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this week we continue our look back at some early classic editions of framework:afield with an edition produced in scotland by american sound artist bill thompson, and first broadcast on the 2nd of june, 2006. bill’s program was constructed exclusively from field recordings taken from old phonograph records. for more of bill’s current work, see billthompson.org. here are the original program notes:

Before stations like ResonanceFM and online lists like Phonography and Nature Recordists, the only way to hear or experience field recordings and documentary sound was via the occasional LP, cassette, and eventually, CD release of what was often called ‘nature recordings’ or even ‘sound effects’. Like many who are interested in the art of field recording, I have a personal collection of these recordings, many no longer available and only existing on LP. I chose to present a selection from a few of my favorite.

Section One is a mix made from tracks taken from the LP “Steam-In Stereo” released by the BBC. The sounds are of veteran trains taken out of storage and put on parade across the U.K. on August 31st, 1975 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the of the Stockton and Darlington Railway. Recorded by the (often anonymous) team of BBC sound engineers sent out ac cross the U.K., recording locations included Shildon Railway Yard, Heighington Station, Heighington Cutting, Darlington Goods Yard, the Old Ordnance Depot, and Hill top Farm (south of Darlington.)

Section Two is a mix from two BBC LPs, “Communication in Animals-Other Animals, a Study Record” and “British Mammals and Amphibians” The majority of these recordings were made and narrated by Eric Simms, the proto-phonographer, in the 50’s and 60’s. He is pictured lying in coat and slacks in a field operating a huge parabolic mic and recording device on one of the LP sleeves. These records were made as both documentary, study guide for schools, as well as sound effects record.

Section Three is a mix from the LP “Antarctica” released on Saydisc in 1971. The recordings were by Edwin Mickleburgh who, although trained as a painter, joined the British Antarctic Survey as a meteorologist and was engaged in making a film for the survey. The LP represents some of the amazing recordings he made during the exhibition.

bill thompson, 2006.06

[title / album / label]

I Free Mix by Artist / Steam-In Stereo / BBC Records
II Free Mix by Artist / Communication in Animals, British Mammals and Amphibians / BBC Records
III Antarctica
a ice movement / Antarctica / Saydisc
b fur seals / Antarctica / Saydisc
c huskies / Antarctica / Saydisc
d cormorants / Antarctica / Saydisc
e weddell seals / Antarctica / Saydisc

patrick 2020, 2024, framework:afield

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