It's been a while since I visited the local flea market mall. There are hundreds of stalls. People load each one up with whatever they are trying to sell. It's immensely absorbing. Recently I found a small open reel tape recorder, with two reels of tape! It was fifteen bucks, and it works, too.

Tape Recorder
More than that, the tapes have stuff on them. One event is Christmas 1966. Mom, Dad, Grandma and what sounds like two kids are there. There's wrapping paper being crumpled, one of the kids sings (screams) a few Christmas carols. It's a pretty noisy tape.

The other is a nearly complete recording of a rather familiar radio voice. This is from an album I cannot identify. He rails about Khrushchev and the Cold War, Congress, social ills, and so on. It's very Randian, actually. I find it fascinating.

Christmas 1966 , Mono  21.3 mB, MP3, 128kbps,  Length 22:44

Radio Voice, vinyl LP, 1960-1969? , Mono 34.3 mB, MP3, 128kbps,  Length 25:47

Some years ago (many years ago) I found someone selling an Estey Style T reed organ. The Style T was the largest Estey made commercially. It has two 61 note manuals and a 30 note pedal board. It has ten ranks of reeds; four each on the great and swell and two in the pedal. The footage breakdown is 16, 16, 16, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 4. At the insistence of a friend, (some friend, eh?) I bought it. It was a good deal. I paid more to have it transported to my home than I paid for the organ. This organ is large enough that it cannot be pumped by the feet. There is a crank on the side that works a crankshaft. The shaft drives four large bellows. All four of the bellows in this organ were non functional, and the crank was missing.  Since I bought it, I've lived in four different addresses. Over the years, I've done my best to get it to play. When I found it, it was packed full of mouse nests. It took a long time. Not wanting to repair the bellows, I found a blower that provides both the proper suction and CFM.

Well, this weekend, I connected the blower and for the first time in what must surely be at least two decades,  The organ can play! I must say, that ten actual ranks of reeds makes for a very full sound. And that's why I'm posting this – so you can be the first humans to hear this organ play in ages. It is a very dynamic organ. The manuals are expressive, controlled by one swell pedal.  I was having fun here in this clip – I wanted to show the various ranks, and also demonstrate the dynamics.  Sorry it's a bit long, but like I said – I was having fun! Hope you enjoy it. Oh, one last thing. Pardon my playing. I really have no idea what I'm doing on the keyboards, but maybe you'll enjoy parts of it.

Estey Style T

There aren't too many pictures of this model on the web, so here's one I took in 2004.

demo-01,  stereo, mp3, 192kbps, length 9:11

Today of all days, I am exploring techniques for restoration of old tape recordings. In a very old box of open reel tapes, I found one completely unlabeled tape. It contains a recording of an LP. The tape is half-track, mono. One side is one LP and the other is another. In any case, this gives me a chance to experiment with various restoration tools.

If you even think you know who the Alto Soprano singing this is, let me know! find me at: andrew at Thanks!

restoration_sample , Mono  7.9mB, MP3, 192kbps,  Length 5:56

We have a winner! She is likely to be Bidu Sayao (1900-1994), who was a friend of the composer: Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959). The work is
Bachianas brasileiras. It seems likely, due to the age of the source open-reel tape (1955-1965~) that this could be the priemier recording of this work. I am just in amazement. And to think that this tape sat in a box in storage for oh so many years. Thank you Christorpher Purdy! and also, thanks to dear Ray Dawson, a family freind who died so many years ago, and left me many of his tapes. I am most certainly going to listen to them all now.If you have more info – find me at: andrew at

People have been experimenting with computers as creators of music for, what, half a century now? Even so, I think the field is still in its infancy. Music combines all of what makes us human, and computers, so far, are not that great at being human.

About three years ago, I found an application called Pure Data. From that site: it "is a real-time graphical programming environment for audio, video, and graphical processing." And ever since, exploring it has been on the bottom of  my to-do list. Well TODAY I finally started in on it. I got as far as exploring sine wave generators and random numbers. As it happens, this is a fairly sophisticated application. I quickly got some random notes out of the sine wave generator, but decided that it wouldn't be very hard to expand on that. Doing a lot of cut and paste allowed me to get pretty serious with randomization. I was able to randomize the way in which it randomizes, if that makes any sense.

Here's the Pure Data patch file I created, if you have Pure Data, or want to get it and play with this. Have at it!

Here's a sample MP3 of the patch in action:

sample.mp3 Stereo, 3.3MB, MP3, 320kb/s

And here's a screenshot of the Patch. You'll need some of the values, because when you open the patch, the initial max-values don't get stored in the patch, and it doesn't work without them.

Screenshot of the patch I created.

To give you an idea of how much I like this patch, I've been listening to it for about 6 hours now. Hmmm. Perhaps I'm just a little off-center? heh.  Thanks for reading!

I never know when or where I'll be surprised by some new sound, yet it almost always is a surprise. It happened again while attending to some seasonal errands at the nearby craft store. This time it was a package of 50 or so medium size jingle bells. They were packed pretty tightly, and didn't make much of the usual bell-like sound. But the plastic container did make for a nice 'amplifier' of the sound of tiny metal balls rolling against the insides of the bells.

Of course I brought them home. I dug through a few boxes of wires and stuff left over from when I moved two years ago, and found a piezo transducer. I stuck it to the package of bells and started recording. I very slowly rotated the package of jingle bells. The noise is produced by the balls in the bells rolling around. The loud clunks are whole bells knocking against each other. I added some reverb, and here it is:

Merry_Christmas.mp3, Mono  928kB, MP3.

This one really pleases me.

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