Real English Tea Made Here is an anthology of the cut-up tapes of William S. Burroughs.
Containing rare and unpublished material, of over three hours duration, the collection provides a valuable insight into Burroughs’ methodology and constitutes an important document of his expansion from cut-ups on paper to vocal permutations and sonic experimentation.
_The tapes curated as Real English Tea Made Here_ were originally created in Tangier and New York in the early 1960s using reel-to-reel analogue tape, sound-on-sound technology. The cut-up collage concept, with its roots in Dada soundworks and the simultaneous poetry of Hugo Ball, Richard Huelsenbeck, Marcel Janco and Tristan Tzara, released Burroughs from the constraints of linear narrative.
These early sonic experiments and the possibilities they imply have had a wide-ranging impact on the use of tape-collage and lyric forms by artists such as the Beatles, Frank Zappa, Lou Reed, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson, and Sonic Youth among many others; as well as the technique of digital sampling.
Many later pieces (now lost) were recorded by Burroughs in 1965 in Paul McCartney’s small experimental recording studio in Montagu Square, London, managed by Burroughs’ friend Ian Sommerville. Burroughs was a frequent visitor and watched as McCartney put together Eleanor Rigby there. McCartney in turn, learned all about cut-ups.
In the process of sonic archaeology leading to this publication all audio imperfections on the original tapes and recording idiosyncrasies have been left intact, as these tracks are the key remaining documents of Burroughs’ sonic art. Likewise, the rare and unpublished photographs have not been retouched for reproduction.
Audio Research Editions treats the compact disc as an art space with each edition containing a themed audio exhibition that can be experienced in either linear or random modes. Thus listeners might choose to use the Random Play button on their playback system, or two or three simultaneous playback systems to create new mixes from this three compact disc set