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FORBIDDEN PLANETS: Volume 2 (double CD)
An indispensable collection of classic and pioneering electronic works. Of all such collections to date this one, taken with its earlier companion Vol.1, has to be, I think, the best introduction to the field - because it takes a broad view and isn’t partisan; because it covers the ground effortlessly and is good to listen to; because it throws in works vital to the picture though technically outside the concept (none of the works included here, for instance, by Babbitt, Antheil or Russolo use electronics at all - though it still makes perfect sense for them to be featured alongside concrete, electroacoustic, electronic and tape-music works). Otherwise featured are Olivier Messiaen, Otto Luening, Milton Babbitt, John Cage (Williams Mix), Karlheinz Stockhausen, Karel Goeyvaerts, Oscar Sala, Hugh Le Caine (Dripsody), Gottfried M Koenig (Klangfiguren 1), Giselher Klebe, Vladimir Ussachevsky (Wireless Fantasy), Bengt Hambreaus, Kid Baltan/Dick Raiijmakers, Franco Evangelisti, Daphne Oram, Herbert Brun, Bebe & Louis Baron, Phil Young, Richard Maxfied (A swarm of Butterflies), Henry Jacobs (usually left out of the story) Iannis Xenakis (his extraordinary Orient Occident) and Joe Meek (a rare, abstract, piece made as a promotional aid to help audio dealers demonstrate hi-fi players). So, it’s an efficient and selective sampling of the territory. In a Slipcase with a breezy and well illustrated booklet (written by Alan Clayson) that draws some of the temporal and geographical threads together but doesn’t spell much out. An engaging trip for the ear, then, relatively unconcerned with documentation, thoroughness, academic rigour or covering every base, but excellently planned and widely sourced, that holds the ear by way of wise selection and intelligent sequencing. And it’s well priced.