• Audio Visual Transmission Guide #41/52a: (Revisiting) Travelling For A Living

    Derrick Knight-Travelling For A Living-The Watersons-1966-BFIPlayer-1

    Back in the first year of A Year In The Country I wrote about Travelling For A Living, Derrick Knight’s 1966 documentary about folk singers The Watersons.

    Back then it was quite a hard film to track down – it had been available on video tape once upon a time, it could be found in an out of print boxset and I think it was available at the BFI’s Mediatheques (there were a handful of these around the UK in cinemas, libraries etc, which had a number of screens and headphones where you could watch archived films, television etc).

    Anyways, with the advent of the online BFIPlayer in more recent times, you can now watch Travelling For A Living relatively easily online, so I thought I would revisit it.

    Derrick Knight-Travelling For A Living-The Watersons-1966-BFIPlayer-7

    The film follows The Watersons throughout their life on the road, playing at folk clubs, recording in studios, at home in Hull as friends and other performers visit (including a fleeting rare glance of folk singer Anne Briggs).

    Although it was released in 1966, it seems to belong to an earlier much more kitchen sink, almost post-war period.

    Often representations of British life and social history from that time focus on a swirling, colourful, pop-mod-about-to-be-psych Swinging London metropolitan view of things.

    Travelling For A Living presents a more gritty Northern contrast to that (although no less vital), an almost alternative history view of culture at that time which seems to have been semi-written out of popular cultural history.

    Derrick Knight-Travelling For A Living-The Watersons-1966-BFIPlayer-3

    However, quite possibly, the locations and music shown in Travelling For A Living was nearer to the day-to-day life of more of the nation than that of Swinging London; more backroom of a local pub than Kings Road high life, club and boutique orientated.

    Travelling-For-A-Living-Derek-Knight-The-Watersons-A-Year-In-The-Country-8b-in a row

    I think one of the reasons I’m drawn to the film is that it provides a glimpse or two of a culture which, though it existed in what is now looked back upon as a time of swinging Britannia and heading towards the psychedelia of the late 1960s summer of love, appears to be very separate from the more often considered views and aesthetics of the time.

    This is a much more grassroots, kitchen sink, gritty culture/counter-culture and to my eye makes me think more of the 1950s than the 1960s; all monochrome steaming breath and black wearing beat style.

    In a way it reminds me of images of the 1980s Medway garage punk scene, such as those taken by Eugene Doyen; it shares that sense of a culture that is occurring separate to the mainstream stories and histories of the time and shares a similar kitchen sink, no frills and fripperies aesthetic.

    (From the first year post on Travelling For A Living.)

    Derrick Knight-Travelling For A Living-The Watersons-1966-BFIPlayer-2

    Folk music is often associated with rural areas and tradition but in Travelling For A Living it is generally shown in amongst a much more Northern town setting – the film featuring extensive evocative terraced house street views and is connected to the harsh realities of the local fishing industry from which some of the traditional songs The Watersons sing originated.

    Derrick Knight-Travelling For A Living-The Watersons-1966-BFIPlayer-6

    At one point their musical producer talks about how all the other music that they’ve heard – Ella Fitzgerald, more contemporary work by the likes of The Rolling Stones, music hall, jazz etc – edges into their music.

    Derrick Knight-Travelling For A Living-The Watersons-1966-BFIPlayer-5

    (I could add pub singing to that as their take on folk singing seems in part to have developed from and could be connected to the oral, communal tradition of pub singing, which developed in the local area after the war and the demolishing of the music hall, with the associated music moving into pubs: at one point Norma Waterson say of pub singing “This is our tradition, it’s what we were brought up on.“)

    Him saying that got me wandering as to how much The Watersons were replicating the past and how much they were creating their own take on traditional music.

    This music doesn’t exist today as a living form but only in odd corners of memory; selected, hidden in the early recordings, notes and jottings treasured in the collections of Cecil Sharpe House. From these still warm ashes The Waterstones created music which is then seen to be very much alive.” (From the narration to the film.)

    There were relatively few recordings of traditional folk available at the time, it being more an oral tradition and often existing outside or before the widespread recording of music or only have been recorded in written form by the likes of folk music researchers and revivers such as Cecil Sharpe in the early 20th century.

    (As a connected aside, in the film The Watersons are shown visiting and listening to the archives of Cecil Sharpe House.)

    Therefore reference points and memories of this earlier music may well have been fragmentary in nature and not have leant themselves to exact replication; possibly meaning that music created by The Watersons back then was in part an almost hauntological, hazy remembering of folk music – one that is both a homage to earlier traditional folk and which has also to a degree over the years come to represent what traditional folk music sounds like.

    Derrick Knight-Travelling For A Living-The Watersons-1966-BFIPlayer-3b

    (File Post Under: Cathode Ray & Cinematic Explorations, Radiowave Resonations & Audiological Investigations)

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #1:
    Travelling For A Living

    Local Broadcasts:
    Day #11/365: Lal Waterson – Teach Me To Be A Summers Morning
    Day #242/365: The return of old souls; fleeting glances of Anne Briggs
    Day #243/365: Travelling For A Living; tea served in the interval at nine o’clock and a return to populous stories and wald tales

     

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  • Wanderings #41/52a: Research and Investigations of the Spectral Landscape

    Fiend In The Furrows-The Alchemical Landscape-A Year In The Country
    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    Within academic work there has grown an increasing space for, research and interest in a vast variety of often quite fringe or leftfield cultural work.

    Once upon a time, not actually all that long ago (although in the decades), you could count the number of say media studies courses available at UK universities on less than the digits of one hand.

    Now, well, if you should wander through a university’s library, peruse their prospectuses and/or areas of expertise and research interests of their staff you are almost as likely to come across mentions of say niche cinema as for example more traditional philosophical thought.

    A Fiend In The Furrows-A Year In The Country

    Along which lines…

    There has been a small but growing gathering of interest in things otherly folkloric, the spectral landscape and related/intertwined hauntological work in academia, part of which has lead to a number of related events and conferences, including:

    A Fiend In The Furrows was a 2014 conference on “Perspectives on Folk Horror in Literature, Film and Music”, which was held at Queen’s University in Belfast.

