Sunday, 4 February 2007
My mother died fifteen years ago and i cannot remember her voice anymore. Ain’t this strange? Many voices of C-actors in B-movies, that I saw only once twenty years ago, and the voices of singers that I only recorde one obscure 45, it is all there when I think of it. But my mother’s voice seems to be deleted from my memory.
In my family there is not much recorded, apart from the obligatory pictures on parties and holidays. But there is no film, video or audio tape with my mother’s voice on it. While she was alive it never occurred to me that I should record her voice. And even if it had occurred to me, I doubt if I had done it. I would never have expected that I could forget my own mother’s voice!
Luckily there are many people that take better care of business. I am always happy to hear that when a famous person dies, she or he left boxes full of diaries, manuscripts, tapes and videos. That’s the way to go!
In the early days of the possibility to record a voice, far from everybody saw any reason to do this. The voices and music of many people, that I admire and who were still alive in the recording era, were never caught on tape.
I guess that I have never heard their voice of half of the people, who wrote books about esoterics and the science of the mind(my main interest), and who are in my personal top 100. For example, I would love to hear the voice of Peter Ouspensky, a student of Gurdjieff. Not so long ago a the complete recordings of Gurdjieff playing his harmonium were discovered by Gert-Jan Blom and released as a book with three CD’s. These recordings were made on a wire recorder and the story behind the recordings is more than fascinating. One CD contains MP3’s and even a short full colour super 8 film. After having his books on my mind for decades, to hear Gurdjieff talk and to see him move, was a strange experience. I hope that one day also some footage of Ouspensy shows up.
One person that immediately recognised the value of audio recording was Aleister Crowley. For people who are not familiar with his works, he is probably known as a weird occultist and a drug addict, but he was an exceptional character. And a genuine seeker! The image that the main stream media often give of Aleister Crowley is very different from the picture I got from his diaries.
He was a very good mountain climber for example, and he has successfully climbed the Himalayas and several other famous mountains. During one climb, his team was surprised by bad weather and to wait a few days in a small tent, with little food and not enough blankets. One of the other climbers was complaining so much that Crowley couldn’t concentrate on reading his poetry. No matter how though the climb, Crowley always insisted on taking a few volumes of his favourite poetry with him. He offered this person all his food, if he would only shut up then for the rest of the time. No matter what Crowley may have done or not done in the rest of his life, this is a rare tale of power.
Anyway, when Crowley heard of the possibility to record your voice on wax roles, he had a few wax-recordings made of his voice. On some you can hear him recite poems in his magical language, the Enochian. The material is copyright free and has been on released many times. I have an anonymous CD relaease with 14 recordings. Just imagine how the world would have been if this would not have been recorded!