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"Call me a relic, call me what you will
Say I'm old-fashioned, say I'm over the hill
Today' music ain't got the same soul
I like that old time rock 'n' roll."

Bob Seger

I Like That Old Time Rock 'n' Scroll

I like music. I like most kinds of music. I like new music and I like old music. At my age, I can honestly say I like the older stuff better than the newer stuff, which is a fact of life. As I studied music in college, I started to appreciate the "old stuff" and how it shaped the current music I was listening to.

I sometimes regret not appreciating music history as I was living in it, but I console myself with the fact that I was a child when the Fab Four were hot and Satchmo was playing his swan song. Years later I came to fully understand how Louis Armstrong's unique musical language established the bedrock foundation that the Beatles used to shake up the world of rock, or how Cab Calloway's scatting and showmanship influenced Michael Jackson.

Hopefully these moments in musical history will be preserved for generations, that is if our descendants can figure out how to play records and project films. Since digital technology has taken over our entertainment industry, there are many songs that only exist in ones and zeros. True, a compact disc has pits etched into its surface to emulate a "one" or pulse, but it still takes an electrical circuit with microchips and software instruction to interpret, decode, and amplify the binary code. A record can theoretically be played acoustically (like an old Victrola) and a film can theoretically be viewed with a focused beam of light from a candle.

I know it must sound like I'm being a fatalist and describing a dystopian future where electricity and computers don't exist – I did grow up watching Planet of the Apes – so you never know. But the last hundred years have proven that the way we consume media can rapidly change, leaving old technology in the dust. Case in point: not many of us still depend on a landline, an honest-to-goodness real newspaper, or a film camera. So archivists are still trying to figure out the best ways to preserve our current glut of media for generations to come. Unfortunately they are losing a race against Moore's Law.

Movies shot entirely in digital can be archived to special high-density magnetic tape cartridges (LTO) with a life span of 30 to 50 years, but that technology leapfrogs itself every couple of years forcing archivists to keep reinvesting in new technology just to have access to the past. Most movies from major distributors are preserved on film and stored in underground warehouses as a worst-case scenario. But film, along with the equipment to play it, probably won't be around in 50 years. Audio is in a worse situation because magnetic tape or digital disc is about the only option for long-term storage. If an artist happens to release a pressed LP, then that could be music's doomsday plan, but what about all the wonderful podcasts, radio shows, oral histories, and other programs that are worth saving? It truly is a pickle we're in.

Maybe we should just etch everything in stone tablets, those seem to last. In the 1950s, archeologists excavating the ancient Syrian city of Ugarit (about 75 miles southwest of Alepo) dug up 29 stone tablets. The text on these 4,000 year old tablets is believed to be inscribed by the Akkadians, a Bronze Age Semitic people living near the Mediterranean Sea. "The Akkadians" would be an excellent name for a rock band, by the way - get it, rock band? There were 36 hymns in the collection, but most were in fragments. However, one survived almost entirely intact: "Tablet h.6," a hymn to Nikkal, the Hurrian goddess of orchards.



This one tablet contains the oldest surviving melody. Written in the 30-letter Ugaritic alphabet, the tablet includes instructions for the singer to be accompanied by a sammûm, a nine-stringed harp or lyre-like instrument. I can't make heads or tails out of the inscriptions, but musicians have interpreted the ancient notations and offered their own recordings, albeit in digital form.


I gave you the rock, now for the scroll. The earliest music not etched in stone is the "Oxyrhynchus Hymn" from about the 3rd century CE. It's written on papyrus and is the oldest surviving Christian Greek hymn. The ancient inscription is part of a 1918 discovery of thousands of manuscripts in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt. It includes both lyrics and a melody and has also been interpreted by modern musicians. "Oxyrhynchus" would NOT be a good name for a rock band (I think Dave Berry would agree).


For us English speakers, the oldest surviving song is from the mid 13th century. "Summer Is Icumen In" ("Summer Canon" or "Cuckoo Song") is written in the Wessex dialect of middle English. It's a song about the start of summer, and the instructions (in the red Latin words beneath the lyrics) suggest six people to sing it, almost in "Row-row-row-your-boat" fashion. It's the oldest known polyphonic composition for six voices. It's a fun and peppy song, here's a modern recording of it.



The document has a very interesting history. It was probably owned by William of Winchester, a music-loving, woman-loving monk who once had to answer to the Bishop of Hereford for his digressions. Given the lifestyle of its owner, the song can be interpreted as either innocent or bawdy (the word cuckoo could also be translated as cuckhold (a man's unfaithful wife). Whatever the original intent, it includes the earliest written example of the word fart. You be the judge:

Summer has come in,
Loudly sing, cuckoo!
The seed grows and the meadow blooms
And the wood springs anew,
Sing, cuckoo!
The ewe bleats after the lamb
The cow lows after the calf.
The bullock stirs, the goat farts,
Merrily sing, Cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo, well you sing, cuckoo;
Don't ever you stop now,
Ground (sung by two lowest voices)
Sing cuckoo now. Sing, Cuckoo.
Sing Cuckoo. Sing cuckoo now!

4,000 years from now, when archeologists are digging down into the ground; when they're uncovering our monuments to entertainment like the Capital Records Building, or Graceland, or the Hollywood sign; when they're looking for some fragment of text, or picture, or sound that will tell them what we were like; I hope that we don't suffer the same fate as the Akkadians and have just one single song that represents our entire civilization. If there is only one song, then let's pray to the gods – to the great Nikkal herself –that it is not "The Farting Song" from Bob's Burgers.
 

We are taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously here at Dynamix Productions. We're taking safety measures recommended by health officials. We are regularly sanitizing everything we can think of and keeping as much of a "social distance" as possible. Our producer desk and engineer seat is more than 6 feet away in each studio, and there is glass between the engineer and voice talent. We're recording only one person at a time in the studio for now, and we're encouraging some of our voice talent to work from their house if they have recording equipment. We sincerely wish that you and your families will stay safe and secure during these unusual times. For more on our new procedures and options for you, read this special statement.

-Neil Kesterson
Dynamix Productions, Inc. is an audio production facility in the heart of thoroughbred horse country, Lexington, Kentucky. Some of the many audio services we provide are: sound-for-picture, corporate communications, advertising, narrations, audiobooks, podcasts, live broadcast, ISDN, location and remote recording, restoration, and tape/LP to digital transfers. 

Since our opening 17 years ago in 2003, we have won or been a part of nearly 100 awards; including more than 75 ADDY’s (American Advertising Federation), 10 Telly's, 2 Silver Microphones, 1 PRSA (Public Relations Society of America), 1 Eclipse Award, and 1 Emmy nomination.

Why do professionals from desktop producers to Fortune 50 companies choose Dynamix for the highest level of production? We Listen.

Sound Bits

Sound and audio tech news from around the web
  • We Asked an Audio Engineer Which Background Noise Is Best For Concentration. When it comes to working, some of us prefer absolute silence, while others are more productive when background noise is present. Whether it’s the sounds of a coffee shop, leaves rustling, or just “noise,” technology has made it easier to tailor our preferences. Dashlane's blog has your options.
  • My Favourite Credible HiFi Websites. Simon Price asks: Which publications or online sites actually publish the most honest Reviews for me? 13th Note has Simon's picks.
  • Red Bull to shutter network of global recording studios. Sad news for my industry, Red Bull will be closing and/or selling off its collection of owned music studios as part of a cutting back of the company’s ties with the entertainment industry. Read it over at MusicBusiness Worldwide.
  • Major Breakthrough for Physics and Engineering: Preserving Integrity of Sound Waves. The experiment is the first to demonstrate strong topological order for sound stemming from time modulations, paving the way for improvements in ultrasound imaging, sonar, and electronic systems that use surface acoustic wave technology. Read it at SciTechDaily.
  • Do These Tubes Hold the Oldest Known Stereo Recordings? In 1901, a traveling researcher recorded some Chinese opera, and accidentally made music history.  Read it at Atlas Obscura.

