The hovering sounds of Terry Fox‘s “Excerpts from Lunar Rambles” (MP3) will strike many as otherworldly, and when their source material is revealed, they may appear, to the contrary, all too familiar. These slowly cycling sounds, rich in overtones, were made not by visiting UFOs but by an artist working “a metal bowl and steel plow disk.” But even with that fact sheet, it’s informative to take into consideration the date of the recording: April 1977. Long before today’s ubiquity of contact-mic performance sound and remixed field recordings, Fox was experimenting with a minimalism that had as much to do with its raw materials as with its pulsing, rhythmically informed, melodically-untethered music.
The following images are stills of Fox performing variations on the piece in the videos Lunar Rambles: Canal Street (left) and Lunar Rambles: Brooklyn Bridge (right), released in 1976 and available from eai.org.
Fox passed away in 2008. This audio recording, made available as part of the holdings at ubu.com, was broadcast on radio station KPFK in Los Angeles on the show Close Radio on April 25, 1977. More on Close Radio, founded by John Duncan and Neil Goldstein (and organized by Duncan, Paul McCarthy, Nancy Buchanan, and Linda Frye Burnham), at getty.edu.