Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 27, 2011.

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Help Thomas Negovan take new recordings made on a 1894 wax cylinder recorder and press a vinyl record: NO DIGITAL STEPS AT ALL!

RECORDED WITHOUT ELECTRICITY!

As orchestra director and performer, Thomas Negovan has been dedicated to archaic instrumentation in his recordings, and now takes us back all the way to the very origin point of recorded music by tracking onto an original Thomas Edison wax cylinder recorder, patented in 1894.  The process uses NO electricity to record, only vibrations, a wax cylinder, and a sapphire cutting stylus!

THIS IS THE FIRST PROFESSIONAL RECORDED-ON-CYLINDER and RELEASED-ON-CYLINDER MUSIC SINCE 1924!!!

In 1877, Thomas Edison invented the fully functional recorder, leading him to be dubbed "The Wizard of Menlo Park". On May 21st, 2011, I had the opportunity to record on an original 19th century machine with an audio scientist named Shawn Borri.

We made the two hour drive from Chicago to a unique studio hosting an 1894 wax cylinder recorder. While this is an obsolete technology, Shawn Borri followed the same experiments Edison and his team did and was able to decipher the process to create by hand the wax cylinders necessary to record with the machine.

Four songs were recorded onto wax cylinders, and we had the good fortune of being able to record into an old horn believed to have been from Edison's original studios.

I can't stress enough how impossibly cerebral the recording process was: any microphone technique was useless- the physical force of the wind from my voice and guitar needed to physically force the sapphire to cut IN to the wax, and any dynamics would simply cause the sapphire to not incise the surface.  It was a magnificent challenge: creating emotion and the illusion of dynamics without any variation in volume, playing and singing as hard as physically possible.

Our next step is to travel to capture the images for the record cover with Greg Martin, using wet-plate photography, an 1890s camera, and a lens dating all the way back to 1850.

Following that, we are transferring the cylinders to tape through one of the first tube compressors, the LA-1 (of the 100 that were made, it appears fewer than five remain), and handing this to United Record Pressing where the songs will be pressed to vinyl... 

Meaning NO DIGITAL STEPS will have been used to make these records!

As if making the first record manufactured in this manner wasn't enough- and, the first fully analog record in over two decades- we also want to add something else we think is pretty unique:

We are releasing the single from the record on WAX CYLINDER.

The entire budget for this project, even calling in favors, is over $6,000.  I'm looking for help so that I can complete what I think is a really unique and special art project, and in addition to the warm feeling of supporting this journey, I hope that you agree that the pledges earn you some equally special rewards.

Thanks so much for helping me get this across the finish line- we have some great surprises planned, so we'll be posting both photo and video updates to share in the process!  More news soon, have to get ready for the photo shoot this weekend!

Thomas Negovan

ps- Here is a bedroom recording of one of the songs from the record!  Enjoy!

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  • Pledge $15 or more
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    13 backers

    Support the project and receive a special kickstarter-themed signed and numbered 10" poster! (Poster will likely be silkscreened, what the poster is will depend on the quantity- the higher the amount the better it will be!) ALL PLEDGERS $15 and ABOVE WILL RECEIVE THIS SPECIAL POSTER AS THANKS FOR THEIR SUPPORT in perpetuating the survival of archaic technologies! And because you might not have a record player: you'll also all receive a special link to be able to download the music on mp3 for free.

  • Pledge $29 or more
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    6 backers Limited (94 left of 100)

    Limited Edition 10" record on red vinyl, limited to only 500 copies.

  • Pledge $38 or more
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    5 backers Limited (15 left of 20)

    Limited Edition 10" record on red vinyl, limited to only 500 copies. Signed.

  • Pledge $50 or more
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    15 backers Limited (35 left of 50)

    Limited Edition 10" record on red vinyl, limited to only 500 copies. Signed. PLUS 6" x 9" museum quality, signed Transmission Atelier print of a wet-plate photograph limited to an edition of 50. AND! United Record Pressing will send you a promotional test pressing- so this pledge level and above gets you TWO records!

  • Pledge $99 or more
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    2 backers Limited (28 left of 30)

    Limited Edition 10" record on red vinyl, limited to only 500 copies (signed if desired). PLUS 16" x 22" museum quality, signed Transmission Atelier print of a wet-plate photograph limited to an edition of 50. AND! United Record Pressing will send you a promotional test pressing- so this gets you two records! PLUS a special "Thank-You" with your name mentioned in the liner notes!

  • Pledge $149 or more
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    6 backers Limited (24 left of 30)

    CYLINDER PACKAGE: Limited Edition 10" record on red vinyl, limited to only 500 copies (signed if desired). PLUS 16" x 22" museum quality, signed Transmission Atelier print of a wet-plate photograph limited to an edition of 50. AND! United Record Pressing will send you a promotional test pressing- so this gets you two records! PLUS a special "Thank-You" with your name mentioned in the liner notes! AND..... LIMITED EDITION CYLINDER of "THE DIVINE EYE"! Yes, we are actually releasing a single on cylinder! This recording of "The Divine Eye" will be limited to only fifty copies and come in a cylinder storage box with a deluxe label.

  • Pledge $350 or more
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    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    MASTER OF YOUR DOMAIN PACKAGE: Limited Edition 10" record on red vinyl, limited to only 500 copies (signed if desired). PLUS 16" x 22" museum quality, signed Transmission Atelier print of a wet-plate photograph limited to an edition of 50. AND! United Record Pressing will send you a promotional test pressing- so this gets you two records! PLUS your name will be listed in a "Very Special Thanks" section in the liner notes! AND..... LIMITED EDITION CYLINDER of "THE DIVINE EYE"! Yes, we are actually releasing a single on cylinder! This recording of "The Divine Eye" will be limited to only fifty copies and come in a cylinder storage box with a deluxe label. WITH THIS PLEDGE, THOMAS WILL ALSO RECORD A SONG OF YOUR CHOICE to be posted and dedicated to you on YouTube.

  • Pledge $600 or more
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    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    MASTER OF YOUR DOMAIN... AND EVERYONE ELSE'S PACKAGE: Limited Edition 10" record on red vinyl, limited to only 500 copies (signed if desired). PLUS 16" x 22" museum quality, signed Transmission Atelier print of a wet-plate photograph limited to an edition of 50. AND! United Record Pressing will send you a promotional test pressing- so this gets you two records! AND..... LIMITED EDITION CYLINDER of "THE DIVINE EYE"! Yes, we are actually releasing a single on cylinder! This recording of "The Divine Eye" will be limited to only fifty copies and come in a cylinder storage box with a deluxe label. WITH THIS PLEDGE, THOMAS WILL PERFORM A 60+ MINUTE SHOW WITHIN 50 MILES OF CHICAGO. PLUS: YOU WILL BE LISTED ON THE RECORD AS "SPECIAL EXECUTIVE PRODUCER". And! You will receive five copies of the album to give to friends! (We can also be of assistance in setting up a venue in Chicago if you want to have a party to use this pledge performance as a special private event.)

  • Pledge $1,500 or more
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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    There has to be a high-priced pledge, right? For this pledge, you will get a copy of the red vinyl record, a test pressing of the record, all the prints associated with the release... and an original wax cylinder with one of the two out-takes from the first recording session. Mistakes, restarts- who knows what will be on there? Only you and your Edison Cylinder Player will know for sure...

Funding period

- (40 days)