CAROLINER: Record Review

A brief review posted on Mutant Sounds of CAROLINER's first LP: 

"Something about Caroliner's particular strain of musical sickness prompts critics to trot out their most hyperbolic verbiage and the instinct it elicits in me is much the same (but then, when isn't that my instinct?), so allow me to direct my own ejaculations of adjective syrup in their general direction as well. This, the very first missive from the Caroliner mothership is a monster of deliciously diseased technicolor bulldada grotesquerie, this Bay Area mob's fully formed aesthetic universe of heat-stroked and ergot poisoned hoot 'n' holler smurf-voiced avant-rock cacophony completely in play even at this early stage. Subsequent releases (especially their masterstroke "I'm Armed With Qts. Of Blood", posted a while back by Jim) would refine their psychotic stratagems into something truly penetrating and hallucinatory, but the needle gunked lo-fi gruel of Residents/Beefheart/Butthole Surfers-informed insanity that's oozing out of the grooves here is as awe inspiring as the emptied-garbage-can packaging is disgusting..."

click link for the full post... 


A Chronological History of Electronic and Computer Music (from 200 BC-1974).

2nd century, BC:
The Hydraulis was invented by Ktesibios sometime in the second century B.C. Ktesibios, the son of a Greek barber, was fascinated by pneumatics and wrote an early treatise on the use of hydraulic systems for powering mechanical devices. His most famous invention, the Hydraulis, used water to regulate the air pressure inside an organ. A small cistern called the pnigeus was turned upside down and placed inside a barrel of water. A set of pumps forced air into the pnigeus, forming an air reservoir, and that air was channeled up into the organ's action.

Greek Aeolian harp. This may be considered the first automatic instrument. It was named for Aeolus, the Greek god of the wind. The instrument had two bridges over which the strings passed. The instrument was placed in a window where air current would pass, and the strings were activated by the wind current. Rather than being of different lengths, the strings were all the same length and tuned to the same pitch, but because of different string thicknesses, varying pitches could be produced.

5th-6th centuries BC, Pythagoras discovered numerical ratios corresponding to intervals of the musical scale. He associated these ratios with what he called "harmony of the spheres."

890 AD, Banu Musa was an organ-building treatise; this was the first written documentation of an automatic instrument.

ca. 995-1050, Guido of Arezzo, a composer, developed an early form of solmization that used a system of mnemonics to learn "unknown songs." The method involved the assignment of alphabetic representations, syllables, to varying joints of the human hand. This system of mnemonics was apparently adapted from a technique used by almanac makers of the time.

1400s The hurdy-gurdy, an organ-grinder-like instrument, was developed.

Isorhythmic motets were developed. These songs made use of patterns of rhythms and pitches to define the composition. Composers like Machaut (14th century), Dufay and Dunstable, (15th century) composed isorhythmic motets. Duration and melody patterns, the talea and the color respectively, were not of identical length. Music was developed by the different permutations of pitch and rhythmic values. So if there were 5 durations and 7 pitches, the pitches were lined up with the durations. Whatever pitches were 'leftover,' got moved to the first duration values. The composer would permute through all pitches and durations before the original pattern would begin again.

Soggetto cavato, a technique of mapping letters of the alphabet into pitches, was developed. This technique was used Josquin's Mass based on the name of Hercules, the Duke of Ferrara. One application of soggetto cavato would involve be to take the vowels in Hercules as follows: e=re=D; u=ut=C (in the solfege system of do, re, mi, fa, etc., ut was the original do syllable); e=re=D. This pattern of vowel-mapping could continue for first and last names, as well as towns and cities.

1500s The first mechanically driven organs were built; water organs called hydraulis were in existence.

Don Nicola Vicentino (1511-1572), Italian composer and theorist, invented Archicembalo, a harpsichord-like instrument with six keyboards and thirty-one steps to an octave.

1600s Athanasius Kircher, described in his book, Musurgia Universalis (1600), a mechanical device that composed music. He used number and arithmetic-number relationships to represent scale, rhythm, and tempo relations, called the Arca Musarithmica.

1624 English philosopher and essayist, Francis Bacon wrote about a scientific utopia in the New Atlantis. He stated "we have sound-houses, where we practice and demonstrate all sounds, and their generation. We have harmonies which you have not, of quarter-sounds, and less slides of sounds."

1641Blaise Pascal develops the first calculating machine.

1644 The Nouvelle invention de lever, an hydraulic engine produced musical sounds.

1738 Mechanical singing birds and barrel organs were in existence.

The Industrial Revolution flourished. There were attempts to harness steam power to mechanical computation machines

1761 Abbe Delaborde constructed a Clavecin Electrique, Paris, France.

Benjamin Franklin perfected the Glass Harmonica.

