Chris Butler

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

I have two 45’s lying in front of me while I type this. They were made by Chris Butler in 1995.
I just read his site, Future Fossil Music, and since you can read that yourself, I will write something else.
Chris Butler is fascinated by the Time travel aspects of sound recording, just like me. I once had a vision in which I saw that all data reproduction technology is in essence a primitive method to travel back in time. Or in other words: a primitive time machine.
When you play back a recording or look at a photograph, you re-live the past. The idea that humanity is building a Time machine without realising it, may seem ridiculous if this is the first time you hear it. But just think of the present digital techniques to record and reproduce data. And we all know that this is just the beginning: nobody has any idea where it will end, but one thing seems clear (at least to me): humans are obsessed with recording and reproducing data and we will not stop until we can record and reproduce everything in a way that the playback will be experienced as the real thing. Well, to my mind that is a definition of a Time machine.
On the 45’s ( The Wilderness Years ) Chris Butler has recorded his own songs with a 1998 Edison “Spring motor” phonograph (volume 1) and a 1946 wire recorder. This are the kind of projects that make me very happy. And it will make Chris Butler a pioneer in the history of the pioneers of Time travel, as soon as the rest of the world wakes up to the concept and write this history.
Here is A hole in the sky, one of the two songs that Chris Butler recorded with the Edison phonograph. I choose this not only because it is the only modern music that I know of that is recorded this way, but also because of the very esoteric lyrics:

From a hole in the sky came a horrible sound
Listen to me, listen to me
There’re no angels back there
We’ve been wrong, we’ve been wrong
Listen to me, listen to me
There’s a great throbbing engine
Driving this universe
Rusted machinery
Flame roaring furnaces
There’s a hole in the sky
Where all the wind comes from
There’s a hole in the sky
The gods are laughing at us
Cause we’re on the ceiling
Up is really down
We’re on the ceiling
We’ve got it turned around they’ve tricked us…
There’s a whole in the sky
Where winter hides spring
Yes, a hole in the sky
Explains everything.

The amazing sound quality does raise some doubt in me about the truth of the story. I mean, is this all fake? I doesn’t seem likely, when I read Chris’ site. But if this song is really recorded on a Edison phonograph, how come all the other recordings sound so bad?



2014-12-21 23:04:34

100% actually recorded on Edison wax cylinders and a Webster-Chicago wire machine.


2014-12-22 15:34:32

Thanks for the reaction, Chris. Other people already told me that my doubts were wrong! Great project!