Episode 4: Life

Posted in Episodes by nissarhusseinkhan on April 2, 2010

Yep. It’s a big one. The agony, the ecstasy, all the big questions, and it begins with the “Dies Irae” (“The Wrath of God”). Enjoy!

Here’s what Ian wrote to the producers just before he brought in the playlist:

I approached this one as if it were my last, as if it were the last I could ever do… I tried to throw down the gauntlet.

And the producers were pleased with what Ian wrought.

We hope you are, too.

10 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Ian Nagoski said, on April 6, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Re: the Okeh Laughing Record. It’s somewhat mysterious origins were gone into a little in a short piece in Vol V, No 10 of the Antique Phonograph Monthly (1979). The matrix number prefix assigned to the record seem to indicate that the origin of the recording was with the now-obscure Beka company in Germany. The cornet performer seems to be one Felix Silbers, and the song that he’s trying to get through is a composition by Robert Radecke (1829-93) called Aus der Jugendzeit. We don’t know whether there was a German issue of the recording. It was released in the U.S. December, 1922.

  2. Bobb said, on April 8, 2010 at 1:14 am

    Hey In – it’s Bob Witkin in North Dakota – so excited to discover you have a show! I’ll send you a much more detailed Email soon. Hopefully I’ll get to see you when I take a trip back east this summer – it’s been a long time

  3. Kyle said, on April 9, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Thanks for these shows – this is great stuff. Anyway we can download these broadcasts to listen to them when away from a computer.

  4. nissarhusseinkhan said, on April 10, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Hey Kyle – thanks so much. We’re podcasting, so if you click the icon under “Subscribe to our podcast,” episodes will automatically download.

    If you have any trouble downloading, send us a note at

    Thanks again for listening.

  5. Cormac O'Donoghue said, on April 15, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    So far I’ve only listened to this 4th show, I’ll eventually check out the earlier ones in due course, but the 4th show sees the presenter – a natural storyteller, hitting a good conversational stride with a nice balance between the bantering and the disc-spinning, with good conversational flow.
    For someone like me with an ongoing fixation with the music of the gramophone era, this kind of a show is mannah from the Heavens, I can recognize a lot of the tunes, and appreciate that some discerning picking is at play, but also listening is made all the more interesting with the inclusion of a significant amount of (really wonderful) material with which I am totally unfamiliar. For example I spent quite a bit of time searching unsuccessfully for vintage recordings of Gregorian chant music, and came to the conclusion that maybe there wasn’t any, this show obviously proved me wrong on that.
    I really enjoyed the element of surprise in the selections, a song from Liberia is followed unexpectedly by Hank Williams!
    I’ve only recently moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from Ireland, and if I were to make a generalization about the radio programming I’ve heard so far, it’s that it seems to be very compartmentalized and segregated into narrow genre categories, resulting in quite a bit of channel-hopping on my part, for example if I come across a station playing a Big Band Swing tune from the 1940s, every subsequent tune tends to be 1940s Big Band Swing, which for me gets a bit tedious, then I find a station playing a classic tune from the 70s, I stay with that station, and it’s all 70s white rock, and next up is Rod Stewart, and I’m reaching from the dial again, it’s all too monocultural, there’s all-country, all-Cuban, all-Mexican, all-R&B, all-Christian, too much all-one-thing.
    Fonotopia is a an oasis of multicultural diversity wherein in I am hooked and riveted for the full-distance, even if it’s a show dedicated to one genre, because in all likelihood it’ll be a genre under-represented on the airwaves. I’m into variety.
    For me the show makes for good listening on a myriad of levels: from the surface where it’s “great tunes – nicely compiled and presented” to the deeper “It’s a living connection with the cultural History of humanity”
    I can’t say enough positive things about a radio show of this nature, and feel strongly that it should continue and endure.
    From my own experience of 78rpm era music, this is stuff that really grows on people, the more people listen to it, the more they like it, it’s a taste that people learn to develop.
    Once upon a time, almost 20 years ago, I used to hang out at a guy’s house and listen to music over a few beers, there came a point in the evening when he needed to get some sleep, and send me on my way, and he found the best way to get rid of me was to finish off the evening by playing some Hank WIlliams, and sure enough when I heard the sound of the 78rpm surface noise, the whole room began to spin for me at 78rpm, and I had to get out of there in hurry, or else run the risk of spewing my guts up on his floor, I usually just blurted “Sorry! I’ve got to go!” land I’d be out the door in seconds, I’ve come a long way since then! I’ve made compilations for people of 78rpm era stuff, for friend’s parents, and they’ve said that initially they HATED them, but after a few listens started to like them a bit more until eventually these compilations became their absolute favorites!
    What I am trying to say is people’s listening tastes develop and evolve – THERE IS A DEFINITE GROWING AUDIENCE FOR A SHOW LIKE FONOTOPIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Marcie said, on April 16, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    This is so great. It reminds me of James Burke’s program connections.
    I love the way you connect so many kinds of music. Makes it appealing to people with all different tastes. It also makes you think about other kinds of music in new ways.

    Hope to hear more.

  7. thomas browne said, on April 16, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    thank you
    this has been a real find for me, if only broadcast radio was anywhere near this good, truly excellent selections, a lot of it new to me. you can tell this is put together by someone who really cares about what they are doing, if i could i’d buy these broadcasts, but i don’t have to because incredibly this is free. thanks again.truly. keep up the good work

  8. owl habib said, on April 18, 2010 at 2:20 am

    what a brilliant way to spend this last hour. tried to tend to my garden but the enthralling sounds had me constantly having to come back to listen to my tiny speakers. let me qualify my praise by assuring u that i know alotta this music from reissues, but u really permeate the familiar to even more obscure realms of fascination. there’s a lifetime wortha worthy shows on 78rpm alone if u axe me & the sounds become even more interesting when presented in this informative & respectfully compassionate fashion. the pius x choir at the beginning was an especially illuminating bit & ilieva is always a grand idea. what say u tactfully tell yr burgeoning fan base how we might acquire yr cdrs that seem to be some kinda folk legend? after a bit o’ difficult diggin tryin to crack the case on that first track, i found this thang called ‘miss pro defunctis [requiem mass]: gregorian chant according to the solesmes edition choir of the pius x school, manhattanville, ny, 1934, but somebody i guess was just listing it. there’s another i’m interested in w/ balkan folk strains that seems most appetizing as well. would luv to get a lista sorts. u may email me privately if u like. i have money set aside for this & the new excavated shellac record, two splurges i’m willing to make. amazing amazing amazing show this one. you’re destined for national public eyed hope. perhaps twas always yr destiny. this puts most every other piece meal ‘world’ show to shame. like someone else said, this is like a more accessible evolution of secret museum of the air. well done mang

  9. Ian Nagoski said, on May 8, 2010 at 1:27 am

    thanks, all. The CDRs referred to are available through Weirdo Records in Boston . Or at the live lecture/listening sessions I do….
    be well

  10. Will Hancock said, on December 3, 2010 at 12:40 am

    Joe Bussard, who told me met Kazee in Chicago at one point and I think may have recorded him pronounced his name Kuh-zee with the emphases on the second syllable.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: