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BYRD, JOSEPH: NYC '60-'63
Some early works by the legendary Joseph Byrd, mastermind of The United States of America, and Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies - classics both. Written under the influence, and in close company with, first the West coast experimentalists (Young, Riley, Reich &c) then the downtown New Yorkers: Feldman and Cage (whose influences you clearly hear, especially Feldman) and the many-headed Fluxists, the majority of these pieces employ prepared pianos, strings and some percussion, lightly and exquisitely organised. There’s also some fascinating live-voices-imitating-spliced-tape-voices in Four Sound Poems. And finally, Water Music for exotic percussion and tape, (written for Max Neuhaus) and Prelude to the Mystery Cheese Ball, originally performed by Jackson MacLow, Yoko Ono, David Tudor, La Monte Young, Diane Wakoski and the composer, and here performed on balloons. A welcome release.