EATON, JOHN: First Performances

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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.

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