Misrphon (Egypt) / c. 1952

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Design: The illustration shows the iconic statue of the Sphinx of Gizeh, a fabulous hybrid creature featuring a lion's body with a Pharaoh's head. In the background are a pair of imaginary stone structures, of different designs. The label name, the imprinting and even the artist's signature are also hybridized, showing both Arabic and Roman letterforms. The dotted border, which may or may not serve a stroboscopic purpose (appearing as static dots when the record spins at the correct speed), restricts the size of the label's elements. Generally, such devices appear on the extreme outer edge of the label (e.g. Triola).

History: Label scan courtesy of collector Georg Richter of Germany, who writes: "Misrphon (which means 'the Sound of Egypt') was founded in the early to mid-1950s (the exact year is unknown) by its owner, Egyptian composer, musician and movie artist Muhammad Fawzy (spelled Mohamed Fawzi on record labels). In late 1962 the label was nationalized and renamed 'Sawt al Qahira' (Sono Cairo). Initially, the records were recorded in a rented studio in Cairo and pressed in Greece, but later Fawzy took over the Mechian Company, Egypt's first record-pressing plant, which had been founded in 1908 by Mr. Setrak Mechian, an Armenian immigrant. Due to Fawzy's interest in getting NV Philips as shareholder, his own studios were equipped with apparatus from NV Philips (the electronics giant based in the Netherlands). [Brief summary from an article in 'Asian Music,' 2008 by Michael Frishkopf, University of Alberta]."

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