Humans are collectors, organizers, modifiers. No other species does this to the extent that we do. Putting our thoughts, memories, passions and dreams into assemblages of meaning and physical containers of culture. It's no surprise that once we developed the technology to capture and store the rich cultural well that is sound and music, we also developed the need to collect, house, and archive these music containing artifacts.
It’s also no surprise that music lovers are among the most active, prolific and sometimes obsessive collectors and cataloguers. Music presents itself as a miraculous blessing in this world; part magic, part science…a truly spiritual experience; so of course we music lovers endeavor to be librarians and caretakers of the vinyl records, tapes, cds, mp3s, etc that have entered into our lives and resonated our hearts, minds and souls. Our music collections are sacred. They tell who we are, who we’ve been, and who we aspire to be.
Music collections are sacred.
This is why we sample. Because every music archive is a rich well of cultural and artistic knowledge that tells us stories of space, place and time. This is why we seek out libraries and collections of sound, and use music technologies to undertake the work of sonic archivism; diving deep and bringing back gems to share, to remix, to make new.
Founded in 1954, today the Louisville Academy of Music(LAM) houses thousands of vinyl records which represent the personal collection of one of its founders and early leaders, as well as records that we’re sure have been occasionally contributed by the numerous instructors, staff, students, etc who have given life to this vibrant musical community over the decades.
In Spring 2022 we hosted a vinyl sampling workshop in collaboration with LAM in hopes to share the skills of sampling and remixing, and produce a sample pack with our students as we sampled this huge vinyl collection. Learners would come in weekly and operate a workstation set up with a computer running Ableton Live, a turntable, a usb audio interface and a MIDI controller. We’d learn a bit of how-to, and then dive into sampling vinyl. So much great sound was uncovered and remixed into beat laced compositions, but more often than not, we all just got lost in listening to the vinyl, going from one interesting record onto the next.
Jazz, Opera, piano and flute soloists, ragtime and early piano boogie, as well as large smatterings of international recordings of both folk, popular and classical musics. There was so much material in the LAM archive and we only scratched the surface(but hopefully didn’t scratch the vinyl!). Because of time constraints we weren’t even able to process all of the audio recorded during the course; If only we could rewind time the same way we spin back vinyl… But the beautiful thing about archives is that they invite continual and repeated experience. To visit, reflect and revisit with new perspective. So we hope to be diving into this archive for years to come and to be back with further sample packs in tote to share.
For now, we’re excited to release Sample Here | LAM Archive Volume 1.
Happy music making!
Learn more about the Louisville Academy of Music and their work(and we’re talking work work…they’ve given more than a million music lessons since their founding!):