Etching the Voice: Emile Berliner and the First Commercial Gramophone Discs, 1889-1895 (Various Artists)

ARCH 3006

2021 Grammy Nominee: Best Historical Album & Best Album Notes

These recordings were made between 1889 and 1895 at the launch of Emile Berliner's disc gramophone in Europe. They are the first and scarcest manufactured sound recordings in the world--the archetypes of the 78, the 45, the EP, and the LP. Gathered together, all surviving discs could be carried in a hatbox. And as such, they are the holiest of grails among collectors of early recorded sound.

Yet much of what collectors believe about these discs is wrong. Historians Stephan Puille and David Giovannoni and the GRAMMY-winning Archeophone team set the record straight, explaining how the first gramophones, after initial positive response, came to be misunderstood as toys, when in fact they embodied cutting-edge technology that initially outyelled, eventually outsold, and ultimately outlived Edison's cylinder phonograph.

With 100 discs (plus two bonuses) restored here, this set holds the largest audio library of these pioneer recordings ever assembled. It presents them with a sound quality unavailable to anyone at any time. Quite literally, the records could not be heard this clearly when new.

These 19th-century recordings document a key moment in entertainment and technological histories. They are the first performances that people could command at will in their own homes. We bring them into your 21st-century home accompanied by a comprehensive 80-page booklet of essays, track notes, transcribed lyrics, and illustrations.

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Visit Etching the Voice's expanded catalogue page to see the complete track listing and listen to sound samples.