Audiological Transmission #50/52: The Quietened Bunker – Comms: Seen Through The Grey / Revisitation #4a
Audiological exploration by Listening Center.
Notes and Scribings:
The Quietened Bunker is an exploration of the abandoned and/or decommissioned Cold War installations which lie under the land and that would have acted as selectively populated refuges/control centres if the button was ever pushed.
They could be seen as once modern fortresses – reinforced concrete and blast doors replacing moats and stone battlements.
However, these subterranean fortresses would likely also have been places of entombment – somewhere that those who once ran the infrastructure and defence of the nation would watch the days pass as supplies dwindled and the inevitable time came when the air filters would give out, all long before the world would become habitable again.
Accompanying the main bunkers in the UK were a network of hundreds of small underground monitoring posts which would report on the size of an attack and the resulting fallout. Manned by volunteers, they were to be operational for just three weeks.
The intention was that these would form part of a network of civil defence and management, accompanied by government issued Protect and Survive leaflets/broadcasts that would have offered advice on how to protect home and hearth via little more than whitewashing windows as blast protection and forming a shelter by leaning mattresses against an inner wall of your house.
Looking back, such preparations can seem a reflection of some kind of madness or delusion in the collective consciousness and the halls of power – a tilting at windmills that was necessary to protect national psyches from the reality and aftermath of the sudden use and descending of mechanisms with almost indescribable destructive power.
Now it can all seem like a dream from another world, one where for a number of decades populations lived under the day-to-day threat of total annihilation and where millions was spent on this network of shelters and defences; preparations to allow fiddling once all had burned, such bunkers possibly being nearer to utilitarian national follies than fortresses.
Indeed, today they are as likely to be signposted tourist attractions as operative defences.
The Quietened Bunker reflects on these chimeric bulwarks and the faded but still present memory of associated Cold War dread, of which they are stalwart, mouldering symbols.
Transmissions sent, received, transmitted:
“The Quietened Bunker is an exploration of the abandoned and/or decommissioned Cold War installations (i.e. my favourite places). And (spoiler) it’s brilliant – an absolute contender for my album of the year. Every single track is expressive of the theme, though they all take a different approach to presenting it.” Pete Collins at Both Bars On
“Grey Frequency’s Drakelow Tunnels is comprised of desolate drones like wind whipping through a crumbling building, menacing hums and echoes, and a repeated three-note melody loaded with foreboding… Listening Center combines music reminiscent of 1970s synth pioneers with a darkly experimental edge… David Colohan of United Bible Studies contributes a soundtrack-esque piece that is stark yet beautiful, a sense of hope shining through the abandonment like flowers arising triumphantly through crumbling concrete.” Kim Harten at Bliss Aquamarine
“Over the course of the album, the sounds blend beautifully together, each seemingly tied to the next by a sense of loneliness and abandonment, creating a very melancholic collection that is very engaging with every artist playing their part in the mystery. To end it all, David Colohan takes the listener on a magical ride as “Waiting for the Blazing Sky” unfolds around you, a soft melodic slice of electronics that seems to float without form or purpose, summing up the cold war relics that inspired this excellent compilation.” Simon Lewis at Terrascope
Other considerations and zeros and ones/frequency modulation broadcasts of the album can also be found at:
Seance Radio Show / Include Me Out / A Closer Listen #1 / A Closer Listen #2 / You, The Night & The Music #1 / You The Night & The Music # 2 / Evening Of Light / Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone / Nick Luscombe at Late Junction / Music Won’t Save You / The Crooked Button Radio Show / John Coulthart’s Feuilleton / Syndae #1 / Syndae #2 / The Sunday Experience / Gated Canal Community Radio / Simon Reynold’s Retromania.
A tip of the hat to all concerned.
Further details of The Quietened Bunker can be found around these parts here.