'Hailing from rural Scotland, Mike Sandison and Marcus Eoin started making music together as children, influenced by sci-fi cinema and the documentaries of the National Film Board of Canada. Their music – which first properly crystallised on their debut album, 1998's Music Has The Right To Children – is a spectral, nostalgic electronica into which is encoded a wealth of half-submerged samples and subliminal messages, from robotic voices and the sound of children at play to references to the Branch Davidian cult that perished at Waco, Texas.' - Louis Pattison
'That connection between memory and merry-go-round, with the merry-go-round as a technological point of access to other times and places, also seems operative in The Elektrik Karousel. In the best Ghost Box tradition, it's hard to locate not just where we are but when we are as we listen to these sounds. The vinyl record as magical or memory-evoking spinning object (here housed in a glorious gatefold sleeve doubling as pop-art board game) gives the title a further layer of meaning.' - Benjamin Graves
'One of the fascinating, unsettling impulses in reading Henry's life is that sense of identity being a bundle of all of the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. Henry loved to relate the few clear memories of his childhood, over and over, though he lacked a context for them and the face he surprised himself with in the mirror each morning did not quite connect with them. Corkin heard those stories many times over the years; every time she left the room for a minute and returned to Henry he introduced himself as if they had never met before, and told the stories again. Some were the family lore of how his father had moved north from Louisiana; others involved going roller skating as a child in the park, taking banjo lessons, driving with his parents along the Mohawk Trail' - Tim Adams
'More a concept than a band, Public Service Broadcasting repurpose old propaganda films to artful, stirring effect ...
The duo's raison d'etre is to trawl through old film archives – those of the GPO Film Unit seem to be a favourite – in search of snippets of voices to set to music. It seems a pretty arcane pursuit, but it's without precedent or in isolation. As the album plays, listeners with long memories may find themselves recalling a period in the mid-80s when it was briefly held that the dernier cri in forward-thinking rock and pop music was to overlay your song with sampled snatches of film dialogue: the era of Big Audio Dynamite's 'E=MC2', Paul Hardcastle's'19', and Steinski and the Mass Media's 'We'll Be Right Back'; of Keith Le Blanc and Tackhead's experiments on the On-U Sound label, and of Colourbox, whose frantic 'Just Give 'Em Whisky' is occasionally and presumably unconsciously evoked by Inform-Educate-Entertain, not least on Signal 30, which samples a variety of aged US road safety films over raging guitars.' - Alexis Petridis
'Britain is a country dotted with the decaying ruins from its past. The face of the country has seen great changes moving away form its industrial past, towards a new and less certain future. The buildings and institutions that belong to another era have been left to rot, alone and forgotten.
From mental hospitals to massive mills I have been visiting some of Britain's most Inspiring (and in some cases uninspiring) modern ruins. This website creates a record of places before their destruction, Creating a permanent archive of images.' - Joe Collier
'I will admit, as academia clamors to find some term for “whatever-we-call-coming-after” postmodernism, I long for the days of yore when the nomenclature took little effort ... the opening salvo of post-po-mo circa 1993 is arguably David Foster Wallace’s E Unibus Pluram-a great essay on sensing a cultural sea change, or at least the need for one. Wallace suggested that perhaps what had made postmodernism vital-such as irony, appropriation and obsessive intertextuality-was beginning to fizzle. The suggestion was radical at that time. Wallace’s exquisite prose, his novel Infinite Jest being no exception, pointed to a return to some form of genuine selfhood and authentic, sincere point of view, an attempt to create something on its own right, and what he famously called “single-entendre principles.” Though Wallace’s voice should not be missed in this discussion, one must, however, look elsewhere for fully developed manifestos or sensible new nomenclature identifying the mood change ...
I am trying to gain a fondness for the term “metamodernism,” advanced in 2010 by Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker in the Journal of Aesthetics & Culture. The theorists use “meta” as a prefix to refer to “between.” Granted, “meta” is more commonnly associated with the idea of “after” or “post,” but that definition would be unhelpful as we have been there and done that. Fortunately, “meta” also can refer to an oscillation between adjacent positions. Organic chemistry adopted that meaning in its use of “meta” to refer to the occupation of two possible positions, such as the “meta positioning” in the meta benzene ring.' - Stephen Knudsen
'Since 1999, CTM Festival has been taking place in Berlin concurrently and cooperatively with the transmediale festival of art and digital culture. It brings contemporary electronic and experimental music to the city and has grown to become one of the most anticipated annual events in Europe. Electronic Beats took part in the discourse strand of this year’s festival, and we are pleased to present the audio recordings from one of those now. The Death of Rave was a two-part discussion, conceived and curated by CTM’s Annie Goh, which took place on February 1, 2013, and examined the ‘life’ and ‘death’ the rave phenomena after its 20+ year history in both the UK and Berlin, respectively, and was part of The Death of Rave/Rave Undead series of day and night-program events at CTM.13.' - Electronic Beats
'... To live ironically is to hide in public. It is flagrantly indirect, a form of subterfuge, which means etymologically to “secretly flee” (subter + fuge). Somehow, directness has become unbearable to us.
