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It is Daniel Powell’s first day working as a temporary archivist for the Housing Historical Committee of New York State. His boss, Mr. Davenport, gives him an electric recorder which he is supposed to keep switched on at all times. They drive to a building deep in the woods where Dan will be living throughout the duration of his contract with the HHCNYS. Davenport shows him around the living space which contains a standard twin bed, a pantry with a lot of canned food (especially peaches), and the tape library. The tape library contains archives 73 to 92, but Dan is told to focus on archive 81. Dan’s job is to “log tapes, organise them, clean up the archive, digitise everything, and create a new metadata taxonomy.” Davenport reminds him that he should play all the tapes in full, with his electric recorder still turned on. Davenport then shows Dan to the auditory alcove which contains a reel-to-reel (an Otari 5050T model) where Dan will play the tapes. Davenport leaves and Dan listens to the first tape.
Tape 1: Melody Pendras is recording on February 17th, 1994, at 4:32 pm. She works for the Urban Preservation and Development Department of New York State and is doing an introductory survey of the Visser Towers Residential Block. The exterior foyer has standard post-war construction. The lobby is larger than usual for a building this size. All the floors have the same plan. When she reaches the sixth floor, she hears sounds of conversation from behind some doors, and tries to knock on them, but the sounds seem to shift to the other end of the wall. Eventually, Jacob Lester answers and rudely tells her to stop disturbing the tenants.
Tape 2: Melody Pendras is interviewing Jacob Lester on April 3rd at 2:40 pm. She is on floor sixteen of Visser. Jacob Lester delivers a message from Samuel- “it is not yet time for you to understand the work we are undertaking, it will be, eventually, but not yet. Cycles upon cycles, stories upon stories, Melody. Until then, refrain from troubling the members of my society. You are disturbing them.” When she tries to ask Jacob more questions, he gets worked up and leaves.
Tape 3: We hear multiple short clips.
- On February 2nd, 1994, Melody gives her full consent to be recorded as a temporary researcher for the Urban Preservation and Development Department of New York State.
- On June 11th at 2:33 am, she tries to record audio from the equipment room but there is only static.
- On April 1st, at 1:05 am, she tries to record audio of the 14th floor hallway of Visser. We hear her say “please, please no”, and then there is static.
Dan tries to scrub the tape to fix it and we hear Melody heading to the boiler room of Visser, where Samuel told her he would be. She has a feeling she won’t make it out of this, and is glad that she is leaving behind her tapes. As she gets closer to the boiler room, the static gets louder and weirder, and then the tape breaks. Dan also turns off his recorder.