Wendy Carlos is one of the most important composers living today. While primarily connected to the fields of electronic music, sound design, and alternate tunings, her compositions transcend these genres. It is certain that her music will be included among the major milestones of 20th century music.
Every recording of Erik Satie’s “Gymnopedie 1” played at the same time, stretched to the length of the longest recording. About 60 versions of the piece incorporated - "less than I thought I would find, but enough," says the arranger. A lovely piece of musical architecture to roam around in. [via the always-excellent Disquiet.]
"I went over to Germany, and I saw one millionth of a performance of a piece of music." John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats, Wolf In White Van) travels to Halberstadt to report on a John Cage concert that will last 639 years.
13 prepared guitar videos. A prepared guitar is a guitar that has been modified with various objects (such as alligator clips or chopsticks) in order to change the sounds it produces. Here are videos from thirteen different musicians who use prepared guitars (including Keith Rowe and Fred Frith).
Depending on one's point of view, Orgasm (later reissued as Cave Rock) is either a ridiculously self-indulgent artifact of the '60s counterculture or an underground gem that was way ahead of its time -- and it's probably a little bit of both. The basic idea behind Cromagnon, an obscure East Coast group led by vocalists Austin Grasmere and Brian Elliot, was psychedelic rock combined with the sticks and stones of prehistoric cavemen, as well as with traces of folk-rock; it's a bizarre concept, certainly, but at times, it works. You can hear the whole crazy album on YouTube, or stick with the most song-like track (featuring bagpipes, tribal beats and some sort of scream-singing), Caledonia, seen here with an unofficial video. [more inside]
My favorite new tumblr: Experimental Music On Children's TV.
Dream Battle note count: 272789. What Does the Fox Say? note count 1.1 million. Bad Apple note count: 4.6 million. "Fujiwara no Mokou's theme" note count: 21100000+. It's The Impossible Music of Black MIDI where there is no such thing as Too Many Notes.
"Gentlemen: I have a story that may be of interest to you. It is not widely known who invented the circuitry concept for the automatic sequential performance of musical pitches - now well known as a sequencer. I, however, do know who the inventor was - for it was I who first conceived and built the sequencer." This is the opening to an undated, unaddressed letter, found in Raymond Scott's personal papers (yes, the same fellow whose kooky soundtracks scored everything from Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies to Ren & Stimpy, The Simpson, and Animaniacs). You can read the rest of Scott's letter, along with Bob Moog's recollections of visiting Raymond's electronics laboratory in the mid-1950s. Or you could jump ahead to the mid-1960s, when Jim Henson was in his late 20s to early 30s, and he was working on a variety of odd projects after a successful run with Sam and Friends, but before he it it big with Sesame Street. It was at this point that he teamed up with Scott on a few short, experimental films. [more inside]
A nice documentary video of live electronic music sampling and improvisation featuring Matmos with a rat cage.
Delia Derbyshire, most famous for the original Doctor Who theme tune, would have been 75 years old last Saturday. In celebration of her pioneering work on electronic music, and her role at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, British remix artist Soundhog created an hour-long mix of Derbyshire's words and music, combined with more work from the Radiophonic Workshop and other electronic music pioneers of the time. (mp3 download) [more inside]
Fluid Radio stream experimental frequencies into the ether. Channel 2 is especially worth a listen, flowing forth a fairly constant warm wash of haunting melancholy and mellow fruitiness in post folk and post rock form. The reviews on the site appear to be written by an offspring of Monty Cantsin and Rrose Sélavy: I don't know what they're saying, but the reading of them brings zen-like quietude.
ViolaGate, wherein a world-weary techno-busker wails on some catgut and twiddles some knobs (presumably), whisking veteran violinist Bernard Zaslav (slyt) into a cane-shaking frenzy. [more inside]
8 years in the making, ~200 antique appliances comprise Michael Petermann's Stupid Orchestra (SLVimeo).
Why I Hate the Avant-Garde or, Why Laurie Anderson is less Avant-Garde than DJ Kool Herc. A rant with videos. Via The Front Section.
Computer music is relatively old, going back to the very early 1950s. In the following decades, people have been creative with programmable technology, leading to "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain" being played on an IBM chain printer back in 1966, and in more recent years, HP ScanJet 5100c included an Easter Egg. The HP ScanJet 4c's SCL (Scanner Control Language) unofficial PLAY TUNE command lead to these fine little ditties. Now over a decade ago, the duo known as [The User] enlisted three specialists to operate a computer program via a server that synchronized the dot-matrix printers and read complex ASCII text files in order to create musical compositions. The result was a techno-sounding piece that was performed by the administrators of the system, rather than one that was simply being played. Like a symphony of car horns, the coordination of these printers became Symphony #1 and #2 for Dot Matrix Printers (samples of Symphony #2, Symphony #2 Slashdot thread). [More computer music exploration inside] [more inside]
The Song of the Earth -- New Yorker music critic Alex Ross writes on composer John Luther Adams, who has created an installation work at the Museum of the North in Fairbanks, Alaska in which geologic, astronomical, and meteorologic data are converted, in real time, into "a shimmering synthesized carillon." For a tiny hint of the experience, you can watch this Youtube video Hear more about the work from Living on Earth.
The Avant Garde Project is a bunch of experimental outofprint music digitized from LPs. Free. Available in Flac and 192 kbps MP3. Start off at the Archive.
Not to judge an album by its cover or anything - see larger image! - but Animal Collective's latest, Strawberry Jam, looks to be as weirdly delicious as ever. Pitchfork gave it a glowing 9.3, but you can listen to two of their new songs and decide for yourself at the BBC's less enthusiastic (but still positive) review. You can also watch the video for the first single, "Fireworks", here. Panda Bear, one of the group's four members who released a widely-acclaimed solo album in March, was interviewed recently (also by Pitchfork) about the making of Strawberry Jam, as well as his thoughts on that cover... [more inside]
The Toriton Plus A new electronic music interface using water and light. (YouTube). Make your own. From Little-Scale, which is chock-full of cool and wonderous stuff.
Korean Psych And Acid Folk • An introduction to the late-60s/early-70s experimental music of Korea. Bonus: be among the few Westerners to hear these ultra-rare tracks by the Pearl Sisters with songwriting contributions from a man known as the "godfather of Korean rock and roll", Shin Joong-Hyun, who is credited with influencing Korea's heavier rock scene of the last two decades.