How did this happen? It stems in part from the belief that this generation has little to offer in terms of culture, that everything has already been done, or that serious commitment to any belief will eventually be subsumed by an opposing belief, rendering the first laughable at best and contemptible at worst. This kind of defensive living works as a pre-emptive surrender and takes the form of reaction rather than action ...
What would it take to overcome the cultural pull of irony? Moving away from the ironic involves saying what you mean, meaning what you say and considering seriousness and forthrightness as expressive possibilities, despite the inherent risks. It means undertaking the cultivation of sincerity, humility and self-effacement, and demoting the frivolous and the kitschy on our collective scale of values. It might also consist of an honest self-inventory.
Here is a start: Look around your living space. Do you surround yourself with things you really like or things you like only because they are absurd? Listen to your own speech. Ask yourself: Do I communicate primarily through inside jokes and pop culture references? What percentage of my speech is meaningful? How much hyperbolic language do I use? Do I feign indifference? Look at your clothes. What parts of your wardrobe could be described as costume-like, derivative or reminiscent of some specific style archetype (the secretary, the hobo, the flapper, yourself as a child)? In other words, do your clothes refer to something else or only to themselves? Do you attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or ugly? In other words, is your style an anti-style? The most important question: How would it feel to change yourself quietly, offline, without public display, from within?' - Christy Wampole
'Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin, Scottish brothers who spent part of their childhoods in Canada, affect people in peculiar ways. The mysteriously moving musical language of memory and loss they established on 1998's cyber-pastoral Music Has the Right to Children has seeped far and wide, from chillwave to the muted dubstep of Burial, from cloud rap to the "hauntological" output of the Ghost Box label, while being pretty and accessible enough to make sense in the background of Top Gear or CSI: Miami.' - Dorian Lynskey
'Spectres never truly vanish, and hauntology’s modus operandi is precisely the spectral realm. This puzzling cultural micromovement took its name from Jacques Derrida’s works: the term, originally a pun merging ‘haunt’ and ‘ontology’, predicted a state of civilization endlessly troubled by historical spectres, a destiny which the West would be trapped in after ‘the end of history’. In cultural studies, the term was first used near-simultaneously by Mark ‘k-punk’ Fisher and Simon Reynolds circa 2006, in reference to a then-emerging strain of music. The critics noticed similarities between artists from theGhost Box Records, Mordant Music, Boards of Canada and eventually Ariel Pink, all pursuing a shared aesthetic of skewed nostalgia, distorted memory, and evocations of the past as a peculiar, slightly uncanny wunderkammer. That was expressed by heavy sampling (1960s and 70s cinema, TV series for children, educational programmes), references to library music, musique concrete or early experiments with electronic music, and a penchant for outdated technology applied to sound.' - Halciion
'The hauntings recounted by ghost narratives are not merely instances of the past reasserting itself in a stable present, as is usually assumed; on the contrary, the ghostly return of traumatic events precisely troubles the boundaries of past, present, and future, and cannot be written back to the complacency of a homogeneous, empty time. The ghost always presents a problem, not merely because it might provoke disbelief, but because it is only admissible insofar as it can be domesticated by a modern concept of time.' - Carrie Clanton
'These bits of clamshell hauntology are to the shuttered video-store industry what albums like DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing….. or J Dilla’s Donuts are to the corner record store. They’re reclamations, ways of paying tribute to influential works while re-imagining them in the artist’s own image. However, the Pogo approach differs in two key areas: First, the majority of Bertke’s output is, like “Alice,” sampled from a single source. Secondly, the crate-digger’s compulsion for obscurity has largely passed the artist by. Bertke’s preferred source material plays on big stages, whether it’s movies fondly remembered by the online masses or the customs of communities from around the globe. “Alice” is a singular work tooled for mass consumption, as its 11 million-plus plays attest.' - Erik Adams
'Matthew Christopher's Abandoned America was started to capture the mesmerizing beauty and lost history of the various derelict buildings dotting our country's landscape. First and foremost, this site is an attempt to retain the history and essence of neglected sites before (and after) they are gone forever. As our industrial sector sags and many of the social institutions that once were the pride of our country now lie in ruins, it is vital that we remember our heritage and our achievements. Abandoned America is committed to partnering with historical preservation organizations, site owners, and communities to ensure that even when it is impossible to retain an historic structure, its unique characteristics, stories, and social impact are not forgotten and can be shared with the world at large. While sites are still intact Abandoned America advocates for rehabilitation and reuse by emphasizing the cultural importance of preservation. Through gallery showings, public presentations, and published articles it is my hope to reach out to those who might originally have seen an abandoned site as an eyesore and encourage them to rethink their estimations and strive to foster civic pride and partnership in these vestiges of bygone eras - thus looking forward to a future where we can build on our past rather than erasing it'
'Why we can't take our eyes off images of old buildings and decrepit interiors? ...
