Smithsonian Collections Blog

Highlighting the hidden treasures from over 2 million collections

Collections Search Center

Friday, August 20, 2010

"Hunting thru Audioland with Gin and Chimera"

Happy Friday! Today, the archivists at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage present one of our favorite album covers from Cook records: "Cook's Tour of High Fidelity: Hunting thru Audioland with Gin and Chimera." This album comes from Cook Labs, a small label run by Emory Cook that released about 200 recordings. The center acquired the label and company records in 1990.

Emory Cook was an extremely innovative audio engineer, as reflected by this and other recordings from Cook Labs. A pioneer in the recording of high fidelity sounds, Cook produced many records of both the ordinary and the obscure, primarily aimed at fellow audiophiles. Among the veritable buffet of sounds that can be found on this particular recording (the descriptions of which are most entertaining) is the "UNIQUE! Cat & dog fight, unlike anything ever before attempted in sound." Archivist Jeff Place recalls Cook telling him in an interview in 1990 that a hungry cat, a hungry dog, and one bowl of food in a pitch black room were involved in the making of this selection* (the audio of this interview can be found in the Cook Labs records). Needless to say, Emory Cook went to great lengths to capture the rich (and sometimes grating) world of sound.

What does all this have to do with Cook (who is pictured on the left on this cover) recording a woman in high heels and a bikini looking dreamily into the eyes of an alligator sock puppet? The world may never know.

Look for more of our favorite album covers in future posts!

*No dogs or cats were harmed in the writing of this post.

-Cecilia Peterson, Ralph Rinzler Archives and Collections

No comments:

Post a Comment