57 short pieces or extracts covering the first 50 years of the work of the seminal Groupe de Recherches Musicales in Paris, starting with Pierre Schaeffer(1948) and ending with Christian Zanesi (1998), selected and compiled by INA.GRM itself for a special edition of the rather obscure Italian Magazine Avidi Lumi, published by the Teatro Massimo in Palermo. Of special note on the CDs are rarely heard works of Darius Milhaud Earl Brown, and Philippe Arthuys; otherwise it's a lexicon of essential names: Bayle, Ferrari, Henry, Parmegiani, Chion, Reibel, Dufour, Lejune, Schwarz, Malec, Racot, Pamerud, Xenakis, Terrugi, Leroux, Racot, Stockhausen, Ascione, Amy, Lariviere, Philippot, Canton, Smalley, Carso, Favotti, Boucourechliev,, Risset, Mion, Ceasar and Baillif. Very different Individual styles and the evolution of the new musical language over time are here both closely and usefully juxtaposed. The CD's are also sold with a magazine.
57 short pieces or extracts covering the first 50 years of the work of the seminal Groupe de Recherches Musicales in Paris, starting with Pierre Schaeffer(1948) and ending with Christian Zanesi (1998), selected and compiled by INA.GRM itself for a special edition of the rather obscure Italian Magazine Avidi Lumi, published by the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, which it accompanies. Of special note on the CDs are rarely heard works of Darius Milhaud Earl Brown, and Philippe Arthuys; otherwise it's a lexicon of essential names: Bayle, Ferrari, Henry, Parmegiani, Chion, Reibel, Dufour, Lejune, Schwarz, Malec, Racot, Pamerud, Xenakis, Terrugi, Leroux, Racot, Stockhausen, Ascione, Amy, Lariviere, Philippot, Canton, Smalley, Carso, Favotti, Boucourechliev,, Risset, Mion, Ceasar and Baillif. Very different Individual styles and the evolution of the new musical language over time are here both closely and usefully juxtaposed. The magazine in 5 languages has a good collection of visual material and various giving some background on French and Italian electronic music history, practice and institutions. These will be useful to specialists but are otherwise either very dry, overwritten or bland. And are poorly presented. The CD is the thing. [Price reflects the weight of the magazine and consequent postage costs. If you don't want the magazine, for the CD alone is listed at £15.50.]
This is a good one. Intriguing and engaging combination of environmental, narrative sound and pitched 'musical' sounds. Very precise focus of material in 5 very different pieces. The last and longest 'walking tune' is an homage to and uses material from Australian maverick composer Percy Grainger to fine effect - featuring also much documentary sound en route. A beautifully conceived and balanced piece of work. (Interesting to hear alongside Jon Rose's (ReR) 'Perks' by the by). Highly Recommended.
The fourth Volume is lighter on the early landmarks, though there are some gems here, including one of Halim elk Dabh's prescient 1944 wire recorder experiments, Olivier Messiaen's 1937 Oraison for an ensemble of Ondes Martinots, Gottfireid Michael Koenig's remarkable 1967 Funktion Grau, Steve Reich's Pendulum Music a short 1958 electronic work by Ligeti, a rare appearance from Beatriz Ferreya (1967) and a Broken Music piece by the groundbreaking Milan Knizak. There are also some interesting '70s pieces by Laurie Speigel, Alvin Lucier and Francois Bayle (this with Robert Wyatt and Kevin Ayers). The rest, for the most part, are more recent pieces which stand closer to the industrial noise aesthetic, though carefully selected. Stephen Vitiello (2003), and James Whitehead (Air Attack over Kabul Airfield, 2005) both stand out. Another important collection.
Third in the valuable Sub Rosa edition. The main work of this volume seems to be a proposed connection between early electronic productions evolved under the aegis of contemporary 'classical' music - yes, the terminology is deeply problematic - and recent, mostly computer and sample driven - work that floats unattached to any institution. From the first group there are pieces by Hugh le Caine, Ilhan Mimaroglu, Herbert Eimert, Robert Beyer, Bernard Parmegiani and Michel Chion; from the second Michael Schumacher, Francisco Lopez, Peter Rehberg, Asmus Tietchens, Rune Lindblad , Michael Rother (Kraftwerk), Lilith, Merzbow, Faust and a few sound artists: (Justin Bennet, Carsten Nicolai, CM Von Hausswolf. These are not complete lists, there are 23 pieces featured. A few stand out: Le Caine, Mimaroglu, Schumacher, Einert and Beyer, Faust but it is the sweep across somehow related fields that is useful to a listener trying to orientate in a profligacy of 'electronic' music. For the laptop generation, this will likely be an enjoyable collection, for students of the history of electronic music it should be informative; in any case it's a valuable resource. I still tend to the view that the claim to kinship between these different worlds is problematic and that many essential questions need to be answered before it can be easily accepted. The presence of Faust and Merzbow suggest this, but not deliberately. Perhaps I ask too much. In general this is an admirable and invaluable series. [OFFER. All three Volumes £48]
Fifth in this important series which, by mixing early historic electronic music recordings with more contemporary laptop and ensemble pieces, takes an unusually broad view of its topic, leaving it to the listener to make theoretical and aesthetic judgements. The works featured here date mostly from the '60s and '70s, however. Of special interest are Francois-Bernard Mache and Andre Boucourechiliev (1959), Wolf Vostell (1968), Josef Anton Riedel (1963), two rare electronic works by Helmut Lachenmann and Claude Bailiff (1962) and Kagel's Antithese. Mayakovsky and Hausmann represent earlier experiments and Pere Ubu and Ground Zero more recent abstract/noise experiments by bands. Other early works featured are by Richard Maxfield, Charlemagne Palestine, Alireza Masheyekhi (Iran, 1966), Jil Josef Wolman, Leo Kupper, Henri Chopin and a very interesting long piece by Dub Taylor (1972). Later works are by Rogelio Sosa, Christian Galaretta, Dickson Dee and Dajuin Yao (China), Yamaaki Takushi, Sutcliffe Jugend and Club Moral. The aesthetic and technological contrasts evident as the CDs unfold tell their own story, and this volume is a useful addition to an already critical and in some ways definitive collection. This is a resource and not everyone will like every track - though all are informative and many appear here for the first time. Comes with useful notes.
Completes the availability of the three Ballet Mecanique scores. This is the last, the shortest and the most stripped down. It's interesting to compare it with the others and it's also a fine piece in its own right. And it's very cheap. Serenade is a very charming late work, very defined, rather cinematic, Symphony, from 1924 is Stravinskyan, and Concert marks the time (1932) when Antheil left Paris and returned to the USA.
This is a first recording of a reconstruction of the earliest (1924) version for sixteen synchronised player pianos, 2 grand pianos, seven percussionists (4 xylophones, 4 bass drums, tam tam, pitched electric bells, siren and aeroplane propellers) which was never performed (because impossible at the time). It was a reduced version that caused such a sensation at its premiere in Paris. This realisation was made possible, finally, through computer and midi power (to co-ordinate those 16 player pianos). An historic recording of a groundbreaking work. The rest of the CD contains other pieces for player pianos, percussion and electronics by John Cage and Lou Harrisson, Richard Grayson, Amadeo Roldan and Felix Mendelssohn (a version of the presto from the 4th Symphony remade for 16 player pianos). Classic.
Early Electronic music from Brazil. Starting in 1961 with a piece that uses only the stop, record and pause buttons Antunes went on to invent independently many of the techniques of electronic music and musique concrete and to develop a synaesthesic colour-sound theory which he utilised in later works. This collection follows through to 1970 with solid pieces, imbued with the burbling, droning, swooping character of much of the electronic music of the period. Largely unheard, this is a valuable historic collection that adds to the general reconstruction of the roots of electronic music.
An important collection, not least for the oldest track, dated 1930, by the very elusive Jack Ellitt. If this dating is true, here is a genuinely groundbreaking work. Ellitt, who at this time was making soundtracks for the New Zealand abstract film-maker Len Lye - and whose later work was done for the most part privately, even secretly, to be tragically lost after his death in 2001 - has produced here musique concrete 29 years ahead of time. Presumably done on optical soundtrack (like its contemporary, Ruttman's 'Weekend') this is abstract, manipulated sound. The CD continues with a 1951 recording of Percy Grainger's 'Free Music' machines, a snatch of the Melbourne Dada Group (including Barry Humphries) and 11 more fascinating extracts of work by people most of us have never heard of - and whose inclusion here makes a very important contribution to the library of musical experimentation of the period. Importantly, not only electronic music is collected, but also small ensemble compositions operating far from the mainstream of contemporary music - even at this time. For instance McKim's 'Monotony for 8 trumpets' or Cantrill's 'Soundtrack for Elkon' are properly experimental compositions, while Nagorcka follows Cage with a piece solely for televisions, record players and radios. This is an important - and an enjoyable - document, with a useful booklet and offers a timely reminder of where we were 30 years ago, putting today's offerings into perspective.
Made in 1979 this a quiet, decentred piece, electronic for the most part (organ, Moog, electronics) with fragmentary involuntary speech. In his nicely pitched notes he relates this to Tourette's syndrome. Here also are two extracts from two other vocally based works made a decade earlier, 'Purposeful Lady Slow Afternoon' for speaker, singers and bells and 'She was a Visitor' for many voices, humming and droning with a needle-stuck speaker. Important historic recordings.
Travelling in from different planets, Ashley and the world's rappers agree to aestheticise logorrhoea, shock-jockery and loose language and to keep those texts a-coming (there are 84pp in the accompanying libretto book). Two speakers and a host of ghost voices and a synthesised 'orchestra', all hovering around single tones create a hypnotic, often funny, vicious, strangely gripping linear streams of sound/speech. The nuance is all in shadows and hints and fleeting references. No one else is doing anything like this and it's fascinating to see Ashley re-emerge with such a highly evolved, unplaceable but fascinating form pitched somewhere outside opera, rap, theatre, music and bar talk. Try this one. CD and book in slipcase.
For an electric orchestra of 42 sound producing modules... violin scrape and pizzicato type sounds mostly, piling up like the sounds of amplified rain on a resonant roof. Then another piece, similar but with tunnel reverb, motorcycles and other sounds added. A second version of this with different, longer sounds added and for only one string player with gated reverb. A seventies classic by one of the unfileable composers who changed the rules. With notes and diagrams by the author written in 1999.
Features the legendary 1964 piece for amplified voice and tape - a landmark in the history of electronics and performance art - as well as the tape made to accompany it, heard for the first time here on its own (itself a fascinating piece because of the materials used and the way they are used - far from the norms of electronic music or musique concrete at the time). Plus, the earlier (1957) tape piece 'The Fox' and, from 1960, 'The Bottleman' - for contact microphone, loudspeaker, vocal and found sounds, a more abstract and drone based piece
6 pieces exploring microtanailty, shifting textures and time, some with very interesting instrumentation (piano in sixteenth tones, two in quarter tones and 2 violas d'amore; electric guitar, flute, harp, cello, clarinet, cymbalum, percussion and quartertone piano; four singers and tape; bass voice and 5 cellos. But much is slow and demands a performance context or visual accompaniment, I think, except for a few pieces. On the other hand the densely microtonal pieces are extremely interesting and unusual. A CD you might not want always to listen to all of but with some tracks that are passing strange.
The Baschet brothers produced families of exquisite sculptures, starting in 1954, which were designed to be played as instruments - exquisite and exotic instruments whose sounds recall Partch, Analogue synthesisers, the Ondes Martinot, Fred Frith and otherworldly atmospheres impossible to produce except through this specific acoustic concatenation of materials and shapes. In this book their history, the principles of their design, the theory of sound that informed them and a fascinating anecdotal history of their careers and the careers of their designers in many countries and in collaboration with Cocteau, Varese, Schaeffer, Shankar, Cage, Tudor, Menuhin and Takemitusu (who has a piece for the instruments on the CD) are covered, along with 100’s of photographs and design drawings and a clear meditation on acoustic principles and sonic theory. Another indispensable addition to every library. And not even expensive.
Weight means we have to add postage to this - sorry £3.00 UK, £4.00 Europe, £6.00 World.
Pieces from 1967 and 1976.'Spaces' is an early work, remixed here, but from the original; Camera is a recent revision of an early piece. Both use mainly concrete, manipulated materials and both have the early clarity and excitement of much of the pioneer work, making the most of every sound and of its spatial placement. These are classic works.
A very welcome reissue of the long out of print and seminal ARCH LP featuring mainly mid '70s works by Johanna Beyer, Annea Lockwood, Pauline Oliveros, Laurie Spiegel, Megan Roberts, Ruth Anderson and Laurie Anderson - i.e. all women (although the original release didn't draw attention to the fact, the CD does). This is a classic, excellent, highly varied collection which is idiosyncratic, intense and surprising by turns - but then these works do date from the highly productive decade, from the late sixties to the mid seventies (except for one prescient Beyer piece written in 1938, and recorded in 1977 - itself an important historical document, and one of the only recordings available of work by this rarely heard but significant composer). Lockwood, Oliveros and Spiegel are represented by their best; Megan Roberts is a blast of fresh air. The Laurie Andersen pieces (there are two) are early and fresh. Every piece in this collection is a gem, and every piece is very different. Comes with very thorough and useful sleeve-notes. Altogether a fine release.
Three compositions, the first and to my ears the most important dating back to 1960-61 - for Orchestra and tape (conducted here by Bruno Maderna in 1963 for WDR in Germany). Pure '60s, complex and eventful. Impressive. The second piece is from 1989, again for orchestra with violin and cello soloists; more conventional, more diffuse. The third a contemporary piano piece; difficult, good but familiar. It's the first piece that is an important recovery from a crucial period.
Normal-sized CD in LP-style sleeve with a seventeen and a half minute piece made in 1974 using raw and prepared piano material, strongly transformed through tape manipulation, and thus retaining many of the performative and musical qualities of the original material. An extremely good example of the aesthetic and imaginative qualities of this genre at a time when it was still marginal and attracted interesting people with ideas. It works because of - and not despite - its limitations, exploring a narrow field with rigour and elan. A modest gem.
A riveting assembly of pieces carefully made from field recordings of wild, ruined and abandoned pianos - mostly found out in the wilds of Australia. Seriously microtonal, nicely paced, and carefully focused on every individual sound, this is a CD that asks for concentration, and over-all rewards it. An early requiem for the cultural hopes of the18th, 19th and early 20th centuries; new life snatched from the jaws of desuetude. May I suggest you play this quite loud; it will benefit: there is a lot of fine detail here that needs some power behind it. Occasional wildlife comes with the locations in which the source materials were recorded.
Dormant Craters, Ceremony, Homeless People Three excellent pieces very well recorded of fairly recent works (1954, 1995, 1993) by the last of the great American maverick composers (he's 95 and still busy); the master of spatialised acoustic composition -all his pieces feature ensembles and musicians arranged around and through the listening space: never loudspeakers or electronics. Great nets of noise and polyphonic, polymetric, simultaneous but uncannily coherent sounds whirl about, and settle into conversational groups or randomised chatter, almost genre-free, always human and filled with complexity and moment-to-moment detail. Craters is for several percussion groups: two jazz kits, a gamelan ensemble, eight tympani, 14 gongs and other metallophones, a steel drum ensemble, handbells and the usual Chinese blocks, gran casas and multiple snare drums. Ceremony features a four-hand piano and most of a small orchestra divided into small groups distributed around the room, with prominent percussion and 4 singers (chorally organised). Homeless People is for a string quartet - one member in each corner of the room, the inside of a piano (here played by Brant himself) and a distant accordion. Inevitably the 360 sound picture is absent from these recordings but the clarity, originality and power of the compositions is manifest. A great CD from an important composer. Nice booklet with useful notes.
Second volume of the Brant retrospective. Brant, a unique voice in Amercan music, has been a pioneer of spatialised music (using diverse ensembles positioned around auditoria playing simultaneous, often non synchronised, parts) for the last 60 years. Nomads is for voice, percussion, brass and wind orchestra and was recorded live in 1974, Solar Moth (1979), composed for 8 track tape, is a concerto for Violin (played by the legendary Daniel Kobialka), 4 violas, C and Bass flutes, harp, piano and marimba - all played by Brant himself - and voice (Amy Snyder, seldom sounding human). This is a remarkable work and a vanishingly rare example of direct composition for tape in the 'classical' musical world. And it's absolutely great. Ghost Nets is for double bass, two chamber orchestras and one isolated horn. Another brain scrambler. These are substantial, unusual and important works. File with Ives, Partch, Nanacarrow, Varese; radical pioneers.
The last of the great American mavericks (though he is typically still left out where Partch, Cage, Harrisson and Nancarrow, who was strictly speaking Mexican, are routinely listed). Now in his nineties and still on top form, Brant is a pioneer and past master of spatialised music, always using multiple groups and orchestras distributed around, not in front of, the listener, and eschewing amplification or electronics. Recordings are necessarily reductions of course, stereo is the equivalent of a grainy black and white photograph, but these works easily survive that. There are three pieces here, The first, a new composition from 2004 - Wind, Water, Clouds and Fire - for 3 women's choruses, one children's chorus (all singing from the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci), a group of violins, 2 percussionists, 3 keyboards: piano, harpsichord and organ, harp and 6 trumpets. These are all distributed around St. John's Cathedral in groups, each playing together but independent from the others. They are co-ordinated only at their entry and exit by a central conductor. An excellent live recording. The second, Litany of Tides, is for 2 orchestras, 4 sopranos and solo violin - each pursuing its own unrelated compositional material (including snatches of other works played at the same concert). This is more extreme more radically disparate and much more dramatic than the first piece. The third, Trinity of Spheres, is for 3 orchestral groups, one large and mixed, the others smaller and divided into high and low frequency instruments. Wide separation is called for and each group again has its own conductor and its own musical programme, unrelated to that of the other groups. There are 15 events, each introduced by percussion. This is the rawest and most massive of the three works here; a rollercoaster ride filled with mystery, power and strangeness. Great.
27 tracks that combine binaural field recordings of urban and rural environments, and traditional musics, from Cuba, Bali, The Philippines, Istanbul, Hawaii, Holland, New York, California and Montreal, with 4 channel, layered, polyrhythmic electronic and instrumental improvisations. It's a very complex set-up, and to make matters more complex still, this recording is made from original materials and processed installation materials. The result is interesting - especially the urban sections - and startlingly binaural: there's real space here. A fascinating project (explained fully in the notes).
A monster of a work, and massive, this originated in a harpsichord commission Cage was reluctant to undertake but eventually completed in the course of three years work with (early computer programmer) Lejaren Hiller. It turned into - for its 1969 premiere - a four-hour multimedia overload for seven harpsichord soloists, electronic keyboard and 52 pre-prepared tapes (with material in 52 different computer generated microtonal divisions of the octave). A lot of existing music was used, especially Mozart - using his dice method - but also Beethoven, Chopin, Schoenberg, Busoni, Gottschalk and others. The result is a massive cacophony of wide spectrum pitches and melody fragments, like nothing before or since. This version was made by Joel Chadabe, the harpsichords played by Robert Conant. It lasts 65 minutes and there are two short demos of the materials used as extra tracks. The packaging is stunning. Flourescent colours and great design based on the small edition screened posters overseen by Cage for the first concert. The full and informative text is printed on 16 full colour cards which, when laid out form a wildly lurid poster themselves. It all comes in a psychedelic slipcase. Altogether a great work.
This is one John Cage CD to own. The main work 'String Quartet in Four Parts', is an early pre-chance composition (it was completed in 1950). Admirably clear and simple, it is harmonically based (though these are floating, non sequential harmonies), and it sounds exquisite - in part because played entirely without vibrato, bringing it close in sonority and affect to early consort of viols music. It floats without droning and, because it is so unexpressed by its players, becomes profoundly expressive through the beauty and openness of the composition.
Early works dating mainly from1942-47 and all written for dance performances, (except The Perilous Night and A Room, which are concert pieces. Nicely performed and recorded, these are rhythmical, often radically reiterative, riff-driven, works, centred upon the legendary 1944 concert that defined the Cage/ Cunningham partnership and both established and defined the prepared piano as a viable instrument. Played by Philipp Vandre, these are Hessischer Rundfunk radio recordings made in 2001. Useful notes in English, German and French.
The entire series, composed between 1939 and 1985 gathered together on one CD. No.1, the first to use the gramophone as a performing instrument (alongside three piano notes and a cymbal) is visionary; Nos.2 & 3 (1942) for amplified springs, percussion, electric buzzers and, again, vari-speed turntables, clatter and explode like rather psychotic junkyard skirmishes; No.4 for 12 radios was another landmark and, for No.5 (1952), Cage moved to straight ahead plunderphonics, using 42 taped recordings of extracts from (jazz) gramophone records instead of radios. 6 (1982) mixes the sound of crumpled, torn and waved paper with wood and water. These are new performances of the pieces by the maelstrom percussion ensemble conducted by percussionist and old Cage hand Jan Williams. Performances are all fine. The first 5 landscapes are the most radical and imaginative and occupy about half the time, No.6 is 26 minutes long, and is the one that sounds most meditative and 'Cagean' ('I have nothing to say and I'm saying it'). A good collection with useful notes.
The entire series, composed between 1939 and 1985 gathered together on one CD. No.1, the first to use the gramophone as a performing instrument (alongside three piano notes and a cymbal) is visionary; Nos.2 & 3 (1942) for amplified springs, percussion, electric buzzers and, again, vari-speed turntables, clatter and explode like rather psychotic junkyard skirmishes; No.4 for 12 radios was another landmark and, for No.5 (1952), Cage moved to straight ahead plunderphonics, using 42 taped recordings of extracts from (jazz) gramophone records instead of radios. 6 (1982) mixes the sound of crumpled, torn and waved paper with wood and water. These are new performances of the pieces by the maelstrom percussion ensemble conducted by percussionist and old Cage hand Jan Williams. Performances are all fine. The first 5 landscapes are the most radical and imaginative and occupy about half the time, No.6 is 26 minutes long, and is the one that sounds most meditative and 'Cagean' ('I have nothing to say and I'm saying it'). A good collection with useful notes.
CD and Book in a box with excellent notes. Here are (I) the GREAT radio piece 'The City Wears a Slouch Hat' by text by Kenneth Patchen set by Cage (mostly for percussion and noise) made originally for the Columbia radio workshop in 1942, here the music is much more audible and better sounding than the radio bootleg, though the text is not so well rendered. Nevertheless, this ranks in my book as a major work, and unmissable (Cage even being programmatic!). Great text by KP. To fill up the CD are some fascinating juvenilia: 1840 Cage, before he found his metier with a peculiar mixture of genres and styles. Interesting only. But 'The City' is a must
From the luminous Festival of Microtonal Music, six very different and unusual pieces, all well outside the general run of electronic music, and all, of course, specifically employing alternative tuning systems (15 tone, 31 tone, 72 tone, 8th tones, quartertones). Wendy Carlos and Joel Mandelbaum use rhythm and melody to contextualise their tunings, Carlos adding a small ensemble of instruments and voices to her electronics; Mandelbaum's piece is performed live on a Yamaha Synthesiser to great effect; the Stefanou and Lauten pieces are both emotive and spooky - Stefanou's her only recording, Lauten's performed with live bass flute and the composer on keyboard and vocalising. Pehrson adds live trombone to tape and the Glazier uses sampled and re-pitched instruments. An excellent collection.
From the American Festival of Microtonal Music, this is a great collection, including, so far as I know, the only piece by the legendary Julian Carrillo on CD (in 16th tones), 2 unusual pieces from Partch (settings from Finnegan's Wake), Ives' String Quartet No.2 and Lou Harrisson's 'At the tomb of Charles Ives' (in just intonation). Also included are Xenakis' Anaktoria (in quartertones, third tones and a lot of glissandi) and Scelsi's Ko-Lho. A great collection, a great undertaking and a perfect opportunity to sample some of the many alternative tuning systems probed in the first half of the C20.
An important release by one of the pioneers of electronic music, much referenced but seldom heard. Born In the UK, he started to experiment independently with electronics in the late '40s, founding the electronic music studio at the Royal College of Music in 1967. He was also a founder Director of EMS and co-designer of the legendary VCS3 Synthesiser. In 1979, he emigrated to Australia, taking his studio with him. CD one contains pieces for Tape made between 1955 and 1978 covers a lot of ground, including two concert pieces (made for the first ever major public concert of British Electronic Music in 1968) and 3 radio pieces: a very early work (1955) for the BBC play 'The Japanese Fishermen' (about America's Pacific bomb tests here reconstructed from acetates, and the 1978 'Steam Music' which follows in the great concrete tradition of deriving pieces from recordings of trains. CD 2 features computer and synclavier compositions made between1979 and 1996, and finishes with Cary's tribute to Conlon Nancarrow.
