“In London” by Vangelis and Neuronium, 1981

This atmospheric piece, which would later be given the name “In London,” was part of an improvisation session featuring Greek synthesizer musician Vangelis and Spanish electronic group Neuronium. Filmed in 1981 for Spanish TV program Musical Express as part of “Serie Amigos” (the “Friends Series”), the performance was recorded at Nemo, the London recording studio that Vangelis had established in 1975 and where he would continue to work until 1983…

Ocean Pacific Apparel Designs, 1979 – 1989

Ocean Pacific was founded in 1972 by Jim Jenks, a San Diego-based surfboard maker and former sportswear rep. He had developed the logo in 1969 for a surfboard line, but found much greater success with surfwear, OP’s corduroy “walkshorts” becoming an immediate hit with surfers and, in short order, men everywhere (the high-waisted style was popularized by Tom Selleck in Magnum, P.I.)…

Usborne’s ‘World of the Unknown: UFO’s’, 1977

The mandate of British publisher Usborne Books was to produce beautifully illustrated children’s publications, designed and written by its in-house team. The first wave of books Usborne released in 1975—which included the popular Spycraft—had sold well, and in 1977 the company followed it up with the World of the Unknown series: a triptych that included Monsters, Ghosts and UFO’s

Usborne’s ‘The KnowHow Book of Spycraft’, 1975

During the Cold War, a new archetypal establishment role joined the pantheon of soldiers, cowboys, and cops that often peopled children’s games: the spy. Equipped with false identities, given to using hidden surveillance devices, and communicating in strange codes, this newcomer was perfectly suited to the duplicitous, mistrustful mood that was the constant background noise of the times…

The Uncoziest Catastrophe: Raymond Briggs’ ‘When the Wind Blows’, 1982

As the nuclear crisis between the Western powers and the Eastern Bloc deepened, and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists‘ Doomsday Clock stood at four minutes to midnight, perplexed children across Great Britain were treated to the release of When the Wind Blows, a graphic novel by British artist Raymond Briggs that narrated the aftermath of a nuclear attack from the perspective of the Bloggses, a working-class couple who have recently retired to the country…

The Sound of Space: Stereo Advertisements, 1981 – 1983

Three of the five ads above were illustrated by Ryo Ohshita, who seems to have specialized in depicting the pioneering audio systems of the time. Clearly taking after one of the most sought-after futurist illustrators of the decade, Shusei Nagaoka, Ohshita’s shimmering visions lend his products an occult grandeur and mystery reminiscent of the hovering Monolith of 2001: A Space Odyssey

New Age Nebraska: ‘Entourage: A Ceremony of Dreams’, 1977

An experimental music group founded in Baltimore, Maryland in 1970, The Entourage Music and Theatre Ensemble began as an exploration into the edges of jazz, folk, and free-form ambient music. Their self-titled debut album with Folkways Records, an independent label focusing on international music and spoken word recordings, was released in 1973…