Copenacre Quarry

[Images: Two shots of Copenacre Quarry, via Nick McCamley's Secret Underground Cities site].

Last night I came across a review of the album Copenacre, by C4I, in an old back issue of The Wire.
Apparently inspired by Nick McCamley's legendary book Secret Underground Cities, the musicians behind Copenacre tried "to evoke the dead air and constant low level hum of Copenacre Quarry's now abandoned navy testing and storage facility" in England.
In other words, it's the soundtrack for an underground city.

[Images: Two more shots of Copenacre Quarry, via Nick McCamley's Secret Underground Cities site].

"It's not easy to understand the sonic appeal of these places," The Wire continues, "until you've actually visited one." On the CD, we read, strange sounds "flash through tunnels and massive steel doors clang and lock to disconcerting effect."
Here are two examples: MP3 1. MP3 2.
Both of those excerpts, however, remind me of the early work of Lustmord, the nom de musique of LA-based sound designer Brian Williams. Lustmord's discography became somewhat notorious in the early 1990s for, among other things, having been partially recorded inside abandoned mines, in the crypts of churches, and inside caves and cellars. The resulting, planet-shaking resonance and sub-bass could often put listeners' headphones out of commission.
On an almost ridiculously great CD called The Place Where The Black Stars Hang, Williams achieves a similar effect – but he gets rid of the caves and architecture. Instead, we plunge headfirst into nearly an hour and twenty minutes of machinic astronomy; we rumble and drone inside with what sounds like a WWII airplane buzzing through deep space, recording the slow magnetic death of stars.
Gigantic radar systems bounce and reflect off nothing.
Needless to say, it's not for everyone.

(See also BLDGBLOG's look at Subterranean bunker-cities).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey geoff. I'm not quite sure how to get a hold of you other than through comments on your blog.

This article,,176-2546574,00.html about robotic house-building machines, unrelated to this post, made me think of you.

January 15, 2007 9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about ambient sounds from the Brussels sewers?

A whole river, driven underground by the burgeoning population above - slowly tainted by the soapy effluvium of society's sewerage systems... ;-)

January 16, 2007 10:18 AM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

Hey anon - thanks for the link! You might like this older post, which is about that same project.

And hello, cargo cult; nice link. I like the acoustic angle. Thanks for that -

January 16, 2007 8:03 PM  

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