From the luminous Festival of Mictrotonal Music; we are off the map here. This is what the most experimental rock group you ever heard would sound like if the context weren't a contemporary music festival. But director Reinhard's scope is so wide that the categories have collapsed (as in fact at the fringes of the old genres, once segregated genres, they have anyway). His is a catholic understanding of music with its doors wide open - so long as the investigation of microtonalities, close composition and alternative tunings are set at centre stage. Catler - a guitarist who plays specially designed acoustic and electric guitars in just intonation, 31 tone and 64 tone tunings, as well as wholly unfretted - has composed a set of pieces here that range from four or five piece rock band (with bassoon) for many pieces, to small and large contemporary music ensembles. Apart from guitars, instrumentation includes hammer dulcimer, fretless bass, electric bassoon, drums, viola, cello, double bass, oboe, trumpet, tympani and tuba. The piece for electric guitar and orchestra, written in ' 13 limit just intonation' unfolds an overtone structure. The music is never less than ear-opening. In a genre of its own.
Very entertaining selection of pieces plundered, cut up and played in real time by the Chronos Quartet and the Paul Dresher Ensemble, as well as tape or rather sample and computer manipulations. Full of jokes, quotes and eccentricities, as well as some nifty musical thinking. New generation where plunder and cross genre work is no longer an issue, but just comes naturally.
This essential piece of history at last reissued, redesigned and repackaged. Keystone works from the various streams of musique concrete, electronic music, soundscape, electroacoustics and plunderphonics - including two masterworks from Eastern Europe, a territory traditionally overlooked in collections of this medium. It comprises: John Oswald's 'Parade', a complex work drawn and extended from Satie's celebrated ballet composition of 1917; Georg Katzer's monumental 'Aide Memoire' ('7 nightmares from the 1000 year night'), a terrifying document of collage, electronic manipulation, original composition and sound documents from 1933-45; Lutz Glandien's exquisitely economical, sonically powerful and surprising 'Es Lebe' for Tape and Tuba; Steve Moore's groundbreaking 'A Quiet Gathering' (chamber music for environmental sounds) - a multi-layered 22 minute work made only from captured non-musical materials; Jaroslav Kr_ek's miniature electronic gem based on nightingale songs and the proto-plunder legend 'Ommagio a Jerry Lee Lewis' by Richard Trythall. An indispensable collection in my view.
Pioneering works from the legendary Koln studio - founded in 1951 at one of Germany's major radio stations - that move through the early strict serial approach to synthetic materials into the many and different approaches to the sonic opportunities synthesis uncovered. Where Musique Concrète took all recordable sound as its instrument, Koln began with purely electronically generated sound - first using a trautonium and a melochord, and then simple tone generators, filters and primitive processing equipment. These pieces, mostly never released before in any form, represent according to one of the composers, a fair cross section of the work done at the studio between 1952 - 58 (with the exception of already famous works by Stockhausen, Kagel and Krenek). Represented are: Herbert Eimert, Robert Beyer, Gottfried Michael Koenig, Henri Pousseur, Franco Evangelisti, Györgi Ligeti, Karel Goeyvaerts, Paul Gredinger, Giselher Klebe and Herbert Brün. Excellent booklet notes.
Important works by Bulent Arel, Charles Dodge, Ilhan Miramoglu, Ingram Marshall, Daria Semegen and Alice Shields - who edited the collection and wrote the extensive and highly informative booklet notes. An excellent collection of characteristic works from one of the most important American University experimental studios.
11 pieces of early Fluxus style home-made electronics (meaning only that it was done on cheap home equipment, not in radio stations, university facilities or studios, though, in fact, two pieces here were made in studios ). There is much made of poor quality, overloading the equipment, creative use of household appliances and objects for source sounds. Especially interesting - for me - is the 1962 piece 'Thais' - a cutup collage of Massenet's opera, with some jazz and other snippets flown in - a very early plunder piece. Most of these works were commissioned for dance, multimedia performances or the Living Theatre. For them there is a fair amount of radical noise, almost Mezbow-like at times (though decades earlier). In general, this is extremely interesting rather than a listening pleasure. Excellent book with photographs and text by Corner himself, about the works, their generation and their application.
Gong and bell sounds with background roar and occasional traffic by Fluxus alumnus Corner, performed mostly at a concert in New York at The Kitchen in 1974 (there is information in the autographic booklet, and it's good information, but it doesn't say much about the actual recordings, which are clearly live and fairly lo-fi - not a bad thing - especially the unidentified first piece, where Corner is joined by Bill Fontana). For the other two pieces there are 4 performers with a variety of gongs and a bell tree. There are also low piano notes in the first one. Both are pretty cleanly recorded and good on the ear. Especially the first: deep resonating gongs, low strings, the sound just hanging around...hard to go wrong.
A fine and important collection of so-called maverick works by women in the 20th and early 21st centuries. Very varied, always challenging. The first two pieces - by Mildred Couper (written in 1930, before any of the other contributors were even born) and Annie Gosfield (b.1960) - are exemplary: Couper's for two pianos tuned a quarter-tone apart and Gosfield's for brain-twisting percussion and bass-clarinet, employing complex simultaneous metres. Pauline Oliveros does what she does; Eleanor Hovda (born 1940) manages, more or less, to make an electronic work with acoustic resources, Beth Custer, using sound sculptures and invented instruments, offers an eccentric song and Zeitgeist ensemble realises a Yoko Ono/Fluxus score. In addition, there is an improvisation using the legendary Arthur Ferris' forgotten instruments. Built mostly in the 1920s these were extended string families: many necked viols, harps, &c. I'm not at all sure how this track fits here (Ferris was male and all the players bar one are male too, but I'm not complaining. It's good to hear the instruments). There are three extra pieces accessible only from a computer, another 1/4 tone piano duet by Mildred Couper, another Ferris instrument improvisation, and Johanna M Beyer's 1932 Suite for Bb Clarinet. 26 minutes in all. If only for the chance to hear Mildred Couper, Ferris' instruments and Annie Gosfield, this is a hit.
On one CD, an indispensable collection of pieces that illustrate Cowell's inside piano and cluster work, Cage's piano preparations, Johnson's experiments with mictrotonal tunings, and Nancarrow's visionary work with 'unplayable' music and player-piano. With excellent and thorough notes by musicologist Charles Hamm about the history of the piano and invention in America, and the work of all four composers.
A very welcome collection of 21 Cowell's mostly experimental piano pieces, where many of techniques - clusters, work inside the piano etc - were pioneered, ably played by Chris Burns. An important part of music history well presented. Spot those Irish folk and classical Chinese influences.
Pure Plunderphonics from the world of contemporary music that concentrates on recognisable instrumental and vocal sounds organised through the notion of imaginary 'super-performers' with impossible techniques. These compositions feature more or less completely undistorted Western and Indian classical instruments and all manner of voices, intelligently deployed. There is rhythmic, harmonic and melodic content and the musics of diverse ages and places (especially Baroque) are inseparably entangled. The aesthetic is far from laptop or DJ and stays firmly in the electronic and compositional tradition (after Nancarrow or Alwyn Nicholas with massive instrumental resources and supersingers). A rare example, like early John Wall, of a disciplined and deep-structured use of 'natural' samples in possible but impossible compositions. A little one- dimensional but still highly recommended.
A student of Berio and Boulanger; a former director of the Centre for computer music, and the inventor of musical hyperrealism, Creshevsky unusually works only with found sounds, seldom processing or treating them - his pieces are less like tape music as we know it than scratch and sample, or sound collages. The sounds (musical - orchestras, instruments - voices and environmental sounds) essentially come as they are and are then chopped up, layered, juxtaposed and mixed into complex, laminates - some satisfyingly hectic (Drummer), some political (Strategic Defence Initiative), some funny/absurd (Great Performances) and some eerily uneasy (In Other Words - spoken by John Cage). Creshevsky avoids all genre classifications, working as close to post-rock as he does to contemporary music. Covering 21 years, these pieces are all very different and all very listenable - entertaining even: eccentric but absolutely coherent. The latest has strong echoes of some of Zappa's later Synclavier pieces. A maverick Creshevky's work is a catalogue of plunderphonic techniques and non-art applications. Very interesting work. Japanese release, limited quantity, notes mostly in Japanese with English islands. Sorry about the price.
A splendid and much appreciated collection; unusual and prophetic music, all of which is uncompromisingly excellent. Particular mention for Berg: music in twelfth-tones (each tone divided in twelve) and Komorous (enormously inventive, especially the piece for mouth organs and bass drum). This is music that was missed, showing that the spirit of experiment lived and thrived, heard or unheard, every- where, and it is still coming to light. Highly Recommended.
An immensely useful book by one of the UK’s early experimenters and pioneers in sound art, and a working authority in the field. This book collects much of his own writing on environmental listening, musical history, improvisation and indeterminacy, new instruments, audio art and installations and includes project descriptions and workbooks. 124 pp, with pictures and photographs. The CD contains a great collection of early plunderphonia, installation recordings, pieces for invented instruments and sound sculptures, musical boxes and found instruments (buzzers, dot matrix printers, eggslicers, tin can and fishing line &c). An important contribution to the field.
ADD £2.00 postage Europe, £3.50 rest of world - sorry: weight
Hugh Davies was a quiet pioneer. In 1964 he replaced Cornelius Cardew as Stockhausen's personal assistant and then on his return to England became a moving force in the first British electronic performance ensemble Gentle Fire, as well as joining MIC (with Derek Bailey, Evan Parker and Jamie Muir). Soon he was quietly turning up everywhere, but never joining any generic musical faction. He was also a walking encyclopaedia, a prolific author and a valued teacher, omnipresent in the worlds of electroacoustic music, instrument design, and sound art. Here, at last, is a CD of his electronic pieces, made between 1976-1987. The earliest, Natural Images, for concrete sound and tape manipulation, is the strangest; Celeritas, made on an early Fairlight is in the Davidovsky/Mumma vein, exploring Stockhausen's division of 28 semitones into 25 equal parts (no octave) and the idea of speed; Tapestries, made in an electronic studio for dance sets up an equipment chain and algorithms and manipulates them in real time; From Trees and Rocks uses concrete sounds of sawing and chiselling alongside manipulations of the saws and chisels used as musical instruments - a very unusual and enigmatic piece, and also I think the real gem of the collection - and finally, Vision, also using the Fairlight, follows Celeritas in its employment of bell-like tones and microtonality - even more obvious here, because taken more slowly. A varied collection and much appreciated. With a useful biography by David Toop.
A fascinating collection; Marinis is really in a class of his own; he extracts or constructs melodies from voices taken from all manner of sources: language instruction recordings, hypnotists, televangelists Chinese radio, court proceedings and an Indonesian lullaby, which he re-synthesises and arranges, or assigns to virtual instruments. Descriptions don't help here, the art is in the listening, in the way he makes the voice unreal but more real; gets closer to the voice by alienating it. They sound so good and, moreover, his text selection is pretty gripping. This is a joy to listen to. Nicely packaged, good composer note.
The legendary collaboration between a leading American Musique Concrete composer and an instrumental ensemble directed by James Reichert where, for I think the first and to date only time, there was full integration of the written, played and manipulated sounds. The instrumental parts were derived from őcells' of concrete sound and in turn were electronically transformed (in Robert Moog's then state of the art studio), Then the whole mass of material was organised together. A true hybrid, and a one-off. Long out of print since it's appearance on vinyl in 1966. With two extra pieces by Tod Dockstader a new stereo version of No.7 (from the 1961 ő8 Electronic Pieces' and very late and very different - piece from 1990 which has never escaped his studio until now. A classic and a milestone in the evolution of electronic, mediated sound.
The third in the set for those of you who have been collecting from the beginning. This CD is also, in my opinion, the one to have if you only have one. Made from between-channel radio sounds collected over many years, then assembled and processed over more, these are complex, deep and rather human pieces, neither synthesised nor acoustic - musique concrete without the concrete; sounds no one has made, plucked from nowhere; unwanted interference that exists only as cross-contamination, cosmological noise or leakage: Sternklang - sounds that only radios can hear....The entire 240 minute 3 CD work is, in a strangely fractal way, wholly represented in this final volume, so if you haven't dipped in yet, now is the time.
Reissue of Dockstader's crucial and remarkably advanced early concrete pieces, originally released privately and then reissued by Folkways in 1961 - with a recent interview with Dockstader himself and his original notes, which themselves make this release invaluable. These are 8 classic pieces from the time when the form was being created and extended by one of its great practitioners. The range and detail of sounds and applications is prodigious. A classic.
