Friday, January 15, 2010

record collector's heaven

Jeff Winner of on a research expedition at UMKC's Marr Archives, June 2008, reviewing archival press clippings

The Raymond Scott audio collection (thousands of discs and tapes from 1930 to 1980) were donated to the Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, in 1995. Here's a great 6-minute tour of the place, "Momentum and Marr," produced, directed, and edited by Jordan Kerfeld in 2008.

In the mini-doc, Marr director Chuck Haddix explains his mission: "I don't collect records—I collect collectors."

Hat tip to our buddy Mark Greenberg at the Mayfair Workshop blog for noting the video and providing a concise overview of what's in the collection. As a member of Chicago's legendary Coctails, Mark was in the forefront of the Scott revival. The band was performing "Powerhouse" in 1991, when Scott was still a forgotten footnote in music history.

Our Raymond Scott CD releases (on Basta) were compiled from recordings stored at Marr. On a number of occasions, Gert-Jan Blom, Jeff Winner, and I have conducted on-site audio archeology for such projects as Manhattan Research, Inc., Microphone Music, and Ectoplasm. More releases are planned; it's a deep collection of unheard music. Scott was a maniac about recording rehearsals, demos, radio airchecks, mic placement takes, and idea development. An electronica follow-up to Manhattan Research is in the pipeline.

Unfortunately, despite technological progress in field of archiving science, not everything can be restored and preserved:


  1. That disc is now a piece or art. Frame it and slap it on a wall.

    What a archive! Release everything.


  2. Thank you very much for enjoying and sharing my short film. I worked at the archives for the past 4 years or so and it was an incredible education.

    Jordan Kerfeld

  3. I can relate to the flaking E.T. photograph. Theoretically it can be reconstructed using optical techniques (assuming that you have all the flakes), but practically it still hasn't been done. I know the frustration you feel, knowing that you have all the data, but can't put it together in a coherent format! At least you've saved whatever you can at this time.