John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Ready to lose hours of productivity digging through lost gems, from 1960s Ethiopia and 1930s Peru?
Want to know what Argentinians were swinging to in 1918? How about music lovers in 1960s Turkey?
The answer might’ve been the “Inspiracion” tango by Pedro Maffia and “Ay Beyaz Deniz Mavi” by the T.P.A.O. Batman Orkestrasi, the latter featuring a kickass electric-organ rhythm:
You don’t need a time machine or extremely well-stocked record store to sound-warp to these musty times and places. You just need Radiooooo, a new service that maps and plays tunes from every decade back to 1900.
To use Radiooooo—and I assume that’s pronounced in the Seinfeld voice—click on a country of interest and pick a decade. Depending on what you’re hankering for, choose a mood like “slow” or “weird” or both, and a song from that time will start playing. Details like release date, album art, and the modern-day individual who dug up the track appear at lower left.
It’s a beta service, so not every decade is represented for some countries and a few nations remain totally blank. You can help improve the map by uploading your own tunes and reporting bugs. And be sure to visit “Discovery Island” (located above Siberia) for the freshest findings from the Radiooooo staff.
Here’s a small sample of the gems hiding in the map I discovered pretty much by random. “Honey Baby” is a groovy Ethiopian offering from 1969 by Alèmayèhu Eshètè:
Try not to laugh listening to “Je M'en Vais au Marché,” a 1946 auctioneer-chanting ditty from Canada’s La Bolduc:
“Zorro Est Arrivé,” a 1964 release from French-Caribbean singer Henri Salvador, is what might result from composing a song on horseback under the influence of mescaline. Salvador’s been called the father of the music video; watching this camp-dripping hallucination you can certainly believe it:
And I have no idea what to say about this funky, space flute-sounding disco number from Ukraine’s Sofia Rotaru, released in the good ol’ Soviet 1980s:
H/t Maps Mania