Tuesday, 30 October 2007

30 years ago...

..."now with 2 note memory" (wow!)

NB: No music in this post

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Oskar Sala: Sound Effects from 'The Birds' (1963)

Halloween special at The Electronic Music Time Machine.
Although Oskar Sala's electronic sound effects for Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (made in 1963 on his trademark Trautonium beast; see Mr Hitchcock himself trying to get some sounds of it - or is he just posing?) have gained a lot of fame I never managed to find a release of the isolated cues (please let me know if I have missed something and this post is a duplicate). Until I joined Soulseek last week. There I found these creepy, frightening signature sounds from this legendary movie, apparently edited/cut by an anymous person (many thanks to her/him). I have added my usual kind of "wannabe artwork" - and here you have your soundtrack for nocturnal nightmares. So if a flock of birds is passing you these days, remember what may happen to you...


Friday, 26 October 2007

Jan Boerman: The complete tape music of Jan Boerman

Besides Germany, France and to some extend Sweden, the Netherlands were probably the most active European country in the formation of electronic music (c.1950-80). The Dutch vintage electronic music scene comprises such notable names like Dick Raaijmakers, Ton Bruynèl, Tom Dissevelt (aka Kid Beltran) and the exiled trio Roland Kayn-Konrad Boehmer-Gottfried Michael Koenig (all three originally from Germany, but living in Holland for many years). Jan Boerman, whose complete electronic works we are featuring here today, is probably the most difficult one to find, as his 5CD box originally released on Donemus remains out of print/deleted.

Some basic links to further explore the Dutch electronic music scene:
(1 of 6) http://sharebee.com/ab0d00c2
(2 of 6) http://sharebee.com/271a1955
(3 of 6) http://sharebee.com/f1080294
(4 of 6) http://sharebee.com/c04fcb61
(5 of 6) http://sharebee.com/43befb4b
(6 of 6) http://sharebee.com/9c59b596

NB: This upload took me a week at the nternet caffee and was a major invest of my time and money, and there won't be any other larger posts like this - especially given the unfortunate fact that, judged from the lack of comments to previous posts, I'm doing it for a bunch of "hit and run" freeriders who failed to understand the basic ideas of interactive web 2.0.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Lejaren Hiller: Computer Music Retrospective (1957-1985)

Vintage Computer Music Week at the Electronic Music Time Machine. Today we're exhuming an out of print/deleted Wergo CD with historically important computer music by American composer Lejaren Hiller. Read his biography here. The music contained here is, well historically important, but probably not something you'd want to play on your wedding day. It's a little boring (but that's just my opinion). Anyway, check out one of the earliest computer music pieces ever conceived (Illiac Suite from 1957 - but don't expect any proto Sci-Fi stuff one Pietro Grossi's "Computer Music" for IBM; this is "just" a modified string quartet).

Sunday, 21 October 2007

John Chowning: Interview, KFCJ, 2006

In conjunction with my previous post (Nonesuch's Computer Music), here's an interview with composer John Chowning, a leading pioneer of digital music. The interview was recorded in 2006 at KFCJ Radio.

From Wikipedia:
Born in Salem, New Jersey, John M. Chowning is known for having discovered the FM synthesis algorithm in 1967. In FM synthesis, also known as frequency modulation, both the carrier frequency and the modulation frequency are within the audio band. In essence, the amplitude and frequency of one waveform modulates the frequency of another waveform producing a resultant waveform that can be periodic or non-periodic depending upon the ratio of the two frequencies.

Chowning's breakthrough allowed for simple yet rich sounding timbres, which synthesized 'metal striking' or 'bell like' sounds, and which seemed incredibly similar to real percussion. (Chowning was also a skilled drummer.) He spent six years turning his breakthrough into a system of musical importance and eventually was able to simulate a large number of musical sounds, including the singing voice. In 1973 Stanford University licensed the discovery to Yamaha in Japan, with whom Chowning worked in developing a family of synthesizers and electronic organs. This patent was Stanford's most lucrative patent at one time, eclipsing many in electronics, computer science, and biotechnology.

The first product to incorporate the FM algorithm was Yamaha's GS1, a digital synthesizer that first shipped in 1981. Some thought it too expensive at the time, Chowning included. Soon after, in 1983, Yamaha made their first commercially successful digital FM synthesizer, the DX7.


Saturday, 20 October 2007

Various Artists - Electroacoustic Music Volume IV. Archive Tapes Synthesiser ANS 1964-1971

The Soviets did not only invest in sophisticated rocket technology & space stations...no, they also invented three incredibly unique synthesizers: (a) The Theremin (which has become pretty popular by now), (b) the Polivoks (sorry, don't know any recording of it, but it can perhaps be described as the Minimoog's wild brother) and (c) the ANS. You wouldn't recognise it as a synth even if you stood right in front of it. It looks like a baroque drawer/cupboard.

The ANS beast is probably one of the most unique synths ever made. Sound-synthesis is made with photosensitive sensors, and it sounds somewhat like a liquid cosmic nebular. Strange stuff. What's equally strange is that the ANS has attracted renowned classical composers like Alfred Schnittke & Sofia Gubaidulina. There's just a handful of known ANS recordings: Edward Artemiev's original Solaris & Stalker soundtracks (Solaris can be found here), Coil's three CD/one DVD set CoilANS, and Stanislav Kreichi's Anisana. For a better description check Wikipedia.

