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Alex's Adventures in Masterland

Alex's Adventures in Masterland

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  • Wed 29 May, 5:30pm – 6:30pm


Tiakiwai Conference Centre, Cnr Aitken & Molesworth Street, Wellington


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission

Celebrating New Zealand music.

Collecting original hi-fidelity sources.

Popular music has become a major focus of music archiving around the world during recent decades. Public institutions and community-organised archives alike have recognised the value of collecting, for instance, ephemera, instruments and artefacts, recordings, and oral history.

In this talk, Michael Brown discusses recent experiences at the Alexander Turnbull Library around collecting of master recordings: the original hi-fidelity sources of commercial releases. The talk concentrates mainly on the Viking and Ode record labels, who have been progressively donating their master tapes to the Library’s Archive of New Zealand Music.

Each collection contains different types of “masters” – production masters, copy masters, outtakes, field recordings, etc. – along with accompanying documentation. The Library has developed a new acquisition model around these collections, in which audio digitisation serves both the Library’s preservation mandate and the labels’ own needs.

Historical insights into music production in New Zealand.

Given the effort required to preserve such magnetic-tape media, the question can be asked: what is the value of masters for researchers and future generations? These recordings in fact provide numerous historical insights into music production in New Zealand.

The quality of the master audio, meanwhile, which considerably exceeds that of the original releases, can serve as a primary source for phonomusicological study as well as enabling re-release via online digital platforms.

About the speaker
Dr Michael Brown is Curator, Music at the Alexander Turnbull Library (part of the National Library of New Zealand). His publications include the co-edited volume Searches for Tradition: Essays on New Zealand Music, Part and Present, published in 2017 by Victoria University Press.

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