Hit Play On Musical Treats At National Library

Published: Mon 20 May 2024 10:00 AM
The music machine and new media and music specialists, from left, Sebastian Blair, Michael Brown and Keith McEwing. Photo: Max Olijnyk/ Te Tari Taiwhenua Internal Affairs
An interactive installation of musical wonder has been installed on the ground floor of the National Library in Wellington. It will be on display for the month of May to celebrate NZ Music Month.
The ‘music machine’ was created to promote recordings and music held within the Archive of New Zealand Music at the National Library. It encourages users to discover local music in a non-biased way – the only interface being a ‘skip track’ button which pulls a randomised new track from the playlist. The music is presented visually using LED lights and original cover art. The public is invited to explore some of Aotearoa’s favourite tracks.
From Māori waiata to pop nuggets, ukulele bands to jazz combos, the playlist consists of 140 songs drawn from the project ‘In the Vault’. The ‘In the Vault’ project kicked off in 2020 when the National Library began to curate a music selection for passengers on long-haul Air New Zealand flights. The songs are mainly selected from the recordings reissued by Viking Sevenseas, Ode Record Company and Flying Nun Records, whose master tape collections are held in the Archive of New Zealand Music.
Listen to a range of ‘In the Vault’ playlists on the National Library YouTube channel, or on your next long-haul Air New Zealand flight.
Currently, the installation is unnamed. Suggestions so far have included ‘The Jukebox’, ‘The Music Box’, ‘The Music Machine’ and ‘The Listening Post’. The library would love to hear any name suggestions from those visiting.
The ‘music machine’ was created by a team from the Alexander Turnbull Library and Public Engagement at National Library. Contributors included music curators Michael Brown and Keith McEwing, music research librarian Mark Hector, manager Shane Gosnell, web archivist Sholto Duncan, and new media specialist Sebastian Blair. It supports the work the library is doing in finding new ways to highlight the rich variety of collections and inspire new audiences to explore what the National Library has on offer.

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