About EclectikTronik Found Tapes
The archive, (started in 1985), consists of strangers’ home recordings made via microphone onto tapes found dumped in skips and bins, or left in tape machines found at car boot, attic and jumble sales. These are generally unique one-off recordings, ranging from the banal to the disturbing. A certain enigmatic appeal stems from their not being intended for playback by an ‘audience’; the circumstances of their discovery and acquisition lend them a certain fragility, having been ‘saved’ from being lost forever. They are a unique way of viewing a moment, time or place.
FAIR USE POLICY: Note on audio files: As with other content on this site, a fair use policy applies. Use may be made of the material provided that the following conditions are met: a) it shall not be distributed or used in any profit-making enterprise; and b) credit must be given to the EclectikTronik Found Tape Archive. The downloading or usage of the material assumes acceptance of these conditions .
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85r001. Estimated date of recordings: 1971
Found: Liscard (Wirral) attic sale (on Baird/BSR tape recorder). , late 1985/early 86
Format: Quarter inch open reel, half track mono, speed 3.75 ips.
A mother tries to get baby Carl to talk into the mic. Also records some top ten radio hits from 1971 via microphone – complete with child in background – and some Johnny Cash records. http://www.mediafire.com/listen/czk3r0spxubzj3z/85R001+-+liscard.mp3
87R001. Estimated date of recordings: 1978–9. Found: Gayton (Wirral) primary school jumble sale, 1987 on Fidelity ‘Playmaster’ tape machine. Format: 5.75″ inch reel, speed 3.75 ips, half track mono. James Hanson is bored and decides to read parts of War of the worlds, make a few noises into the mike and indulge in some electro bleeping with a primitive organ of sorts. http://www.mediafire.com/listen/s1por6lu8pvjc38/87R001+GAYTON.mp3
87R002. Drainage questions on proposed school construction site, Birkett Ave. Found: Skip, Wallasey, Wirral, 1987 Format: 7″ reel, half track mono, speed 3.75 ips. This is what appears to be a planners’ meeting about the construction of Wallasey comprehensive schools (known later as Henry Meols/ Oxley/ Wallasey School and recently renamed Kingsway Academy) and associated gymnasia, pools etc. and associated cost, space and drainage considerations. Estimated date of recording: early 1960s. http://www.mediafire.com/listen/gd50l1ee401gisv/87R002++birkett+drainage.mp3
87r003. Found: jumble sale, Willaston, Wirral . On ‘Miny’ rim drive portable reel machine. Format: half track mono, variable speed (between 2 and 4 ips). Content: Various distorted recordings of music (first 3 mins) and children on mic (subsequently) . Muffled and unstable due to poor quality of machine. Estimated date of recordings: mid 1970s (musical style).http://www.mediafire.com/listen/7m9ydfgxduqgqdw/87r003_rimdrive_full.mp3
88r001a. Group 88R001 were all found in one lot together with a Philips portable recorder in an attic sale in Hoylake, wirral, February 1988. All 3″ spools. This one appeared to bear little relation to the other tapes. Andy (‘Andy pandy ball face’), about 17 years old, resident of Wallasey, makes a tape – not clear whether as a kind of audio diary for himself or taped letter for his girlfriend Ann (‘Abby babby’) with whom he is besotted. He records a few top ten hits and then, in a ten minute monologue, examines their relationship : its origins ( complete with a rather graphic account of a beating at the hands of her ex/his erstwhile work colleague, Mike) and a few ups and downs including his tears over a 3 a.m. tiff.Estimated date of recording: Feb. 1971. LISTEN: http://www.mediafire.com/listen/mkphygma4w1gchf/88R001A+STORY+edit.mp3
88r001b. Found: Attic sale, West Kirby, Feb. 1988. Format: Quarter inch open reel, half track mono, speed 1 7/8 i.p.s. Estimated date of recordings: 1967. Duration of recordings: 40 mins. A series of ‘field recordings’ , taped letter (interspersed with music from records and radio) made by Frank on the Cunard Liner. Since the ship was retired from service in 1967, it is probable that this was its final voyage. The tape starts with what seems to be some friendly baiting of an older or slightly worse for wear colleague, the father of the tape’s recipient (LISTEN: http://www.mediafire.com/listen/dsa2f5311c8z51f/88R001B+EXTRACT+OUTINBOAT.mp3) Later content includes recordings made with the ship en route for New York albeit with in staff, and a farewell and a few messages from other crew. There are three further spoken letter type tapes seemingly made by Mr Watson.
