Boomkat Product Review:
Glaswegian sound artist and radio producer Mark Vernon collages an "audio time-travelogue" on 'Call Back Carousel', using found tapes from hobbyists and amateur recordists that were originally intended to accompany slideshows.
Back in the 1960s and '70s, hobbyist photographers would put together slideshows of 35mm photographs, documenting trips to the beach or to the zoo. Sometimes, these events were accompanied by pre-recorded commentaries, spliced with music and environmental recordings to create a cinematic narrative. And for the last two decades, Vernon has been collecting reel-to-reel tapes from the era, cleaving the commentaries from their visuals and working them into rich soundscapes that tell of a quaint, eccentric Britain that's almost faded completely from view.
The first piece is made up of 1968 recordings from Devon's Paignton Zoo, opened with a slide machine click and some scene-setting environmental sounds. Music hall memories underpin an old man's voice, who describes the day out: "I don't know what this bird is," he moans. As the piece develops, Vernon's collage techniques get more distinct, with microphone noise and musical snippets creating the mood while voices connect us with the lived history. The rest of the album plays similarly: a visit to the Austrian Tyrol, a trip to Scotland, a day out in Toquay and a beach vacation at Brighton are realized in stereo, with all the humor and quiet familiarity you'd hope for.