06 giugno 2020

Un'antologia in tre cd per ricomporre un quadro - tra i mille possibili - degli esordi della rivoluzione socioculturale di metà anni Sessanta a Londra, con specifici riferimenti all'arte, alla poesia, alla musica e alla moda alternative alla cultura ufficiale: Underground London-The Art Music and Free Jazz that Inspired a Cultural Revolution, prodotto dalla Él con Cherry Red Records. Con interventi di Joe Boyd, Barry Miles, Eddie Prévost, John 'Hoppy' Hopkins e Jonathon Green.

In the mid-1960s, the rigid and colourless British way of life was irrevocably transformed by the emergence of the underground movement, a loose collective of young radicals who introduced new social, sexual and aesthetic perspectives. Operating out of the heart of London, their various activities, from the newspaper the International Times, to the psychedelic club UFO, promoted alternative lifestyles and values and sparked a cultural revolution.

The Underground drew its inspiration from America’s Beat Poets; among them Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghetti; who espoused an impossibly attractive Bohemian culture – a hedonistic lifestyle of art and free love and all that went with it. The counterculture was also invigorated by the fearlessness of such pioneers of free jazz as Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, John Coltrane and Cecil Taylor; drawn, in its search for a ‘spiritual elixir’, to India and her classical music, embodied initially by Ravi Shankar. Then thrilled at the audacity of an international avant-garde – including such giants as György Ligeti, John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Luciano Berio – which pushed courageously at the limits of sound itself and who, in turn, would propose to all mediums of popular art in Britain a new palette of musical colours and techniques to work with.

Underground London is a panorama of the influences and inspirations which encouraged a cultural revolution in Britain. If the feeling of community of this generation began with CND and the marches on Aldermaston, the Royal Albert Hall poetry reading of 1965 was the pivot; a direct precursor to the International Times, the opening of the UFO Club, the 14 Hour Technicolour Dream and culminating in the Summer of Love.