Thursday, October 2, 2014

John ArmlederConversation/Study for John Cage on 10 magnetic tapes, sound installation at Galerie Ecart, Geneva, Switzerland, 1973

A sound piece with the voices of John Cage, Dick Higgins, William Burroughs, George Brecht, Richard Huelsenbeck, Merce Cunningham, Kurt Schwitters, Naum Gabo, Marcel Duchamp, and Raoul Hausmann.

This 10min excerpt comes from the Close Radio archive, a program on contemporary sound art curated by John Duncan, Neil Goldstein and Paul McCarthy between 1976 and 1979 on Los Angeles KPFK radio.

In 1977, one week was devoted to the Ecart Performance Group (1969-1982), founded by John Armleder in Geneva, Switzerland (program also mirrored on Radio Usine).

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Julien SirjacqFragments du Futur, exhibition at Institut Mémoires de l’Edition Contemporaine (IMEC), Abbaye d’Ardenne, Caen, France, 2013

The point of departure of Julien Sirjacq's current work is his discovery in a garbage of a number of scores, documents and tape reels belonging to French contemporary music composer and conductor Boris de Vinogradov (1929-2008), conductor of Ensemble Itinéraire, especially. Sirjacq is both interested in the Spectral music pioneer, the memorabilia’s vintage design and the evocation of sound through graphic representation. Sirjacq further augments the actual Vinogradov archive with musically or visually related material, like science fiction books of the 1970s, records, photographs, etc. He also creates prints using technologies of the time. The entire project is titled A Spectral Recollection. This exhibition in Caen was a follow up to his show for CitySonic 2012 in Brussels, titled L’oreille Interne, for which he published a book and a cassette of commissioned new music.

[image source: artist’s blog]

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hans Jenny (curator)Schwingungen Experimentell Sichtbar Gemacht, catalogue published by Gewerbemuseum der Bayerischen Landesgewerbeanstalt s.d., Nürnberg, West Germany, 1966

For this Cymatics exhibition in Nürnberg in 1966, whose title translates as Vibrations Made Visible in Experiments, curators Curt Heigl and Dr. Hans Jenny (Switzerland)  gathered a collection of Chladni plates experiments with a focus on the graphic and the visual. Stunning photographs by Hans Peter Widmer (1936–1964).

Monday, September 29, 2014

David ErnstMusique Concrète, Crescendo Publishing Co., Boston, MA, USA, 1972

A Musique Concrète handbook written with a pragmatic, North American point of view by contemporary music composer David Ernst, born 1947. The book comes complete with history of the genre, discography, English bibliography and exercises in tape splicing, a.o.

Table of contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Basic concepts
  3. Developments leading to first electronic music compositions
  4. Survey of musique concrète
  5. Exercises in Composition
  6. Discography
Saturday, September 27, 2014

Frans de WaardSecret Thirteen mix #129, September 24, 2014

This fine mix collects crucial tracks from Frans de Waard’s record collection, spanning from the 1980s up to 1995. From influential labels of the early 1980s like Cherry Red or Red Rhino, to bands he eventually produced on Staalplaat, the selection is highly personal and can be considered as an intellectual biography of the man behind Vital Weekly and Beequeen, amongst many other things.


0000 Jonathan Richman & The Modern LoversEgyptian Reggae [Beserkley Records, 1977]
0232 Steve ReichClapping Music [Nonesuch, 1987]
0710 The RondosA Black & White Statement [King Kong Records, 1980]
0948 The ExSucked Out Chucked Out 5 [VGZ Records, 1983]
1203 Mekanik KommandoMicrobes [Torso, 1981]
1515 Five Or SixTheme [Cherry Red Records, 1982]
1912 Second LayerFixation [Cherry Red Records, 1981]
2313 Michael O’SheaKerry [Dome Records, 1982]
2534 The Legendary Pink DotsOutsider [Bain Total, 1985]
2854 OrganumVoice Of The Angel [L.A.Y.LA.H. Records, 1985]
3230 DomeReading Prof. B [Dome Records, 1980]
3518 Zoviet FranceUntitled (Mohnomishe) [Red Rhino Records, 1983]
4139 Asmus TietchensUltima Terra [Hamster Records, 1989]
4602 Idea Fire CompanyWünderwäffen [Swill Radio 2005]
5048 MainXXI [beggars Banquet 1998] 5421 Pan Sonic – Vaihe (Fön) [Blast First, 1995]
5907 Ilusion Of SafetyUntitled (Mort Aux Vaches 2) [Staalplaat 1999]
6454 Piero MilesiModi 2 (Extract) [Cherry Red 1982]
6545 The OrbLittle Fluffy Clouds [Big Life, 1990]
7007 The AssociatesA Girl Named Property [Situation Two, 1981]
7457 SparksThere’s No Such Thing As Aliens [Gut Records, 2006]
Friday, September 26, 2014

Short statement from Brazilian sound poet Paulo Leminski, 1985.

