Missed Encounters   Analysis Groove   Degeneration   Heliocentric Committee 
 PÜLSÅR SRH7Ø9Ø   The Delirious Rock   Rocktastic Revolution   Robert F. Williams 
 Lucifer Sam Division   Trade Union   Bloc concret 
 Fat Funky Person   The Echoing Green   Hair Pie Resistance 
 
The Echoing Green
 (William Blake, The Incredible String Band, Vivian Stanshall, Ben Schot & Warn Defever)


One of the most consistent critiques of Western societies expressed in the counterculture concerns the alienating and dehumanising effects of industrialisation and urbanisation. Urban settings like Paris, London, Amsterdam, and New York may have proved fertile breeding grounds for the avant-garde and counterculture, the general direction of countercultural thought, especially in the sixties and seventies, was against and away from such surroundings.

Towns, for all their energy, became synonymous with dehumanised, polluted, and neurotic surroundings. They were considered products of sick and dying societies. "Your slowly killing fumes now sqeeze the lemon in my head", sang The Incredible String Band to London in 'Mercy I Cry City'.

While urban countercultural groups like the Situationists and the Dutch Provos dislocated existing urban structures and conceived and worked towards alternative structures, many other groups and individuals left for the country in the hope of finding more authentic ways of life. This idealisation of country life and countryfolk was fed by several currents underlying the counterculture.
 
In the first place there was Marxism and its influential critics of technocratic societies. Then there was a general revival of Romanticism in the sixties, including a predilection for the irrational, occult, and natural. And there had been, ever since Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music (1952) and J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth saga (1955), a new interest in folk music and folklore.

One of the British bands to profit from this interest were The Incredible String Band, a Scottish folk band with Robin Williamson and Mike Heron as key members. The Incredible String Band (ISB) were "discovered" and contracted by Joe Boyd for Elektra in 1966. Their early albums, combinations of Celtic folk, Indian and Arabic instruments, ornate vocals and pantheistic lyrics, found acclaim among hippies and folkies, and in 1969 ISB played live at Woodstock. For the Missed Encounters track "The Echoing Green" several instrumental ISB pieces were strung together. Most of them were taken from the soundtrack to the obscure film The Pirate And the Crystal Ball that ISB put together in 1969.
The Incredible String Band's music is combined with a reading of William Blake's poem "The Ecchoing Green" from his "Songs of Innocence" (1789). Visionary poet and artist Blake was embraced by the counterculture as one of its predecessors. Blake's rejection of rational empiricism, his powers of imagination, spirituality, rebellious nature, and highly individual ways of expression, was recognised and celebrated by many leading characters of the counterculture, including Allen Ginsberg.

The soundtrack is introduced by a fragment of Preeweet!, a piece by Dutch artist Ben Schot and US musician Warn Defever consisting of bird sounds, slow bird sounds, and human imitations of birds. This chequered landscape is completed by several of Vivian Stanshall's rural characters from his absurdist Rawlinson saga, Old Scrotum, Seth Onetooth, and Reg Smeeton, who discuss a bewildering outdoor game. The result is an outing in the country. A day of idleness and fun on the green. Harmless and fleeting. Get away when you can.
 
 The Echoing Green 
 (William Blake, The Incredible String Band, Vivian
 Stanshall, Ben Schot & Warn Defever)
 
* The Incredible String Band - The Incredible String Band, Elektra 7559-61547-2
* The Incredible String Band - Be Glad For The Song Has No Ending, BGO Records, BGOCD627
* The Incredible String Band - Wee Tam, Hannibal Records, HNCD4802
* William Blake - The Ecchoing Green, from Songs of Innocence, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1971
* Vivian Stanshall - Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, Virgin Chattering Classics, VCCCD18
* Ben Schot & Warn Defever - Preeweet!, published by Time-Stereo. Livonia, Michigan
 Missed Encounters   Analysis Groove   Degeneration   Heliocentric Committee 
 PÜLSÅR SRH7Ø9Ø   The Delirious Rock   Rocktastic Revolution   Robert F. Williams 
 Lucifer Sam Division   Trade Union   Bloc concret 
 Fat Funky Person   The Echoing Green   Hair Pie Resistance