when music was made by solid rock...
many people have commented regarding a post i made last week about some folks in a cave listening to a radio, in relation to the luray caverns. i posted something about luray a long while ago, but have been unable to find that post through google's mysteriously unhelpful "search this blog" function.
so i set about looking for something in the real mess, and lo and behold i was able to put my hands on the 7" souvenir record from luray that not only has a beautiful cover, but some mysteriously wonderful music.(and i do believe it came into my possession from the collection of mr. bloggs, who runs the gregory ain park planned home blog)
here a bit of the liner notes:
the music on this record is made by solid rock. it comes from the great stalacpipe organ, only one of its kind inf the world, in the beautiful caverns of luray, luray virginia. deep in the caverns, in the walls of a large catherdral like chamber, stalactites are played like the pipes of an organ, producing musical tones that you hear on your record. stalactite after stalactite - those stony icicles and draperies hanging from the ceiling, have been turned by a grinding process to concert pitch. each one is equipped with a striking mechanism, a rubber tipped plunger that, fired by the impulse of an electric discharge, strikes the stalactite and brings forth a musical tone...making the recording was in itself something of an engineering feat. the microphone, like the listening audience, was centrally located and the music came from all sides. natural sounds, such as the splash of water dripping from the stalactites are an inevitable and interesting part of the record.
thanks to jeremey of ampersand etc. for reminding me and my feeble memory, that we dedicated a section of the book "site of sound" to the luray caverns organ, particularly deciding to include it because of its peculiar approach to site specific sound (and sounding). it is nice that the luray folks mentioned the natural dripping sounds in this recording on the sleeve, because it is a rare breed of instrument that can only be recorded as a field recording, not because of social reasons such as with rural or ethnographic recordings, but because the instrument itself exists in the world and is built of the world, and can only be heard within its natural soundscape.