Good news obsolete technology fans, the first cylinder music release in nearly a century is out today, although even its creator acknowledges that 99.9% of those who buy it won’t be able to play it.
The brainchild of Justin Martell, the 1903 black wax cylinder is a recording of late musician Tiny Tim‘s 1979 performance of “Nobody Else Can Love Me (Like My Old Tomato Can)” (yes, that’s a real song and is in the Library of Congress). Martell has been releasing music by Tiny Tim since 2009, and if the name Tiny Tim is unfamiliar to you, or only recalls the Christmas Carol, please refer to his biggest hit, the ukulele falsetto song “Tip-Toe Thru’ the Tulips with Me” from 1968.
Only 50 of the cylinders were recorded by Benjamin Canady (aka “The Victrola Guy“) who has been working with ongoing experiments of recording on old Edison cylinder phonographs. As the Vinyl Factory points out in their coverage of this momentous music resurrection, the cylinder record hasn’t totally vanished — Beck also used this tech recently as inspiration for his tracks cut into a beer bottle this year — but there’s been no wide release for the round records since the early 20th century. And if you decide to buy one of the Tiny Tim recordings for $60, it’s quite likely you’ll have no way to play it, although they each do come with a digital recording of the song blaring from some antique phonograph horns. This isn’t the analogue age, after all.
The revival of the cylinder for tiny Time isn’t totally random, as Martell told Hyperallergic:
The idea of releasing a cylinder record was born, not out of a desire to be contrary, but to fulfill a career-long dream which Tiny Tim had, and to pay tribute to who Tiny was as an entertainer. Songs from the early years of the phonograph made up the majority of Tiny Tim’s repertoire. He sought to emulate the styles of the first stars of the record industry – such as, Billy Murray, Irving Kaufman, Henry Burr, Byron G. Harlan, Ada Jones – and often performed songs from the 1890’s, 1910’s, and 1920’s. It’s even evident in his trademark warbly voice, which literally sounds like a scratchy cylinder or 78. In other words, if any other popular artist of the last 50 years was meant to be heard on a cylinder record, it’s Tiny Tim.
Here’s a preview of it droning away:
Who knows, perhaps the wax cylinder is the next retro-tech to get a niche craze, following the devotion to vinyl records and lomography into the 21st century. Now someone just needs to start creating phonographs for them to be played on.
Click here for more on the wax cylinder recording of Tiny Tim’s “Nobody Else Can Love Me (Like My Old Tomato Can).”
The Tweet comparing an ominous screen capture from the Tucker Carlson Show to one of Holzer’s Truisms is being sold as an NFT to benefit crucial organizations in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.
Rapper Maykel “Osorbo” Pérez was sentenced to nine years.
Shows at the Hudson Valley’s Hessel Museum of Art feature artists Dara Birnbaum and Martine Syms, as well as new scholarship on Black melancholia as an artistic and critical practice.
On the day of the Supreme Court’s decision to undo 50 years of constitutional rights to abortion, artist Elana Mann’s “protest rattles” feel especially poignant and urgent.
This week, Title IX celebrates 50 years, the trouble with pronouns, a writer’s hilarious response to plagiarism allegations, and much more.
PLEASE SEND TO REAL LIFE: Ray Johnson Photographs reveals the “career in photography” that occupied the artist in the last three years of his life.
Since antiquity, women’s eyebrows have been sites of intense scrutiny, constantly shifting between trend cycles.
A landmark show of 30 artists at Jeffrey Deitch gallery in New York keeps the category of Asian figuration open-ended.
Contemporary Black-Indigenous women artists Rodslen Brown, Joelle Joyner, Moira Pernambuco, Paige Pettibon, Monica Rickert-Bolter, and Storme Webber are featured in this digital exhibition.
Hall makes no attempt to entice the viewer to begin looking and to look again, letting her methodical craft compel viewers to reflect upon their experience.
In Benglis’s latest works, the forces of gravity that defined her seminal poured latex and polyurethane pieces are traded for luminous bronzes.
A new project by Columbia’s Queer Students of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation explores queer histories that have been suppressed by gentrification and urban development.