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20 Responses to “Hauntologists mine the past for music's future”

  1. leiris says:

    Also check out Moon Wiring Club. He’s not on Ghost Box, but works with them on occasion. He’s the master of the ‘genre’ if you ask me.

  2. Tuff Luke says:

    wait, what was the first song that was in the original version of this post?  I didn’t copy the info before it was edited out, and it was awesome.

  3. Excellent piece. Some really good examples. I’m enjoying a lot of Ghost Box’s stuff at the moment, especially The Advisory Circle (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngnwOHlPuGU a huge favourite of mine).
    I agree, there is a very English feel to a lot of this. I’m reminded of the strange electronic noodlings that introduced the science TV programs that we were shown in the 80’s, many of which had been made in the 70’s.

  4. eddbagenal says:

    This is incredible. Thank you. 

  5. Brilliant post.  A few other things worth throwing into the mix: after  TC Lethbridge, one of the most significant figures in the “Earth Mysteries” movement would be John Michell, whose The View Over Atlantis was a crucial bridge between Watkins “Old Straight Track” and the psychedelic and ufological movements of the sixties; the newly psychedelicized concept of the Ley Line fed directly into one of my favorite artifacts of Hauntological culture, the AMAZING 70s kids show Children of the Stones:


    I kinda love everything about Hauntology except the name itself; can’t abide Derrida, and always found it a mouthful to say out loud without sounding affected.

  6. Aaron Swain says:

    I, too, have been a big Ghost Box fan for a while and have often failed in my proselytization efforts. It’s nice to see them getting some boingboing juice. Also this post wins the prize for “Most References To Things I Love”.

  7. Tchoutoye says:

    Thanks for the excellent article, a thorough overview albeit omitting The Caretaker / Leyland Kirby.

  8. jbond says:

    Funny how The Stone Tape seems to haunt anyone who has seen it.

  9. jbond says:

    There are three locations of PsychoGeography and Hauntology that might reward some further study, Stokes Croft in Bristol, Portobello Road and Ladbroke Grove in W London and the current “Hoxditch” scene in E London.

    HoxDitch reminds me strongly of  “The Mob” in Neal Stephenson’s System of the World and of course the Hawksmoor churches but there’s also a strong sense of steampunk in the architecture of places like Spitalfields market. Layers and layers and layers of history haunting the present.

    I don’t know enough about Bristol, but I find it curious that there’s such a strong post-dubstep community centred on Stokes Croft and the relationship between that and Bristol’s past particularly with the old port and it’s role in trade and slavery.

    For those of a certain age though, Ladbroke Grove is full of resonance but to some kind of alternate ghost world. Hawkwind and by osmosis the festival bands like HereAndNow, Gong, Tim Blake are linked with protopunk people like Motorhead and further back The Deviants and Pink Faeries. At least in my head all of these people inhabit the world of Moorcock’s Jerry Cornelius. Not least because Moorcock was of course part of the scene. What I can’t find though is the links to the birth of the Clash. It’s hard to believe that Strummer didn’t know Lemmy at least and especially early Clash seems to be channelling the same upper fuelled but psychedelic madness.

  10. hassan-i-sabbah says:

    A British child in the 70 was confronted by loads of weird shit. Analog synth weirdness permeated every TV show,and the PSAs would freak the fuck out fthe most hardend horror hound. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sg6IVUvVsAs

  11. victorvictorian says:

    gosh, this is the internet in its finest form. if i were a teacher i would force all my students to turn in ‘papers’ like this. i’m a little sick so couldn’t read this very closely but i’ve bookmarked it for later depth. thanks.

    i’ve always been fascinated with zeitgeist and the spread of ideas. because all my media classes were in the early nineties i have a fair amount of McLuhan-damage and tend to focus on the form of media as dictating content. to some extent i think what’s going on in culture in general, literature, art and music, as a game of catch-up. we have so much of cultural history at our fingertips now that it’s going to be years before we’ve come to terms with that. in some cases it’s crippling, especially in mass culture where we see an endless feedback-loop of remakes and reiterations of the same dead story lines (it’s here that i offer a million-dollar reward for the person who invents a new trope for television or movies). the mirror is the perfect image to illustrate our current cultural selves. we have endless access to almost endless information, all of it filtered through, and reflecting back upon, carefully curated representations of ourselves. we are collectors now, in a closed circuit of self-regard. our dalliances with the past serve to illustrate our own cleverness for finding and/or appreciating the delights of the past while also reinforcing general human cleverness to which we can also lay claim.

    i think this state of our culture is limited. there will be a few years of this type of mass inter-pollination before new forms are born. we are in a transitional stage; moving from one type of communication to the next. there will be dead-ends and backwaters, panics, witch hunts, and purges. we are in an estuary moment, a confluence of rich waters where hybridization is the norm. my hope is that it doesn’t all devolve into lifestyle choices and niche-marketing; that some degree of invention will win out before the vultures of commodification swoop in.

  12. Steve Rowell says:

    Great post. You’ve hit quite a few highlights in this one. A little uncanny how many of these I’ve already watched with the same concept in mind. For the M.R. James reference, I’d suggest “A Warning to the Curious” as the most atmospheric adaptation. Given the location, Norfolk, this could almost be a Sebald tale, if Sebald had written ghost stories. Well, he did, in a sense…


    • Beanolini says:

      For the M.R. James reference, I’d suggest “A Warning to the Curious” as the most atmospheric adaptation.

      Hard to be objective after so long, but conventional wisdom suggests the pinnacle of M. R. James adaptations is Jonathan Miller’s 1968 ‘Whistle and I’ll come to you’.

      The first time I watched the 1973 ‘Lost Hearts’ was with two hurdy-gurdy players, who screamed “it’s upside down” throughout.

  13. jbond says:

    Just mildly amazed that this post and comments thread makes no reference to Simon Reynolds and Retromania. 


  14. peter cushing says:

    See also ‘Found Objects’, which I believe Mark Fisher kicked off, and was originally subtitled “Hauntological Dumping Ground”; a great visual resource: