Unknown Public 01-04 volume one is an 80-page CD-book retrospective, drawn from the first four issues of audio journal Unknown Public (UP). The UP boxes were originally available on subscription, by mail order only, and these rare issues are now out of print. The CD-sized format of the new issue brings Unknown Public to UK record stores for the first time. UP’s compilations of ‘creative music in a plain box’ aim to inform and entertain the audience for creative music: music that crosses genres or falls between the cracks: composed, improvised, electroacoustic, experimental, sound art, multimedia, new jazz, contemporary classical and world music.
Why the box? Unknown Public founders John L. Walters and Laurence Aston wanted to present contributors in a setting worthy of their work. With the help of designer John Warwicker, they devised a simple plan. Everything - music (CD or cassette), text artwork - would go into a plain brown box, identified by printed stickers on the front and spine. Anthony Oliver’s photographs of the artwork for the first four issues give new listeners a chance to see what Unknown Public used to look like. (Copies of Unknown Public designed by Tomato, and later issues designed by Stuart Bailey and Richard Hollis, were featured in ‘Communicate’, the Barbican’s exhibition of independent British graphic design.)