The plan is to share regular posts that will highlight stories and music that I love, and at the same time provide a glimpse into different aspects of cultural and social history from all corners of the world.
When I was younger, the Indiana Jones films convinced me archaeology was my calling. Unfortunately, I spent too much time talking music with my science teachers, failed their classes, and couldn’t enrol for the required university degree.
After filling my house with recorded artefacts over the last 30 years, I now realise that I’ve been an archaeologist all along. It’s just my focus has been the study of human history via excavations undertaken at markets, garage sales and church fetes rather than Thracian battlefields or Mayan temples. And so – Sonic Archaeology.
My tastes are diverse. I’ve been digging for records since I was a kid scouting second hand stores for obscure discs on my dads wants list. My dad has been buying them all his life as well. I quickly acquired his liking for raucous sax and guitar breaks, thumping rockabilly basslines, doo wop harmonies, lush exotica soundscapes, and anything else that stood out as being a bit different. Later I developed cravings that were satisfied by fatback drums, sassy horns, and sweeping strings. It seems there is an endless combination of instruments and styles that will move my soul in one way or another.
Along the way I learned that all the interesting sounds I heard were personal expressions of lives being lived. And the stories of those musicians, their recordings, and the circumstances they made them in became a great interest in my life.
I was lucky enough to get a job in radio. Work that allowed me to indulge my passion. Fortunately, my dad was also working in radio, and together we were able to devote a lot of professional time to researching and presenting programs and documentaries involving many of our favourite players. Our longest running project was called RareCollections and featured exclusively Australian musicians and stories going back as far as the 1930s. It ran as a podcast and weekly show on ABC Radio National for 4 years.
For much of the last decade I have been working and traveling around the Pacific region. Through Sonic Archaeology, I’m looking forward to sharing some of the recordings I’ve come across during those travels as well.
There’s always more to say, but this initial offering is really here to welcome you to the site and encourage you to explore what’s here (more to come soon). If something connects with you then please leave a comment or drop me a line. Meeting other sonic archaeologists and making new friends has been one of the most rewarding aspects of this whole journey.