Listen to
EASTERN STANDARD
on WEKU-FM


Dynamix Productions, and WEKU-FM, Eastern Kentucky University’s public radio station in Richmond, KY, partnered in 2018 to move primary production of the popular long-running radio program EASTERN STANDARD to the studios of Dynamix. The first program produced at Dynamix aired on July 19, 2018. By bringing the production to Lexington, producers have easier access to Central Kentucky business, healthcare, and education leaders, as well as local artists, entertainers, and other newsmakers. The move underlines WEKU’s commitment to providing the area’s most concise and in-depth coverage of news, issues, and ideas that directly affect Central Kentuckians. The EASTERN STANDARD radio program is made possible from the generous support of the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky and the Appalachian Impact Fund.

Hosted by network news veteran Tom Martin, EASTERN STANDARD is a public affairs program that covers a broad range of topics of interest to Kentuckians. Resources for topics include WEKU’s reporting partner, the Ohio Valley ReSource, a partnership with seven public media outlets across three states; the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting; and National Public Radio. EASTERN STANDARD can be heard Thursdays at 11:00 AM  / 8:00 PM and Sundays at 6:00 PM on 88.9 WEKU-FM, and online at www.esweku.org.

Recent topics and guests on the program include:
  • WEKU's Samantha Morrill talks with Kentucky Contact Tracing czar Mark Carter about the need for tracing, how it's done and concerns about privacy.
  • A conversation about a statewide survey to gauge Kentuckians' thoughts and habits during a pandemic. With Marc Kivimiemi, professor and chair of the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at the University of Kentucky.
  • What about the future? A futurist's reading of trends and indicators for what a post-pandemic world.
  • What's in those archives? Appalshop celebrates 50 years of documenting life in Appalachian Kentucky. A conversation with Appalshop archivist Caroline Rubens and Brett Ratliff of the organization's community radio station.
  • In his own words: 2020 Kentucky High School Teacher of the Year Matthew Kaufman on being gassed, shot with pepper pellets and jailed during a recent racial justice protest in Louisville.
  • UK Philosopher Arnold Farr on the way forward from protest
  • Lexington property manager Bob Cole on workspace issues in a pandemic
  • 19th Amendment Series: Uneven equality
  • The story of fierce, Lexington-born social activist Sophonisba Breckinridge
  • How is the pandemic impacting live theatre performance?
  • One year later: Appalshop goes solar
Did you miss the live show? Listen online.

Notable Recent Productions

  • TV for Fasig-Tipton "July Horses of Racing Age Sale" (Studio 34 Productions, Lexington, KY)
  • "Winter of Solace," and audiobook by Kathryn Le Veque. Narrated by Brad Wills.
  • Keeneland Summer Meet radio campaign (Team Cornett, Lexington, KY)
  • Campaign radio and TV ads for multiple Kentucky state senate and representative seats (Grit Creative, Frankfort, KY)
  • Lexmark "Sustainability" web video (Lexmark, Lexington, KY)
  • UK HealthCare radio/TV "UK Children's Hospital / US News" (Team Cornett, Lexington, KY)
  • Radio and TV political campaigns for Amy McGrath for Senate (Putnam Partners, Washington, DC)
  • "ONE 20" podcasts for Alltech  (Alltech, Nicholasville, KY)
  • "Block Talk" podcast for Ridley Block  (Alltech, Nicholasville, KY)

Live and Online

Podcasts produced at Dynamix Productions


The Cancer Crisis in Appalachia"
Compelling stories from the next generation of leaders in the fight against cancer in Appalachia.
From UK's Markey Cancer Center.

Tales of American History
"Tales of American History" with Kent Masterson Brown


"The Tyler Gossett Podcast"


GoFundMe podcast "Todd Oldfield and Wendall Gill: A Community Comes Together"



"Embedded" podcast from NPR
Al Cross in a series of podcasts about Mitch McConnell

Audiobooks produced at Dynamix Productions
 

  
    

   

    

  
       
     
    

    
    
    
    
    
    
  

Other projects produced at Dynamix
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