These 2 CD reissues are great news for all 'organised sound' enthusiasts. TD was one of the distinctive pioneers, and yet remains little known. His work was always hard to find. These are fascinating concrete works - using old technology: tape, razor blades, layerings - of classic quality and depth. Well documented and packaged. CLASSICS.
Paradigm continues to uncover important fragments of the historic record. Bob Downes was everywhere on the musical fringes of the '60s, and his own 'Open Music' with Barry Guy and Denis Smith was part of the furniture of the time. Here, he and Wendy Benka with an orchestra of flutes, hammer dulcimer, marimba, gongs, percussion, jew's harp, saxophone, electronics, feedback, public telephones, water pump, zither, wind gong, cello, crystal glass vase, snail shells and tablas, produce an airy semi-electronic music - originally commissioned for dance, and released on Downes' own Openian label in 1974. What makes it especially interesting is the ground it explores between acoustic and electronic musics: all the sounds are processed, using the limited equipment available at the time, but with a great deal of inventiveness - and imagination will trump outboard computing power every time. Re-mastered from the original tapes, adding 7 extra tracks made between 1972 -2005 (one using only New York Public telephones, au naturel).
A collection of microtonal and highly individual pieces featuring the first Syn-ket synthesiser (built in 1964) and including the music from the first public performance with any synthesiser. Songs for RPB features the Syn-ket, two piano insides (the 2nd played by Richard Trythall) and voice; Blind Man's cry is scored for Syn-ket, Moog, voice and tapes; Thoughts on Rilke for voice, two syn-kets and reverb plate. The longest work is the remarkable concert piece for syn-ket and symphony orchestra, and the CD closes with two (in the event unreleased) attempts by Decca to get something commercial out of Eaton and the syn-ket in the form of two pop instrumentals, with added bass and drums. Altogether this is an extraordinary release and unlike anything else I can think of. It's very evolved. Though occasionally annoying (to me, I hasten to qualify: this style of high art singing can get rather wearing) it's still an ear-opening collection, and another window of the fecundity of the 1960s.
A fascinating look at Feldman's early works, including - at last - the assumed lost 'Intersection' for magnetic tape, finished in 1953, and the great music for a 1951 film about Jackson Pollock, which effectively marked Feldman's entry into American musical life. This CD reproduces the optical soundtrack from the film itself - all other recordings being lost - which includes Pollock himself speaking. There are other substantial early works for 1 and 2 pianos, occasionally for piano and violin. The spare qualities are already there, of course, but there is a wider palette perhaps than we sometimes expect from Feldman. An altogether excellent collection.
Another careful and beautifully presented CD from RZ. Collects (mostly piano, one double piano, one piano and violin and two ensemble) pieces from 1952-1974, recorded for radio between 1959-79. Pianos played by Morton himself, John Tilbury, Cornelius Cardew and David Tudor. See if you can spot the pin drop.
Reissue of the much missed CRI CD. The title track is a 29 minute piece for viola and small ensemble, conducted by Feldman himself: endlessly suspended and endlessly listenable - it could go on forever; cleanly articulated, always concentrated, in constant motion but without a goal; just rich in its going. There are longeurs that sink into silence, and there is great, and unfamiliar, use of blurry, quiet percussion. It is a work that transfigures time into pure qualia. If you are not familiar with Feldman, this, or Rothko Chapel, would be a good place to start. There are two other pieces on the CD, inhabiting the same timeless zone, 'Why Patterns', with Feldman himself at the piano, and 'False relationships and the extended ending.' For flute, percussion and piano.
A rare CD with 2 Ferrari compositions for real instruments (though one includes 2 electric organs and the other double bass, electric guitar, electric organ, vibraphone and tape). This is a reissue from the early ő70's, with the ensemble contemporain. The first piece is essentially static, with glitches, the second just gets better and better. There is only one Luc Ferarri.
An important collection consisting of Petite Symphonie -what Ferrari calls landscape music, layers of mobile organs, ocarinas (?) and other sounds inhabited by fragments of speech and the traces of local fauna and flora. Minimal means with powerfully evocative effects; then the glorious Strahoven, a 1985 full-on plunderphonic work made from recordings of Beethoven and Stravinsky; an indispensable piece of history - and bold as well as being dryly droll; Presqe rien avec filles - third in the Presque Rien series; enigmatic Tuscan soundscapes haunted by human fragments, storms and increasingly disruptive and violent electronic events implying some mysterious inchoate narrative process; and lastly Hétérozygote, an electroacoustic piece employing speech fragments, natural sounds, musical sounds and acoustic documents collected in diverse locations. An excellent signature collection from one of the masters.
Ferrari is a past master, and was one of the very first to make whole works with environmental sounds. The compositions here are all built from field recordings (inc. Spanish museum, Bullring, Theatre and Concert rehearsals, grape harvest, rural village, container port, cement factory and so on), unused electronic materials from Ferrari's library and fragments of interviews with young women (also from his archive). It works.
Indispensable. In 1969 Ferrari made Music Promenade, one of the key works of tape music, using environmental recordings throughout. He followed it in 1970 with Presque Rien (at the seaside), again using documentary recordings only, but this time, les eventful, more environmental. He returned to the process in 1977 with a night piece that extended the documentary night into One more return in 1989 (with young women) recorded in Tuscany. The whole sequence is on this CD.A classic.
Includes the CLASSIC 'Music Promenade'. A huge narrative of environmental recordings with hardly any additional electronics. Plus versions of 'Presque Rien' continuing Ferarri's experiments with composing with environmental recordings. An important document.
As close as anyone should get to perfect. Soundtrack work for a film, which is also excellent - be sure to see it if it comes your way - on the work of British outdoor artist Andy Goldsworthy..Exquisitely recorded, crystal clear sounds always seamlessly deployed, mostly played by Fred with some double bass, percussion soprano sax and bass-clarinet added;. It's sparse, but not always, set in soundcapes, even breaking in to melody now and then, but holding at all times in a subtle web of tension that isn't tense; and un-intention that isn't aleatoric. Absolutely great. Fred, you're a bloody genius
Nicely assembled CD of storms, environments, bassoon in a forest of noises, telephone exchanges, weather, mysterious presences, machinery, foregrounded backgrounds and strange mini-dramas. Original, organic and Intelligent.
Collection includes Tod DOCKSTADER, Pal DRESHER, Philip BIMSTEIN, Charles AMIRKHANIAN, Joseph KASINSKAS, Joseph LUKASIK and Pamela Z. More toward the mditative than the industrial, some excellent pieces. A useful sampler.
For 3 violins, viola and cello this long, still, rather agonising work modulates very slowly over a long time. Geber says in his reflective sleeve-notes ' the piece is about gutting myself emotionally'. It explores quiet, demanding playing (of long tones), very close-mic'd - to pick up every falter and detail, and can be listen to as background or foreground to very different effect. Not for everyone; this is a demanding and somewhat excruciating composition (and performance); but it has integrity.
Pioneer of electronic music, compositional linguistics, and founder of the New Music Choral Ensemble and Lingua Press, Gaburo has spent his life experimenting with language-as-music and music-as-language. The two pieces featured here are the 1967-9 Maledetto, a remarkable, high-octane vocal theatre piece for 7 speakers centred on the word screw' in all its connotations, and Antiphony, for tape and percussion - a strongly theatrical piece for percussionist and tape. A rare recoding by Gaburo, whose work is generally underrepresented even today.
An audio/architechtural installation by soundartist Gal and architect Yumi Kori with the intent, they say,to attempt to slow down time. Bell-like sounds that hang but never coalesce or evolve. All blue package, pictures of the installation and explanations from the artists.
Gann, composer and author of 'The Music of Conlon Nancarrow' here uses MIDI and the Disklavier to work through his own original and highly imaginative approach to the mechanical piano, in these pieces tackling not only rhythmic and polyphonic possibilities - like Nancarrow himself - but also mictrotonality and alternative tunings. Though all the pieces are fiendishly and impossibly complex, they are also easy to listen to - by turn, breathtaking, witty and intelligent. They mostly draw on Jazz, Blues, Folk and popular music forms, though in vastly alien configurations, and each works around a strong central idea. For instance: 'Petty Larceny' is all made from fragments of Beethoven piano sonatas, 'Bud Ran Back Out' references Bud Powell, but in multiple times and at impossible speeds over a walking Bass, 'Despotic Waltz' puts regular Nancarrow in the Left hand and rubato Chopin in the right, 'Folk Dance for Henry Cowell' uses Cowelesque subdivisions of beats in a simple Folk setting while 'Unquiet Night' uses seven bebop chords and seven tempo layers to stake out a mysterious soundscape. The title track is Gann's Ave and Vale to the futurists.10 very different pieces explore 10 very different ideas. Excellent. Sleeve notes. A jewel.
Although following The 5th Elephant in its musical organisation - around grids of pulses and highly crafted, rich sonorities - this work is more evolved, more focussed and more internally economic. Following a narrative thread this time, the whole is bound into a complex and ramifying exposition of repetition, transformation and evolution, where a return is no return and where perceiver and perceived are lost to time. Tightly bounded by speech-derived (but massively re-formed) sonic materials, as well as location recordings, this work enters a non-existent genre field that fuses and transcends contemporary complexity, C21 Musique Concrete, Horspiel, and a kind of post-techno investigation of the conflict between organic informational materials and manipulations. A gem.
Triple CD set of some of Heiner's CLASSIC radio pieces,with many guests well known to you all, with fat book containing all texts in German, English and French. And the Heiner Muller texts are frighteningly great. This is essential work and highly recommended.
Another important slice of history from the redoubtable Paradigm records: Lily Greenham, composer, performer, concrete poet and optical-kinetic painter, born in 1924 and highly active in both the visual and electronic arts from the early '60s onward; peripatetic and multilingual, she lived in Vienna, Copenhagen, Paris, Madrid and Lisbon before finally settling in London in the early '70s, where she produced prize-winning electronic pieces; collaborated extensively with the radiophonic workshop, toured alone, performed with Hugh Davies, Bob Downes, Barry Guy, Peter Cusack, Max Eastley, John Tchicai and others, and helped shape an era. These are important contributions to the history of concrete poetry - both as it comes, and where the voice is radically processed, layered and made sound. English is seasoned with Danish, German, French and Spanish and, while the voice is source, sound is always the centre and Greenham consistently works her materials at a high level of imagination and technique. Also captured here are rare recordings of the ubiquitous but unheralded Bob Downes Open Music Trio, and collaborations with Hugh Davis and the legendary Paddy Kingsland. Collected mostly from unreleased tapes, this collection is a melange of home studio, radio and performance recordings which, taken together, memorialise a mature and consequent performer working at a highly productive historical moment: it's like a luminous notebook. Accompanied by excellent notes from Michael Parsons, two texts by Greenham herself, archive photographs and some of Greenham's visual work. A much needed restoration to the record of a significant talent. Excellent.
Historic collections from one of the key Improvising/Composer groups (with AMM, Musica Electronica Viva etc) of the '60's. Members were: Mario Beroncini, Waller Branchi, Franco Evangelisti, John Heineman, Roland Kayn, Egisto Macci and Ennio Morricone, joined on some pieces by Frederick Rzewski. All were both composers and instrumental virtuosi; they eschewed all they considered musical cliches (tonality, periodic rhythm, repetition etc) and explored new playing techniques, and 'non-wasteful' economy of compositional means; 'work in small areas'- with broad and often deep aesthetic results. In short, this is history. From Edition RZ, beautifully packaged.
Something deep connects this 60's Italian project with the British AMM. The cast reads well: Franco Evangelisti (pno,percs), Giancaro Schiaffini (tb &c), Ennio Morricone (tpt. Fl, &c), Giovanni Piazza (horn, fl, vln), Egisto Macchi (percs, strings) and Antonello Neri (pno &c) and the music is open, sonically wide and engaging, abstract and full of surprises. Altogether a fine - and historical - release (actually re-release, the original came out of the great Cramps label in 1976). Nicely packaged.
Unreleased recordings made between 1967 and 1969 by this legendary and historic group made up only of composers: Ennio Morricone, Franco Evangelisti, Mario Bertoncini, Walter Branchi, Ivan Vandor, Roland Kayn, Egisto Macchi, John Heinemann & additionally here, Frederick Rzewski. Founded by Evangelisti, GNIC played an important part in the general opening-up of contemporary music in the wake of the Cage/Darmstadt debates. Decentered forms, unconventional techniques, inclusion of electronics and a highly disciplined approach to 'unmusical' performance made them pioneers in a specifically European language of sonic abstraction. Without wanting to open any debates, there are strong links to AMM, their British contemporaries. The DVD - a film made for Norddeutscher Rundfunk in 1967 by Theo Gallehr is a gripping journey through preparation, extended instrumental techniques, live performance and interviews - with intelligent questions, thoughtfully answered. Plus a great deal of cigarette smoke. Improvisation poses questions; it isn't yet a style. Altogether a priceless document. Three Digipacks in a very sturdy box with a poster and a useful 76pp booklet in Italian and English. LIMITED EDITION OF 500.