    Timecode-Hauntology 20 Years On-Jacques DerridaA Fiend In The Furrows-Folk horror conference-Queens University belfast

    Hauntology: 20 Years On, a one-day academic symposium at the National Media Museum organised by the Communication Culture and Media Research Group which is part of the University of Bradford and which focused on the legacy of philosopher Jacques Derrida, who coined the phrase/concept hauntology.

    The Quest For The Wicker Man-Benjamin Franks-bookWhile in 2003 there was a three day academic conference on The Wicker Man called The Wicker Man: Readings Rituals and Reactions at the University of Glasgow, which lead to the production of a book which collected essays based on the papers presented at the conference called Constructing The Wicker Man published in 2005, which in turn lead to a further academic collection of essays, The Quest for the Wicker Man: Historical, Folklore and Pagan Perspectives, which featured an intertwined set of writers and editors.

    More recently in Glasgow in 2017 as part of the Merchant City Festival there was an event called Deconstructing The Wicker Man, which involved a screening of the film and also featured discussions by Dr Jonny Murray who was involved in the above University of Glasgow event/Wicker Man book and Dr Lizanne Henderson of the University of Glasgow.

    Yvonne Salmon-Alchemical Landscape

    Travelling along interconnected cultural pathways, The Alchemical Landscape at the University of Cambridge is a research group which has hosted a number of ongoing events and discussions and focuses in part on “occultural” representations of rural, landscape and spectral work.

    Alongside discussions of The Wicker Man at such events there have been considerations of the pastoral noir aspects of Shirley Collins’ music, folk music traditions in relation to hauntology, numerous folk horror/hauntology related presentations and screenings including the likes of Witchfinder General, The Ash Tree, The Stone Tape and other work by Nigel Kneale and so forth.

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMark Fisher-Ghosts Of My Life-Zero Books-hauntology-A Year In The Country

    The events have also included performances, talks etc by the likes of author Chris Lambert, who has contributed to the Tales From The Black Meadow project which creates a multi-faceted fictitious otherly folkloric/hauntological world, Mark Fisher who was the author of hauntology related book Ghosts of My Life and Robin The Fog of Radiophonic-esque tape loop manipulators Howlround.

    Howlround-Drew Mullholland-English Heretic-Sharron Kraus-3

    They have also included a talk by Drew Mulholland whose album The Séance at Hobs Lane, released under the name Mount Vernon Arts Lab, was inspired in part by Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass work alongside “Victorian skullduggery, outlaws, secret societies and subterranean experiences” and which was re-released by Ghost Box Records.

    (As an aside Drew Mulholland has worked both as an independently released musician and as Glasgow University’s geography and astrophysics department’s composer-in-residence. His work in the later 1990s and turn of the century such as the albums The Séance at Hobs Lane and One Minute Blasts Rising To Three And Then Diminishing, which was recorded 100 feet below ground in an abandoned nuclear bunker, can be seen as forebears to hauntological work.)

    Related events have also included Andy Sharp of English Heretic / Eighth Climate, who work within the flipside, undercurrents, occult and hidden reverse of culture, history and the landscape:

    “It is our task at English Heretic, ostensibly, to maintain, nurture and care for the psychohistorical environment of England.”

    And also Sharron Kraus, whose work seems imbued with a sense of very personal research that takes in layered tales of the land, folk music and folklore.

    The Alchemical Landscape-Yvonne Salmon-A Year In The Country

    To a degree and in part, what such events and academic research seem to focus on and reflect is the earlier mentioned interwining of otherly or flipside of folk and rural culture and the more spectral concerns of hauntology, something which is reflected in The Alchemical Landscape’s About page which includes the following text, saying it has two intersecting points of focus, which are:

    “The artistic representation of the British landscape as an uncanny if not haunted space, and the use of comparable ‘spectral’ language to speak about matters of environment, property and value. From economic ghost towns to geomantic visitations, the interest of the Alchemical Landscape project lies with the way these tropes describe the ‘natural’ landscape of contemporary Britain and its geographic, architectural and symbolic histories.”

     

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:

    Day #23/365: Nigel Kneale’s The Stone Tape – a study of future haunted media

    Day #58/365: Lullabies for the land and a pastoral magicbox by Ms Sharron Kraus

    Day #142/365: Fog Signals/Ghost signals from lost transmission centres

    Day #163/365: Mark Fisher’s Ghosts Of My Life and a very particular mourning and melancholia for a future’s past…

    Day #167/365: Wandering back through the darkening fields and flickerings to imaginary soundtracks…

    Day #188/365: The Ash Tree; Sacred Disobedience, an unorthodox guidance and further fields In England

     

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  • Artifact Report #41/52: A Year In The Country at Music Won’t Save You

    Music Wont Save You-Raffaello Russo

    Over the months and years Raffaello Russo has written about the A Year In The Country releases at his Music Won’t Save You site and in Rockerilla magazine a fair few times, most recently about The Quietened Cosmologists.

    There have been links to the reviews at A Year In The Country before but I thought it would be good to gather together links to some of those reviews…

    Music Wont Save You-reviews-A Year In The Country

    Michael Tanner – Nine Of SwordsUnited Bible Studies – Doineann / A Year In The Country – Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels / The Quietened Village

    “Pratica ambientale e spirito folk si fondono nell’operazione, declinati nelle visionarie stille acustiche di The Straw Bear Band e di Sproatly Smith, ma anche nelle allucinate pièce orchestrali di David Colohan e Richard Moult, cartoline da un viaggio in un tempo perduto.” (From the review of The Quietened Village.)

    Music Wont Save You-reviews-A Year In The Country-2

    Fractures / The Quietened Bunker / A Year In The Country – No More Unto The Dance / The Forest/The Wald

    “Il percorso attraverso i misteri di ambienti rurali abbandonati seguito attraverso sei uscite a tiratura limitata nel corso dell’anno dal cenacolo artistico dell’etichetta A Year In The Country ne ha condotto i protagonisti a esplorare luoghi reconditi, memorie cristallizzate in un altrove spazio-temporale e persino a inseguirne visioni spettrali proiettate verso uno spazio in(de)finito.” (From the review of The Forest/The Wald).

