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Un-Dead Archive.org MP3

The Grateful Dead has recast its demands of the Internet Archive (archive.org), or so the reporting at relix.com was stating as early as Wednesday evening. In the past week, news had gotten out that the Dead’s thousand-plus live concert soundboard recordings were removed from the Archive’s publicly accessible holdings, at the group’s request. It seemed at the time like an odd development, since the Dead has been synonymous with freely traded live recordings, dating from when it was a top touring attraction. The scenario also seemed odd since the Archive is not a frequent subject of news coverage, despite the depth of its holdings, likely a result of its non-profit status. Several members of the Dead had themselves only recently become aware of the Internet Archive, though bassist Phil Lesh reports that he’d used it when researching his recent autobiography.

Whether or not the Dead soundboard reels were to make their way back into the public realm (they did, but only as streams; audience recordings remain downloadable), the widespread new reports of the group’s public-relations mess has shed mainstream light into the Archive, which houses far more than the noodlings of the proto-jam band. Some reporting referred to archive.org as if it were simply a repository of live recordings, with no regard to its substantial holdings of studio recordings, video, software, text and more. Among other things, the audio archive at archive.org is home to dozens of netlabels. And these aren’t just small netlabels lacking the resources to host their own goods; they’re major ones (“major netlabel,” now there’s a thought), like 20kbps, Kikapu and No Type.

To keep up with what’s uploaded daily, there are RSS feeds for the live music archive (RSS) and the general audio archive (RSS). Earlier this week, amid the Dead hubbub, the live feed noted the arrival of a full set by Lusine in Seattle (MP3). What begins as beat-fortified ambience slowly develops into something more rhythmically playful, with an emphasis on loopy riffs and momentary silences that signify the break between distinct segments, like pauses in some imaginary jukebox. The set, recorded in 2004, is housed as part of the Percussion Live archive. More on Percussion Lab at percussionlab.com and on Lusine at lusineweb.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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