I feel obliged to include this because it is probably a kind of watershed. There are 5 pieces, consisting of crackling, tones, extra high frequencies, pops and scratches - all very pianissimo and without obvious form. As journalists say 'a think piece'. Remarkable in concept and execution. For the historian, experimenter and those concerned with the very unusual.
Reissue of a classic. Originally released in 1992 this is a CD with four tracks, each of which carries very quiet, small sounds. Often imitated since, this particular work embodies an original thought; and as such bears the echo and substance of its breakthrough power. Now the idea is out there, that energy is not required. And, historically, the earliest works do tend to retain their aesthetic productivity, since it is in them that a critique is most clearly appreciated and posed. It's also a definitive CD artwork: surface noise would defeat it - and you need a quiet system to listen on.
A box containing reissues of 3 proto lounge music records featuring Samuel Hoffman, Hollywood's resident theremin player:' Music out of the Moon' (released in 1947 on 3 78 rpm records (a massive hit at the time), the 1948 'Perfume set to music' and 1950's Music for Peace of Mind' - here all presented as facsimiles of the early '50s LP reissues with a typical Basta booklet: 28pp of very thoroughly researched and illustrated material about the Theremin and Hoffman, including a filmography and discography. The music itself is light, loungy and exotic, arranged and conducted variously by Les Baxter and Billy May. A historic collection, of great interest to scholars, the curious - and lounge aficionados.
This realisation of Ives' unfinished, stunningly original, and prescient score was assembled and conducted by Johnny Reinhard (composer, performer, academic and founder of the Festival of Microtonal Music). It is a nothing less than a revelation. Beautifully recorded, this is a massive, timeless work that seems to hang free in musical space, slowly existing, like a ghostly nebula. Unprecedented both in its use of multiple tempi and epic dynamically-static structure, this is a work you really have to hear. Just the first 19 minutes of enormous, inevitable, impenetrable percussion, embodying an extremely slow, felt rather than heard, pulse with instruments moving in their own orbits, seemingly at their own, mysteriously changing tempi, is a step into another world and into another way of listening.
A comprehensive collection of electronic works made between 1952 and 1990, but predominantly in the '60s and '70s, which includes many of the works that have since been declared classics of the genre (Scambi, Presque Rien avec Filles, Strathoven (early Plunderphonic), Visages, Omaggio a James Joyce, Momenti, Le Rire..). This is, in fact, the entire BVAAST Acousmatrix series repackaged in a sturdy box with an extra information sheet. There is nothing new. The first 5 names have a CD each (Koenig & Dhomont are doubles), Berio and Maderna share, and the rest are on one CD dedicated to the work of the legendary Koln Studio, back in the glory days between 1952 and 1958. This is a useful window both on the formative years, and the years of expansion. A useful set, especially for students of the genre.
A pioneer of Darmstadt and the WDR electronic studios from 1954 on, then chairman of the Institute of Sonology after 1964, Koenig worked both with acoustic and electronic resources. This collection has two piano pieces, a string quartet, a long work for string trio, and electronic works dated 1967 and 1968. The acoustic music is serial and everything is extremely dry and austere and best listened to carefully and piecemeal, I think. For the acoustic music is more interesting, but in general I think it is an acquired taste, and is mainly now of historical value. Students, however, should be aware of this work.
26 minutes, three tracks. Work done for an installation at the Ysad Art Museum in Sweden, 2005. Multiple voices in Swedish, from orchestrated restaurant noise and human geese to a single ictus. Careful, as always and balletic: voices on points.
Fourth in this unusual series of place recordings capturing sounds from the region of Savoie, this one centred on the bell foundry at Paccard. Machines, the forge, the tuning room organised both in raw soundscapes and in transformed listening pieces. Interesting and fresh.
A further chapter in the series that explores ubiquitous and ignored aspects of the (mostly public) architectural soundscape; this time it's ventilation units in France. Eric has recorded some 30 different units, in hospitals, at Radio France, the Pasteur Institute, the Centre Pompidou, in a library, a restaurant, an apartment and at the Cite de la Musique. These sites span 50 years of construction and very different acoustics. Each extract is two minutes long and runs directly into the next (though they are separately track-marked). At the beginning and end, calibration tracks collapse all 30 recordings into one minute. Eric has consciously sequenced the 30 recordings with aesthetic intent, but he also says that 'this CD is intended to be an object without distinctive function'. It is certainly a recording that fulfils many different functions, documentary, architectural and aesthetic. It also changes radically according to what level it is played at, and what aural - or philosophical - work it is asked to do.
One of the key figures in electronic music development, though better known as an inventor, Le Caine did make pieces and some of the best are collected here. Some humorous and plunderphonic (happy birthday made from the scream in Berg's Lulu), some informative - demonstrations by Le Caine of his instruments and some just very entertaining or ear-turning. Echoes of Raymond Scott.
3 CD set and DVD Remarkable and welcome collection of the work of the New Zealand composer and electronic music pioneer who founded the first electronic music studio in the southern hemisphere. He was also someone who avoided the emerging language and cliches of European electronics and followed his own unique path into the universe of synthesised and documentary sound, using the simplest and most demanding tools (no samplers then - the legendary VCS3 synthesiser was top of the line).The result is a very individual and unusual collection of pieces that betray the sweat that went into their making. All that effort had to be for a purpose: today you can knock of a piece in an afternoon, it's not such a great investment; but then you had to roll up your sleeves and slave for months, so there had to be a reason to put yourself through all that. These pieces were reason enough. And they are, to my ear, great. Simple and essential. It is a commonplace observation that 'primitive' means can often outpace touch-of-a-button sophisticated technology, since they test the person and the quality of the thinking rather than the facility of the machine. This is a good example. All in all, an excellently organised and well presented set, with good, full, notes that do its subject justice. And it celebrates an important composer who is still, unfairly, little known.
Using only Glass - in all shapes and forms, and subjected to all manner of soundings and playing techniques - Glass World was essentially a performance piece, premiered at the Middle Earth club in London in 1978, and then recorded over the next two years for Tangent Records. It is one of the iconic works of the period; constantly referenced, making this is a valuable document. Tiger Balm is a 1970 piece, made for the BBC using loops, drones, recordings of tigers, and other found sounds in an early, and successful attempt to create a hypnotic protean drone. Limited Edition reissue in gatefold cardboard sleeve with two booklets, one of substantial notes by Lockwood, the other 'Piano Transplants', which documents Lockwood's scores and events in which pianos were variously burned, sited in parks and gardens, sunk in ponds and anchored on beaches.
Two complete CDs from this remarkable and unique American national public radio sound-documentary programme. Includes: Sam Phillips and many others speaking about the early days of the Memphis Recording Service - from funerals and weddings through black R 'n B and Blues to early Presley; 'Electronic Memories', about the technological leanings and sound recordings made by black American photographer R.A Coleman in the middle of the last century; Sofia, Francis & Eleanor Coppola chat for posterity; Mohawk Indian steelworkers (famed for their ability to handle heights, and their work on New York's great skyscrapers) speak about their lives, and about putting up, and clearing away, the ruins of the twin towers; a remarkable history of steelband music and the experiences of the Tripoli Steelband, on tour in America for two years under the wing of Liberace; a portrait of the artist as an answering machine (stunning); voices from the dustbowl - historic recordings, spoken and sung, collected in 1940 for the library of congress); the soundscape of electric fans; Harry Truman opens a mall, not what you expect; CKLW - a portrait of top 40 AM radio, and Vietnamese nail shops in America. Two and a half glorious hours.
The classic recording for voice and tape that set a whole movement in train. For 45 minutes Alvin's original recording, which describes the process he is undertaking, changes from coherence to pure noise as it follows the process: first it is played back into the room in which it was recorded, then that playback is recorded in the same room and in its turn played back - and so on until all that remains is an unintelligible, inhuman sound that bears the print of the acoustics of the room itself. A landmark work. Indispensible.
One of the classic long wire pieces. Essentially this is a one string aolian harp (with active but steady state oscillation applied to it) - magnetically amplified (like an electric guitar). Slowly modulating pure tones, drones, silences, harmonics. Tuned to play itself by reacting to slight changes in its environment.
5 early pieces, including the legendary Vespers - where people with Sondols (clicking echolocation devices) move around and three-dimensionally map an enclosed space (a room).. this is of course unrecordable, but here is a fair approximation - and even in this form it's a radical and fascinating piece. Then there are 4 other pieces: Chambers, the sounds of different acoustic spaces - occupied rooms - brought together; North American Time Capsule, speech and song wholly converted to electronic sounds through Vocoders; Middletown (Memory Space), for koto, accordion, piano, shakuhachi and electric guitar and Elegy for Albert Anastasia - for low electronic sounds, a prescient work for the early '60s. A historic document. Enthusiastic notes, though low on useful information.
Very nice work consisting of environmental/musical recordings. Some will remember his work from our Quarterlies. Here he records in a cave in the Pyrenees, a flooded and frozen field in Somerset, a stone vault at Cluny Abbey and features his own slate and bass slate marimbas, fired earth percussion, leather soles, ersatozophone and clapping inside large pots. Very nice work indeed. CDR edition.
Long overdue reissue of 2 very rare Folkways LPs. These are that rare commodity, politically explicit music, and rarer - they are complex and experimental music. Billed as electronic at the time (1968-1972) these seminal compositions mix electronics, Musique Concréte, multiple media fragments, vocal and instrumental sources to powerful effect; underwriting a freshness and immediacy seldom found in this field (Trevor Wishart honourably excepted). These are not polished gems but living, twisting things; which is not to say they are simple - their form is highly evolved and sophisticated, exploring techniques that would not be taken up for a decade and more. Soaked in the heat of its time and as full of ideas as if that time might end at any moment - this work pulls absolutely no punches. We need a Mimarolglu right now. Historic, and unequivocally recommended.
Sound Artist RM presents two quiet, minimal, pieces: light modulating peeps and white noise/water. Very nicely done and well presented informative booklet with images from Minard's installations. The real thing.
Inventive collection - as it says -for music boxes, manually and electronically manipulated, Also includes pieces with added guitar, piano and xylophone in various combinations. Unusual and not without bite (don't expect whimsy or unalloyed tinkling all the time. Unaggressive though). Plus slurry for three clarinets to break it up.
1959 -1984, 6 pieces by the legendary Gordon Mumma, much heard of but not much heard (unfotunately). These are pieces made for dance, but work excellently alone. Mumma was one of the non-aligned sonic investigators (like Tudor, he was someone who liked to roll up his sleeves and solder, wiring experimental circuits and then running them). The pieces here range from roaring planes and smoke through spacious zen garden episodes and from bowed psaltery and bandoneon through to collected and synthesised sounds. A wide and panoramic collection that explores sound intelligently and closely that should be in any comprehensive collection.
Unusual and abstract assemblage of words - intelligently written and delivered -, atmospheric tonal and electronical sounds in film soundtrack style, produced by constructing and then deconstructing material in a two way process involving Senor Mudd, DJ WhiteNoise and others. Start with his ‘This is Nowhere’ if you like that….
Known now as one of the pioneers of sound art, Neuhaus trained and was active in the early '60's as a percussionist. These recordings, made between 1964 &1968 in New York, London, Koln, and Chicago present 3 interpretations each of three pieces by Cage, Brown and Feldman. The Brown (four systems) feature amplified cymbals, the Feldman (The King of Denmark) metal, wood and occasional drum is played with the fingers, and is modestly great., the Cage (Realization '64 and Realization '65) are wildly different again; for '64 he chose amplified Tam Tam, automobile string, a wood scraper, tympani and a radio, for '65 (both versions) he constructed a frame with metal rods, wood, rawhide and plastic and amplified it with contact microphones, then he made a tape from Realization '64 to accompany himself. Clean, dry sounds, very electronic, hard to imagine it being played. Good 16pp booklet with thorough notes, scores and photographs. Altogether an excellent collection, and rare - a very useful addition to the record of an important period.
Solid gold CD, with fine performances of Partch's 11 Intrusions and the rare Dark Brother, plus new works for Parch instruments in Harry's style by Drummond: Before the last Laugh and Congressional Record (with wonderful texts), both extremely good. Buy it! Dominic Muldowney, Bernard Rands and Jan Steele).
