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the mp3 way: EarthStation1
By Jon Newton, p2pnet.net
(more articles from this author)
2001-09-19
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Want to hear Tricky Dicky making the first interplanetary phone call to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin? No problem. Surf around for a while and you'll find a .wav featuring Nixon's dulcet tones on quite a few sites.

BUT -----

----- where will you also find Armstrong saying he's having problems seeing through the Lunar shadows? Or Armstrong and Aldrin discussing the difficulty they're having digging through the Moon's crust? Or Aldrin thinking his watch has stopped; and, bragging about his Lunar mining successes?

Or maybe you're more interested in historical radio broadcasts like a 1930's ad for 'Cream of Wheat', or The Jefferson Airplane doing a rare 1967 ad for Levi's White Jeans? No? Then how about authentic WWII recordings such as The Marseillaise as it must have sounded in France during the war? Or British prime minister Neville Chamberlain saying, in effect, No Probs because he and Hitler are cool? Or a British Lancaster bomber crew on a run over Germany and shooting down a fighter? Or Tokyo Rose live?

You'll find all of the above plus a lot, lot more on JC Kaelin's blinding EarthStation1 site at www.earthstation1.com which JC bills as World History in Digital Sounds and Pictures and/or The Sound and Image History Of The Media Age. Either way, he doesn't lie because you not only have a truly mind-boggling collection of .wav, .mp3 and RA sounds, but you also have an equally mind-boggling collection of video and still images.

There are way, way too many online sights and sounds to even begin listing them here. But to give you just a taste, the main category headings are:

World War II Sounds & Pictures; TV / Movie / Radio / Cartoon Theme Songs; Sound Effects Library; Radio Propaganda Media; Propaganda Posters; Military Aircraft Pictures; Space Sounds & Pictures; Ancient History & Esoteric Media; Civil War Pictures; World War I Sounds & Pictures; Vietnam War Sounds & Pictures; TV Sounds; Movie Sounds; Radio Sounds; aUdIo WeIrDnEsS!; The UFO Sound & Image Archive; The "War Of The Worlds" Radio Broadcast Sounds; Hindenburg Crash Broadcast Sounds; EarthStation1's Apollo 11 Sounds At NASA; John F. Kennedy Media; Winston Churchill Media; Hitler's Madness Media; Orphan Ann ('Tokyo Rose') Media; Warner Bros Cartoon Sounds; Austin Powers Media; Monty Python Sounds; Super-Marionation Sounds; Marx Bros Sounds; Shooby "The Human Horn" Taylor Sounds; and, Jerky Boys Sounds

So what do you get when you go to one of the central directories? Well, 'Ancient History & Esoteric Media' looks as if it'd be a tough act to even begin. But JC has it nailed. He has four parent directories - Pics, Sounds, The Magical Pantheon Of Richard Wagner's Ring and I, Claudius.

On arrival, under 'Pics' you find: Alchemical; Anti-Nazi; Astrology; Biblical; Blake; Celtic; Ceremonial; Egyptian; Etruscan; Golden_Dawn; Greek; Hermetic; Indian; Les_Tres_Riches_Heures; Mandean; Manichean; Masonic; Minoan; Mithraic; Nazism; Nordic; People; Qabala; Roman; Rosicrucian; Sumerian; Tarot; U.S.A.

You can check out the other directories for yourself, and you won't be disappointed.

In the meanwhile, EarthStation1 is a great example of what Net sound should be all about, but often isn't. Its contents are permanently archived online and are being added to all the time, says JC, continuing, "Most of this material has been created, digitally remastered and/or enhanced to provide the highest quality digitations possible. Great care has been taken to obtain the highest quality original media possible from museums, archives, libraries and private collections worldwide. Many hours have been spent on some single files, while others have taken weeks or even months to create.

"The special results of these efforts have been the development of a number of digitizing processes - audio, video and imaging - which produce media of superior resolution (distinguished on the site by long file names) than those made using traditional methods."

JC - who lives in Bayonne, right across the Hudson River from the World Trade Center, with all that implies - got started online in 1993 after he was told he'd never work again because of an esoteric illness. "Having gotten very bored over three years, and very willing to do something meaningful for the society I lived in, I created the website in March of '96 as a way of contributing something while I was stuck on disability," he told me. "By 1998, my symptoms alleviated sufficiently for me to volunteer off disability and try to make a living off of the website.

"It's been a hard road since the dot com crash, but I'm still making ends meet."

By the time you read this, JC will be a mere two or three days away from becoming a husband and, by default, a daddy. His wife-to-be, Stacey, who's a librarian, school teacher and artist, has a five-year-old son, Aiden, who thinks Count Chocula cereal is the ideal dinner. My daughter Emma, who's also five, would agree.

Love of audio research
Anything and everything to do with sound gets me going. In fact, I was out there online cruising for newer and cooler stuff when I came across JC's site in the first place.

We got to virtually talking and he said, "Simply put, I try very hard to make each file sing, especially the old historical media. I view it as removing the non-essential noise, reducing it down to the essentials of the actual recorded event, and enhancing those most essential elements to fullest life. The Last Marseillaise file in the French section of the WWII page is a great example. The original source media sounded awful, and darn it if the remastered file made of it ain't alive. That's a living file!"

JC's plan is to make EarthStation1 an even more comprehensive historical media archive than it is now. And that's saying a lot.

"There isn't really anyone out there that does what I do - historical audio/video/image multimedia archiving for the academic community," he says, "and my intention is to turn people on to the subjects covered by the compelling nature of multimedia, as well as to satisfy those hungry for or in need of such media."

Have a listen and you'll see what he means.

And, he goes on, "Out of all the stuff I do at the site, it's the sheer love of audio research I love most. I set aside time on a regular basis simply to experiment with new or improved digitation techniques and digital processing to get the best sounding audio I can with the greatest compression. One of the wonders of MP3 is that much of what I had to do to a wav file to make it sound better than others is made up for by the MP3 codec improvements of the past several years.

"Even still, I spend a long, long, long, long time digitally processing material before saving it as a file - except for the recent batch of terrorist bombings audio, which I've made as simply as possible simply to keep up with events. Even there, though, I whip in my digital mojo where time will allow.

"I keep meticulous records of what I do to files, and what the progress of my research is, much like other researchers. I've even asked Stacey to email these records to particular individuals in case something, God forbid, happens to me. I used to freely share much of this information. But early on, I found out that many I shared the info with simply wanted to use me."

Good on ya JC, as they say in Oz.


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