Amoeblog

Divine Discs of the Electronic Continuum

Posted by Rick Frystak, September 13, 2012 02:28pm | Post a Comment


I am a searcher, never quite satisfied with music and sounds that already exist. There are many like myself out there. I am consistently persuing electronics-based records like these herein that testify to the pioneering spirit of those musicians, composers and scientists in search of the newest “musical “sounds available via technology of all levels of sophistication. Throughout history the primitive object or idea will lead the way to a monumentally sophisticated one, and visa-versa, as long as one is paying attention. Take thefuzzbox for example. That thing lead a revolution of little boxes that one plugs one’s instrument into to get big, wild (and conversely subtle) effects on said instrument ranging from fuzzy distortion to multiple octave voices to…God knows what now, huge racks of processing gear for a single riff.  At the same time in another part of the culture, Joel Chadabeguys and gals in long white lab coats were fiddling with room-sized computers to get a single tone that was not produced by a musical instrument, but alas, hallehlujah, a machine did it! And other folks were stringing audio tape across rooms and cutting inches of tape recordings to compose new recordings (Musique Concrete) to make other recordings to manipulate and, well, you get it.

The sense of experimentation and the ability to manifest those ideas has never left the true creative artist. There are sonic “searchers” among us that will never be satisfied with what already exists in the known sound worlds, and it is this motivation that fuels records like these. The daring ones, without concern of peer’s criticisms or naysayer’s pessimism, have forged ahead with whatever tools available to take these ideas and run with…no, FLY with them to the edges of reality.

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More Journeys Off the Beaten Track

Posted by Rick Frystak, November 29, 2011 04:44pm | Post a Comment

Peter Michael Hamel
Hamel
Vertigo 6641 055, 1972

2-Lp set on German Vertigo circa 1972 brings us a spiritual journey of minimalism and creative spark, alone in the studio…tape running and overdubbing, often not listening to the previously recorded material. Hamel was doing multi-tracked organ, synths, piano and percussion in Germany at the same time as Riley, Glass and those guys were, quite forward-thinking. He worked with maestros Joseph Anton Reidl and Luc Ferrari, but never went in that conrete’ or collage direction as a style musically. Terry Riley is still doing live organ pieces just like these herein, and classical composers have struggled with this style for decades. Here in these discs we have 2 luscious sides of organ and synthesizer pieces with each instrument “beating” or modulating the other, simple rooted tones yet always moving with melody and logic; 1 side of prepared piano with a Cage influence, yet Hamel shows his prog/pop and Indonesian gamelan inclinations rhythmically and tonally. Nice! The last side is synthesizer overdubs with water and breath sounds, owing to Hamel’s heavy spiritual side and his immersion in this new minimalism. This record is still fresh now, and vibrates with a wonderful, contemporary accessibility and creative spark even after nearly 40 years. And this 2-disc set on Vertigo vinyl is rarer than a 2-dollar bill at this point.

 

Pat Martino

Strings!
 

Prestige 7547, 1968

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Beaucoup Bins of Beautiful Boom

Posted by Rick Frystak, October 31, 2011 04:05pm | Post a Comment
Whazzup?! Tons of great records coming over our buying counter lately, much of it landing in "The Choice Bin," and circumnavigating my world. There's so much going on I don't where to start. Let's sample some of my choicest morsels of the past weeks and hope to nourish your auditory appetite!


Walt Dickerson

To My Queen
New Jazz NJ8283  1963 

A wonderful, somewhat neglected jazz music experience, with delicately grooving vibraphone and piano, gently singing over the percolating grooves of drummer Andrew Cyrille and bassist George Tucker. Andrew Hill on piano takes the passenger's seat to Walt Dickerson's moves on this date, and the results are a nice, ethereal journey that always swings and keeps the fire burning while keeping each note sensitive and meaningful. Cyrille's versatility here is a treat, as I'm used to hearing him mostly with Cecil Taylor, and his bubbling, bopping percussion is exemplary. The photo of Walt's "queen" on the cover sets the tone for this marvelous journey.
 
