Quote of the Week: The Street Recorder 1966

As transcribed by musician and artist Steve Roden as part of his ongoing inbetweennoise.blogspot.com project:

funny, i just thought of an odd analogy… know those dizzy rear-steering wire-brush-and-spray street cleaners you see in big cities, zooming along next to the curb, scooping all the dirt and debris, lightly sprayed with water, into a central hopper? well, those wire brushes, striking sparks (and making your spine shiver sometimes) are “scanning” the street surface somewhat in the fashion of rotating heads on a passing tape (especially, a helical-scan videotape!). they manage collectively with many fast moving steel wires, to cover a vast mileage of asphalt at a very high sweep speed, though the machine moves along the tape – i mean, the street – at a relatively slow pace. the wires and the brushes do an overlapping job that is supposed to contact all the “information” – i.e., dirt and debris – at a properly vigorous sweep frequency…

The comment is attributed to Edward Tatnall Canby in the magazine Audio, March 1966. More on Canby, who passed away in 1988 at the age of 85, in his New York Times obituary: nytimes.com.

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