Recordings Lost And Found

“Something that cannot be repeated

Location being played, who it is being played around” – Michael Melvin

When I think about Framework and Memory, I am instantly reminded of music. The connection that we as people make with tracks and our memories is out of this world. Sometimes, I find myself connecting my memory of a loved one with a song or track. Even when our memory of that event fades, we still remember the song that was played. This is a weird phenomenon that we will explore in the sections that follow.


Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

I chose this photo because it encapsulates kinda the expression that I had upon finding out that my relatives were about to pass. I wanted to display how most people seem to be dialed into their careers, so when you get a phone call about a loved one in distress it can be really tough. Completely leaving your life behind for a second, you need to completely change everything and embrace the sadness and confusion that follows.


In putting together this project, I wanted to look at the ways in which music plays a role in our lives through connections in my own life. For my Great Grandfather music entered into his life in a strange way. As the story goes, my great grandfather was working as a Janitor at the New York Philharmonic in order to pay his way through school. After spending many nights working there, he would start playing the piano. According to legends, this man could play any song by ear and even bought a piano years later that is still in my Great Grandmother’s house in New York. In remembering moments in our lives, many times the moments filled with music are the most memorable, or at least I know that is the case with me. For others music can be a sign of solitude or an homage to a better time. 

I see music come up as a topic daily as a discussion as we are perplexed by this weird notion that we own our own favorite songs or just a memory of it. I first noticed this strange phenomena a while back when I was driving in a car with my friend James Walsh. When asked about the songs he was playing, he started acting if they were his songs. This bravado associated with collecting the ‘superior mix’ is something that just boggles my mind. To this I replied that the music was not his, but the way he put them together was ‘quite nice’. For me, making mixes exemplify catching a moment and displaying it through sound. As DJ’s sometimes we can get fixated on our sound cache, but at the end of the day the mix is what really matters.


I chose to use this picture of a cassete and its case, simply because it reminds me of my fathers side of the family. My Grandfathers brother actually used to have a band that recorded on cassetes and traveled in a hurse. I would go into more detail, but I feel that these cassettes could use a whole new project in order to explain fully.


For many, listening to music brings nostalgia, which makes it difficult to convince someone that the production quality of one song is better than another. The average listener will overlook slight details in a recording and even label sub par recording techniques as being new wave. As someone who listens to a broad variety of music from multiple different pieces of equipment, I am able to distinguish slight differences in the way something is produced or in this case reproduced for the consumption of the listener.

Debunking the theory that you have to give up music in order to move into your adulthood. In the opening chapter of Wired For Music, Adriana Barton recalls whether she should fix her cello or not. For something so monumental to her life it seems like it would only make sense for her to fix it. I am in a similar situation as I need to download all of my files back on my computer in order to be where I was originally in my production process.

For many people, music becomes something that follows us into adulthood; reminding us of a simpler time where life wasn’t so goddamn difficult. For my grandfather this was a symbol of freedom, and a sign to all that if you put all of your hard work around something, you at least have the right to play the piano as loud as you want to.


After going to my Uncle David’s wake, I had brought back one of his ipod nanos that he had in his stereo. Out of all the stuff that was sitting there in the house, this ipod seemed to stick out to me as an interesting object to take back with me and analyze. As I looked over the music there seemed to be a small collection of music files, which I was able to listen to and understand the guys sense of music a little more. This image of Rick Nelson’s 20th masters album appeared first and it for this reason that I chose this photo for this peice.


An interesting music group to see on Uncle David’s roster was the Traveling Wilburys. Turns out this small crew of guitarists, put together by George Harrison, actually have some pretty sweet tunes. I am especially drawn to their song Tweeter and the Monkey Man, which mixes folk with a hint of forlorn solace. In video below you can see some recordings of the band recording alongside a few backstage stills.

Uncovering an object like an ipod nano from the 2000’s seemed like a strange object to find at a place that looked like it had never moved past the 90’s. In total the 4gb ipod had 232 songs downloaded on it. While it would have been nice to see more music on the ipod, the music there painted a nice picture of Davids niche music taste.


Citations:

Ouyang, Lei. Music as Mao’s Weapon: Remembering the Cultural Revolution. University of Illinois Press, 2022.

Schneider, Marius, et al. Cosmic Music: Musical Keys to the Interpretation of Reality: Essays. Inner Traditions, 1989.

Barton, Adriana. Wired for Music: A Search for Health and Joy through the Science of Sound. Greystone Books, 2022.

Diamond, John. The Life Energy in Music. Enhancement Books, 2011.

Cohen, Sara. Decline, Renewal and the City in Popular Music Culture: Beyond the Beatles. Routledge.

Crystal, David. The Cambridge Encyclopedia. Cambridge University Press, 1992.

YouTube, 14 May 2015, https://youtu.be/i2_sExT929k. Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

Published by execfunctioning

Michael Melvin is a Writer, Musician, and Advocate. While attending Syracuse University he has been an active member on campus even holding positions in Greek Life and Clubs/Activities on campus. He has recently gained notoriety for his performance at the Wescott Theater, where he played music in a simulacrum which commented on the lack of discourse during the pandemic. Through a global pandemic, Melvin has come out as a resilient persona who questions modern conventions and looks for oppurtunites to adapt to newfound successes.

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