Steve Lacy Axieme Vol. 1
Steve Lacy

Axieme Vol. 1
Red Record VPO 120 1977

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All Enchanting Audio Artifacts Considered

Posted by Rick Frystak, October 2, 2011 01:02pm | Post a Comment
Hear Ye, Hear Ye!  Welcome to The Choice Bin, where only thee most "choice" long-play records traded in over our magnificent buy counter in Hollyweird are considered and discussed as art and a most logical slab of entertainment and inspiration. Now and again a noteworthy compact disc or book will slide across the buy counter, blip my radar and fall into my orbit, but it's 2011, so O.K.  I'll be your host as we ponder the spectacular and the insane. And if we're really fortunate, and nobody's glommed the goods, most of these gems will be available in Amoeba's "Buy Stuff" section, 'cuz after all....we're also a store! Follow the linkage...

Michel Redolfi Sonic Waters
Michel Redolfi

Sonic Waters
Hat Art 2002
(2-LP)


Mr. Michel Redolfii is, among other things, an architect of wondrous underwater acoustic installations...sometimes pools, sometimes oceans. This is a 2-LP set on the Swiss Hat Art label in a sweet little cardboard box package with lots of notes that documents Michel's electronic compositions done on a Synclavier II in the studio, and then being performed in a heated pool and in an underwater aquatic parks. The studio recordings are broadcast under the water through underwater speakers, while hydrophone mics pick up the transformation through the liquid medium, and it's natural mixing with underwater natural sounds. The stuff is eerie, gelatinous sonic stew that totally delights me with every listen. He calls it an "aerodynamic and amphibian" music. Indeed, Sire!

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Delia Derbyshire - electronic music pioneer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 6, 2009 07:33pm | Post a Comment
Delia Derbyshire

The Guardian once described Delia Derbyshire as “The unsung heroine of British electronic music,” seemingly implying that there are other heroines of British electronic music that are more widely… sung. I suppose there is Daphne Oram but the English never use less than three adjectives when one will suffice, so let’s just say that Delia Derbyshire is an unsung heroine of music. That she happens to have worked primarily in electronic music is secondary and that she was British shouldn't be held against her. She was a wizard and pioneer who, instead of guarding her magical abililties, eagerly shared her techniques and discoveries, but was stifled by the BBC’s draconian demands that their artists work and die in anonymity.


Delia was born in Coventry on May 5th, 1937. As a girl, she learned piano and violin and attended Barr's Hill School. She later attended college at Girton in Cambridge. After initially pursuing studies in math, she switched courses to music before graduation. After graduation, she began to look for work in the music field, quickly butting up against the deeply entrenched sexism of the field. In fact, in 1959, upon applying for a job at Decca, she was flatly told that their policy was to not hire women to work in the studios. The United Nations proved more diplomatic than the folks at Decca, and she worked there for a short while. Then she returned to England and found employment at the London-based music publisher, Boosey & Hawkes. She didn’t stay long.
In 1960, she was hired as a trainee studio manager at the BBC, working with the Radiophonic Workshop, then just a few years old. It was an organization charged with producing experimental incidental music and sound effects for the BBC Third Programme’s radio plays in cases where the normal orchestral score was deemed inappropriate. Her predecessors had included Harry Desmond Briscoe and Daphne Oram, two noted pioneers of electronic music and musique concrète.
Derbyshire came on board following Oram’s departure, as part of a group of young artists that also included Brian Hodgson and John Baker. Many of her initial pieces were collaborations with artist/playwright Barry Bermange. One such piece was 1964’s The Dreams, a sound collage of people describing their dreams with Derbyshire's electronic sounds.


Gradually, the Radiophonic Workshop began producing more music and sound effects for television than radio. One year earlier, in 1963, Derbyshire performed her mostly widely-heard work when given the score for Ron Grainer’s theme to a new science-fiction series, Doctor Who. Incorporating filters, tape loops and valve oscillators, she fashioned one of the most memorable pieces of electronic music ever, and one that's especially dear to Whovians. Grainer was so impressed he sought to give Derbyshire co-author credit but the BBC prevented it. Although officially uncredited, the popularity of the theme resulted in her employers giving her many other assignments and she ultimately produced over 200 pieces including noteworthy scores for Great Zoos of the World and Cyprian Queen. The BBC was, however, by no means entirely supportive of her work, rejecting many of her compositions, claiming they were too bizarre, “too lascivious for 11 year olds” and “too sophisticated for the BBC2 audience.”

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