Maelzel, inventor of the metronome, and friend of Beethoven invented the Panharmonicon, a keyboard instrument.

1787 Mozart composed the Musikalisches Wurfelspiel (Musical Dice Game). This composition was a series of precomposed measures arranged in random eight-bar phrases to build the composition. Each throw of a pair of dice represented an individual measure, so after eight throws the first phrase was determined.

1796 Carillons, "a sliver of steel, shaped, polished, tempered and then screwed into position so that the projections on a rotating cylinder could pluck at its free extremity," were invented.

1830 Robert Schumann composer the Abegg Variations, op. 1. This composition was named for one of his girlfriends. The principal theme is based on the letters of her name: A-B-E-G-G--this was a later application of a soggetto cavato technique.

1832 Samuel Morse invented the telegraph.

1833-34 Charles Babbage, a British scientist builds the Difference Enginer, a large mechanical computer. In 1834, he imagines the Analytical Engine, a machine that was never realized. Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, assisted in the documentation of these fantastic devices.

1835 Schumann composed the Carnaval pieces, op. 9 , twenty-one short pieces for piano. Each piece is based on a different character.

1850 D.D. Parmelee patented the first key-driven adding machine.

1859 David E. Hughes invented a typewriting telegraph utilizing a piano-like keyboard to activate the mechanism.

1863 Hermann Helmholtz wrote the book, On the Sensations of Tone as a Physiological Basis for the Theory of Music. Historically this book was one of the foundations of modern acoustics (this book completed the earlier work of Joseph Sauveur).

1867 Hipps invented the Electromechanical Piano in Neuchatel, Switzerland. He was the director of the telegraph factory there.

1876 Elisha Gray (an inventor of a telephone, along with Bell) invented the Electroharmonic or Electromusical Piano; this instrument transmitted musical tones over wires.

Koenig's Tonametric was invented. This instrument divided four octaves into 670 equal parts--this was an early instrument that made use of microtuning.

1877 Thomas Edison (1847-1931) invented the phonograph. To record, an indentation on a moving strip of paraffin coated paper tape was made by means of a diaphragm with an attached needle. This mechanism eventually lead to a continuously grooved, revolving metal cylinder wrapped in tin foil.

Emile Berliner (1851-1929) developed and patented the cylindrical and disc phonograph system, simultaneously with Edison.

Dorr E. Felti, perfected a calculator with key-driven ratchet wheels which could be moved by one or more teeth at a time.

1880 Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) financed his own laboratory in Washington, D.C. Together with Charles S. Tainter, Bell devised and patented several means for transmitting and recording sound.

1895 Julian Carillo's theories of microtones, 96 tone scale, constructed instruments to reproduce divisions as small as a sixteenth tone. He demonstrated his instruments in New York, 1926. The instruments included an Octavina for eighth tones and an Arpa Citera for sixteenth tones. There are several recordings of Carillo's music, especially the string quartets.

1897 E.S. Votey invented the Pianola, an instrument that used a pre-punched, perforated paper roll moved over a capillary bridge. The holes in the paper corresponded to 88 openings in the board.

1898 Valdemar Poulson (1869-1942) patented his "Telegraphone," the first magnetic recording machine.

1906 Thaddeus Cahill invented the Dynamophone, a machine that produced music by an alternating current running dynamos. This was the first additive synthesis device. The Dynamophone was also known as the Telharmonium. The instrument weighed over 200 tons and was designed to transmit sound over telephone wires; however, the wires were too delicate for all the signals. You can sort of consider him the 'Father of Muzak.' The generators produced pure tones of various frequencies and intensity; volume control supplied dynamics. Articles appeared in McClure's Magazine that stated "democracy in music...the musician uses keys and stops to build up voices of flute or clarinet, as the artist uses his brushes for mixing color to obtain a certain hue...it may revolutionize our musical art..."

Lee De Forest (1873-1961) invented the Triode or Audion tube, the first vacuum tube.

1907 Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924) believed that the current musical system was severely limited, so he stated that instrumental music was dead. His treatise on aesthetics, Sketch of a New Music, discussed the future of music.

1910 The first radio broadcast in NYC (first radio station was built in 1920, also in NYC).

1912 The Italian Futurist movement was founded by Luigi Russolo (1885-1947), a painter, and Filippo Marinetti, a poet. Marinetti wrote the manifesto, Musica Futurista; the Futurist Movement's creed was "To present the musical soul of the masses, of the great factories, of the railways, of the transatlantic liners, of the battleships, of the automobiles and airplanes. To add to the great central themes of the musical poem the domain of the machines and the victorious kingdom of Electricity."

