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The following recording was sent to us anonymously through the post on a USB stick.  The stick came with a photograph, shown below, on the back of which is written "None Were Available, Büttel, 1971." (SS350)


Photo of unknown origin

A reverse image search matched to identical images titled "AtTheSnooks.jpg", "SeatonSnook1953" and "SSnook1954".  So far we have not received replies from the uploaders of these photos, although there was a William Büttel registered as a lodger in one of the cottages at Seaton Snook in the 1911 census. 

Seaton Snook 1911 census

Record from Hartlepool Central Library

Büttel was an electronic artist working underground in the former GDR.  His identity is unknown.  Although his name has been linked to Leipzig-born composer Peter Gotthardt this association was proved to be completely false.  He produced three albums on the Amiga label: Denizen in 1970, Unter Einem Lila Himmel (Under a Purple Sky) in 1973, and Joyless in 1978.  All three albums are out of print and very hard to find, although track listings are available on various archive websites, none of which include "None Were Available".  

None Were Available - Büttel
00:00 / 00:00

There are two curious elements to this recording.  First, it is implied that the track was recorded in 1971.  Most elements of the track certainly fit with this assumption, with some parts sounding not unlike Pink Floyd's 1972 soundtrack album Obscured by Clouds.  However, the track clearly makes use of a Linn drum machine, the earliest of which was not produced until 1980.

Second, the morse code heard throughout the recording, and the spoken word sections, appear to be taken directly from RAF interception reports, made at RAF Seaton Snook during the Second World War.  These specific reports refer to an incident in June 1942 in which Sgt Schonberg of Squadron 332 disappeared in his Spitfire in pursuit of an enemy aircraft. Such records would definitely not have been available to an East German artist, and these reports in particular were only made available to the public in 2015. 

The incidence of such sonic anachronisms form a curious parallel with the final recording of Agnes Pilkington, dealing with the aftermath of the Zinc Works explosion in 1968.  There may also be a connection with the recording of Hartlepool Indoor Market Hall by Jules Braun.


Document from The National Archive, Kew

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