Circa 1966-89, fascinating rhythmic contemporary electronic music that sounds more like a slightly straighter version of The Residents than anything else. Highly engaging skate across a lot of musical borders and a document of another maverick composer. One of a kind. LIMITED SUPPLY
Three related works: Quando Stanno Morendo, Canciones a Guiomar and Omaggio a Emilio Vedova, the first (1982) for four women's voices, bass flute, cello and live electronics, the second (1962-3) for soprano, six-voice women's choir and small ensemble, the last (1960) a short, important early tape piece. These are spooky, tense, ethereal works, filled with silences and surging noise; nothing is as solid as is suggested by the instrumentation (which is mostly transformed through real time electronic processing); the women's voices are mostly attenuated, high and diaphanous, or abstracted and distant, and the compositions hang by a thread. These are very substantial works, and significant historical documents.
At last a record - the first - to celebrate the work of the elusive Daphne Oram; moving force behind the establishment of the BBC's radiophonic workshop, author of the first electronic soundtrack for British Television, and inventor of the 'Oramic' system of electronic sound control through drawing. She soon left the BBC, working over the next decades on concert presentations, film, ballet and theatre music, as well (like Raymond Scott) on TV commercials to pay the bills. All are collected here, with excellent booklet notes and archive photographs. The collection covers the years 1959 -1977. You can hear, especially in the early works, the physical processes involved in the discovery of new sonic forms. It is heartening to see these important but forgotten works collected and made accessible, filling a small but vital gap in the record. Perhaps Delia Derbyshire will be next? Congratulations to Clive Graham and Paradigm Discs for ignoring fashion and miniscule sales and helping to recover an occluded part of British musical history.
- Excuse the length of the review. Summary: Buy it.
As in his short piece Klangfarbenprobe for the Re Records quarterly many years ago, John here explores in two 30 minute pieces how much variety and structure is obtainable from a single pitch. Western ears are indoctrinated to listen through pitch, to find binding narratives in melody, harmony and their variations, the rest at best is secondary, at worst just colour. The reason so much Baroque music translates so easily to different instruments, including heavy metal guitar, is because it's the notes that really count. The notes and their ratios and their relationships. Harmony was considered part of a scared mathematics and the relations between pitches expressed absolute, fundamental cosmic realities. Pure music, the music of the spheres related directly to the Platonic forms, the unchanging verities that we can approach but never grasp. That's why it is the form that matters, the pattern behind the notes, and not the temporary body in which these are clothed. In the age of the Manufacturer and the Usurer - the age of Beethoven and after - while holding to the spiritual in theory, music was progressively seduced by the material. Orchestration came to matter more and more. And once sound recording was invented, the materiality of sound itself became an unegotiable fact. Varese, pre-eminently, relegated notes to a secondary position in his work, pursuing timbre, dynamic, mass, spatiality and contrast, but generally, all the way through to the late 1950s, especially under the sway of post serialism, notes continued to hold their own, even though their grip was slipping. That decade, however, saw two radical responses that recognised and between them reified the dilemma: In the left corner, John Cage shifted his attention to rhythm - which is the organisation of time and which, significantly, is made equally of sound and silence - for him pitch was just material to be poured into structured time; it could be anything - let the sounds be themselves; while, for La Monte Young, in the right corner, pitch became absolutely supreme. John Oswald follows neither route but approaches the problem from a completely different perspective. His work, initially closer to Schoenberg's famous short orchestra piece and Varese's explorations into dynamic, timbre and spatiality goes beyond these to an exploration of what happens when pitch becomes informationally redundant - or transparent - forcing other qualities of sound to be heard through it, and making thereby what is always missing or suppressed significant. By this simple device - the most original things are always this obvious and one wonders how come it took so long to reach them - the answer is, as always, that it takes a different kind of thinking to see the obvious. By this simple device of removing tonal data by levelling it, John is able to accentuate and make essential parts of hearing we take for granted and, when in art mode, largely ignore. He takes acoustic space, natural and un-natural sound, the outside world and the discourse of music - and by merging and flattening them arrives at strikingly unfamiliar listening aesthetic.
Of course, John's work with recordings has always been about listening - as well as to a certain extent about perspective, and both concerns are strongly represented here. His method of work involves gradually tuning every sound to a single pitch (an A). There are 10 audible octaves and so 10 degrees of this pitch with which to work. Two human performers are featured, a piano tuner and a cellist, the rest of the material is derived from a library of recorded sounds built up over time - pure sine tones, orchestral instruments playing A's, voices, environmental sounds: birds, weather, animals, insects, spaces - and so on. It is all - naturally or un-naturally - pitched to an A. This is the material. The second crucial technique employed throughout this piece is morphing: that is, gradually blending one thing into another. A note becomes a storm becomes a flock of birds - think of some of Trevor Wishart's extraordinary work in this area, except that here the pitch is uniform and the blend can, if desired, be almost imperceptible. A change of object or event becomes simply one of timbres and detail; to morph is effectively to crossfade very slowly. Sounds may gradually turn into one another, or be sunk inside one another like harmonics, to create shifting banks of timbres. An entire aviary of birds winds up at A and A becomes the aether in which they, and everything else, moves.
Because of the variety of sources and the individual recording of them, spatiality moves to the fore; there is much work here with soundscape, interior and exteriority, distance and shape. Such work with scale and reflection and with the sounds of weather and nature inevitably invokes a visual response, and John often speaks in narrative and visual terms in his interview, 'it's raining in the piano', 'a conical clarinet curls into a french horn and then straightens out into a didgeridoo', 'like a giant hummingbird' &c. But because the pitch is constant, our hearing is focused in an entirely unfamiliar way. He quotes Stockhausen's comparison between the filmic model of seeing a variety of things under a constant light as opposed to seeing the same thing continually under differing lights. Perspective, space and scale permeate this work, in a way I can not refer to any other work. In one section all 88 notes of the piano sound as an A. And how are we to hear this? John in his excellent and comprehensive accompanying interview points out that this could usefully be described as a shift in scale: the piano notes do not change, but the size of the piano does; the lowest note on the keyboard sounding the A would be strung in a 10 inch concert grand, the highest in one over 100 feet long. This is in some ways analogous to the effect of light speeds on length and time: the light is moving at a constant speed while objects shrink and elongate and time stretches and expands.
There are two versions of the piece on this CD, which is an indispensable work. Not merely a piece of music - or a parade of organised sounds - but a meditation on listening.
BIG NEWS!! Nearly 5 hours of priceless archive material from one of the great musical originals of the century; all recordings not in print, and nearly all works so far unreleased, plus Harry lecturing, reading, introducing the pieces and being interviewed; plus a sound-collage memoriam featuring informal (& illicitly recorded) conversation amongst HP's friends and tapes of HP at the piano talking with friends and playing. A mix of old precious low fi recordings and some new digital recordings too. Excellently compiled. Think of this as 2 evenings well spent with HP: he introduces the selections, gives you a clear exposition, with musical examples, of his tuning system. Here too is a substantial part (a sidesworth) of the extraordinary and prodigious 'Bitter Music' (HP thought he'd destroyed all copies). In other words, it's a gem - and for any fan of HP, indispensible. What's more, it is very cheap. While it is around. Plus informative and well designed book.
Another unmissable classic toward a complete works. Includes: the unusually scored 'Ulysses Departs from the Edge of the World' and Revelation in the Courthouse Park, King Oedipus, The Bewitched, Menuet, Come Away Death, By the Rivers of Babylon, as well as spoken introductions by Partch himself. With an excellent 40 page booklet. Indispensible. Over 3 and three quarter hours of music... some of it still seriously surprising..
A great record. Those of you who spotted Wyschnegradsky's name will already know why. This is another numinous release from the microtonal festival and every track on it is a gem. Mostly for pianos tuned in quartertones, though some have other instruments in more exotic tunings alongside, these pieces are a priceless entry into a glorious realm of listening. And as a bonus, the Wyschnegradsky (for Bassoon and piano) is played as if it were rock music; the Konicek too is severely leaned into. Prodigious. And inspiring. Must have.
A CD reissue at last of the long unavailable CRI collection featuring very early US tape music pieces by Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky (1952-56) including Fantasy in Space, Moonflight and Low Speed; 'Stereo Electronic Music No.2' by Bulent Arel, Mario Davidovsy's famous 'Synchronisms' No.5' for percussion ensemble and electronics and 'Pril Miley's 'Kolyosa'. Then there are early computer pieces by Ussachevsky and Alice Shields' 'The Transformation of Ani'. An historic collection with useful sleeve notes.
This is a model, a standard, a template for how such collections should be assembled and presented. Four CDs in a substantial box with seven booklets (180pp) comprehensively written, beautifully documented and illustrated in full colour on nice print stock with 3 fold-out replicas: a score, a schematic, an early newspaper article - and a fold out time chart. The texts are excellently researched and written (with exemplary materials on the Philips laboratory, electronic scoring for film, the three featured artists: Dick Raaijmakers aka Kid Baltan. Henk Badings and Tom Dissevelt, and extensive track notes, beautifully designed. The CDs concentrate only on the popular and functional productions of the studio, meaning ballet music, industrial film soundtracks and experimental productions of what was intended to be 'popular electronic music', that is non-academic electronics pitched somewhere between science fiction beeps and swoops, tunes, lounge and jazz. That said, most is not sleazy (as much later work in the field tended to be) but really straddles worlds in a fascinating (and very listenable) way. CD1 presents 2 ballet scores by Henk Badings, 'Cain and Abel' (1956) and 'Evolutionen' (1958), plus 'the world's first attempt at popular electronic music' - a single by Kid Baltan (1957) with an unpublished B-side for 3 ondes martinots and backward piano, Tom Dissevelt's extraordinary 'Intersection' for electronic sound and jazz orchestra (1961), plus a few other pieces from 1959 & '60. CD2 features concert and film soundtrack music ('57 - '66) including a pretty wild 16 minute unpublished industrial film track by Dick Raaijmakers (using his own name for his non popular productions). CD 3 reproduces Tom Dissevelt's 'Fantasy in Orbit' LP (1963) and CD 4 contains great alternate versions of some of the pieces on the other CDs, some extra, short, unpublished pieces and 75 'sound example' tracks which are not only fascinating and instructive but also make great listening just as they are, in sequence. The CD ends with a spoken letter from Fred Judd (1966) to Tom Dissevelt about the problems of popular electronic music and the state of play in the UK as well as Holland at the time. This CD is a gem. But then so are volumes 1 and 2. Vol 3 is a more standard electronic/lounge production, interesting but not exceptional. Overall, I would say that this is as much of a must-have set as Raymond Scott's 'Manhattan Research' which it in many ways resembles and which was also produced by Basta. This was a critical and interesting period in the history of early electronics, and the Dutch productions have until now been rather ignored. They were important and here they have been given the best presentation anyone could want. Essential. And cheap!
This is from one of the pioneers of electronic music in the days when they took no prisoners. This is not, however, simply electronic music. Two complete works are featured: 1) 'Crosses of Crossed Colours' (1970) for (up to) five pianos (here there are three), speaking voice, two turntables, two tape machines and two radios. The text is a cut-up of a speech by Indian Chief Seattle (1855), with extracts from newspaper articles and bits of spiritual; 2) 'Jeu de Miroirs de Votre Faust' (1966) for 5 actors, four singers, twelve instrumentalists, multi-channel tapes and the audience. It works in layers and is full of musical cut ups, quotations and genre clashes. These are highly radical works by any standards, and important landmarks in Pousseur's highly unconventional career. Cathy Berberian appears on Miroirs, which is a truly great work.
One of the pioneers, most famously for Scambi, produced at RAI in Milan in the mid-1950s - a work which is endlessly referenced and considered one of the landmarks of the genre. Trois Visages.. from 1961, mixes electronic and concrete materials and approximates ice storms, Industry, Russian constructivist film soundtracks and city montages. An excellent piece for this period, and programmatic. Paraboles.. from 1972, works in real time with 8 different 30 minute pieces used as source material for live mixing, spatialising and processing and appears here in a version prepared for this CD by the composer in 1990. Quiet, rather minimal and static. Interesting and useful notes.
Founder of GMEM electronic studio and early computer music, composer Redolfi became famous for his underwater recordings and concerts, where sound is broadcast through water instead of air and listeners float. This excellent CD is a collection of 3 works made between 1991-2004 for a 60-channel installation at the Nausicca Sea Centre, using underwater and forest soundscapes mixed with crystal and conventional instruments - all very much transformed and electronically reshaped. Rich and engulfing and profoundly sonorous, these pieces achieve an extraordinary rapport between organic and acoustic complexity, and electronic depth. Highly recommended.
