Centuries of Sound is an ambitious and delightful project from James Errington.
Nice write-up on Hyperallergic.
His current approach to making a mixtape is find every recording possible for each year, place them in a folder, and over a month, edit the selections down to a manageable collection that is varied. During that time, he also watches documentaries and reads literature pertaining to the era at hand to learn more about its cultural landscape.
It’s a process that’s worked well so far, as Errington’s only dealt with years for which only a few hundred recordings still survive (and most are in the public domain). But as he enters the 20th century, he’ll have thousands of mp3s to sort through, and will start consulting websites like Rate Your Music and Acclaimed Music to pick top hits, making sure to include selections across years, genres, and countries. But the final mixtape also reflects his own taste: “Ultimately, if I don’t like something it won’t go in,” he said.
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