Tuesday, June 30, 2009

before deep listening...

radio underground

detail from a printed postcard circa mid 1930's or so, featuring some engineers testing radio reception from within the depths of "endless caverns", new market, VA. the men in the image are listening to the radio, nearly a mile from the entrance to the caverns. the back states clearly that "musical reception" was "exceptionally good".

like the incredible music of the magnetospheres that stephen mcgreevy has recorded with his VLF receivers aimed at the sky, i have to wonder what potential soundings this set up might have encountered from the depths of the earth. certainly it would be nice to listen to recorded music in such a setting, but i think it would be a lot nicer to actually be able to listen to such a setting generate its own music.

field recordings of music were certainly part of the recording world by this time (actually much sooner). location recordings were in production, but mostly towards sound effects and environments for radio theatre than for straight listening. i do have several nice 78's of weather sounds, and other supposed natural landscape actions such as ocean waves (most of which are faked), but unfortunately no gannett sound effects disc labeled "endless caverns and men manipulating radio equipment"!

of course, in light of recordings in cisterns and abbeys by the likes of pauline oliveros and stuart dempster (stellar recordings, i might add...), i can't help but think that these listeners might have made some music of their own in these depths, even if it was only their mumbling, whistling, and dragging around of equipment...

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Blogger ArtSparker said...

The equipment looks like a loom looks like a loom.

Dark inky music? Earthy drumming?

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Square America said...

When discussing underground music don't forget Leland W. Sprinkle and his Great Stalacpipe Organ!


I've got a cassette of this somewhere (and I think it actually may have made it to CD at one point)- I'll have to dig it out as it's well worth a listen.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Great Stalacpipe Organ' in Virginia's Luray Caverns

Midnight in the Caverns with Monte Maxwell


12:20 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

and of course an article and track on the accompanying CD in the book Site of Sound edited by LaBelle and Roden

7:53 PM  

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