been saved for you for 150 years? Not good enough? How about music that was recorded before the year 1000? Dust to Digital is an esteemed label, but this project by Patrick Feaster is the best thing since records became 'unbreakable'.Angela Sawyer's Top 10 for 2012 (Boston Hassle)

Most of the music has an electro/acoustic sort of approach – abstract, yet oddly tuneful at times too – and with the feeling of some deep dark dig into phonographic vaults buried under the sands of time.—Dusty Groove

It's as industrial as David Lynch's Eraserhead soundtrack minus the dread, and similarly flecked with bits of melody played on instruments you can't identify or sung on voices you can't quite distinguish.... When you stop to listen, it's complex - not as calculated to feed unease as Lynch's soundtrack, but unsettling

Pictures of Sound unlocks the secret history of sonic representationThe Wire

It's perhaps one of the most quintessential documents of the concept of hauntology and the ghostly spectralism of the sonic language, showing one of the most distinct fusions of the ancient with the modern.Other Music 2012 Gift Guide

All in all, an astonishing, thought-provoking, and simply gorgeous book and cd, recommended to anyone interested in sound, science, OR art; meaning, probably everybody reading this!Aquarius Records


Un projet aussi fou qu’émouvantRadio Télévision Suisse

Podíamos dizer que há poucas edições assim, tão bonitas e importantes e únicas, mas estaríamos a mentir: não se fez nunca nada assim. Deslumbrante.Flur Discos

Het blijkt tamelijk zware kost, maar de beloning voor het doorgronden van de ideeën en bijbehorende geluiden is enorm.Showcase

Böyle bir şey zannedersem tarihte ilk defa yapılıyor ve bir müziksever olarak insanın adrenalin rezervini tetikliyor.Tıkabasa Müzik


From Archeophone Records

Indestructible Uncle Josh


Cal Stewart: The Indestructible Uncle Josh (Archeophone 5009) - released June 2013

(From A pioneer star of the talking machine, Cal Stewart emerged from humble origins in vaudeville to become one of the best known humorists in early 20th-century America. In his famous role as the "rube" Uncle Josh Weathersby, he entertained millions of listeners with tales of his antics both in New York City and at home in Punkin Center. This CD provides a snapshot of Stewart's repertoire as it stood at the height of his career, featuring all 25 of his 2-minute cylinders for the Indestructible company made in 1908 and 1909, along with a choice sampling of his work on U-S Everlasting cylinders made between 1910 and 1912. The production team of Patrick Feaster, David Giovannoni, Meagan Hennessey, and Richard Martin that brought you Actionable Offenses and Debate '08 has done another masterful job with The Indestructible Uncle Josh. [read more / order from archeophone]

Debate '08

2009 Grammy Nominee for Best Album Notes and Best Historical Album

Debate '08: Taft and Bryan Campaign on the Edison Phonograph (Archeophone 1008) - released 2008

A new animal disrupted the political circus in 1908 when the phonograph carried the voices of presidential candidates directly to the people. Debate '08 marks the centennial of this historic premiere with the first reissue of all 22 Edison wax cylinders recorded by the Democratic candidate, William Jennings Bryan, and the Republican candidate, William Howard Taft. The two-minute duration of these records forced an eager Bryan and a reluctant Taft to excerpt their nuanced speeches and get to the point. Thus began the 20th century's march to the sound bite . . . and the redefinition of political communications for all time.

The Phonograph's Role in Politics
Debate '08 publishes new research by Patrick Feaster, the Grammy-nominated writer for his work on Actionable Offenses and leading expert in the history of the phonograph. He traces the earliest attempts to use the phonograph in political campaigns and discusses the politicians' objections and technological limitations that prevented widescale adoption of the medium prior to 1908. Many regarded campaigning as undignified, and shouting into the recording horn as crass. William Jennings Bryan did much to change perceptions of both, and by the campaign of 1908, with Edison having perfected mass-production and national distribution, the time was ripe. [read more / order from archeophone]

Archeophone Records...has done historians of American politics an inestimable service by releasing "Debate '08: Taft and Bryan Campaign on the Edison Phonograph"... .If you have the slightest interest in the way your great-grandparents lived, you'll find this CD hard to resist.—Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal

Actionable Offenses

2008 Grammy Nominee for Best Album Notes and Best Historical Album

Actionable Offenses: Indecent Phonograph Recordings from the 1890s (Archeophone 1007) - released 2007

New York City, 1896. A man walks into a bar. He sits down, orders a beer, and laughs long and hard at the bartender's newest story. It's a good tale, though a bit too bawdy to repeat at home. The next day he goes into the same bar, gets his beer, and drops his change into a phonograph. He's listening through rubber tubes to a man telling a story similar to the bartender's. Without warning Anthony Comstock's defenders of decency charge into the bar, push him aside, destroy the record, and escort the bar's proprietor to jail for promoting indecency.

Obscene Recordings from 110 Years Ago
The commercial recordings on this CD are the only known copies that Comstock's men missed. They were preserved by long-time Edison Recording Manager Walter Miller and are now in the vault of the Edison National Historic Site. Scarcity and suppression have kept them silent for a century. They were stories told readily in the bar; yet they became legally actionable offenses when fixed in wax and played on a phonograph in that same bar. Brace yourself. Just because they are from the Victorian era does not mean they are tame by today's standards—far from it.

A Special Critical Edition
Phonograph historian Patrick Feaster and the Grammy-award winning team of co-author and co-producer David Giovannoni and co-producers Meagan Hennessey and Richard Martin tell the whole story for the first time anywhere. At 60 pages, the CD's oversized booklet stands alone as a work of its own merit. It features several full-length articles, complete transcripts of all the recorded material, selections from the 1893 convention of phonograph dealers, and extensive footnotes. Plus the usual attractive design and previously unpublished illustrations you expect from Archeophone. It may be indecent—but it sure is classy! [read more / order from archeophone]

The album provides a new vantage point on sound recording history and offers some contemporary lessons as well. The zeal with which phonograph pioneers took to indecent material is a reminder that, from the Victrola to the Internet, smut peddlers have always been among the earliest and savviest adapters of new technologies.Jody Rosen, New York Times




"The Following Record": Making Sense of Phonographic Performance, 1877-1908
Explores the phonographic representation of an assortment of individual performance genres ranging from minstrel shows to auctioneering chants, from sales pitches to vaudeville acts, and from band music to dance calling. Also available for purchase as a hard copy from ProQuest.

Phonautographic Manuscripts of Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville
The Phonautographic Manuscripts of Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville.
[ | | Phonozoic]

Contains all Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville's seminal writings from the 1850s and 1860s about the recording of aerial sound waves, both in the original French (many of which I've transcribed from the handwritten documents for the first time) and in English translation.












Original content copyright © 2009-2012, Patrick Feaster.