Friday, 8 June 2007

Steve Reich: Lost Pieces 1966-2002 / Updated 25 July

Update 25 July 2007 (link in comments):
I've added the sensationally rare tape beast My Name Is as performed 1970 in Berkeley (original source: web stream on courtesy of - I've used Replay Media Catcher to record the audio stream 1:1 to MP3). I never thought I would ever be able to listen to this track as it lis isted as "manuscript only" in Reich's official list of works. It's a little bit too casual for my taste but it definitely has its moments as its speech samples were recorded and transformed live in concert.
Also added, from the same session in Berkeley, are two unusual performances of Violin Phase and Phase Patterns. Technically speaking these two bonus tracks are not "lost" pieces as you can find them on regular ECM/Wergo releases, but these previously unreleased performances are interesting and historically important nonetheless.

Original post 8 June 2007:

This generic release (which is assembled from several sources and not commercially available) unearthes some "lost" pieces by fabulous American "minimalist" Steve Reich. 1st Piece: Melodica is Reich's legendary "lost" tape piece from 1966, featuring heavy tape phasing for, yes, a melodica. It has only been released on the 3 LP release Music from Mills - which, in my opinion, is justified, as it is certainly not among Reich's better works. The second piece, Reed Phase (1967), though being available on CD (Ulrich Krieger: Walls of Sound II) is, surprisingly, not part of Reich's official work list (the reasons for which are not known to me). The third piece is the DVD-audio track from Act I: Hindenburg from Reich's video opera Three Tales (released 2002). Ulrich Krieger's heavy version of Pendulum Music from 1968 is added as bonus track.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Various Artists: Greek Electronic Music-2

Reminiscent of the long out of print LP Greek Electronic Music-1 (featuring Michael Adamis, Dmitris Terzakis, Stephanos Vassiliadis, Nikos Mamangakis, Charis Xanthoudakis & Yannis Vlachopolous; get the re-release on Creel Pone) I have put together this ecclectic unofficial follow-up. It contains extremely rare, mostly never before released electronic music by Takis Veliantis, Nikiforos Rotas, Kostas Mantzoros, Giorgios Filippis, Stefanos Vassiliadis, Dimitris Kamarotos & Anestis Logothetis plus a bonus track from Logothetis' super-rare Fantasmata LP. This package should give you a nice overview of Greek Electronic Music, which has unfortunately been totally neglected by the music industry so far. Sincere thanks goes to autov3rs3 which provided most of the tracks (originally contained in an obscure promotional package given away by the Athens Music House).

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Pierre Henry: Machine Danse (1972)

Machine Danse simply contains some of the finest music ever composed by Pierre Henry, even by his very own high standards. The late Sixties/early Seventies deserve to be called his golden era, with releases such as the two Cortical Arts (find them on Creel Prone), his collaboration with Urban Sax, and, well, Machine Danse. Here, Henry displays a yet unmatched sense for rhythmic sound/language, e.g. on Exorcisme or on the second half of Erotica. I can't think of any music which so excitingly blends introspection & extroversion. Pierre Henry's music is complex and never boring.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Arne Nordheim: Selected Electroacoustic Works (1963-1987)

You may know Arne Nordheim's powerful electronic works (recorded back in the 1960s and 70s in Warsaw, Stockholm and Utrecht) from two releases on Rune Grammofon (where you can also find the amazing electronic/jazz supergroup Supersilent). If you, like me, have fallen in love with Nordheim's electronic music, you will have certainly wondered if there are any other electronic/electroacoustic works available by him. Yes, there are, but they are well hidden on the expensive/hard to find box Listen to the Art of Arne Nordheim. There you'll find those pieces presented here. Unfortunately it doesn't contain any purely electronic works, but a few hybrid orchestral/electronic pieces. Hence, I have labelled this generic release Selected Electroacoustic Works, which will hopefully find some old & new friends of Arne Nordheim.

Monday, 4 June 2007

José Luis de Délas: Eilanden (1968)

Spanish avantgarde composer José Luis de Délas is virtually unknown to the general public, and even to the contemporary connoisseur. This little contribution, his hybrid piece Eilanden for ensemble and tape will hopefully change this pityful situation a little bit. Luckily, the fantastic German musicologists Heinz-Klaus Metzger and Rainer Riehn have published a book about de Délas (Musik-Konzepte Vol./Bd. 78) which is still pretty much the only public information available about him.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Pierre Henry: Maléfices (1962)

Pierre Henry - the legend, the wizard, the hermit, the guru, the best of the best. It is a shame that there is so little music available by the father of musique concrete and an even bigger shame that most of it are vinyl-only releases. Such as this short yet wonderful musique concrete soundtrack Maléfices, composed in 1962 at his Studio Apsome (if I'm not mistaken). Sorry, no tracklist is available here - we have to accept this little shortcoming in exchange for some simply amazing timbres, almost an electronic lullaby...

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Luigi Nono: Musica-manifesto (1969)

Today we are discussing a great tapework by Luigi Nono which is (to my knowledge) not available yet on disc:

Musica-manifesto per nastro magnetico a quattro canali/for 4-channel magnetic tape (1969)

Part 1: Un volto, del mare [Text by Cesare Pavese]

Part 2: Non consumiamo Marx [based on documentary texts]

It was recorded on April 24, 2004 at the Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik (Soprano: Petra Hoffmann; Speaker: Isis Krüger; Sound supervision: Bryan J. Wolf - who is, by the way, Karlheinz Stockhausen's assistant). Sorry for the short mobile phone distortion in the first track!
E.g. like Vangelis' "Fais Que Ton Rêve Soit Plus Long Que La Nuit" this piece is dealing with the student riots in Paris in 1968. Like most of Nono's tape pieces this is wonderful, ethereal musique concrete, using a lot of pre-recorded elements. Make sure to also get Nono's recently released "Complete Works for Solo Tape".


Friday, 1 June 2007

Günter Schickert: Somnambul (1980-94)

Do you need to know Günter Schickert? Yes, you do! His 1974 electro/guitar album Samtvogel (which still hasn't been published on CD; get it from Mutant Sounds by the way) is probably on of the milestones of early trippy electronics (and, I think, even a little better than Manuel Göttsching's Inventions for Electric Guitar). Schickert's CD Somnambul, released on the German label Musique Intemporelle is now out of print (and really hard to find) and compiles some previously unreleased works from 1980-94, some of which is of ethereal beauty (and some of which isn't). In an interview from 1995, Schickert described his "Somnambul" method like this: He was sleeping next to his equipment (some electronics, tape machines, conch shells etc.) and whenever he woke up after a dream he played his music straight onto tape, which gives it a spacey touch.