I haven't done one of these for a bit, have I? Must try harder. Anyway... This is an LP which I've only recently become guardian of, and it was sent to me by an excellent chap by the name of Sie Norfolk. He occasionally writes stuff for magazines like Shindig, he co-runs a record label called Sunstone who've put out some really bloody good stuff over the last year or so, and he accumulates records like they're going out of fashion. Actually, I can't wait for them to go out of fashion, as then maybe I'll be able to afford some of the ones I really want. I'm blathering, aren't I? Sorry. Anyway - Simon. Lovely man.
What's this particular record all about then? Well, basically it's a couple of 'field recordings', that is a recording of a real world situation. It was part of a series of LPs, released on Atlantic between 1969 and 1979, which were products of Irving Teibel's 'Syntonic Research Inc.' Teibel made the recordings himself on a stereo Uher portable reel to reel machine, but rather than just present the recordings 'as is', there was a lot of editing and 're-processing' (whatever that might have entailed') of the material. The idea with most of the LPs was that they should be played at a very low volume, and used as aids to relaxation and/or concentration by providing a constant background ambiance. Something like that, anyway.
The majority of the recordings in the series were of wide empty spaces, with wildlife and water sounds being particular favourites. Side 2 of the LP fits that box neatly: "Dusk At New Hope, Pennsylvania", recorded in August 1970. It's basically lots of noisy crickets, with the occasional grasshopper gatecrashing the party. Side 1 is something entirely different, though. This side was recorded on April 6th, 1969 in Central Park, New York. What we have here is an audio document of a 'Be-In', when the Sheep Meadow area was filled up with bloody hippies. It's a very noisy recording indeed, with lots of shouting, chanting, ommmm-ing and general freaking out, man. You can very clearly hear the voice of pot-advocate/bore David Peel (one time big friend of John & Yoko Lennon) leading much of the proceedings, and singing rubbish songs about drugs. To be fair, they all sound like they're having fun... mind you, the sleevenotes inform us that it all ended up in a fight later on, with the hippies throwing rocks at the police and bonfires everywhere. Sounds about right.
Something else notable about the LP is the running time. The freak out on side 1 is 34 minutes long, while side 2 runs to a ridiculous 37 minutes. Side 2's groove is so tightly packed that it's almost impossible to make it out with the naked eye. It must have been a right bastard to cut, even at the low volume level used. This particular copy appears to date from around 1975, as it has a full colour Atlantic/Atco inner sleeve serving as an advert for LPs like 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway' and Focus's 'Hamburger Concerto'. Also note the embarrassment of riches when it comes to stickers on this particular sleeve. One time $6.49, then $1.88... and it's only a demo copy, apparently. I do wonder if the sleeve just became a destination for random price stickers when in the hands of a previous owner. So, not the sort of thing one's likely to listen to that often, but somehow one does feel one's life is just that little bit fuller, thanks to owning an LP like this. Teibel's nostrils died so mine didn't have to.
Here's a 3 minute excerpt from the LP: https://audioboom.com/boos/2808150-syntonic-research-inc-be-in