Yes, you read that right.
Earlier this year, Thomas Negovan was recognized by the Grammy committee for being the first recording artist to both record AND RELEASE a record on wax cylinder since 1914. Since then, a flurry of interviews and film crews have kept Negovan busy promoting both “The Divine Eye” single on wax cylinder, and “By Popular Demand” on 10″ vinyl- both musical releases being fully and wholly analog, recorded absolutely and completely without electricity on a rare museum piece, a 1905 Thomas Edison phonograph recorder.
Inspired by the 1977 KISS comic where the band members literally BLED for their fans by pouring a vial of each band member’s blood into the vat of red ink at the Marvel Comics pressing plant, anachronist Thomas Negovan and audio mad scientist Shawn Borri took it one step further.
Negovan and Borri collected nine ounces of their earwax across a four week period, purified and processed the material, and used it to fashion a single unique wax cylinder made of their own earwax. This earwax cylinder was used to record a romantic song by the band that inspired the project, the legendary rock band KISS.
The song was recorded in a single take and no overdubs- as is the necessity with wax cylinder recordings. It is also worth noting that the cylinder had astounding clarity, presumably from years of proper protection and care of the ears of the wax donators. We hope that you enjoy the results.
Without further ado: The KISS song “Shock Me” as recorded by Thomas Negovan on earwax cylinder:
Next month, Thomas Negovan releases his wax cylinder version of Alice Cooper’s “Welcome to My Nightmare” on glow-in-the-dark 10″ vinyl record in special Grand-Guignol packaging, and a limited edition glow-in-the-dark wax cylinder. For more on wax cylinder recordings, please watch Thomas Negovan’s TEDx talk on the subject- featuring a live-on-stage recording as assisted by Shawn Borri- online on YouTube:
Chicago, Los Angeles- two cities, two parties to celebrate the completion and release of this beautiful piece of art that took clear form in my mind at the beginning of April 2011, was recorded on two dates in May, and after months of work finally officially released on Friday the 13th, January 2012. I can’t thank my friends and family for supporting me emotionally with their emails, phone calls, and of course attending the events! Most of all, I have to thank Billy Shire (West Coast Art Godfather) for generously hosting the L.A. event, and darling of darlings Ysanne Spevack (violinist / string arranger for Smashing Pumpkins and Dave Navarro’s favorite violinist) for lending Gail Potocki and I her secret Hobbit House up in Topanga Canyon as a residence for our visit. Our week in Los Angeles consisted of a Gail Potocki art opening, lots of wilderness beauty, and a record release party, all documented in part below, and more thoroughly on my Facebook page.
Gary Baddeley at Disinformation (his and Richard Metzger’s- now of Dangerous Minds- contribution to corrupting the minds of an entire generation can’t be overstated) was one of the people who was so moved by the record that he said he couldn’t email, he had to phone in person. He said so many things to me in that phone call (which arrived as Gail and I were wandering in the California mist) that made me realize a dozen minds whose work I respect really understanding my reasons for doing this made up for the lack of a Wax Cylinder Grammy category. That phone call led to me typing on my phone the note he posted on his website. If you want to know my mindset of the trip for the Record Release party in L.A., click here.
In going through the photos I have, I can’t believe I did such a terrible job of documenting the guests! I really, really need a press person. Thanks to everyone who came, I’m sorry I don’t have most of you on film!!! (Most of all I wish I had Allan Amato‘s outfit. He makes being a Superhero look GOOD.) And if only I’d filmed Grant Morrison‘s story about the unintelligibility of the Scottish accent being the grand key to that night’s parking success or Ulorin Vex spilling secrets about Ron Jeremy and a riding crop, I could get some substantial YouTube hits…
Thank you again, ALL of you, and I look forward to seeing you soon…!
The haunting phonographic sounds of Thomas Negovan’s debut solo album By Popular Demand are now available for purchase! Click on the images of the covers below to purchase the album, available in three limited-edition versions:
Thomas Negovan recently released an in-depth take on the recording and release of his new album By Popular Demand with counter-cultural media outlet Disinformation.