    Music Wont Save You-reviews-A Year In The Country-3

    The Restless Field / From The Furthest Signals / A Year In The Country – UndercurrentsThe Quietened Cosmologists

    “Sempre più orientati alle componenti antropiche e post-industriali del paesaggio, gli itinerari tra suono e immaginazione del cenacolo artistico A Year In The Country segnano in “The Quietened Cosmologists” una nuova tappa dedicata alle visioni futuribili allegate a costruzioni funzionali all’esplorazione spaziale.” (From the review of The Quietened Cosmologists).

    The Music Won’t Save You website is an archive of Raffaello Russo’s writing and features literally hundreds of articles and reviews that take in a wide, eclectic selection of music (looking at the indexes on the site is one of those “When does the gent sleep?” moments) and although largely in Italian, if you’re not fluent in that language they can be read in (fractured) English via online translation services.

    Tip of the hat and thanks to him for the support.

     

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  • Ether Signposts #41/52a: Tales From The Kern Baby And Birmingham Library’s Benjamin Stone Archive

    The Harvest Home “Kerr Baby” of 1901. Whalton, Northumberland. 1902. The Benjamin Stone Collection

    A while ago I came across the collection of Benjamin Stone’s work at Birmingham Library, where apparently they have over 17,000 photographs by him:

    Sir Benjamin Stone travelled around the country in search of unusual festivals and customs. This gallery includes May Day festivals, the Sherborne Pageant, Corby Pole Fair and the Northumberland Baal Fires.

    I think I came across the collection following explorations around his photograph of a Kern Baby which is:

    …from a festival called ‘The Harvest Home’ in Northumberland in 1901. This festival was all about celebrating that fact that the farmers had harvested the corn and this would mean that the community had enough to eat for another year. The last corn that was gathered would be made into a human shape, dressed in fine clothes and crowned with flowers and called the ‘Kern Baby’ or ‘Harvest Queen.’ There would be feasting and music to celebrate the harvest.

    Benjamin Stone-Kern Baby-Birmingham Library-2I had written about the photograph in the first year of A Year In The Country and previous to reading the above I think the photograph existed in my head largely unnamed and unexplained, an example of intriguing folkloric costume from the flipside and undercurrents of folklore.

    One of the things I like about the Birmingham Library’s collection is that the photographs are reproduced with their border of Benjamin Stone’s handwritten notes and dates, it adds a certain something and seems to root them in a particular time and place…

    To see more than a brief snapshot of the Benjamin Stone archive’s you’ll need to personally visit Birmingham Library but there are a selection of images available online.

    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions and Destinations:
    The Kern Baby at Birmingham Library
    Benjamin Stone archive of customs and festivals at Birmingham Library

    Local Places Of Interest:
    Day #131/365: John Benjamin Stone; records of folkloric rituals, traditions and light catching from other eras…
    Ether Signposts #5/52a: Homer Sykes Once A Year And A Lineage Of Folk Custom Wanderings

     

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  • Ocular Signals #40/52a: Image N/2a

    Image-N2a-3rd-year-A-Year-In-The-Country
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #40/52a: The Unsleeping Eye

    The Unseeing Eye-1985-BFIplayer-2

    For a while now I’ve been exploring the BFIPlayer’s collection of films, a collection which includes local amateur recordings of British life, left-of-centre independent film, shorts, experimental work etc…

    The Unsleeping Eye made in 1985 is a fascinating time capsule and snapshot of part of Cold War infrastructure.

    It is a documentary about the Flyingdales ballistic missile early warning station on the Yorkshire Moors which featured the iconic golfball-esque radar system (styled after Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome designs).

    Now, in modern day terms this installation cost over twelve billion pounds to build, which would imply that the powers that be took the threat of attack seriously…

    …but then that is contrasted in the documentary with a dramatised scene where a local real life volunteer, one of a network of over 10,000, hears of an impending attack via a warning system transmitted to a small speaker device.

    The Unseeing Eye-1985-BFIplayer-4

    The gent in question is a pub landlord and the speaker device is shown as being sat on the corner of a shelf in a pub, just below the spirits optics; he rushes outside with a hand cranked air raid siren to alert the local population.

    I kind of shake my head. It’s sort of comic but more tragic I guess:

    “What was that John, two pints and… oh, sorry, I’ve just had a message that the end of civilisation is about to happen. You wanted peanuts as well? I’ll get them in a mo’, just got to take the siren outside. Last orders please.”

    The Unseeing Eye-1985-BFIplayer-6

    I think this sense of tragedy (absurdity?) is heightened as the program opens with a view of a mechanical siren overlooking what looks like a rural town and the pub that the hand cranked siren is set up outside is a classic British country pub called Hare & Hounds – all whitewashed walls and hanging flower baskets, while the base itself is shown set amongst the rural beauty of the rolling Yorkshire moors.

    The Unseeing Eye-1985-BFIplayer

    Although largely focusing on those involved directly in working for Flyingdales, the peace camp outside the base is shown and some of its members are briefly interviewed, as is a local farmer who is patriotically proud of the base and its purpose, saying in a somewhat flowery/poetic manner:

    “They are our eyes – the eyes that Bruce Kent and his delilahs would like to put out.”

    (Bruce Kent is an activist who was well known for his work in the 1980s for CND and during some of that period was its general secretary and chair.)

    At various points the equipment inside the multi-billion pound complex is shown, which is all computers the size of a room that could now probably fit inside the average smart phone, Quatermass-esque dials and equipment, curiously 1960s Batman television series Batcave-like signs on top of equipment and an aquarium (a curious addition which I assume was added to the base to help induce sense of calm in amongst all this quite heavy/serious scanning and surveying).

    And although this is 1985, when a warning simulation is shown inside the complex it seems to recall the 1950s as it is all clanging bells and ticker tape like noises, while towards the end the program there is a montage of missile launches and the tones becomes more than a touch sensationalist in a way, as they shown in all their imposing presence to a pounding Hollywood-esque soundtrack.

    Strange times.

