‘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.
Published: White Rabbit Books, May 2021
Jennifer Lucy Allan is a writer and researcher. She is currently working on a PhD at CRiSAP (UAL) on the social and cultural history of the foghorn, and is also a freelance music journalist specialising in underground and experimental music. Previously she was online editor for The Wire, and now freelances for The Wire, The Quietus, The Guardian and others. She runs the reissues label Arc Light Editions with James Ginzburg, and is a core member of Laura Cannell’s Modern Ritual Collective. She has recently guested on BBC3’s Late Junction, and written a series on life living in a lighthouse for Caught By The River.