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    Harry Partch – The Harry Partch Collection Volume 2

    March 18th, 2010

    The Harry Partch Collection is a set of four individual CDs that were originally released by CRI in 1997 and reissued by New World Records in 2004. Volume 2 features two works, the first of which, The Wayward, takes Partch’s speech-music experiments of the 1940s and ’50s to a whole new level; and the second, And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma, which set a new high water mark for his instrumental writing in the 1960s.

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    Harry Partch – The Harry Partch Collection Volume 1

    March 16th, 2010

    Harry Partch (1901-1974) merely succeeded in realizing the most perfectly constructed, personal musical universe of the 20th Century. Shunning twelve-tone equal temperament—which has dominated Western music for well over a hundred years—he formed his own 43 tone scale realized through an antiquated pure tuning system known as Just Intonation. Harry then built his own strange, sculptural instruments to realize his exotic scores. Over several decades, he meshed this otherworldly-sounding music with dance and drama into what he called “corporeal” presentations, in which these three elements are fully integrated into a powerful, transporting whole. None of them were omitted or relegated to the background, as in traditional stage plays or classical concerts.

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    Gordon Mumma – Electronic Music of Theatre and Public Activity

    March 13th, 2010

    Not to be confused with a British mother or a corpse wrapped up in gauze, each otherwise known as Mummy, Gordon Mumma is a composer–mostly of electronic music–who got his start in back in the 1960s in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He co-founded the Cooperative Studio for Electronic Music and the legendary ONCE Festival, then went on to play in the ranks of the Sonic Arts Union and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Over the decades, Gordon has also worked as a music professor at many universities.

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    Alvin Lucier – Wind Shadows

    March 8th, 2010

    Alvin Lucier is a composer of experimental music who has been working since the 1960s in a solo setting, and with such cutting edge groups as the Sonic Arts Union, which also claimed as members fellow ’60s electronic music pioneers (and your basic, everyday legends) Robert Ashley, David Behrman and Gordon Mumma. Lucier mainly works with materials and processes that investigate acoustic phenomena and human perception of sound. He has been teaching at Wesleyan University since 1970.

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    Alvin Curran – Maritime Rites

    March 7th, 2010

    Alvin Curran has been working since the 1960s as both a composer and a performer of improvised music. In 1966, he was a founding member of the legendary Musica Elettronica Viva, who along with England’s AMM, were one of the very first free improv groups. Originally recorded in 1984–but not released on CD until 2004–Maritime Rites is a collection of masterful works for live instruments and field recordings from the United States Eastern seaboard. During “World Music,” which opens disc one, Leo Smith burps, blats, coughs up shrill spittles and holds up some held tones high into the sky on the appropriately named seal horn in the company of foghorns and boat horns.

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    James Tenney – Postal Pieces‏

    March 6th, 2010

    James Tenney (1934-2006) was one of the more important yet obscure composers of the second half of the 20th Century. He studied most notably under Carl Ruggles and Edgard Varèse at places like The Juillard School of Music, Bennington College (B.A. 1958) and the University of Illinois (M.A. 1961) It was at U.I. where he attended what were probably the first courses in electronic music anywhere, instructed by Lejaren Hiller. Right after that, Tenney, along with Max Matthews at Bell Telephone Laboratories, was the first composer to significantly employ the computer as a composition aid and sound generator. He was also co-founder and conductor of the Tone Roads Chamber Ensemble in NYC from 1963 to 1970 and performed in the ensembles of Harry Partch, John Cage, Steve Reich and Philip Glass. Tenney is also the author of numerous books and articles on acoustics, perception and form in music. He taught at The Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, California Institute of the Arts, University of California and York University in Toronto.

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    John Luther Adams – In the White Silence

    March 5th, 2010

    Morton Feldman-influenced fence post-minimal composer and Cal Arts graduate John Luther Adams has been at it since the mid 1970s. Composed in 1998 as a memorial to his mother, who passed away in 1996, and released in 2003, In the White Silence cycles through numerous sections of austere, minimal, orchestral music. From simple, melodic string plucks accompanied by pristine, sparkling vibes, bells and celesta to lyrical violin passges to the most fogged forehead drones imaginable, I can think of no better gift from son to mom. So, why don’t you buy a copy of In the White Silence for yourself? It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

    Label: New World Records Catalog Number: 80600-2 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 19 Total Time: 75:15 Country: United States Released: 2003 More: Discogs, Forced Exposure, Last.FM, Official, Wikipedia

    Text ©2010 Arcane Candy

    Terry Riley + ARTE Quartet – Assassin Reverie

    March 4th, 2010

    Within this silly little realm we call reality, Terry Riley is simply one of the most awesome musicians to ever play a note. Every time he touches an instrument or opens his mouth to sing, magic fills the air. Terry came to prominence in the 1960s as an early minimalist with his groundbreaking compostion, In C, and lesser-known but even greater works like Reed Streams, All Night Flight and Olson III. He has remained very active in the music scene throughout every decade since.

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    Barbara Kolb – Millefoglie and Other Works‏

    March 3rd, 2010

    Born in 1939, Barbara Kolb is an American composer of challenging classical music. Case in point: The title track of this ancient 1992 CD serves up a nearly 20-minute helping of dissonant avant garde classical chamber orchestra music layered with quiet electronic drones via computer generated tape. Here and there, the listener encounters starts and stops; and abrupt, urgent, repetitive rhythms with a playful xylophone that frolicks around the sound field without a care in the world. Can you say, “Sustained dreamworld?” The second track, “Extremes,” ironically simplifies the proceedings with a sprightly flute and droning cello. Not too far along, both get all melodic on your ass, then seque out onto a dead end street full of odd, cantankerous riffs.

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    Kenneth Gaburo – Five Works For Voices, Instruments and Electronics

    March 2nd, 2010

    Five Works For Voices, Instruments and Electronics is a CD released in early 2002 courtesy of our fine, feathered friends at New World Records. The works by Kenneth Gaburo contained on it span from 1957 to 1974, and offer much goodness for lovers of strange and gargled sound waves of the vintage variety. “Antiphony IV (Poised)” (1967) is another in a long line of avant-garde classical / electronic crossovers from the later classic era—pitting lone vocal sounds in the left channel and dark, electronic swirls in the right against (or with) a lot of quirky instrumental blat in the soft, chewy center. In “String Quartet In One Movement” (1956), “Sometimes all four instruments make one line, sometimes they split into four completely distinct entities; most often they are balanced into exquisitely formed hierarchies, with one held note on one instrument being temporarily in the foreground—only to be immediately replaced by a fragment of another line in another instrument as the focus of attention. It’s almost as if the music were woven, rather than composed—each line existing both as an object on its own and as part of a larger making of musical gestures.”

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