    The Unseeing Eye-1985-BFIplayer-9

    (File Post Under: Cathode Ray & Cinematic Explorations, Radiowave Resonations & Audiological Investigations)

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #1:
    The Unsleeping Eye

    Local Broadcasts:
    Day #114/365: Waiting For The End Of The World and havens beneath our feet
    Week #30/52: The Quietened Bunker Archives #1; A Lovely Day Out / Not Your Average Des Res
    Week #31/52: The Quietened Bunker Archives #2; Songs For The Bunker – The Once Was Ascendance Of Apocalyptic Pop
    Week #32/52: Bunker Archives #3: Wargames, Hollywood phantoms and phantasms and the only winning move is not to play

    Other contemporaneous tales of the flipside of the Yorkshire moors:
    Week #37/52: Edge Of Darkness, stepping into the vortex, reshuffling and sweeping the board…

     

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  • Wanderings #40/52a: Further Natural Calligraphy / Carving The Land / The Story Of Land Art

    The Coast Of England & Wales In Pictures-book-JA Steers-1960-A Year In The Country-2
    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    I’ve mentioned before about trees and the patterns they make as being a form of natural calligraphy…

    The images in The Coast Of England & Wales In Pictures by J.A. Steers from 1960 could be seen as a similar thing but rather they are patterns created by the land and tides themselves.

    The Coast Of England & Wales In Pictures-book-JA Steers-1960-A Year In The Country-1 The Coast Of England & Wales In Pictures-book-JA Steers-1960-A Year In The Country-3 The Coast Of England & Wales In Pictures-book-JA Steers-1960-A Year In The Country-4

    What such things put me in mind of in part, are the artworks created in the landscape that can be seen in Troublemakers: The Story Of Land Art, which is a documentary on a number of people in the 1960s onwards who literally carved, excavated and poured often huge, landscape sized work out in the desert, along the coast etc…

    TROUBLEMAKERS-Double Negative-The Story Of Land Art-A Year In The Country

    Spiral-jetty-from-rozel-point-Troublemakers-The Story Of Land Art-A Year In The Country

    Troublemakers-The Story Of Land Art-A Year In The Country

    Blimey might be an appropriate phrase about now. Installation art on a grand scale…

     

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Week #52/52: An Arboreal Collection Or Two And Hello And Goodbye…

    Wanderings #15/52a: Other Views / The Patterns Beneath The Plough, The Pylons And Amongst The Edgelands #1

    Wanderings #31/52a: The Shadow Of Heaven Above

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    Troublemakers: The Story Of Land Art at its home in the ether and the accompanying trailer.

     

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  • Artifact Report #40/52a: The Quietened Cosmologists – Released

    The Quietened Cosmologists-six Night and Dawn editions-front

    Artifact #5a

    Featuring audiological explorations by Field Lines Cartographer, Pulselovers, Magpahi, Howlround, Vic Mars, Unit One, A Year In The Country, Keith Seatman, Grey Frequency, Time Attendant, Listening Center, Polypores and David Colohan.

    The Quietened Cosmologists is a reflection on space exploration projects that have been abandoned and/or that were never realised, of connected lost or imagined futures and dreams, the intrigue and sometimes melancholia of related derelict sites and technological remnants that lie scattered and forgotten.

    It takes as its initial starting points the shape of the future’s past via the discarded British space program of the 1950s to 1970s; the sometimes statuesque and startling derelict artifacts and infrastructure from the Soviet Union’s once far reaching space projects; the way in which manned spaceflight beyond Earth’s orbit/to the moon and the associated sense of a coming space age came to be largely put to one side after the 1969 to 1972 US Apollo flights.

    Available via our Artifacts Shop, our Bandcamp Ether Victrola and at Norman Records.
    Dawn Edition £11.95. Night Edition £24.95.

    Both editions hand-finished and custom printed using archival giclée pigment ink by
    A Year In The Country.

     

    Preview the tracks at Soundcloud.

     

    Dawn Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £11.95.
    Hand-finished white/black CDr album in textured recycled fold out sleeve with inserts and badge.

    The Quietened Cosmologists-Dawn edition-front back and opened-A Year In The CountryThe Quietened Cosmologists-Dawn Edition-A Year In The CountryThe Quietened Cosmologists-Dawn edition-back and badge-A Year In The CountryThe Quietened Cosmologists-Dawn Edition-opened-A Year In The CountryThe Quietened Cosmologists-Edition-white-black-CD-A-Year-In-The-Country
    Top of CD.                                                          Bottom of CD.

    Further encasement details:
    1) Custom printed using archival giclée pigment ink.
    2) Includes 25mm/1″ badge, secured with removable glue on string bound tag.
    3) Back of one insert hand numbered.

     

    Night Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £24.95.
    Hand-finished box-set contains: album on all black CDr, 12 page string bound booklet, 4 x badge pack, 4 x stickers, 1 x large badge.
    The Quietened Cosmologists-Night edition-A Year In The Country-2The Quietened Cosmologists-Night Edition-opened-A Year In The Country The Quietened Cosmologist-Night Edition-all componentsThe Quietened Cosmologists-Night Edition-booklet-A Year In The CountryThe Quietened Cosmologists-Night-Edition-all-black-CD-A-Year-In-The-Country
    Top of CD.                                                            Bottom of CD.

    Further encasement details:
    1) Booklet/cover art custom printed using archival giclée pigment ink.
    2) Contained in a matchbox style sliding two-part rigid matt card box with cover print.
    3) Fully black CDr (black on top, black on playable side).
    4) Black string bound booklet: 12 pages (6 sides printed);
    Printed on textured fine art cotton rag paper, heavy card and semi-transparent vellum.
    Hand numbered on the reverse.
    5) 4 x badge set, contained in a see-through polythene bag with a folded card header.
    6) 1 x large badge.
    7) 4 x vinyl style stickers.