From original interview here

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Peter BrötzmannThe Inexplicable Flyswatter: Works on paper 1959-1964, 48-page book+enhanced CD published by Atavistic/Unheard Music Series, USA, 2003

This is a catalogue to an exhibition of German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann’s paintings, collages and lithographs that took place at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, and at Woodland Pattern Book Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 2003. Focusing on the early 1960s period, John Corbett’s essay and the rare documents included assess Brötzmann’s role as a visual artist who was close to the Cobra and NADA groups, was Nam June Paik’s assistant during the latter’s exhibition in Wuppertal in 1963 and collaborated with George Maciunas and Emmett Williams during the Fluxus Festival organized in Amsterdam by Willem De Ridder in June 1963. Enhanced-CD includes 2 tracks of music (1965, quartet), an interview (1965) and three silent films (1963/4).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Elisabeth Schimana and Lena Tikhonova  – Marianne Amacher documentary, 2014

Who can claim to understand the art of Marianne Amacher? Certainly not I, who have only heard her music on… CD. But typical Amacher topics of cyclo-acoustics, “post-cochlear” listening, pattern modulation, telematic sound works and architecture sonification really need some explanation for the layman. Some clues are included in Austrian composer Elisabeth Schimana and Lena Tikhonova’s film, along interviews with Helga de la Motte-Haber, Marina Rosenfeld, Sergei Tcherepnin, Ursula Block, Pauline Oliveros, a.o.

Via Daniel Wolff

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hillel SchwartzMaking Noise: From Babel to the Big Bang and Beyond, Zone Books, New York, NY, 2011

Some of the collages (called “soundplates”) created by Hillel Schwartz to illustrate his book on noise. They form an interesting narrative on their own, somewhere between photocopy art and Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas plates.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Laura Luna - Isolarios, cassette, Baba Vanga, Prague, Czech Republic, August 2014

The debut cassette by Mexican-born, Prague resident sound artist Laura Luna del Castillo, Isolarios is a collection of instrumental tracks based on synthesizer loops, basic sound effects and the occasional film dialog or found conversation. The creativity doesn’t lie in any new sonority – the synthesizer seems configured according to Zone’s 1992 Sword of the Sun–, but rather in the way effect pedals and mix create an almost hypnagogic blend of distant sounds any listener will relate to, as if dreams were generic, archetypal experiences and not the very personal, intimate reminiscences we’ve come to expect.

The opener Auroras is particularly efficient in this respect, with enchanted loop after enchanted loop morphing into the next amid effect-heavy, high-pitched droning sounds in the background and thick layers of reverb. Far from becoming an indistinct brew, the track retains a certain clarity throughout – the entire album must have been recorded with headphones on, as is obvious when playing it back on cans. Typically, tracks consist of 3 or 4 loops running in parallel – but not necessarily at the same time– with progressively added sound effects and inventive mixing strategy. The first loop create an atmosphere while the additional loops and effects only add to the mystery.

Combining deeply moving sounds that directly affect the listener’s inner feelings, Laura Luna’s music is at the antipodes of the prosaic, matter-of-factness of most of today’s synth music. Indeed, in Isolarios, sounds are selected first and foremost according to their psychoacoustic properties. This is music where nothing is done to impress, everything aims to transport the listener through mysterious atmospheres and magical synthesizer sounds.

[review by continuo]

Friday, September 19, 2014

Günter MaasKomposition III, composed 1963, 7inch single published by EMI Electrola, Germany, ~1963–64

Günter Maas demonstrates the use of the “Bildabtaster” picture-scanner, from the Siemens Studio For Electronic Music, Munich, 1964. Launched in 1960, the Bildabtaster, or Image Sensor, is an optical reader capable of converting graphic images into tones and volume settings. [excerpt from these Bundesarchiv]

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Outlet fanzine #31, UK, January 1985

One of the rare articles on Mnemonists, the Colorado art collective and avantgarde music group also known as Biota (there was an article in Bad Alchemy too, I think, also in the mid-1980s).

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

KPFA Folio was the monthly program of the Berkely, CA, listener-funded independent KPFA radio station, famous for collaborations with the San Francisco Tape Music Center (Pauline Oliveros, etc) and Charles Armikhanian’s avantgarde music shows. Broadcast schedule included contemporary theater plays, literature, environmental issues, politics, music, etc. A great number of Folios have been scanned and uploaded at by Pacifica Foundation, the network of independent radios KPFA is part of.

From top to bottom:

  • Cover artwork,
    KPFA Folio, June 1970
  • Charles Armikhanian introduing the Word Ear Project
    KPFA Folio, August 1970
  • Roman Haubenstock-Ramati graphic scores
    KPFA Folio, January 1972
  • The Center for Contemporary Music 1975 concert schedule,
    KPFA Folio, March 1975
  • Other Music’s 1st LP ad
    KPFA Folio, December 1981
  • Cocaïne and Rainbows: 100th anniversary of the birth of A. N. Scriabine
    KPFA Folio, January 1972
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hans Reichel Some Information on the Daxophone, circa 2010

Pictures from a book published by guitarist and instrument builder Hans Reichel around 2010 and available as a PDF from the artist’s website. Note how the various Daxophone wooden blades become an alphabet somehow, especially in the last picture – to no surprise considering Reichel is also a font designer.

Via Prepared Guitar blog.