The Creative Audio Archive (CAA) is a Chicago based center for the preservation and investigation of innovative and experimental sonic arts and music. CAA is an initiative of the Experimental Sound Studio (ESS), a non-profit sonic arts organization founded in 1986 for the production, promotion, and preservation of innovative approaches to the sonic arts, including music in its many forms, audio art, radio art, sound poetry, sound installation, and intermedia, performative, and cinematic disciplines in which sound is a major component.
CAA was formed in response to growing concerns over the general state of historical preservation of non-mainstream audio, in particular, recordings, print, and visual ephemera related to avant-garde and exploratory sound and music of the last five decades.
CAA is therefore conceived as a center to safeguard volatile materials, to transfer them to accessible and stable media, to catalogue and cross-reference these materials, and to make them accessible for study and, where feasible, presentation to the public at large. CAA seeks to bring together various existing collections and, where appropriate, to keep these collections intact as autonomous "sub-archives."
Currently, CAA houses the ESS Collection, the Links Hall Collection, the Sun Ra/El Saturn Collection, and the Malachi Ritscher Collection. As each archive is processed, transferred, cataloged and encoded, their respective finding aid is updated on this website. Access to the collection is open to the public by appointment. To schedule an appointment, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 773-769-1069.