    The Quietened Cosmologists-Night edition-three booklets-A Year In The Country

    The Quietened Cosmologists-Night Edition-4 sticker designs-A Year In The Country-2

    Further audiological exploration details:

    1) OPS-4 – Field Lines Cartographer
    2) Lonely Puck – Pulselovers
    3) Chayka – Magpahi
    4) Night Call, Collect – Howlround
    5) X-3 – Vic Mars
    6) Voyages Of The Moon – Unit One
    7) The March Of Progress/Frontier Dreams – A Year In The Country
    8) 093A-Prospero – Keith Seatman
    9) Phantom Cosmonauts – Grey Frequency
    10) Adrift – Time Attendant
    11) Mléčný Perihelion Weekend – Listening Center
    12) The Amateur Astronomer – Polypores
    13) Landfall At William Creek – David Colohan

    Artwork/encasment design and fabrication by AYITC Ocular Signals Department

    Artifact #5a / Library Reference Numbers: A010TQCN / A010TQCD

    The Quietened Cosmologists-landscape artwork-4

    “‘Mléčný Perihelion Weekend’ by Listening Center takes us to a strange ticking otherworldy place, a place that feels at once vast and infinite, a haunting slice of space music… The record ends with ‘Landfall at William Creek’, David Colohan’s spectral hammered dulcimer peels away into the inky vastness of space, a beautiful end to a fine record.
    Andrew Young, Terrascope

    The Quietened Cosmologists-landscape artwork-2

    The Quietened Cosmologists’ features a dozen spectral suites, each exploring the various aspects, forgotten histories and what ifs of these golden age adventures… Pulselovers serve up ‘Lonely Puck’ – a wonderfully serene and affectionate love note mailed out from across the outer edges of the cosmos, a transmission from a long lost and forgotten outpost if you like, twinkle toned and radiantly awash in what sounds like shimmering cosmic church bell celebrations… While last one for this brief ride, Field Lines Cartographer’s ‘OPS-4’ with its binary shimmer tones and vapour rubbed ethereal detailing, cuts a finite line between the enchanting and the eerie, a ghost flotilla perhaps a sonic spectre of sorts or rather more, an orbital occurrence with past visions looped on endless replay.
    Mark Barton, The Sunday Experience

     

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  • Ether Signposts #40/52a: Zupagrafika and Lost Future Intertwinings with a Family of Electronic Innovators

    Brutal London-Construct Your Own Concrete Capital book-Prestel-2

    At A Year In The Country there has been a recent series of posts about various dioramas and collectors figures of electronic music innovators.

    Brutal East-Build Your Own Brutalist Eastern Bloc-Zupagrafika-6

    In one of the recent posts about those electronic innovator dioramas etc, I mentioned how there is a curious confluence, connection and intertwining between the flipside of or otherly pastoralism and a romantic nostalgia for electronic music techniques and areas of innovation from previous eras such as the work of The Radiophonic Workshop.

    In amongst that intertwining you could well include a romantic nostalgia for brutalist architecture.

    Brutal East-Build Your Own Brutalist Eastern Bloc-Zupagrafika-2

    Part of what all such things seem to represent, whether the electronic music innovations of The Radiophonic Workshop, otherly pastoralism or brutalist architecture, is a sense of them containing some form of loss, of lost progressive futures or arcadic rural dreams and ways of life, of being spectrally imprinted with such loss and a layering of related tales.

    So I thought to that growing family of homages to electronic music innovators I would add in Zupagrafika’s Brutal London – Construct Your Own Concrete Capital and Build Your Own Brutalist Eastern Bloc.

    Delia-Derbyshire-Bob Moog-Raymond Scott-Daphne Oram-Press Pop figure-Heykidsrocknroll diorama-Zupagrafika-Brutal London East

    Cut out and keep etc…

    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions and Destinations:
    Zupagrafika’s Brutalist explorations and homages

    Local Places Of Interest:
    (We would recommend sturdy walking shoes and bringing a substantial, nutritious packed lunch, as this is something of an intensive tour.)
    Week #39/52: An elegy to elegies for the IBM 1401 / notes on a curious intertwining
    Ether Signposts #4/52a: Brutal London – Construct Your Own Concrete Capital
    Ether Signposts #8/52a: Build Your Own Brutalist Eastern Bloc
    Ether Signposts #2/52a: Delia Derbyshire Handmade Diorama
    Ether Signposts #36/52a: Bob Moog Press Pop Figures And Synthesizer Discoveries
    Ether Signposts #37/52a: The Raymond Scott Figure, Something Of A Growing Family Of Electronic Music Innovators And A Dream Center Where The Excitement Of Tomorrow Is Made Available Today
    Ether Signposts #38/52a: Raymond Scott Diorama And Further Additions To The Electronic Innovators Family
    Ether Signposts #39/52a: Daphne Oram Diorama, A Further Addition To A Family Of Electronic Innovators And Pastoral Confluences

     

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  • Ocular Signals #39/52a: Image M/2a

    Image-M2a-3rd-year-A-Year-In-The-Country-stroke
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #39/52a: Hoofus and Moss Covered Machines

    Hoofus-Moss Covered Machines

    A while ago I wrote about the “psychogeographic folk” computer game Edgelands by Marshlight Software aka Andre Bosman aka musician Hoofus.

    On further exploration I found this description of Hoofus’ work on their website:

    Hoofus uses drifting oscillators, overlapping frequency modulation, ragged percussion and a sense of tactile interaction between performer and machines to create music of wayward eerie wonder.

    Drawing on ideas of edgelands and peripheries and the intersecting of wilderness with urban / industrial spaces, Hoofus explores the uncanny beauty of the intangible, the occult and the arcane seeping through into the post-industrial 21st century world of reason and corporate compliance.

    Interest piqued, as they say.

    Modern Ritual-Cafe OTO-Laura Cannell-Hoofus
    (Artwork from Modern Ritual event at Cafe OTO.)

    Now, if you should appreciate your electronica experimental but accessible and tinged with spectral/hauntological concerns alongside the flipside of pastoralism… well, Hoofus’ work could well be worth exploring.

    The Hoofus Moss Covered Machines EP is described by Travins Systems Records who released it as follows:

    Having had a CD hung under the Exotic Pylon to be read by the sunshine and broadcast by Jackdaws and a slot on the Laura Cannell remix EP along side Anglia’s own Luke Abbott, Hoofus takes a chariot over to Travin, hurling rural synth shards at passers by and fraying the seems of town and country with analogue experimentation… Foraging in bleak fields and hedgerows for caches of early Icini insular psychedelia, Hoofus unearths five tracks of scoured synth routing’s and complex pedal array electronics, channeling old England and rural dance culture to great effect.

