Code: SHAM050
Price: £12.50
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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.