88r001d. This tape is addressed on the box to Mr. Joe Rellaway of Priory Bridge Rd., Taunton, Somerset. Clearly a kind of taped letter. We learn that Joe is a watch and clock technician with a shop in Taunton. Having gathered his wife Edna, and sundry family and friends together, he uses his two microphones to record a response to a tape from his friend Charlie and Doris. We hear about preparations for his daughter Heather’s wedding, Uncle Ernie’s mental problems, car crashes and thefts (Ford Anglia and Prefect are mentioned, dating the recording to the mid 1960s). News of a rather unpleasant stomach upset is balanced with details of holiday plans in the Torquay area. After a few minutes, the message is interrupted by a short distorted recording, seemingly an aborted attempt at a response from Charlie on a tape recorder he (rightly) doesn’t ‘think is working properly’. Format: Quarter inch open reel, speed 3.75 ips, half track mono. Duration: 30 mins. LISTEN: http://www.mediafire.com/listen/xyix7dc0vyfc0nw/88R001D+joe+PT1.mp3
88r001e. Estimated date of recording: December 1966. Half track mono, speed 1 7/8 ips. Another taped missive from Frank Watson on the Queen Mary. He records some New Vaudeville band songs for his wife. This dates the recording to at the earliest, late 1966. More music follows which they heard together on the RMS Franconia (another Cunard liner), some comedy, some Rolf Harris songs, some Ray Conniff, Tommy Dorsey and other swing. Reference is made to Monty who presumably, will help deliver the tape. It ends with xmas wishes to Jerry and Val; Peggy Quayle, Mrs Frame. http://www.mediafire.com/listen/h6w6l6o011eg0wi/88r001e_web.mp3
Testing recorder (nursery rhymes); also reading of Liverpool echo report of train strike, drugs theft from a pharmacy in Leverhulme, also a sung fragment of Johnny Nash’s ‘Cream puff ‘ and Chuck Berry’s ‘My ding a ling’ (both released 1972). The male voice sounds like that in tape 001A. There follows some casual conversations over dinner. http://www.mediafire.com/listen/bsn10as2wmbhccj/88r001f_web.mp3
NOTE: In mid 1990, a few dozen tapes from a defunct language laboratory were added to the archive – see Language Lab sounds page.
90r001. Found: Tuebrook saturday fleamarket, Liverpool, late 1990.
FORMAT: quarter inch open reel, half track mono, 3.75 ips.
Estimated date of recordings: 1969
Duration of recordings: 33 mins
Fred records a tape to send to Bel, Mary and Pat who are ‘behind the curtain’. He is not alone with his banjo, however, having assembled a few friends and family to join in. Mag, Gladys, Jim, Morgan, Tommy, Ethel, Vicky, George, Barry, Linda, Hol and Dolly put in an appearance, recording christmas messages and sing along to tunes like ‘Bill Bailey’, ‘Me and my shadow ‘ and a few hits from the black and white minstrel show. LISTEN: http://www.mediafire.com/listen/32dar4hzfa1fctt/90R001+liverpool+singalong+1.mp3
Format: half track mono, 3.75 ips.
Presumably found in Liverpool between 1989 and 1993; dock road fleamarket or Kensington market. May have come with some old BSR recorder. Content: family recordings. estimated date of recordings: late 1960s (Glen campbell, jim reeves etc. also on tape). http://www.mediafire.com/listen/2c4c76oa6fthibq/90r004.mp3
NOTE: In January 1991, a few dozen tapes from a defunct language laboratory were added to the archive – see Language Lab sounds page.
92r001a. This tape bears no relation to the others in the lot. Found: Car boot sale, Leasowe, Wirral, 1991/1992 on a SANYO MR101 battery operated recorder. Format: Quarter inch open reel, half track mono, speed 3.75 ips.
Arthur and Jim appear to be caretakers or yard/ site managers. they leave a taped message for their absent colleague Stan then engage in a discussion of Arthur’s decision to take early retirement. http://www.mediafire.com/listen/duumlc9wdun3dge/92R001A_STAN_part_2.mp3
Found: Wirral Jumble sale (Irby?), 1993
Format: quarter inch open reel, speed 3.75ips, half and quarter track mono.
