Creel Pone #6: Roots of Electronic Sounds
Today’s collection of the Creel Pone series is as brilliant as it usually is. If you’re into the electronic music – especially the early days of its awakening, then this little series today will curl your lashes big time! The post war surge of electronic music was a craze that hit composers across the globe, a kind of testament to a new world. A little slice of the hope of freedom if you like – a pre looming Russia utopia. Every developed nation (and quite a few developing ones) simply had to have its own electronic music research centre. I guess for me, behind the bandwagon and the eight-ball, it’s a kind of return to that era that infuses the music to potently. However, there is more to this music than its context. There is more to it than the emergence of, as Ohno Matsuo so beautifully put it, sounds that no one had heard. It is a time when human creatures let go of a style of listening that, although developed, was limiting. This is what this music does for me. It expands my ability to listen in the same way scales broaden the reach of the fingertips. I am a better listener because of the Creel Pone label listings. I am a better listener for all the beautiful electronic sounds that gift me with the opportunity to hear more broadly.
Enjoy today’s list.
This list is the 6th part in a series. To read the previous post, go here.
# 22 – Josef Anton Riedl – Josef Anton Riedl
This is one of the first little pieces of experimental love I could really call my own, so it has a soft spot in my heart. Besides the fact, of course, that it is a virtual work of genius. For me, Paper Music is the pick of the pile, but I find this album very exciting from start to finish. The first AGP installment features the compositions of Josef Anton Riedl. A few tracks are entirely electronic but most are electroacoustic, involving sounds produced by a number of sources. In a few tracks, recordings are made as performers produce sounds by manipulating paper, glass, water, etc., and then another layer of sound is added as the same performers respond to the previously recorded sounds. The acoustic recordings are astonishing in their clarity and intimacy, and the timbres produced by these objects are often quite unexpected. The first track comes from volume 8 of Zeitgenössische Musik in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Bestellnummer DMR 1022-1024). It was recorded by Saarländischen Rundfunks in 1982 and features Lorenzo Ferrero, Stefan Gabanyi, Johannes Göhl, Michael Hirsch, Robyn Schulkowsky, Florian Tielebier-Langenscheidt. The group was conducted by Josef Anton Riedl. The remaining tracks make up Wergo release WER 60066. The performers include Simone Rist and Nicolaus A. Huber (track 2), Mike Lewis and Michael W. Ranta (track 4), and Johannes Göhl (track 9). The included text file is a transcription of the liner notes from both releases, and contains biographical material on the composer as well as descriptions of individual compositions.
# 23 – Warren Jepson – Totentanz (1972)
I don’t have a smippet of this to give you. this is a stunning piece of musique concrète, that has recently been reissued, and with no You tube or Vimeo links, I’ll refer you to the Melon Expander website to have a listen to a sample. In the meantime, here is a stunning album review by the always brilliant Mutant Sounds, who can say it all so much better than I can.
Commissioned by the san francisco ballet company. premiered at the san francisco opera house april 1967. performed on national tour and at the palace of fine arts 1972 and by the san francisco dance spectrum at grace cathedral 1971 – 1972. costumes and production designed by Cal Anderson.
Warner Jepson was raised in bethlehem, pennsylvania and attended oberlin conservatory. he has written scores for two musicals as well as several films and tv documentaries. in the past four years he has created total environments of sound, odor, and movement for the san francisco museum of art and was commissioned to do the centennial party for the san francisco art institute. he was on the staff of the san francisco conservatory before deciding to devote full-time to composition. he resides in san francisco with his wife + children.
The a-side piece contains a long section of tape-based concrète; lo-fi pre-industrial thudding, dissonant piano stabs. and much repetition (you’ll want to crawl inside this bit and never come out…) – this gives way to a great blast of weird-synth patterns that closes out the side… on the flip there’s even further mystery layers, which slowly give way to the most amazing bit of Terry Riley lineage repetitive minimal synth figuring and blasted spring reverb & gated riffing. completely awe-inspiring, with a demonic-looking cover to boot (depicting some sort of skeletons-and-ghouls-as-wedding-processional ceremony no less.)
