BY POPULAR DEMAND! The best-selling wax cylinder "The Divine Eye" now presented in a GOLD EDITION!
Help us on our mission to preserve and perpetuate the understanding of archaic recording technologies, celebrated in elegant custom handmade objects capturing the details and essence of 19th century musical releases.
We are thrilled to announce that as part of the KICKSTARTER GOLD initiative Thomas Negovan's wax cylinder release "The Divine Eye" has been awarded GOLD status in honor of unprecedented sales in the wax cylinder market and is being reissued in a deluxe edition featuring an embossed letterpress label and custom GOLD wax cylinder.
Crank your phonograph up to 11 with the deluxe limited edition GOLD issue of THE DIVINE EYE on WAX CYLINDER!
2-minute wax cylinders are the earliest form on which music was ever recorded and released. Played on a phonograph, they were popular from the late 19th through early 20th century. When Thomas Negovan reconnected the dots and in 2011 became the first person to both record on and release a song on wax cylinder in over a century, the occurrence was such a rarity that he was invited to talk about the process at a prestigious TEDx conference, and Neil Gaiman posted the project on Twitter as the "strangest Kickstarter yet".
Kickstarter has initiated a special GOLD program where they asked 60+ creators to bring back a popular campaign, and we thought it would be fun to re-release the understandably obscure wax cylinder record "The Divine Eye" as if it had "gone gold". We consider these beautiful cylinders art objects; each one is handmade in London by artist Duncan Miller.
We've raised the bar this time by mixing a never-before-seen custom color to emulate the gold molded records of Thomas Edison's era, as well as created a dynamic, handmade letterpress label for the cylinder case. Each object is truly a masterpiece of design and whether you are a history buff, phonograph collector, or audiophile, this will be a gorgeous addition to your record cabinet or bookshelf.
This project marks Thomas' third wax cylinder release; both the original black cylinder issue of the 2-minute single "The Divine Eye" and the glow-in-the-dark cylinder release of the single "Welcome to My Nightmare" are available as Kickstarter rewards, along with the full "By Popular Demand" and "The Divine Nightmare" albums on 10" vinyl and other limited edition items!
KICKSTARTER GOLD invites 60+ popular creators back to revisit and celebrate a successful Kickstarter project. In 2011, Thomas Negovan labored to reconnect the dots of the 19th century recording industry by recording an entire album without electricity using c. 1900 Thomas Edison recording equipment: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/centuryguild/2011-cylinder-record-to-tape-to-vinyl-all-analog-r
What is it?
Wax cylinders were invented by Thomas Edison in 1877 and are the very first popular recording and music-listening medium in history. They were popular from the late 1800s to the early 1900s when they were replaced by the longer-playing 78 rpm record. Wax cylinders have not been commercially released in over a century and were replaced by 78 rpm records, the predecessor to the vinyl records that we are familiar with today.
How is it made?
The original songs on Thomas Negovan's albums were RECORDED WITHOUT ELECTRICITY onto a 19th century Thomas Edison recorder using hand-made soft wax blanks created by Shawn Borri, the artist who made the wax blanks that are used on the displays of Edison's original equipment in his laboratory and residence, preserved at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in New Jersey. The physical cylinders for recording are a soft wax similar to soap, and the cylinders created for release by artist Duncan Miller are a hard plastic that holds up to countless plays. Each cylinder, both for recording and release, must be HANDMADE, one-at-a-time!
How do I listen to it?
Wax cylinders are played on a machine called a phonograph, but you don't need to own one to enjoy the wax cylinder as an art object- you can download the audio through a link we will share! Over the years, we've expected that most people put these on their bookshelves as a unique conversation piece- but we've been surprised at how many phonograph owners are still out there!
Why should I care about this project?
If you haven't watched my TEDx talk, I explore this question in detail there. The short answer is that by studying history, we can learn how to take the most important lessons of those who came before and apply them to our lives in beautifully inspirational ways that we couldn't have expected. Plus, it's really really cool and no one has done it in over a century!!!
Who is Thomas Negovan?
I run a gallery called Century Guild in Los Angeles that specializes in 1880-1920 antique artworks and a few contemporary artists; you might have seen us at the center intersection of San Diego Comic Con showing things like giant Art Nouveau or silent film posters, occult artifacts from the 19th century, or Dave McKean and Gail Potocki paintings. Nowadays I spend most of my time writing art books, including the definitive art book on Clive Barker and a stunning, award-winning monograph on legendary photographer Steve Diet Goedde, but before that I worked as an orchestra director and musician. Making the wax cylinder albums has been a thrilling passion project that unites all my worlds, and I was honored that it attracted the attention of the TEDx coordinators in 2011. Presenting a TEDx talk allowed Shawn and myself to share the experience of making the records and quickly demonstrating the recording process, and is a great way to get an understanding of the entire arc of the project. Here is the video:
1. BY POPULAR DEMAND (10" vinyl record)
My first album. The eight songs on BY POPULAR DEMAND were recorded without electricity onto wax cylinder then transferred to analog tape; the tape output went directly to the record lathe. The music that you hear from your speakers, from recording to pressing, never entered the digital medium and is a completely physical, analog experience. The goal was to create an entire release using processes and techniques that existed pre-1900; the cover of the record was shot by Greg Martin in Ohio using an 1850s camera (with variant "tentacles" cover art by Jeremy Bastian.) One of my earliest and exciting music memories is discovering a 1960s Monkees record that happened to be from Japan and had a gorgeous maroon vinyl with a silver ink on black paper label, and in the process of trying to recreate my childhood thrill we came up with an exciting surprise that we called our "blood and ink" edition.
2. THE DIVINE EYE (wax cylinder)
For a brief period I expected to release the "single" of the record on 7" and quickly realized that since the whole thing was recorded on wax cylinder, why not release it on the same? I didn't find out until later after a documentary crew contacted me that no one had both recorded AND released a song on wax cylinder in over a century- it was very exciting news and made the slavish attention to detail all the more rewarding.
3. WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE (glow-in-the-dark wax cylinder)
Next I wanted to experiment with introducing some more modern elements into the recording process, and I also wanted to make something spooky that glowed in the dark to appease my inner twelve-year old. That led to the idea of this Alice Cooper cover.
4. THE DIVINE NIGHTMARE (10" vinyl record)
An homage to the Theatre du Grand-Guignol (the legendary 19th century theater of terror), this record collects the two wax cylinder singles onto a 10" with a die-cut cover that shows the transparent, glow-in-the-dark vinyl as a terrified eyeball. Onto each record I splattered maroon paint to emulate a mortifying encounter.
5. THE DIVINE EYE (gold edition)
And now, by popular demand! A deluxe pressing of The Divine Eye as part of the Kickstarter Gold initiative! Featuring an ultra-deluxe embossed letterpress label and custom gold cylinder.
SPECIAL DISCOUNT PACKAGES!
All the items here are available online- and will be available as add-ons at the end of the campaign. I'm pleased to offer special discounted packages in honor of the Kickstarter Gold initiative and the release of The Divine Eye on gold wax cylinder!
Risks and challenges
The materials are already prepared- there is no risk on this campaign!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)