This recording featured here is probably the most essential, as (unlike the others) it is quite diverse in sound and includes some extremely rare electronic excursions by Schnittke & Gubaidulina. It's now impossible to get (even if you'd sell your mother's soul).
  1. Oleg Buloshkin - Sacrament [3:34]
  2. Sofia Gubaidulina - Vivente-Non Vivente ("Alive & Dead") [10:44]
  3. Edward Artemiev - Mosaic [4:00]
  4. Edward Artemiev - 12 looks at the world of sound [12:52]
  5. Edison Denisov - Birds singing [5:05]
  6. Alfred Schnittke - Steam [5:50]
  7. Alexander Nemtin - Tears [4:41]
  8. Alexander Nemtin - I.S. Bach: Choral Prelude C-Dur [2:30]
  9. Schandor Kallosh - Northern Tale [5:38]
  10. Stanislav Kreitchi - Voices of the west [2:00]
  11. Edward Artemiev & Stanislav Kreitchi - Music from the motion picture "Cosmos" [12:15]
  12. Stanislav Kreitchi - Intermezzo [2:00]
Sharebee #1
Sharebee #2

Friday, 19 October 2007

Various Artists: Computer Music [Nonesuch]

Most people think that the age of "computer" music has begun with the introduction of the Synclavier (1975), Crumar's GDS (1979), the Fairlight CMI (1978-80), Yamaha's GS 1 (1981) or even it's DX 7 (1983). All wrong. Although I'm a complete hillbilly in this matter, I can trace the age of digital music to the late Fifties (yes, the decade when Sputnik was launched). Some of the early computer pieces I know:
  • Newman Gutman: The Silver Scale (1957) - reportedly the first computer piece ever
  • John Pierce: Stochata (1959)
  • Max Mathews: Several computer pieces since the early Sixties (e.g. "Numerology")
  • Pietro Grossi: Computer Music (ca. 1967)
  • Jean-Claude Rissett: Several works beginning with "Mutations" (1969)
  • Vladimir Ussachevsky: Two Sketches for a Computer Piece (1971)
  • Iannis Xenakis: works for UPIC since 1971 (like La Legend d'Eer, Persepolis, Polytope de Cluny)
  • John Chowning: A few pieces 1970+
  • Thorkell Sigurbjörnsson: La Jolla Good Friday (1975)
  • Herbert Brün: Sawdust (1976-)

Here's some more. Nonesuch's out-of-print vinyl-only release Computer Music. It feature the following tracks/artists:
  • J.K. Randall: Quartets in Paris / Quartersines / Mudgett: Monologues By A Mass Murderer
  • Barry Vercoe: Synthesism
  • Charles Dodge: Changes
Tracks realised in the Columbia/Princeton Computer Centres.


Thursday, 18 October 2007

Some new features

I added some features to my site: (a) a massive directory of links to artists, record labels/shops, and other blogs. (b) "RockIt: The Audioblog Search Engine". It sounds cooler than it actually is, but it's perhaps still worth a look.
I just set up a Google Custom Search Engine and added my 160 favourite sharity blogs. "RockIt" now searches through these 160 blogs, so there's some likelihood to come up with a downloadable source of the music you're looking for. It's basically like Google's Blog Search, just with a little better precision in terms of sharity/non-mainstream music.

If you like to build your own custom search engine, just do the following:
1. Set up a Google account (if you haven't yet).
2. Log onto http://www.google.com/coop/
3. Create a new search engine
4. Add the URLs you'd like to be indexed.
5. To add the search box to your site, just use the "get code" function, go to your blog account, add html content, and paste the code.
6. Done. Took me 45 minutes for 160 links/sources.

My new side project: Radio Schwingungen

After some initial technical work I can finally launch my new blog: Radio Schwingungen. It's basically a virtual rescue mission to preserve the legacy of the once popular (and now defunct) German radio show "Schwingungen" which ran between 1984 and 95 on WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk).

It's not a place of musical innovation or rare, overlooked treasures. It's just a nostalgic attempt to publicize some of my cherished childhood memories and to give this incredible (yet low-brow) radio show a virtual memorial. Actually I pretty much hate this kitsch mutation of electronic music by now I still find it (somehow) necessary to give it a place to survive.

If you're - like me - more into the Henry/Stockhausen/Kayn/Oliveros/Pousseur/Mumma/Tudor/Gaburo etc. side of electronic than this blog will not be for you.

Although our bandwidth problems are not entirely solved yet (I'm uploading larger stuff at the internet cafe) our Electronic Music Time Machine is going to continue to publish lost treasures from the "right side" of electronic music. Stay tuned - there will be updates from time to time, whenever I have the chance to.

Yours as always

Adam Eleven

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Alvin Curran: On the Roads (2007, radio recording)

Premiered just four days ago on DeutschlandRadio Berlin Alvin Curran's latest radiophonic piece probably doesn't qualify as "vintage" electronic music - but I hope that you'll still appreciate this occassional detour of our Electronic Music Time Machine.

In this 50+ minute piece Roman-based Alvin Curran discovers the sound of ancient Roman roads (so there's still some vintage element in this post). Be prepared though: Sound quality isn't very good (it's an FM recording, mono, with constant background hiss...). But tt's still a rewarding hour to listen to, with Alvin Curran's typical, slowly evolving aural magic.

The amateurish artwork is mine and features a pavement on Piazza San Pietro shot on recent trip to Rome.

Link in comments.