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2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday August 28, 2019

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Wendy Byrne

Wendy Byrne

Former Editorial Officer a.i. , Europeana Foundation

portrait of Gregory Markus

Gregory Markus

EuropeanaTech Community Manager , Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision

Resampling archival recordings as electronic music. Listen in with RE:VIVE

Rounding out our series on digital storytelling, Gregory Markus, Project Leader at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, lets us listen in on their latest projects. Via the RE:VIVE initiative, they’re reusing cultural heritage material to make electronic music that brings sounds and memories of the past to current audiences.

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Sander Molenaar

This summer, throughout Europe, millions of people will attend electronic music festivals. In the Netherlands alone, every weekend there are dozens of options spanning just as many genres and styles. Since it migrated from Chicago and Detroit to Europe, electronic music has continued to grow, dominating Europe’s musical landscape and defining its future musical heritage. 

Seeing the potential of this dynamic creative community as a potential collaborator for cultural heritage institutes, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision’s RE:VIVE initiative has spent the last three years working to grow fruitful new partnerships. These partnerships explore new ways of reusing cultural heritage material, storytelling and sharing it with young audiences. In our experience, one of the best ways to do this is to simply release new records. 

Music as a storytelling medium

Music is the perfect medium for storytelling due to the various means through which it can be consumed either actively or passively. It can be in the forefront or background, accessed in numerous ways and discovered for years to come. 

This summer, RE:VIVE, in collaboration with three of electronic music’s most reputable record labels — Dekmantel, MORD, and Subtext Recordings — released three very different records that showcase just how versatile and inspiring cultural heritage can be for a wide array of artists and audiences.

V/A - SCORES is RE:VIVE’s first collaborative release with Dekmantel. It features four original scores for archival films that were shown in 2018 during their festival at the Eye Filmmuseum. The four films, Lichtspiel Opus Licht: II, III IV by Walter Ruttmann, Uit het rijk der kristallen by J.C. Mol, Sosoon by George Singer and Prelude28 by Vladimir Murtin were provided by Sound and Vision and Eye Filmmuseum. The invited artists, Parrish Smith, upsammy, Jordan gcz, and Suzanne Kraft all channeled their specific sounds and paired masterfully with these beautiful films, giving the lost gems a second life and reappearance on the big screen. Through the record and film scores, we get to tell the story of these films again, several of which were widely unknown. The LP is now available on vinyl, as well as via download and on all streaming platforms. Or visit our website to watch the movies set to their new music.

Joshua Sabin - Sutarti is the second full-length record by Scottish composer Joshua Sabin on Subtext Recordings. The project was done in collaboration with the Lithuanian Archivists Association and the Lithuanian Music and Theater Archive, made possible by a grant from the Lithuanian Cultural Council. RE:VIVE invited composer Joshua Sabin to create a new record made out of and inspired by archival recordings of traditional Lithuanian vocal music, especially sutartines. Sabin and RE:VIVE visited Lithuania for a week in May 2018 to dive deeper into this topic and meet with researchers and performers. Sabin’s concluding work is a mystifying cinematic blend of the dynamic harmonies that define Lithuanian music and contemporary classical composition. It conveys and tells the story of Lithuania’s strong cultural asset, once again giving these recordings and tradition a new breath of fresh air and perspective, bringing them to audiences around the globe. 

You can explore the entire collection used by Sabin on Europeana Collections.

V/A - Rotterdam is a 3xLP compilation on Rotterdam techno label MORD featuring 14 tracks ranging from drone ambience to blistering techno. What makes this compilation special? Every track is composed solely out of archival field recordings of Rotterdam from the Sound and Vision archive. Each artist translated his or her vision of the city through these sounds, channeling the harbour city’s industrial sonic landscape of ship horns and heavy machinery, perfect for big Berghain rooms and sound systems. For those artists from Rotterdam, they took the opportunity to reconnect with their city — like Bas Mooy’s 'West Kruiskade' inspired by late-night walks home with his friends, or Charlton’s 'Tram 4 op de Bergweg'. Their own stories were translated through the sounds and memories of the past in a way that’s relatable for contemporary audiences. 

For more field recordings from Sound and Vision you can explore them on Europeana

These three records add more diversity and use-cases to RE:VIVE’s growing list of projects and collaborations. The eagerness and excitement of the artists and involved parties continues to be inspiring, reaffirming the notion that cultural heritage and electronic music are a perfect match to revisit and reuse the past. As more institutes open up their collections, the potential for new projects and experiments only continues to grow, allowing us to present the past as never heard before. 

Join us on Friday 13 September at 10:00 CEST, when Europeana Communicators, a specialist community of the Europeana Network Association, presents a ‘Solve-It Session’ on digital storytelling. This hour-long webinar helps participants promote digital cultural heritage by sharing knowledge, tools and best practices.