EL-DABH, HALIM: Crossing into the Electric Magnetic
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This is an exceptional collection of pieces by one of the pioneers of electronic and tape music. Halim El-Dabh began experimenting with wire recorders in Egypt even before Schaeffer inaugurated the practice of Musique Concrete in France - one piece here dates from that period ('Wire Recorder Piece', 1944) and is thus of great historical importance. Most of the other works were recorded in 1959 and evidence a remarkable body of work and experimentation. El-Dabh does not sound like his fellow Electronic Music brethren (he was working at The Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Centre) but is more organic, physical and eccentric; more like Sun Ra than Mario Davidovsky. There is much use of objects and some instruments, as well as electronically generated tones and concrete techniques of tape manipulation and electronic processing. And very imaginative use of the human voice. Most of the groundbreaking 'opera' 'Leiyla and the Poet' is included here for the first time on record. Indispensible.