#24 – Matsuo Ono & Takeisha Kosugi – Roots of Electronic Sound (1963-1966)
Feel very free to let me know if I have the wrong cover here folks. Researching this little marvel was not the easiest thing in the world, and I have a language barrier. But then, the joy and the beauty of the music is that I need no interpreter to be able to enjoy this. This album is more of the traditional ‘outerspace’ mind trip we have come to expect from electronic music, with not a small hint of future here on earth in the sounds. Matsuo Ohno is another Japanese composer of unparalleled imagination, most commonly associated with his tape-based sound production for the animated version of Astro Boy, airing from 1963 until 1966. He began as a freelance sound designer, inspired by surrealist film and NHK broadcasts of Stockhausen. Ohno Matsuo was one of the first Japanese to show interest in Stockhausen’s electronic sound. He caused a sensation in the Japanese sound effect community, which only intended on creating primitive sound effects like wind at the time, when he announced that “I am not interested in sounds that already exist” and started introducing electronic sounds.
# 25 – Solmaz Sporel_ilhan mimaroglu – parmak cocuk_gizmeli kedi
İlhan Mimaroğlu is a musician and composer, born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1926. During the 1960s he studied in the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Center under Vladimir Ussachevsky and on occasions worked with Edgard Varèse and Stefan Wolpe .
Solmaz Sporel is perhaps the most beautiful of the turkish radio. She read in this record the Charles Perrault’s tale “Le Petit Poucet” (“Little Thumbling”). Apparently a correct translation of this little gem is ‘Idgit the Midget.’ Solmaz Sporel’s voice is just lovely, with that delicious lilt so indicitive of its time. This is another one for the children, but it has a lovely pleasure that can be enjoyed by the grown ups as well.
# 26 – Morris Knight – After Guernica (1962-1969)
This is another of my favourites on the Creel Pone list. This series of 4 beautiful tracks pulse with both the sadness and the opportunities posed by its subject matter. I especially love the final two tracks. I’d love to hear this on Vinyl as I think, as with so many of this style of music, the beauty of the sound of the crackle of the vinyl is actually missing from my electronic version. In the final track Knight and Sweetkind dance a sublime piece of purest beauty together. This is so lovely. The clarinet can’t help but bring its own jazz-infused improv style to the duo, however the two together moves this right away from any jazz styles that I recognise. It grounds the electric still, however, creating a natural pairing I would not have thought ‘belonged’ but after this styling make me wonder why I hear so little of it. I’ll add it here beneath. There is also a track listing for your info.
A1 After Guernica 9:42
A2 The Origin Of Prophecy 17:02
B1 Luminescences 10:58
B2 Refractions For Clarinet And Tape Clarinet – David Sweetkind
# 27 – Gil Mellé – The Andromeda Strain (original electronic soundtrack 1971)
This is one of the better known works from the (magnificent) Creel Pone label collection. Melle is associated with more traditional scoring, especially in the suspense/horror genre (Kolchak: The Night Stalker and Rod Serling’s Night Gallery being among his best-known work), but for this movie he used decidedly non-traditional means to create his music, with only a smattering of familiar instruments. The first three tracks really don’t make many concessions to an audience not already familiar with electronic music; “Desert Trip” is really the first truly tuneful track on the album. “OP” and “Xenogensis” provide more material that borders on actually being melodic, but “Strobe Crystal Green” brings things full circle into the abstract. However, anyone familiar with this film, knows the music is perfect for it, despite how challenging it must have appeared at the time. Here is a cute little review by Weirdo Records: This movie is a classic conspiracy/armageddon flick in the tradition of Heston’s ‘The Omega Man’ or ‘THX-1138’. Giant 70s computers loom and lights blink in color-coded rooms while you wait for everyone to die. The score is just as futuristic-dated, and features some great blooping, whirring, and feedback with the occasional bump from a proto-drum machine. Melle was a jazz saxophonist who played with Max Roach, Kenny Dorham, etc. & also painted covers for several Monk & Miles albums. Best of all, he wrote the ‘Six Million Dollar Man’ theme song. Impossibly cool.
# 28 – Svend Christiansen & Fuzzy – Urvarte noir blau (1974)
This fantastically obscure Danish split LP of avant-garde electronics is simply sensational. Christiansen occupies the A side and does a great job conjuring barren plains and inky voids pierced by smuggles and squelches on Urvaerk and high tension power lines under insectile assault on Noir but the real discovery here is Fuzzy. Not exactly your average moniker for this sort of rarified electronic music LP, but then Messr. Fuzzy is not your average practitioner, his side long track Blau slowly taking shape as escalating cascades of woody clatter and chain-linked thrum congeal into bursts of through-composed cartoonish electronic tomfoolery in the mode of Perrey & Kingsley and Tom Dissevelt, before glissing off into a twilight mystery electronic realm somewhere between Gunner Moller Pedersen and Ragnar Grippe and spinning out into a vortex of Vorhaus-like delirium at the finale. Get a load of this brilliance below.