Folkways means that “everything occurring on the earth and in the contemporary time is being recorded. Folkways is a record company to describe the human race, the sound it makes, what it creates.”
Soundscapes of Nature, Science, Technology and Everyday Life
Sounds of the Office
A manual typewriter dominates the cover, conjuring up the mechanically generated soundscape of a New York office. The shadowy, negative photographic image also uncannily suggests the impending transformation of this "epitome of everyday life" into an artifact of the past.
Sounds of Insects
The cover photograph, a magnified negative image of the formidable hornet, visually reflects the sounds of the insects on the recording, which are greatly amplified and somewhat distorted. Entomologist, Albro T. Gaul produced the record based on his book The Wonderful World of Insects.
Sounds of North American Frogs
Once a bestseller, this album, produced in cooperation with The American Museum of Natural History, presents field recordings of the sounds of different species of North American frogs. These sounds are captured visually on the cover through a series of concentric ovals emanating like sound waves from the frog's mouth. The background, appropriately, is green.
Sounds of Steam Locomotives, Vol. 5
Inspired by the sight of locomotives struggling up the Kicking Horse Pass in the Canadian Rockies, Vinton Wight set out to preserve the sounds of the steam engine that would soon disappear. The 1929 etching by Marsh is historicizing, placing the steam engine visually into the past even when it was still functioning. Moses Asch likely selected this cover image, since it was from his collection.
Cable Car Soundscapes
This photograph was likely taken by the album's producer, Peter MxCandless. Its central placement and vertical format, together with the lines created by the tracks, transport the viewer into the scene, along for the cable car ride.
Inspired by gamelan sounds, Richard Lerman's bicycle music consists of striking the spokes of the bicycles as the wheels are turned by hand (in concert) or by riding (in promenade). The cover photo shows him with a group of Belgian high school students on amplified bicycles about to set off for the promenade version of Travelon Gamelon in Ghent, 1981.