    Horses Brawl-Ruminata-CD cover

    Further wandering amongst Hoofus’ work and I find that Andre Bosman has collaborated with fellow Front & Follow released musician Laura Cannell on Ruminantia by Horses Brawl, which takes fragments of early, lost or forgotten music/folk and reinterprets them in a minimal, improvised style that seems to create contemporary work that is deeply imbued with echoes of the past without being hidebound by tradition.

    (File Post Under: Cathode Ray & Cinematic Explorations, Radiowave Resonations & Audiological Investigations)

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide:
    Ruminantia by Horses Brawl
    Moss Covered Machines by Hoofus

    Local Broadcasts:
    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #22/52a: Edgelands – Psychogeographical Folk Tales In An Unexpected Realm
    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #29/52a: Front & Follow, Lutine Variations, Fellow Travellers & Offering A Firm Handshake To Sonic Reverie

     

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  • Artifact Report #39/52a: The Quietened Cosmologists at You, the Night & the Music and feuilleton

    The Quietened Cosmologists-cover image and 3 images in a row-A Year In The Country

    John Coulthart has posted about The Quietened Cosmologists and related pathways at his feuilleton site…

    Feuilleton-John-Coulthart-logo banner

    “The ruins of Britain’s own contribution to the Space Race—especially those like the abandoned launch-pad at High Down on the Isle of Wight—are all the more poignant for the gulf between their past ambition and present state of decay.”

    Visit that post here.

    It joins previous A Year In The Country related posts at feuilleton, including:

    UndercurrentsFrom The Furthest SignalsThe Restless FieldThe Marks Upon The LandThe Forest / The WaldThe Quietened Bunker and Fractures.

    You-the-night-and-the-music-radio-show-mat-handley-episode 215-A-Year-In-The-Country

    And in a rounding the circle manner, Mat Handley of Pulselovers whose work is featured on the album, played David Colohan’s Landfall At William Creek from the album on his You, the Night & the Music radio show.

    Originally broadcast on Sine FM, it is archived at Mixcloud, where it can be found amongst fellow The Quietened Cosmologists travellers Keith Seatman and Grey Frequency.

    Thanks to all concerned.

    More details on The Quietened Cosmologists can be found here.

     

    (File Post Under: Encasements / Artifacts – Artifact #5a)

     

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  • Wanderings #39/52a: A Shindig Double Header And Wanderings Amongst Pop Culture’s Semi-Hidden Reverse

    Shindig-issues 59 and 32-Broadcast-Psychomania-Delia Derbyshire-Tape Leader-A Year In The Country
    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    Issue 59 of Shindig! magazine has as its main cover image electronic music innovator Delia Derbyshire and the strapline Tape Leaders – The BBC Radiophonic Workshop & Beyond – The History Of Early British Electronic Music.

    In many ways this issue could well be seen as a companion piece to issue 32 which featured Broadcast on the cover alongside articles on Ghost Box Records, giallo film, Berberian Sound Studio, Mike Heron of The Incredible String Band, Children’s Film Foundation, synthesizer and new age music innovators Emerald Web etc.

    While experimental electronic music, hauntology and the outer reaches of folk often make an appearance/are intertwined in amongst the more 1960s-esque, psychedelic, prog and garage rock side of Shindig!, in these two issues those aspects are more overtly foregrounded.

    Shindig-issues 59 and 32-Broadcast-Psychomania-Delia Derbyshire-Tape Leader-A Year In The Country-2

    Along which lines Issue 59 also features the likes of an article by Vic Pratt on cult undead-in-the-British-countryside-and-provincial-town biker film Psychomania from 1973, around the time it had a restored brush’n’scrub up release by the BFI’s Flipside imprint and 1960s/1970s baroque folk artist Bridget St John.

    While the magazine’s lead article is Out Of The Ordinary which is an intriguing and layered overview of the history of British electronic music.

    The article was written by Mark Brend, author of The Sound of Tomorrow: How Electronic Music Was Smuggled Into The Mainstream and takes as its starting point the release of Ian Helliwell’s book and CD Tape Leaders: A Compendium of Early British Electronic Music.

    Shindig-issues 59 and 32-Broadcast-Psychomania-Delia Derbyshire-Tape Leader-A Year In The Country-4

    Just to add to this issue’s hauntological aspect and related interest in certain aspects of previous era’s television, there is an article by David Dent on once semi-lost late 1960s television series The Tyrant King (directed by Mike Hodges of Get Carter, with more than a touch of psychedelia, a dash of Swinging London and a then rather hip soundtrack courtesy of Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues, Cream, The Rolling Stones and The Nice).

    Shindig magazine-issue 59-Emma Tricca-Jane Weaver-Anne Briggs-The Quietened Bunker-A Year In The Country

    You’ll also find in amongst its pages the likes of sometimes Finders Keepers/Bird Records songstress and fringes of folk explorer Emma Tricca, sometimes Finders Keepers/lead Bird Records songstress and sometime cosmic aquatic folklorist Jane Weaver and the crystaline folk of Anne Briggs…

    …oh and even an album which takes as its theme decommissioned and abandoned Cold War infrastructure… or more precisely The Quietened Bunker, which was put out by our good selves.

    Shindig-issues 59 and 32-Broadcast-Psychomania-Delia Derbyshire-Tape Leader-A Year In The Country-5

    …the issue also features a piece called Evolution: Revolution, where Shindig!’s editor-in-chief Jon “Mojo” Mills considers two decades of records where pop was reshaped by electronic music, taking in the likes of Joe Meek to early Human League, via Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Radiophonic Workshop and the Delia Derbyshire/David Vorhaus collaborative album An Electric Storm by White Noise.

    It’s interesting how all such things have come to travel alongside and intertwine with one another… from Radiophonic-esque electronica, to hauntology, to acid/psych/exploratory folk via psychedelia and so on… not necessarily obvious bedfellows but somehow these quite separate cultural strands come together and compliment one another.