A fascinating piece that uses (amongst other instruments) cello, autoharp, psaltrery, animal horns, bagpipes, electric guitar, theremin, violin, bassoon, harpsichord, flutes, conches, harp, trombone and voices - all in various microtonal or just intonated tunings - to tell wandering Odysseus's tale. Sort of. The charmingly unpretentious sleeve notes explain. It's not easy to make any comparisons here, though I'd venture to say that it would be best to play it at a reasonable volume through reasonable loudspeakers. Not breathtaking but genuinely original and full of ideas.
From the festival of microtonal music, four pieces: a commissioned version of Terry Riley's 'In C' in just intonation for just-fretted guitars, harpsichord, viola, pulse guitar and kanon (a kind of monochord I think; sleeve notes are unclear); two microtonal melodies for theremin and trombone, very successful, by Fluxartist Philip Corner; Cage's Ten for ten musicians, and Johnny Reinhard's mighty 'Cosmic Rays' for string quartet shifting through various harmonic systems and employing serial techniques, aleatorics and comic books as organising structures.
From 'Electronic Music: from Razor Blades to Moog', originally released in 1970 on Folkways, with the title track taken from Typtich, also on Folkways - all by J.D Robb, this is a collection of pieces by an American pioneer seldom mentioned or reissued but whose eccentric approach is certainly worth a hearing. These are sketches, classic bloops and bleeps, lots of echo, science fiction trilling pulses and distressed melodies. And a piece called Les Ondes Martinot but not played on one.. Not earth shattering but a useful missing piece in the jigsaw.
A limited edition release, in a presentation box with a mounted strip of barbed wire in each. This is a record of Jon's mammoth round- Australia tour with violinist Hollis Taylor, playing fences - the endless fences that divide the country. Hundred of resonating metres of them. This may read as a bit of conceptual nonsense, but these long wires are surely instruments, and the results are intensely musical, and unbelievably diverse. So many sounds and different ways of exiting these wires into sounds that laptop electronic performers probably wouldn't even dream about. And played with imagination and great musicality. A classic. Not to be missed
Back in the 1970s David Rosenboom began experimenting with bio-feedback systems as a means to control musical performances, He wrote and writes extensively about the procedures and has made them his own. This CD collects pieces made over 30 years in which alpha rhythms modulate both instrumental and electronic sounds. Historically important and interesting, these pieces will probably appeal more to the experimental community than the purely musical listener.
Highly microtonal (he uses a 768 division to the octave system), unusually delicate and structured, these linked pieces come as close as you can get to the aesthetic of early computer music, while still being highly contemporary. This is a work also very much concerned with spatialisation (headphones or a double stereo layout - are recommended - but it works fine in stereo). Careful, intricate and sensitive work. A rare thing today.
Another excellent collection of Piano pieces, continuing in the LTM Satie series that includes many of the better known works - the Gymnopedies, Gnossiennes, Sports et Divertissements - as well as lesser known but equally exquisite short, mostly melodic, enigmatic pieces that are a pleasure to listen to. Fine playing. Useful notes. To be taken in small doses for best appreciation.
Not the whole of it, of course, that would take a day or so. But here are the first 40 repeats of Satie's disarming motif. Dating from 1893, this piece, its first complete performance organised by John Cage in 1963, stands as a monument to a deceptively revolutionary musical mind. The score calls for 840 repeats, but to say that is only to repeat words - it can't approach the physical experience of listening; and of course no played repeat is really a repeat. Can you listen to it? Of course, for a while, then like any repeated thing, figure repositions itself as ground, then it gets interesting. Because not mechanical, this is furniture music with personality. It is also a musical landmark and it's good news that someone has at last set it on a record.
2 CDs in a hard bound 148 page (colour) book, beautifully illustrated and laid out, well documented. What to say about this extraordinary document? Raymond Scott, best known as a bandleader and composer whose quintet performed fast and furious pieces - many of which found their way into Bugs Bunny cartoons - was also an inventor and pioneer of electronic instruments (Sequencers, Bass line Generator, Elektronium, Clavivox, Bandito the bongo artist), ran electronic R&D for Motown and produced a significant amount of electronic music for soundtracks, commercials, demonstration purposes - and for the hell of it. Many of the pieces painstakingly assembled here have never been heard outside Scott's studios. Musical content. Stranger than Negativland, stranger than fiction are the real commercial's of the late 50's and early 60's that were the bread and butter work of Manhattan Research, making much of this collection more post modern than post modern. I mean some of these pieces are deeply odd, others breathtakingly kitschy. And so much great copy-writing. A minute is the average length. Sometimes Raymond talks about the pieces (from lectures). It says a lot about the "future" as conceived in the late 50's and early 60's. Then there are demonstration recordings, work tapes and experimental extracts featuring some of RS's many invented electronic instruments (he designed the first sequencer in 1960 - way ahead of the game - which like another great pioneer, Les Paul, he first kept to himself. Then there are short film soundtracks and instrumental pieces - in the Forbidden Planet vein (or even electro-poppy) rather than art-electronic, but still using state of the art technology and techniques. So much that seems contemporary is already stated here, and sometimes what is achieved is up to and beyond any art electronics of the period. Still the approach is always popular, if sometimes warped. This collection hits on so many levels- musical, experimental, sociological, historical that it is impossible to exaggerate it's importance. And it makes great listening. The book is superb and the research impressive. This is a thing of beauty, of history and of strangeness. It's not stunning but it is incomparable- a glimpse into one eccentric life. Priceless. And cheap.
A fine collection of early Japanese electronic and concrete works made between 1965-1979, mostly at the Utrecht Institute of Sonology and the legendary Princeton Music Centre. The (excellent) earliest piece, like Stockhausen's first studies, is made entirely from sine waves, while the rest feature the increasing inclusion of environmental recordings. The last composition, City Visit, made in 1979 - which occupies 40 minutes of the whole CD - consists entirely of New York urban soundscape recordings without additional treatments or processing - a fascinating portrait of the city, and an important contribution to the history of soundscape phonography. A valuable release.
Privately issued by Siemens Kultur Programm in Germany in 1998 and never made available to the public, this collection of historical electronic music includes John Cage's "Imaginary Landscape No.3" (1942) for 6 percussionists and electronic sounds (the Kolner Ensemble fur Neue Musik under the direction of Mauricio Kagel); Kagel's own "Antithese" (1962); John Cage and David Tudor's "Klangexperimente" (1963); Henri Pousseur's "Ziele und Aussichten der elektronische Musik"; Dieter Schnebel's "ki-no - Nachtmusik fur Projektoren und Horer" (1963/67); Josef Anton Riedl's "Komposition Nr.3" (1965/67) for electronic and concrete sounds (with the voice of François Bayle), "Un chien andalou" (1959/75) electroacoustic music; "Folge von 4 Studien Nr. 59, 61, 62/I, 62/II"; "Komposition Nr.2" (1963/65) music of the VariaVision, "Unendliche Fahrt", "Sendezeichen" (1962), "Titelmusik" (1962) and "Leonce und Lena" (1963) for voice and electronically modified voice and instrumental sounds plus Ferdinand Kriwet's "JAJA - Hoertext 2" (1965) two excerpts for voice and electronically modified voices; Paul Portner's "Schallspielstudie 2"; Herbert Brun "Klange unterwegs" (1961); (1965) four excerpts for voice and electronically modified voices and Josef Anton Ried and Milko Kelemen "Judith" (1966) electronically modified orchestra sounds and electronic sounds. 20pp booklet with historical photos of the electronic music studio and essays in German.
5 pieces - for clarinet and string quartet; small ensemble and computer; cello; flute and electronics; small orchestra. The compositional premiss is a division of 72 parts to the octave. This is a music with a deep logic, which you can hear. Even if there seems to be nothing going on, after a while you've heard a whole lot. Subtle and satisfying. Highly unorthodox.
3 CD's and a full book in a box of the long deleted LP set that accompanied Pierre Schaeffer's definitive book "Traite des objets musicaux" in 1967. A kind of lecture with a lot of sound examples - consists of speech (in French, short sentences mostly - all translated in the book into English and Spanish) and the sounds, raw and cooked.
A collection of pioneering computer works by American Icon Tenney which includes the celebrated ur-plunderphonic piece Collage No.1 (Blue Suede).The music on the rest of the CD - like much computer music - is rather bloodless; an exception being the hurricane of sound that is Fabric for Chè. For those concerned with the early history of electronic music this is a useful CD, for those with a more general interest, the two pieces above and the 6 minute Music for Player Piano remain significant early works.
Ur -Ambient. Noisy bird sanctuary? Two versions of David Tudor’s celebrated acoustic environment‚ for vibrating objects - suspended and distributed in space and fed to Tudor (and others) to be processed, remixed and redistributed - one with DT and Takehisa Kosugi made for Merce Cunningham and recorded in 1990, the other for a larger group but with no recording dates. It‚s one of the classic pieces always written about. Here’s what it sounded like.
3 pieces: Anima Pepsi, recorded in the legendary Pepsi Pavilion at the 1970 Expo, is derived from heavily processed animal and insect sounds, Toneburst (1975), written for Merce Cunninham, uses only electronic instabilities and internal feedback, with no external source sounds, Dialects (1985) is built around insect wings and alpha rhythms, again in a salad of cross-wiring. Like so much of Tudor, there is a fascination with the system and the process, to the extent that what comes out is rather arbitrary. These pieces are chaotic and not unlike, though preceding by decades, some laptop music. The sounds are generally more interesting though, because dirter. For those who like Tudor.
The three works are: Pulsers - a rattling punkish, uneven, messy pulse (with violin by Takehisa Kosugi), Untitled for bubbling chaos, speech fragments and a lot of feedback loops - and the more interesting Phonemes, full of low tones, silences, small sounds and intermittent events. Essentially pieces derived from messy procedures and circuitry. Interesting and part of the history..
Pieces based on a 'procedural score' for composition with environmental sounds. The title track, made in 1967 is a very early environmental composition and is fascinating, as well as being of historical significance. All the other works are later orchestrations evolved out of different readings or electronic analyses of this one recording, three electronic and one for acoustic instruments, all of them mostly drone-centred. For me, the acoustic piece is far and away the best. In fact this 1980 work and the original 1967 recording, are reason enough to buy this CD.
Two classic works from the originator of American tape music and founder of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Centre, which he directed from 1959 to 1983. Mixing electronic and concrete techniques with occasional voices and conventional instruments, these two scores are particularly demonstrative of Ussachevsky's mature musical method. While the first score, for Sartre's 'No Exit' (1961) was used as incidental music (though here we have a coherent suite assembled from the material); the 1967 work, 45 minutes long, for 'Line of Apogee' formed the centre point of the film, which was mostly without dialogue, fast cut, dreamlike and strange. The work indeed is an aural film in itself, and a masterpiece of mixed media and emotive sonic montage. 'Line of Apogee' is a masterpiece.
RUSSOLO, RUTTMAN, CAGE, SCHAEFFER, POUSSEUR, MUMMA, MacLISE, CALE, CONRAD, JECK, OTOMO, TETREAULT, PAULINE, EINSTURZENDE NEUBAUTEN, BOEHMER, NAM JUN PAIK, SONIC YOUTH, VARESE, XENAKIS, JJ SPOOKY, OLIVEROS, IKEDA.: An Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music first a chronology 1921-2001
A very worthwhile collection that includes pieces well known, and crucial to the form - though probably already in the collections of students and specialists -: Corale, őWeekend', Etude Violette, Scambi, Poeme Electronique, Concret PH, Rozart Mix, Aspekt, plus a number of unreleased pieces, mostly of interest though not always great, of which for me the most resonant is one by Sonic Youth, made at the end of a concert, where they turned their microphones onto a baying crowd and processed the sound they made in real time. A gem. This is a fine collection for those wanting some grounding in the history of electronic music and for those who will want some of these unreleased pieces. The presentation is eccentric, not chronological, with Pousseur and Mumma in the chronology section and Varese and Cage in the őexploration' section, which is not organised chronologically, nor in any other way that I can perceive. There are notes, but they don't explain the raison d'etre of the order or the choice of pieces either. Better to ignore the educational or historical part and take this as an almost random scattering of interesting pieces by participants in the unfolding story of electronic music. There are rarities here, and strange unexplained juxtapositions. A ő postmodern' approach one might say; slightly scattershot with no clear intellectual underpinning. Are Varese, Cage and Fennesz really comparable in a coherent way?The bulk of the music, however, can speak for itself.