“It’s Sunday night, I’m up in Topanga in my friend Ysanne’s cabin, and as I experience no internet, no cell phone, and a space that is one part The Hobbit and one part Deadwood I’m hard pressed to imagine a better place to be sleeping before my record release on Wednesday. The record, BY POPULAR DEMAND, whose release I’ll be celebrating with friends at La Luz de Jesus gallery in LA, was recorded on a machine built when these conditions were the norm: a turn-of-the-century convergence of leather, oak, gears, and brilliance—a wax cylinder recorder built by Thomas Edison.”
To view the rest of the article, visit Disinformation’s website HERE.
Thomas Negovan will be marking the release of his latest album By Popular Demand with two intimate performances in Chicago and Los Angeles. On Friday the 13th, Century Guild plays host for the first performance, while legendary lowbrow gallery La Luz De Jesus serves as the performance space for the second show in Los Angeles, CA.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 2012
2041 W. Carroll Ave. C-220
Chicago, IL 60647
DOORS: 7p.m. | PERFORMANCE: 8p.m.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2012
LA LUZ DE JESUS
4633 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
DOORS: 7p.m. | PERFORMANCE: 8p.m.
Bypassing electronic and digital media for a completely analog musical experience, the single from Thomas Negovan’s debut solo album By Popular Demand is the first new song recorded AND released on wax cylinder since 1914. Thomas Negovan’s debut solo album By Popular Demand features eight songs recorded entirely without electricity onto wax cylinder using a 1900’s Thomas Edison Phonograph Recorder and will be released in a limited number of vinyl-only editions, available at the concert.
“It’s been said that if you look hard enough you can find just about anything at the San Diego Comic Con. While I’ve never intentionally put that theory to the test, while milling aimlessly about on the showroom floor at this past summer’s gathering I chanced upon Thomas Negovan, dressed in vintage finery, standing next to a very old phonograph. He was drawing a crowd with the device and sparking a conversation, I was astounded to hear that the Chicago-based author, art historian, and musician would be releasing home recordings soon. New music isn’t news in itself these days, even when it’s vintage-styled and played authentically. What sets Negovan apart from his peers is the method by which he planned to release his next single: on a wax cylinder.”
To read the rest of the article by Bart Mendoza of the San Diego Troubadour, click HERE.
SIDE A.: Recorded 15 May 2011 in Rantoul, IL
1. New Year’s Prayer
2. The Strangest Music in the World
3. The Divine Eye
4. Viva Las Vegas (Love Went Away)
SIDE B.: Recorded 26 May 2011 in Chicago, IL
1. Two Houses
2. Soft Target
3. The Trouble with Cinderella
4. And, Tenderness is Alchemy
While a number of other musical acts have toyed with anachronistic ideas and themes, this record may be the first to truly act as a time machine to the early days of recorded music. Thomas Negovan’s debut solo album By Popular Demand features 8 original songs recorded using the most archaic of techniques: the wax cylinder. By stripping the music-making process of the gluttonously infinite possibilities of the digital age, By Popular Demand relied on the intimacy of the singer, his instruments, and the wax cylinder recorder. This meant no overdubs, no equalization, no editing, and most notable of all: NO ELECTRICITY. Using the most sophisticated recording techniques of 1911, By Popular Demand by name possesses a quality that is retro enough to be charming and ridiculous enough to be entertaining.
The album was recorded in two grueling one day sessions, requiring Negovan to use the sheer power of his voice and 12-string guitar to move a small sapphire needle across wax cylinders. By utilizing the bygone artistry of wax cylinder recording popularized at the turn of the century by Thomas Edison, Negovan’s decision to bypass modern digital method makes for a sound that is undeniably haunting and organic.
The record itself comes in three versions with limited pressings. The retail version features marbled black and translucent red vinyl housed in a sleeve overlaid with work by colloidial photographer Greg Martin. The other two are deluxe versions, pressed in both black lacquered and red translucent vinyl, with hand silkscreened sleeves adorned in artwork by Cursed Pirate Girl creator Jeremy A. Bastian.
By Popular Demand features the debut single “The Divine Eye,” to be released on wax cylinder in a limited edition of 50. The single is a first of its kind since 1924: recorded AND released on wax cylinder.
Check it out…!
First time since 1924.