    In part, maybe they are all elements or expressions of the undercurrents, sometimes more hidden aspects and reverse of pop and culture in general…

     

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #6/365: The Fallen By Watchbird – Jane Weaver Septieme Soeur; the start of a journey through cosmic aquatic folklore, kunstmärche and otherly film fables…

    Day #100/365: Ms Delia Derbyshire and a day of audiological remembrance and salute

    Day #150/365: Parade Of Blood Red Sorrows

    Day #178/365: The cuckoo in the nest: sitting down with a cup of cha, a slice of toast, Broadcast, Emerald Web, Ghost Box Records and other fellow Shindig travellers…

    Day #303/365: Towards Tomorrow; a selection of cuttings from The Delian Mode, sonic maps, the corporation’s cubby holes and the life of an audiological explorer…

    The Quietened Bunker – Night and Dawn editions released

    Further considerations of a curious intertwining:
    Ether Signposts #39/52a: Daphne Oram Diorama, A Further Addition To A Family Of Electronic Innovators And Pastoral Confluences

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    Shindig! and issue 59

     

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  • Ether Signposts #39/52a: Daphne Oram Diorama, A Further Addition To A Family Of Electronic Innovators And Pastoral Confluences

    Daphne Oram diorama-Heykidsrocknroll

    As part of an ongoing series… a further example of 3D homages to iconic figures and innovators within electronic music…

    HeyKidsRocknRoll’s diorama of electronic music pioneer and one time Radiophonic Workshop member Daphne Oram, which is a fine addition to a growing family of such things.

    Daphne Oram-Radiophonic Workshop

    Writing about this growing collection  has made me consider again how such things interconnect with the more pastoral flipside of A Year In The Country. To quote myself (and somebody else) when talking about a romantic nostalgia for certain elements of older technology and innovations in relation to music:

    “Curiously, somehow or other the use, appreciation and romance of such older technologies segues and intertwines with the more bucolic surrounds, wanderings and landscapes of A Year In The Country,  a part of the cultural landscape “…planted permanently somewhere between the history of the first transistor, the paranormal, and nature-driven worlds of the folkloric…” (to quote Kristen Gallerneaux)”.

    Daphne Oram Oramics Machine

    Or to quote from the A Year In The Country About page:

    A Year In The Country is a set of year long explorations of an otherly pastoralism, the undercurrents and flipside of bucolic dreams, the further reaches of folk music and culture, work that takes inspiration from the hidden and underlying tales of the land and where such things meet and intertwine with the lost futures, spectral histories and parallel worlds of what has come to be known as hauntology.”

    Here’s the family of electronic music innovators so far…

    Delia-Derbyshire-Bob Moog-Raymond Scott-Daphne Oram-Press Pop figure-Heykidsrocknroll diorama-b
    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions and Destinations:
    Extensive Daphne Oram information
    The HeyKidsRocknRoll Daphne Oram Diorama

    Local Places Of Interest:
    Week #39/52: An elegy to elegies for the IBM 1401 / notes on a curious intertwining
    Ether Signposts #2/52a: Delia Derbyshire Handmade Diorama
    Ether Signposts #36/52a: Bob Moog Press Pop Figures And Synthesizer Discoveries
    Ether Signposts #37/52a: The Raymond Scott Figure, Something Of A Growing Family Of Electronic Music Innovators And A Dream Center Where The Excitement Of Tomorrow Is Made Available Today
    Ether Signposts #38/52a: Raymond Scott Diorama And Further Additions To The Electronic Innovators Family

     

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  • Ocular Signals #38/52a: Image L/2a

    Image-L2a-3rd-year-A-Year-In-The-Country
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Wanderings #38/52a: The Moomins And The Seams That Keep Giving…

    The Moomins soundtrack-Finders Keepers Records-A Year In The Country-2
    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    I suppose that one day much of the semi-lost or unreleased music/cultural treasures will have been fully mined and there won’t be any more for archivists such as Jonny Trunk and Finders Keepers Records to seek out and send out into the world…

    …but that moment doesn’t seem to have quite arrived yet and things still seem to keep turning up.

    The Moomins-cassette-Finders Keepers RecordsThe Moomins soundtrack-Finders Keepers Records-A Year In The Country-3 The Moomins soundtrack-Finders Keepers Records-A Year In The Country-1

    Along which lines, there are some rather lovely editions of the Moomins soundtrack released by the just mentioned folk at Finders Keepers Records.

    I guess you could file The Moomins alongside other gently bucolic, quietly left-of-centre work such as Ivor The Engine, Bagpuss and possibly gently edgeland, quietly left-of-centre work such as The Flumps and The Wombles…

    …although when watching clips/episodes of the series, wheat they put me in mind of were the left-of-centre fantasies and fairy tales of some of the Czech New Wave (something I recently also said about Isabell Garrett’s animated film Bye Bye Dandelion).

    folk_is_not_a_four_letter_word-Andy Votel-Cherry Red-Delay 68-A Year In The Country folk_is_not_a_four_letter_word 2-Andy Votel-Cherry Red-Delay 68-A Year In The Country

    Which may not be all that surprising, considering Finders Keepers/Finders Keepers history of releasing Czech New Wave related soundtracks such as Valerie and Her Week of Wonders and Daisies (and I could also possibly wanders towards the woodcut-esque tales-from-the-forest covers of the Folk Is Not A Four Letter Word left-of-centre folk compilation albums, which were compiled by Finders Keeper-er Andy Votel).

     

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:

    Day #164/365: A saggy old cloth cat and curious cultural connections…

    Day #247/365: Folk Is Not A Four Letter Word and voyages through other playful fancies from behind the once ferrous drapes…

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #38/52a: Bye Bye Dandelion

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    Findings at Finders Keepers Records. Delvings at Trunk Records.

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #38/52a: Bye Bye Dandelion

    Bye Bye Dandelion-Isabel Garrett-short film-1

    Well, this is a lovely thing… Bye Bye Dandelion, which is a short animated film by Isabell Garrett.

    It is a gentle, surprising film which tells the tale of attachment and loss between the central character and a dandelion they find.

