Jonathan Ward is the founder of the free music archive Excavated Shellac (USA). In this short quote from the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here) he tells about what makes him feeling lonely as a music enthusiast.
As someone who is interested in the 78 rpm format and the unparalleled range of global music that solely exists on that format, it’s virtually a foregone conclusion that it will sometimes be a near solitary – even lonely – practice. Comparatively few collectors of music understand it. It’s almost never broadcast. The most interesting discs could take decades to acquire. They are brittle, and need specialized, expensive equipment for proper playback. They sound stereotypically «old» to many people – the stuff of history. Broadly, these complications make it an isolated sport, sadly viewed as the hobby of eccentrics who need more external stimulation. In a narrower sense, there are still fewer collectors who concentrate on vernacular music on 78 from across the world. For me, a captivating performance can come from anywhere on Earth. For others, it must be rooted in something they can musically comprehend. When I can hear something that is beyond my experience, that’s when I come alive.
Written by Jonathan Ward via email, 14.5.2015. This quote was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds.