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.



Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. Looks interesting - I haven't heard several of these pieces.


Keith Lo Bue said...

It staggers me that with the importance of these pioneering electronic works to the history of modern music that labels such as Nonesuch don't repackage these pearls and make them available again??? We're seeing reissues of some of the most inane music, while this stuff languishes in the vault. Makes no sense....

Thanks for this!!