    Bye Bye Dandelion-Isabel Garrett-short film-2

    The film has an ending that the first time I saw it I found genuinely quite shocking and after the lull of the film I was not prepared for… although then after this one brief, sharp moment of ending there seems to be a rebirth and expression of the cycle of life.

    Bye Bye Dandelion-Isabel Garrett-short film-4

    There is a quality to the film that is both timeless and contemporary and it put me in mind somehow of classic British television animation that I grew up with (Camberwick Green, Smallfilms etc) and yet also seems to connect with the spirit of European landscape and animation that I can’t quite put my finger on… Possibly a hint of the spirit of Czech New Wave films such as Daisies and Malá Morská Víla/The Little Mermaid.

    Bye-Bye-Dandelion-Isabel-Garrett-short-film-3-lighter

    (File Post Under: Cathode Ray & Cinematic Explorations, Radiowave Resonations & Audiological Investigations)

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide:
    Bye Bye Dandelion

    Local Broadcasts:
    Day #247/365: Folk Is Not A Four Letter Word and voyages through other playful fancies from behind the once ferrous drapes…

     

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  • Artifact Report #38/52a: The Quietened Cosmologists Writing, Posts and Broadcasts

    The Quietened Cosmologists-Dawn Edition-A Year In The Country and Night edition page 3

    Some of the recent The Quietened Cosmologists album related writing, posts and broadcasts:

    Sunrise Ocean Bender-radio show-artifact report 37 of 52a

    Vic Mars, Keith Seatman, Field Lines Cartographer and Poylpore’s tracks from the album were played on two episodes of Sunrise Ocean Bender’s radio show on WRIR FM. The show’s playlists can be found here and here and they can be listened to at Mixcloud here and here.

    Mark Losing Today-The Sunday Experience-The Restless Field-A Year In The Country

    Mark Barton included the album in amongst his cultural wanderings at The Sunday Experience:

    “(Pulselovers’ Lonely Puck)… a wonderfully serene and affectionate love note mailed out from across the outer edges of the cosmos, a transmission from a long lost and forgotten outpost if you like, twinkle toned and radiantly awash in what sounds like shimmering cosmic church bell celebrations…”

    Visit that here and here.

    A Closter Listen-logo-3 in a row

    The Quietened Cosmologists was also included in amongst some rather fine company at A Closer Listen’s Fall Music Preview. Visit that here.

    The Unquiet Meadow-radio show-Ashevill FM

    Field Line’s Cartographer and A Year In The Country’s tracks from the album were played amongst the furrows, pastures and fields of The Unquiet Meadow radio show on Asheville FM. Visit the playlists for those shows here and here and their home page at Asheville FM here.

    Gated-Canal-Community-Radio-27th August

    While Front & Follow and The Geography Trip included Time Attendant and Polypore’s tracks from the album at another of their visits down the waterways and airwaves on their Gated Canal Community Radio show.

    Visit the playlist for that here and listen to the show at Mixcloud here.

    Howlround-Robin The Fog-home page graphic-The Quietened Cosmologists

    In a rounding-the-circle manner (or should that be rounding-the-orbit?), the ever busy Howlround and Robin The Fog include the album at their Howlround site, in amongst their activities at Supernormal, The Delaware Road, Sonic Waterloo etc. Visit that here

    Robin The Fog-website banner

    …and at Robin’s own site here (where it can be found amongst the likes of the ten year compilation Lessons from Front & Follow and a centennial edition compilation from Tape Worm).

    Test Transmission Archive-Keith Seatman banner-four in a row

    …and finally, in a further rounding the circle manner, Keith Seatman included the album at his Test Transmission Archive site, where you can find it nestled amongst the likes of his posts on The Cramps, The Focus Group, visits to decommissioned Cold War sites, his own releases etc. Visit that here.

    A tip of the hat to all involved, much appreciated.

    Cosmologists-Night booklet-page 2 and Night edition

    The Quietened Cosmologists is a reflection on space exploration projects that have been abandoned and/or that were never realised, of connected lost or imagined futures and dreams, the intrigue and sometimes melancholia of related derelict sites and technological remnants that lie scattered and forgotten.

    It features audiological explorations by Field Lines Cartographer, Pulselovers, Magpahi, Howlround, Vic Mars, Unit One, A Year In The Country, Keith Seatman, Grey Frequency, Time Attendant, Listening Center, Polypores and David Colohan.

    More information on the album can be found here.

     

    (File Post Under: Encasements / Artifacts – Artifact #5a)

     

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  • Ether Signposts #38/52a: Raymond Scott Diorama And Further Additions To The Electronic Innovators Family

    HeyKidsRocknRoll-Raymond Scott diorama-1

    As part of an ongoing series… a further example of 3D homages to iconic figures and innovators within electronic music…

    HeyKidsRocknRoll-Raymond Scott diorama-2

    And in an ongoing, well, who wouldn’t want one of these manner…?

    HeyKidsRocknRoll’s diorama of musician, inventor, composer and electronic pioneer Raymond Scott.

    HeyKidsRocknRoll-Raymond Scott diorama-3

    I particularly like just the standalone Clavivox (as invented by Raymond Scott)…

    Raymond Scott-Clavivox advert Raymond Scott in studio-1970-panorama

    So, the family of such things so far…

    Delia Derbyshire Diorama-HeyKidsRocknRollBob Moog doll-figure-Press PopRaymond Scott-Press Pop figure-doll-2bHeyKidsRocknRoll-Raymond Scott diorama-1
    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions and Destinations:
    Extensive Raymond Scott information
    The HeyKidsRocknRoll Raymond Scott Diorama

    Local Places Of Interest:
    Ether Signposts #2/52a: Delia Derbyshire Handmade Diorama
    Ether Signposts #36/52a: Bob Moog Press Pop Figures And Synthesizer Discoveries
    Ether Signposts #37/52a: The Raymond Scott Figure, Something Of A Growing Family Of Electronic Music Innovators And A Dream Center Where The Excitement Of Tomorrow Is Made Available Today

     

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  • Ocular Signals #37/52a: Image K/2a

    Image-K2a-3rd-year-A-Year-In-The-Country
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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