ARC tries to save every popular music recording, regardless of
quality. Our collection is well organized and half of our 2 million
recordings are catalogued. No one can judge quality or importance in
their own time - some are just really good guessers. Why would anyone
in their right mind save five Bert Sommer LPs? But that's what Ang
Lee wanted to hear for his Taking Woodstock film. Sad to say, we had
them all. A story we tell to illustrate our Molly "yes, Yes, YES"
Bloom approach -
Emanuel Boundzeki Dongala wrote a wonderfal short story called "Jazz
and Palm Wine". In it, the earth is invaded from Outer Space and the
advance ships land in Zaire. Aliens conquer the world. Spacemen
explore the various cultures and societies on this planet and decide,
quite rightly, that the only things of value are palm wine, a West
African intoxicant, and Jazz. The tipsy, hip and benign rulers make
Sun Ra the president of the United States and John Coltrane the Pope.
"A Love Supreme" replaces the "Gloria" in the liturgy.
We view the past through the artifacts that survive, and future
societies (spacemen?) will reshape the past, creating their own
version of our culture(s).
So the ARChive collects and preserves everything that’s issued, hoping
to define ‘what happened’ in terms broader than those usually
described by selectiveness or availability. Taste, quality,
marketing, Halls of Fame, sales, stars and value are as alien to us as
they are, well, to Aliens. The ARChive's job is to make sure "A Love
Supreme" will be there when it’s needed.