Vega sings “Tom’s Diner,” without amplification, into the horn of a
vintage Thomas Edison phonograph machine as its needle digs the song
straight into wax. Not “wax” as in the vinyl we’ve all played music on —
wax as in wax. The technician then readies the cylinder for
playback, winds the crank, and releases “Tom’s Diner 1890″: a speed- and
pitch-inconstant warble beneath a carpet of surface noise..
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