During the 1960s, William
Burroughs was in Europe and England. Living between Paris and London, his only
excursions to America were in 1965, when he lived for a year in New York at
the Chelsea Hotel and 210 Centre Street, and revisited St, Louis and Palm Beach;
and in 1968, when he covered the Democratic Convention in Chicago for Esquire
in the company of Genet, Southern and Seaver. Burroughs had quit the States
in 1953 exactly because he foresaw these police-state conditions.
But now the wild boys were in the streets, in London and Paris too, and Burroughs was inspired to hope that the world could really change. In the creative world-switchboard of the Beat Hotel, in various London hotels, in a house in the Arab Quarter of Tangier, he experimented with tape recordings, hoping to cut the pre-recorded time line of pre-sent time, and let the future leak through.
Many of these tapes are as much Ian Sommerville's work as Burroughs or even more. Ian's technical background enabled him to contribute to the early development of sound-and-light shows in London, and at one point he worked in a studio furnished by Paul McCartney.
Ian was a sorcerer's apprentice, and the other sorcerer was the late Brion Gysin. The development of all the early cut-up techniques was a pure collaboration between Gysin and Burroughs. It was Brion who led the way on a crusade to rub out the word, and with Antony Blach the cut-up was applied to film, in Towers Open Fire, The Cut-Ups, and Ghosts at No. 9.
Was in Combat with the Alien Mind-Screens (13:29)
Early cut-up of tapes made by Ian Sommerville and WSB around 1965, probably in New York and London.
Recalling All Active Agents (1:25)
Excerpt from tape made in 1960 by Brion Gysin at BBC Studios in London, using BG's permutational technique.
Both cuts from the CD Break Through in Grey Room (Sub Rosa CD006-8)