Artists : Bob Cobbing/Peter Finch/François Dufrêne/Helmer Bodil/Lawrence Upton
Label : Slowscan, ’s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
Slowscan vol. 36
Year : 2017
Black 12” vinyl in offset printed sleeve
Artwork : Peter Finch
Design : Johnny Van de Koolwijk
Limited edition of 250
Postage & packing not included
Slowscan #36 is a re-issue on vinyl of three separate cassettes originally released on Balsam Flex, a London-based label run by artist Erik Vonna-Michell in the late 1970s-early 1980s. In those days a number of British poets were producing works influenced by radical international currents in sound art, conceptual art, visual poetry and performance art. Bob Cobbing (1920-2002) was a central figure in this continuation of the ‘British Poetry Revival’, a rather loose poetry movement of the 1960s and 1970s which can be seen as an internationally oriented modernist reaction to the English traditionalist and nationalist approach of poetry of ’The Movement’ (Kingsley Amis, Philip Larkin et al.)
Many of the Balsam Flex cassettes brought poets connected with ‘Writers Forum’, a small press, workshop and writers’ network founded in 1963 by Bob Cobbing, Jeff Nuttall and John Rowan. After Cobbing’s death in 2002 ‘Writers Forum’ has been directed by poet and artist Lawrence Upton (1949). A joint piece by Cobbing and Upton is included on Slowscan #36.
Also included on this LP are two 1968 collaborations of Bob Cobbing and French Nouveau réalist and Lettrist François Dufrêne (1930-1982). Dufrêne’s sound poetry, musique concrète and décollage harked back to the early Futurist and Dadaist experiments in that field. ’Trigram (Trilofy Four)’ is a collaboration of Bob Cobbing and Helmer Bodil, released on Balsam Flex in 1978 and now re-released on Slowscan. So is the entire 1977 Balsam Flex cassette ‘Big Band Dance Music’ by Welsh poet and artist Peter Finch (1947), whose artwork for the original cassette now also graces the sleeve of the Slowscan re-release.