A history of background, audio CD + booklet, cantaudio033, March 2011

An edition of 1,000 audio CDs compiled by artist Alan Dunn, Associate Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art at Leeds Metropolitan University.

As the revolution dies and the grey clears, new backgrounds come into view. From the beginning of time and space at the big bang, background has been an unavoidable issue to deal with and the CD looks at the manners in which artists, writers, filmmakers, designers and musicians have creatively explored the concept of background; vanishing points, dub, bass guitar, deep space, landscape, soundtracks, Muzak, ambience, dubstep, piped music, noise and eavesdropping.

The collection includes new 30-second compositions from students and staff of the School of Contemporary Art & Graphic Design, sitting alongside new works from artists such as Undark, Hannah Dargavel-Leafe and Lisa Stansbie.

Completing the collection is archival material from Erik Satie, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Yoko Ono, Einsturzende Neubauten, Michelangelo Antonioni and Andy Warhol. The CDs are being packaged by Graphic Design students and will be given away freely from March 2011.

17 March updates

Bo Diddley fans from Canada to Israel request copies / The Wire Magazine tweet about playing the CD in their office in the afternoon / Richard Haas' wife Katherine emails: 'the students have done a beautiful job on the packaging' and links to this tale of Richard's mural / Peter Hook to start work on exclusive background track, playing over the Pulsars recordings (more to follow) / playback and distribution of CD at SuperHybrid! in Leeds on 30 March ... press release below.

11 May updates from Anthony Kelly in Ireland ...

Bernard Clarke from the Nova programme on RTE LyricFM acknowledges the brilliance of 'A History Of Background’ project, the people from Farpoint Recordings discretely listen to and play the CD in the background of secluded locations and the CD becomes a component in the Resource Area of the Strange Attractor exhibition at The Crawford Gallery, Cork, Ireland.

20 June updates

Clive Bell reviews CD in The Wire .... discussions underway to include CD in Hilltown New Music Festival , Ireland ...

Keith from County Kerry emails: "I was just thinking of the CD yesterday when I overheard a conversation between two women in a cafe, one Irish and the other Spanish with broken English. During the conversation the Irish women mentioned something about her family background when the Spanish women asked what the word background meant. A five or 10 minute conversation then ensued with the Irish woman explaining the many meanings of the word, family background, academic background, in art and composition, in sight and in sound."

3 August updates

Anthony Kelly sends images from Background CD at Hilltown Festival.

Contact: a.dunn@leedsmet.ac.uk



These CDs are covered by an MCPS Limited Manufacture Licence