This 3 inch spool of tape contains a whole series of messages. First is a Dec. 1962 message from Frank and family in the USA to Uncle James and Auntie Jean in Scotland (http://www.mediafire.com/listen/wcjjn5kqk3j0lvs/93r001a__s1t2_recoveredFIRST.mp3 ). James records a message back to them, and also Uncle Mike and Annie, Catherine (whom he has not seen in 50 years) and Cookie. The speech is interspersed with a few Scottish tunes he plays on the piano, to Frank, Robin, Ann and little Peter in the USA ( http://www.mediafire.com/listen/bji9axw36pyxb06/93r001a_s1t1SECOND.mp3 ). We learn that Aunt Winnifred is bettter, Patricia is preparing for a wedding, John, Jim and Morah, Aunt Annie (next door), Joe and Annette all get mentioned. We also hear about the saga of Father Maher, local curate and keeper of the tape spools, and a lost microphone. Strong church connections are evident in this tape, as they are in several other tapes (radio broadcasts mostly) found in the same lot.
We learn that Laurence and Kitty Gilmour are visiting and this tape was to return with them to NYC to be passed on. How it ended up back in the UK is a mystery and begs the question : Did it ever reach its intended recipients?
Recovery of this tape was complicated. The original message was recorded on a half track mono recorder. The response was recorded over the same tape but on a quarter track machine, across three of the four available tracks. The original message was not fully over-recorded and was recovered by playing the fourth track, side two of the tape, on a quarter track machine. The resulting backwards audio was digitized, edited and reversed.
94R001 Box labelled BBC ‘My family and other animals’ sound rushes from TV series, 1987
Found: charity shop, Bangor, Wales, 1994
Format: 5 inch reel, speed 7.5 ips, half track mono.
Date of recordings: 16.6. 1987
A house riddled with rot and an old doctor, amongst other things. No idea who ‘Dicky Restless ‘ is… http://www.mediafire.com/listen/dc1xaar54zaz3x2/94R001_-_MY_FAMILY%282%29.mp3
87c001. Found: early 1987, Liverpool. from an‘unofficial’ car boot sale on the Dock Road, one of several held on bombsites around the perimiter of the city.
Content: originally a pre-recorded release by Welsh prog rockers Man with tell-tale sellotape over the cassette spine, and now containing a hissy, taped phone call between two lovers, John (with a local accent) and Gabi, a germanic-sounding girl in Brazil. Conversing in English yet neither seeming to understand the other. Listen: http://www.mediafire.com/listen/7kdp15nr75a6437/87c001.mp3
Found: Car boot sale, Leasowe, Wirral, UK, 1999.
Format: Cassette, mono (probably recorded on dictaphone or shoebox-type machine with inbuilt microphone)
Estimated date of recordings: November 5th-6th 1992
Duration of recordings: 70 mins
Harold lives in New Zealand and, with help from his wife Maggie, records a tape to Bill and Vera back in the UK. We learn that his health is somewhat poor and he voices his frustration about not being able to do things he used to. Several sections are recorded at 5 a.m., as a result of the speaker’s difficulty in sleeping.
There is some talk of football scores, daily routines, childrens’ sporting achievements, (interrupted for a minute or two by some spoken French by an unknown younger Merseyside speaker). A few clues as to the date of the recording are offered after Maggie describes seeing the ITN News by satellite, mentioning the US elections with only 35% turnout ‘We had 85% and they said it was low!’), some ‘Gulf news’ and troubles in India and Russia. Gratitude is expressed for the ‘Come dancing and QE2’ videos.
A segment is recorded by a speaker who appears to be Bill and Vera’s son John, who has been working on a farm, a vineyard and travelling for several months in the area. He mentions having telephoned them the day before, sending letters, videos, postcards and packages, planning his return to the UK the following month.
A few things stand out about this tape. The first is the interesting accent of the main speaker, with its obvious Merseyside roots yet with a distinct, acquired, ‘down under’ drawl, suggesting long-term ex-pat status. The second is the ‘taped letter’ structure. By the 1990s, with domestic telephones now the norm rather than the exception in the developed world, and other increased communications possibilities (satellite/ Sky TV and video machines are mentioned), a tape like this would seem a little anachronistic. http://www.mediafire.com/listen/6vaoioloyyo6ydz/99c001_part1.mp3