Another vital, if eccentric, collection from SR, who seem now to be the best source for much of the historic catalogue and who are slowly assembling an indispensable library. CD1 contains pieces by well known composers (Ussachevsky, Luening, Ferrari, Dockstader), by much lauded but seldom heard pioneers, such as Daphne Oram, Johanna M Beyer and Hugh Davis, as well as pieces by Morton Subotnik, Alan Splet and Kim Cascone. There's also a quintessential piece of phone-pirate Scanner. CD2, deals more with the recent years and veers off into territories I don't care for so much, but is still a useful overview (Autechre, Yoshihiro Hanno, Merira Asher, Lasse Steen, SPK &c). It also contains a short piece by Percy Grainger for 4 Theremins, a strong sample of industrial ambient Laibach, a feedback piece by David Myers and two inexplicable selections from Sun Ra and Don Van Vliet (well OK for them being there, but the choice of pieces does not bring out what is essential). Still, no complaining. Overall, it's essential listening, and though loosely documented, here the ear's the thing.
Re-edition, expanded of the classic collection of pieces spanning 1948-1980 (a couple of works - for Theremin and Ondes Martinot - were written earlier, but the recordings are recent). Excellently curated by Jason Gross to include most of the names you would expect to see: Pierre Schaeffer, John Cage, Herbert Eimert, Otto Luening, Hugh le Caine, Louis & Bebe Barron, Oskar Sala, Edgard Varese, Richard Maxfield, Tod Dockstader, Vladimir Ussachevsky, Milton Babbitt, MEV, Raymond Scott, Steve Reich, Pauline Oliveros, Morton Subotnik, David Tudor, Terry Riley, Luc Ferrari, Milton Babbitt, Francois Bayle, Jean Claude Risset, Iannis Xenakis, La Monte Young, Charles Dodge, Paul Lansky, Laurie Spiegel, Bernard Pamegiani, and others - chronologically arranged. A fascinating aural journey through a vibrant and exploratory period populated with many ideas and alternative approaches. A good number of the classics are represented here and, interestingly, the track order winds up telling another surprising tale - the last few tracks on the 3rd CD (representing the last years of the 70's) to me eloquently document a kind of entropy; a descent into species of drones. It also includes names stupidly added by Ellipsis for commercial rather than artistic reasons, not least those of Brian Eno (who with Jon Hassel and Klaus Schulze belongs to a different story and a world remote from that of the early pioneers). Eno was wheeled in to write the introduction too (anecdotal and anodyne, depriving us of a more useful one by the set's compiler), while his obligatory piece, shoehorned in, doesn't actually fall into the designated period. It's a shame - if typical - that Ellipsis, for the sake of shifting units, muddy what could have been a great historical document with mis-informative and irrelevant matter and exclude what would have been essential: a linking overview of the unfolding of the form. Sensibly, Jason commissioned the artists themselves - or people close to the artists, or informed commentators - to write the individual notes - all of which are good - but there is nothing to hold the whole story together. In lieu of contextualisation, Ellipsis spot the 114 page book with large-type quotes from DJ Spooky, David Toop, Thurston Moore, Bill Laswell, Peter Namlook, Simon Reynolds and other "name" commentators - a page each - which although fine in themselves, in light of their size and prominence and in the absence of anything else, seem to indicate that the pioneers were just the stumbling forbears of today's electronic dance and club aesthetics. However, the collection itself is indispensable and highly recommended. Even the evidence of the exhaustion of the form provides illuminating food for thought. New to this edition, the DVD contains 20 pieces - by Clara Rockmore (Theremin - with interview inc. Robert Moog and Dr. Hoffman), Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier (the justly celebrated and great brainwave piece: percussion 'played' by an immobile Lucier and electrodes) , Holger Czukay, Alice Shields, Paul Lansky (animation soundtrack, nice animation), Leon Theremin, Iannis Xenakis, John Chowning, David Behrman, Max Matthews, Mother Mallard, Pauline Oliveros, John Cage, Steve Reich, Morton Subotnik, and interviews with Bebe Barron, Robert Moog, Clara Rockmore and Milton Babbitt (about the old RCA computer). Indispensable, and remarkably cheap.
Text Soundworks by Cage, Gysin, Ashley, Giorno, Amirkhanian, Coolidge, Gnazzo, Dodge, Anderson, Gallagher and Saroyan made between1962-73. Originally released in 1975, this has become a key release, often cited. Lost are the locked groove recordings that ended each side of the LP (replaced here by a number of repetitions, but hardly the same). With a generous booklet that gives a page to each composer and work, a list of other sources and an overview introduction.
Currently the director of STEIM in Holland, Waisvisz was amongst the first to play with synthesizers on stage and very early developed and performed using gestural controllers. He also invented the notorious CrackleBox (feaured on 6 of the tracks on this CD). In 1978 he stopped recording. So this is a useful release that collects mostly informal recordings made between 1977 and 1995 and documents a legendary figure in the history of interactive electronics. A touch of Raymond Scott, lounge music, pop electronics, as well as more abstract, experimental pieces, this is a fascinating and listenable collection of formal and informal works.
Samples, but very very interesting recompositions. Not media debris, scrap-irony, pick 'n' mix, but solid, thorough compositions that have great tension and fascination in their structural unfolding. Great sensitivity to the minutiae of sound. First piece is a classic.
An interesting electroacoustic collection by soundscape specialist HW, using excellent field recordings, realtime performance and electronic manipulations. Especially successful are 'A walk through the city', Fantasie for Horns (exquisite) and 'Beneath the Forest Floor'. Unusual and tightly focused works.
Classic recordings by one of the electronic and improvising pioneers. Beach singularity documents an environmental music event, bizarre in itself and rendered stranger by subsequent processing. Menagerie is a collection of excellent tape pieces made to accompany an exhibition of 'assemblages'. Extra to the original LP is Vocalise - a good example of Wishart's highly developed vocal performances. With well made booklet. These are important documents of interesting and in many ways seminal work, missed on it's first appearance. I hope this helps get TW the recognition he so well deserves. Recommended.
Another landmark release from paradigm. Assembled between 1969-1971 this visionary work uses multiple recorded power station, factory and machine sounds (as well as air raids, radio noise, the Apollo landing, a Saturn rocket launch, the sea, body-sounds, exotic musics, a Palestrina mass and voices) to construct a dense, grounded, complex, organic and powerful unfolding of the clash - or infatuation - between humanity and technology as it was manifested in the white heat of technology/nuclear terror/Frankenstein years of the late '60s ands '70s. Aesthetically informed by the dreams of futurism and early modernism, and by the revolutions of electronic and musique concrete, this makes the industrial musics of the mid '70s through the laptop era seem rather one-dimensional. Get there early
Red Bird is a reissue of the classic LP by maverick British electroacoustic and vocal composer Trevor Wishart, unifying concrete scissors and tape technology, computer work, the human voice and environmental sound under a clear emotional and political agenda of content without finger pointing or didacticism. Rare achievement. Anticredos, for 6 amplified voices ('the most versatile instrument we have') is quite extraordinary.
Composed between 1970 and 72 in one of the UK's earliest electronic music studios, privately pressed as two LP's in 1973. There are acoustic sections, mostly of junk and toys (bike bells, squeeze horns, bottles, metal tubes, combs etc; everyday field recordings, Concrete sounds and a lot of processing (also features current York University students Steve Beresford, Jonty Harrison, Roger Marsh, Dominic Muldowney, Bernard Rands and Jan Steele).
Red Bird (a political prisoner's dream) is the 1977 work where 'birds, animals, words and mechanisms' are 'orchestrated and transformed into one another'. A classic introduction to Wishart's trademark morphing procedures, as well as being a powerful and extraordinary creation. And unique in the catalogue of electronic/concrete/electroacoustic works. Anticredos, for six amplified vocalists, was reviewed (see website) when previously released. It is also available separately on Trevor's own imprint. Classic.
John Tilbury and Christian Wolff , pianos. Eddie Prevost, percussion. Beautifully played. Minimal, spacious, quiet, but you have to like this suspenseful, dry form. An important release for those interested in this period and the Cage, Wolff, Feldman, Brown, Tudor őNew York School'. Excellent sleeve notes by Michael Parsons.
The first complete set of Xenakis' works for percussion - all the solos and ensemble works, plus the three duos (with oboe, harpsichord and voice). Xenakis was one of the great composers for percussion, and these recordings are particularly good: massive, rich, nuanced and extremely well defined - with some deeply impressive low frequencies. Xenakis' writing is complex the way rain falling on a roof is complex; or the statistical distribution of people in public places over time is complex; sheets of sound shift attention form point source to shifting masses and from articulation to timbre. Densities constantly change as focused and unfocused events slide in and out of attention. Unlike most percussion music, this work has more in common with an organism than a machine. And some of the sounds are breathtaking. But it is the large pieces that work best, Persephassa, for instance in a truly great and indispensable work, and this is the best recording of it I have heard. For those who know already the pieces are: Persephassa, Psappha, Dmaathen, Pleides, Komboi, Kassandra, Okho, Oophaa, Rebonds.
A collection of a few historic and otherwise mostly contemporary works from the Institute of Sonology (founded 1960) in Utrecht. Xenakis's Concret PH and Varese's Poeme Electronique - both recorded at the Phillips laboratory of the natural sciences (precursor of the Institute) - appear here reconstructed for the first time from rediscovered original masters. Otherwise, the highlight must be Logos Protos, a substantial new work from old hand Konrad Boehmer, apocalyptic both in form and content. Another interesting rarity is Ligeti's 1958 score, impossible to complete at the time (because the technology wasn't up to it), in a newly realised version (1996). Otherwise the works here are all products of the Institute by young composers produced in the last 5 years. A useful compilation.
Two pioneering composers, linked by the legendary Phillips pavilion designed by Le Corbusier (well, mainly by Xenakis, his student) as an environment for Varese's concrete masterpiece: The Poeme Electronique. Xenakis also produced a work for this light and sound installation, subsequently moving from architecture to composition. Three pieces of his are represented here: Dammerschein, for large orchestra, the 26 minute percussion classic Persephassa and La Deesse Athena for Baritone, Percussion and Ensemble. Varese is represented by one of his rare full orchestra scores - and one of the great visionary works of the twentieth century, as radical and shocking today as it was almost 100 years ago
Syrmos, Aroura, Voile, Threraps, Analogique A+B and Ittidra. Music for between 1 and 20 strings, but mostly in the teens, composed between 1959 and 1996. The classics here are Analogique (1959) for 9 strings ands tape, and Ittidra (1996) for sextet (big Messiaienesque chords) but, overall, it's an excellent and representative collection. Strings respond especially well to Xenakis' clouds and swarms approach to sonic structuration.
On CD 1, mostly large swirling, thunderous pieces for mass resources: ST/48 (1972) for orchestra, Polytope de Montreal (1967) for four similar orchestras, Nomos Gamma 1967-8) for 98 piece orchestra, Terretekorh, (1965-66) for 88 instruments - scattered about in the auditorium -, Syrmos (1959) for 18 strings and Achorripsis (1956-7) for 21 instruments. On CD2, electroacoustic tape music: Perseopolis - long, slow, swelling drones (re-mastered 2003) and Polytope de Cluny (1972) a sometimes ominous, sometimes dizzying, tinkling, mysterious, neurotic monster of a piece that stands out as a classic. Xenakis fans will be happy. And, as ever with RZ, it's nicely presented with an intelligent and informative booklet, and is beautifully mastered.
In 1975 - in order to get out a recording contract is the old, but unofficial, story - Reed made an LP of multi-tracked howling feedback that garnered for the most part appalling reviews and later made its way into 'worst records of all time' lists. It is hard to listen to by any standards. A few years ago, Ulrich Krieger made an arrangement for Zeitkrtazer, a 10 piece contemporary music ensemble, designed to reproduce at least the effect of the original release, using standard acoustic instruments and extended techniques. It's remarkably good: an indeterminate noise that goes on and on. But it works, leaving aside any questions of accuracy - this particular noise could have been claimed as a new work and no one would have been any the wiser - but then, equally, without the spiel and Lou Reed's name, nobody would probably taken any notice either. This last sad fact is probably territory best avoided, however, since it opens up the horrible nest of slime that underpins fashionable festival programming today. And perhaps I'm a bitter old cynic, who knows? In any case, in this instance, the result is good, so.... It's a complex, textured, howling drone in 4 parts, with Lou guesting on guitar at the end. The DVD has the whole concert and a post concert interview with Reed.