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The Foghorn's Lament: The Disappearing Music of the Coast

Jennifer Lucy Allan

6 Reviews

Rated 0

Music

Part memoir, part travelogue, part history of the foghorn: a uniquely ambitious new kind of nature book.

'A truly unusual and strangely revealing lens through which to view music and history and the dark life of the sea' Brian Eno

'As memorable, pleasurable and irrational as all the highest quests' John Higgs

'A perfect example of the power and beauty of industrial music' Cosey Fanni Tutti

What does the foghorn sound like?

It sounds huge. It rattles. It rattles you. It is a booming, lonely sound echoing into the vastness of the sea. When Jennifer Lucy Allan hears the foghorn's colossal bellow for the first time, it marks the beginning of an obsession and a journey deep into the history of a sound that has carved out the identity and the landscape of coastlines around the world, from Scotland to San Francisco.

Within its sound is a maritime history of shipwrecks and lighthouse keepers, the story and science of our industrial past, and urban myths relaying tales of foghorns in speaker stacks, blasting out for coastal raves.

An odyssey told through the people who battled the sea and the sound, who lived with it and loathed it, and one woman's intrepid voyage through the howling loneliness of nature.

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Praise for The Foghorn's Lament: The Disappearing Music of the Coast

  • A truly unusual and strangely revealing lens through which to view music and history and the dark life of the sea

  • The Foghorn's Lament is as memorable, pleasurable and irrational as all the highest quests. It's a deep, landscape defying blast of love and enthusiasm for place, emotion and the very human mystery that connects them both

  • A wonderful way to get up close and very personal with the foghorn - a perfect example of the power and beauty of industrial music

  • Had me listening to all the music in the air of the outside world, more than I ever have done before

  • This book is the full package: interesting in concept and content and arrestingly well written

  • Now that so many things can be - and are - recorded, I had forgotten that sound could also become extinct. The massive melancholic sound of the foghorn - the sound of safety and loss - is one of these and this colorful and detailed requiem tells the many interlocking stories of people who love it and try to preserve it. This has become one of my favorite books

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Jennifer Lucy Allan

Jennifer Lucy Allan is a writer, journalist and broadcaster with a PhD in foghorns. She has been a journalist for over a decade, writing on underground and experimental music for publications including The Guardian, The Quietus, and The Wire, and was previously The Wire's Online Editor. She is a presenter on BBC Radio 3's Late Junction, and wrote and presented Life, Death and the Foghorn for BBC Radio 4. She also runs the archival record label Arc Light Editions. THE FOGHORN'S LAMENT is her first book.

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