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Other Minds Archives Goes Live January 26, 2024 (NewMusicBox)

 In OM Archive

To coincide with the launch of the new Other Minds Archives website on January 26, 2024, Other Minds’s Program Associate Joseph Bohigian sat down with Charles Amirkhanian, Executive and Artistic Director of Other Minds, and Adrienne Cardwell, Other Minds’s Archivist, to talk about the history and contents of the OM Archives.

Joseph Bohigian: The collections of the Other Minds Archives began with a donation of 4,000 audio tapes to Other Minds from KPFA Radio in Berkeley, California in 1999. How did Other Minds come to be in possession of those tapes, and what was on them?

Charles Amirkhanian: Jim Bennett, who was the then manager of KPFA, wanted to clear out a room to use for another purpose and I had a lot of the tape recordings of music programs in that particular room. The original idea was that the programs should go to the Pacifica Library in Los Angeles, but they really didn’t have the capacity to process them at the time and Jim wanted to get them out of the building at ASAP. So he called me and said, “Would you want to have these for Other Minds for any purpose?” and my head started spinning and I thought, well, I don’t want those tapes to be put in the alley for the garbage man to pick up so I’ll think of what to do with them right away. I called my friend Scott Atthowe, he started a business years ago to help collectors who had more paintings than they had walls in their homes to store their paintings in temperature controlled buildings, and I said, “Do you have any storage space that we could have to put these in while we figure out what to do with them?” and he said he would be glad to move the tapes into a space that somebody had just vacated. So we authorized Atthowe’s services to move the tapes into the storage facility and then we realized we had a huge problem. There were no shelves in there and we needed shelves because there were so many tapes that it would fill 300 linear feet of reel to reel boxes of tapes. So, little by little, we were able to put them in a sort of order and then we started applying for funds to digitize the tapes, which comprised recordings of interviews, concerts, original works that were produced at KPFA that had never been released commercially, poetry readings, happenings. The tapes were eventually, after being digitized, donated to UC Santa Cruz and all the tapes are there in their special collections.

Click here to read complete interview in the NewMusicBox.

Photo by John Fago.

Jason Moran leaning his head on his wrist in a black and white photo.Tyshawn Sorey
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