FORT EDWARD -- Allen Ginsberg slept here.
The widespread influence of the avant-garde that inspired popular culture in the late 20th century passed through a 500-square-foot studio that sits on the Hudson River between the villages of Schuylerville and Fort Edward.
"Philip Glass came up and worked on some ideas for ‘Einstein on the Beach.' Laurie Anderson was up a few times. Allen Ginsberg made a record here," said Tom Lopez, who has lived and worked at the little-known 33-acre complex for the past 42 years.
"We started out in 1970 with about 18 people. We had a big organic garden going for a few years," recalled Lopez, as he looked across the small island on the Hudson River, stitched to the Washington County mainland by a trio of narrow bridges.
The original group of audio artists who lived and worked at the complex named themselves ZBS Media.
The island was chosen because of its proximity to both New York City and Montreal where many worked. One of the group's members had received an inheritance that was used to purchase the living quarters, which sat on the land, and build a recording studio.
Lopez' background in radio dates to the 1960s and he sometimes goes by the adopted nickname Meatball Fulton.
"When I started in radio, I didn't want to take myself too seriously," he said.
The initial idea was to create an audio production company featuring full-cast audio dramas.
In 1972, when the drama "The Fourth Tower of Inverness" was released, it was syndicated to about 350 stations, but the era of free-form radio was rapidly disappearing.
In 1973, the not-for-profit ZBS Foundation was formed, which created funding possibilities for an artists-in-residence program.
Over the next decade, artists would come from Manhattan to the complex in Washington County to work on their projects.
Amiri Baraka, Abbie Hoffman and William Wegman were among them.
Poet Allen Ginsberg recorded an album at ZBS in early 1981 and Laurie Anderson was introduced to the electronic devices that permeate much of her work to the present day.
Anderson's earliest visit was documented on her Warner Brothers Records biography: "1975 - worked at ZBS Media, Fort Edward, New York; became a member of a communal group that had gone through every phase: alternative radio production, gurus, psychedelic drugs, natural foods, kids."
The residency program concluded in the 1980s, but Lopez has continued to write, record and produce works at the studio, mixing together scripts read by in-studio actors and the natural sounds he has collected in his travels across the world.
"You have a script ahead of time, but once you would get there, there would be on-the-spot changes," said Patrick Donovan, an actor who makes his home in Saratoga Springs and has recorded works at ZBS for the past 15 years.
"You'd be in a room with four or five people. You would do your part and they would do theirs and although it's done in a studio, it's a live recording and there's a certain amount of spontaneity to it," Donovan said.
More than 100 hours of daily radio serials and weekly series have been created by Lopez, some of which have been optioned for film. Lopez purchased the land in 1990.
The works have been discovered by a new generation of fans in the Internet age with an online presence, mail order sales and through satellite radio stations.
For more information, go to: www.zbs.org.