Pursuing and photographing the old is an addictive hobby. Dozens of blogs and online galleries share strategies for entry and showcase ever-bulging collections of moss-covered factory floors and lathe-exposed school buildings.
There's no shortage of theories as to just why these images ... fascinate us. They "offer an escape from excessive order," says Tim Edensor, a professor of geography at Manchester Metropolitan University who studies the appeal of urban ruins. "They're marginal spaces filled with old and obscure objects. You can see and feel things that you can't in the ordinary world.' - Joann Greco
'Since 2004, my life has been enriched by the existence of Belbury Poly, The Advisory Circle and The Focus Group, the original Ghost Box dream team. Their early recordings, beautifully designed and on homemade CDR’s, are masterpieces of time and space warped dream pop: wonderful electronic collages of post-war British life and culture, but seen fleetingly and incompletely, as from the corner of the eye, or through a prism of refracted light.
Ghost Box music perfectly encapsulates the experience of my recurring dream: the always moving, never arriving; the unfamiliar familiar. This music doesn't get worn out, you can't know every note by heart. Instead, it shifts eerily from moment to moment, presenting a different face at each listen. The artists on the label have both distinct and indistinct personalities: they have their own style, their own sound, they are unique - but they make Ghost Box music - melodic, but odd and abstracted; easy listening avant garde.' - 'Unmann Wittering'
'Le Corbusier never had one of his designs built in the UK, but the closest thing to a British Corbusian building might be St. Peter’s Seminary in Cardross, Scotland. The building was designed by the Gillespie Kidd & Coia office and completed in 1966 ...
What you find when you go there – hidden on a hilltop just outside of Cardross, west of Glasgow – is amazing and horrific at the same time. The majestic piece of modernist architecture, featuring many imaginative elements, was practically obsolete by the time it was completed. The catholic institutions had witnessed decline, and by the end of the 1970s only some 20 students attended the college.After merely twenty years of use as a catholic college, seminary and monastery, the structure was abandoned in the early 1980s.' - Mark Minkjan
'After seeing the work of photographer C.A. Mathew published on Spitalfields Life, Adam Tuck was inspired to revisit the locations of the pictures taken a century ago. Subtly blending his own photographs of Spitalfields 2012 with C.A.Mathew’s photographs of Spitalfields 1912, Adam has initiated an unlikely collaboration with a photographer of a century ago and created a new series of images of compelling resonance.
In these montages, people of today co-exist in the same space with people of the past, manifesting a sensation I have always felt in Spitalfields – that all of history is present here. Yet those of a hundred years ago knew they were being photographed and many are pictured looking at the camera, whereas passsersby in the present day are mostly self-absorbed. The effect is of those from the past wondering at a vision of the future, while those of our own day are entirely unaware of this ghostly audience.' - The Gentle Author
'It is with great pleasure that I hereby present the podcast of last Saturday’s edition of OST on Resonance FM, a two-hour special devoted to the many faces of BBC Records, compiled and presented by myself in my capacity as the corporation’s ‘Resident Hauntologist’.
I’ve tried to steer clear of anything instantly recognisable, but there’s some truly fabulous stuff buried in this mix – songs, voices, sound effects, girl guides, home movie musics, steam trains in stereo, church bells (not an entire LP’s worth, though I could have easily managed it!), hi-fi maintenance tips, how to offer someone fruit in German, and of course a generous portion of Radiophonic nuggets, some of which will hopefully come as a surprise. It’s sometimes hard to believe just what a wide variety of weird and wonderful things BBC Records were putting out in its 60s and 70s heyday; and harder still to believe that any label could be responsible for both Keith Harris and Orville and ‘Sounds Of Death and Horror’. Then again, perhaps it’s not so hard after all…' - Robin The Fog
'Scarfolk is a town in the North West of England. Its precise location is not entirely clear, but we do know when it is: the town is in a perpetual, decade-long loop of the 1970s. Scarfolk Council recently opened its archives to the public and made available many artifacts at scarfolk.blogspot.co.uk: from public information posters to ice-cream advertisements to screenshots of TV programmes and films. There are also music and field recordings.
Certain themes resurface: the municipal, the occult, childhood and school days, totalitarianism and dystopia, memory and nostalgia, societal paranoia and fear of disease, television and radio' - Richard Littler
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