Underground London is a time capsule from the cusp of the 60s. A period when a proto-underground was preparing to bloom; the soundtrack of the folk who connected during the CND marches to Aldermaston and then kept in touch, many like Barry Miles, Mick Farren, and Hoppy Hopkins gravitating to art school and then the capital.
It’s a primer of cultural revolution encompassing an unholy triumvirate of the Beats, the free jazzers, and the avant garde; these are the roots of International Times, Indica, and UFO. There are poems from Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti, while Kerouac reads from On The Road. Annie Ross, recorded at Peter Cook’s Establishment Club, performs from Loguerhythms; Cook’s partner Dudley Moore plays his ‘Theme From Beyond The Fringe’.
The jazz roll-call is mighty; to name Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Sun Ra merely scratches the surface. Aldous Huxley speaks for the psychedelic explorers while Daphne Oram represents the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. We hear Ligeti’s ‘Atmospheres’ later employed by Kubrick on the soundtrack of 2001: A Space Odyssey, along with the manipulated sound of Stockhausen’s ‘Etude Concrete’ and Ravi Shankar’s extended ‘Raga Jog’.
An inexpensive collection, perfect for dipping into, with copious notes providing correspondences and jumping off points for further exploration. Massively influential on some crucial figures, these recordings have sustained and entrenched their value over time.