Henry Cowell (1897-1965) introduced tone clusters in piano music. The Banshee and Aeolian Harp are good examples.

1914 The first concert of Futurist music took place. The "art of noises" concert was presented by Marinetti and Russolo in Milan, Italy.

1920 Lev (Leon) Theremin, Russia, invented the Aetherophone (later called the Theremin or Thereminovox). The instrument used 2 vacuum tube oscillators to produce beat notes. Musical sounds were created by "heterodyning" from oscillators which varied pitch. A circuit was altered by changing the distance between 2 elements. The instrument had a radio antenna to control dynamics and a rod sticking out the side that controlled pitch. The performer would move his/her hand along the rod to change pitch, while simultaneously moving his/her other hand in proximity to the antenna. Many composers used this instrument including Varese.

1922 Darius Milhaud (b. 1892) experimented with vocal transformation by phonograph speed changes.

Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) called for a phonograph recording of nightingales in his Pini di Roma (Pines of Rome).

1926 Jorg Mager built an electronic instrument, the Spharophon. The instrument was first presented at the Donaueschingen Festival (Rimsky-Korsakov composed some experimental works for this instrument). Mager later developed a Partiturophon and a Kaleidophon, both used in theatrical productions. All of these instruments were destroyed in W.W.II.

George Antheil (1900-1959) composed Ballet Mechanique. Antheil was an expatriate American living in France. The work was scored for pianos, xylophones, pianola, doorbells, and an airplane propeller.

1928 Maurice Martenot (b. 1928, France) built the Ondes Martenot (first called the Ondes Musicales). The instrument used the same basic idea as the Theremin, but instead of a radio antenna, it utilized a moveable electrode was used to produce capacitance variants. Performers wore a ring that passed over the keyboard. The instrument used subtractive synthesis. Composers such as Honegger, Messiaen, Milhaud, Dutilleux, and Varese all composed for the instrument.

Friedrich Trautwein (1888-1956, Germany) built the Trautonium. Composers such as Hindemith, Richard Strauss, and Varese wrote for it, although no recordings can be found.

1929 Laurens Hammond (b. 1895, USA), built instruments such as the Hammond Organ, Novachord, Solovox, and reverb devices in the United States. The Hammond Organ used 91 rotary electromagnetic disk generators driven by a synchronous motor with associated gears and tone wheels. It used additive synthesis.

1931 Ruth Crawford Seeger's String Quartet 1931 was composed. This is one of the first works to employ extended serialism, a systematic organization of pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and articulation.

Henry Cowell worked with Leon Theremin to build the Rhythmicon, an instrument which could play metrical combinations of virtually unlimited complexity. With this instrument Cowell composed the Rhythmicana Concerto.

Jorg Mager (Germany) was commissioned to create electronic bell sounds for the Bayreuth production of Parsifal.

1935, Allegemeine Elektrizitats Gesellschaft (AEG), built and demonstrated the first Magnetophon (tape recorder).

1937, "War of the Worlds" was directed by Orson Welles. Welles was the first director to use the fade and dissolve technique, first seen in "Citizen Kane." To date, most film directors used blunt splices instead.

Electrochord (the electroacoustic piano) was built.

1938, Novachord built.

1939, Stream of consciousness films came about.


John Cage (1912-1992) began experimenting with indeterminacy. In his composition, Imaginary Landscape No. 1, multiple performers are asked to perform on multiple record players, changing the variable speed settings.

1930s Plastic audio tape was developed.

The Sonorous Cross (an instrument like a Theremin) was built.

1941, Joseph Schillinger wrote the The Schillinger System of Musical Composition. This book offered prescriptions for composition--rhythms, pitches, harmonies, etc. Schilllinger's principal students was George Gershwin and Glenn Miller.

The Ondioline was built.

1944, Percy Grainger and Burnett Cross patented a machine that "freed" music from the constraints of conventional tuning systems and rhythmic inadequacies of human performers. Mechanical invention for composing "Free Music" used eight oscillators and synchronizing equipment in conjunction with photo-sensitive graph paper with the intention that the projected notation could be converted into sound.

1947, Bell Labs developed and produced the solid state transistor.

Milton Babbitt's Three Compositions for Piano serialized all aspects of pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and articulation.

The Solovox and the Clavioline were built.

1948 John Scott Trotter built a composition machine for popular music.

Hugh LeCaine (Canada) built the Electronic Sakbutt, an instrument that actually sounded like a cello.

Pierre Schaeffer
(b. 1910), a sound technician working at Radio-diffusion-Television Francaise (RTF) in Paris, produced several short studies in what he called Musique Concrete. October, 1948, Schaeffer's early studies were broadcast in a "concert of noises."

Joseph Schillinger wrote The Mathematical Basis of the Arts.

1949 Pierre Schaeffer and engineer Jacques Poullin worked on experiments in sound which they titled "Musique Concrete." 1949-50 Schaeffer and Henry (1927-96), along with Poullin composed Symphonie pour un homme seul (Symphony for a Man Alone); the work actually premiered March 18, 1950.

Olivier Messiaen composed his Mode de valeurs et d'intensities (Mode of Durations and Intensities), a piano composition that "established 'scales' not only of pitch but also of duration, loudness, and attack."

The Melochord was invented by H. Bode.

1940s The following instruments were built: the Electronium Pi (actually used by a few German composers, including: Brehme, Degen, and Jacobi), the Multimonica, the Polychord organ, the Tuttivox, the Marshall organ, and other small electric organs.

1950 The Milan Studio was established by Luciano Berio (b. 1925, Italy).

1951-> Clara Rockmore performed on the Theremin in worldwide concerts.

Variations on a Door and a Sigh was composed by Pierre Henry.

The RTF studio was formally established as the Groupe de Musique Concrete, the group opened itself to other composers, including Messiaen and his pupils Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and George Barraque. Boulez and Stockhausen left soon after because Schaeffer was not interested in using electronically-generated sounds, but rather wanted to do everything based on recordings.

John Cage's use of indeterminacy culminated with Music of Changes, a work based on the charts from the I Ching, the Chinese book of Oracles.

Structures, Book Ia was one of Pierre Boulez' earliest attempts at employing a small amount of musical material, called cells (whether for use as pitches, durations, dynamics, or attack points), in a highly serialized structure.

1951-53 Eimert and Beyer (b. 1901) produced the first compositions using electronically-generated pitches. The pieces used a mechanized device that produced melodies based on Markov analysis of Stephen Foster tunes.

1952 The Cologne station of Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk (later Westdeutscher Rundfunk) was founded by Herbert Eimert. He was soon joined by Stockhausen, and they set out to create what they called Elektronische Musik.

John Cage's 4'33" was composed. The composer was trying to liberate the performer and the composer from having to make any conscious decisions, therefore, the only sounds in this piece are those produce by the audience.

1953Robert Beyer, Werner Meyer-Eppler (b. 1913) and Eimert began experimenting with electronically-generated sounds. Eimert and Meyer-Eppler taught at Darmstadt Summer School (Germany), and gave presentations in Paris as well.

Louis and Bebe Baron set up a private studio in New York, and provided soundtracks for sci-fi films like Forbidden Planet (1956) and Atlantis that used electronic sound scores.

Otto Luening (b. 1900, USA; d. 1996, USA) and Vladimir Ussachevsky (b. 1911, Manchuria; d. 1990, USA) present first concert at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, October 28. The program included Ussachevsky's Sonic Contours (created from piano recordings), and Luening's Fantasy in Space (using flute recordings). Following the concert, they were asked to be on the Today Show with Dave Garroway. Musicians Local 802 raised a fuss because Luening and Ussachevsky were not members of the musicians' union.

1953-4 Karlheinz Stockhausen (b. 1928) used Helmholtz' research as the basis of his Studie I and Studie II. He tried to build increasingly complex synthesized sounds from simple pure frequencies (sine waves).

1954 The Cologne Radio Series "Music of Our Time" (October 19) used only electronically-generated sounds by Stockhausen, Eimert, Pousseur, etc. The pieces used strict serial techniques.

Dripsody was composed by Hugh LeCaine. The single sound source for this concrete piece is a drip of water.

1955 Harry Olson and Belar, both working for RCA, invent the Electronic Music Synthesizer, aka the Olson-Belar Sound Synthesizer. This synth used sawtooth waves that were filtered for other types of timbres. The user programmed the synthesizer with a typewriter-like keyboard that punched commands into a 40-channel paper tape using binary code.

The Columbia-Princeton Studio started, with its beginnings mostly in the living room of Ussachevsky and then the apartment of Luening.

Lejaren Hiller (1924-92) and Leonard Isaacson, from the University of Illinois composed the Illiac String Quartet, the first piece of computer-generated music. The piece was so named because it used a Univac computer and was composed at the University of Illinois.

1955-56 Karlheinz Stockhausen composed Gesang der Junglinge. This work used both concrete recordings of boys' voices and synthesized sounds. The original version was composed for five loudspeakers, but was eventually reduced to four. The text from the Benedicite (O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord), which appears in Daniel as the canticle sung by the three young Jews consigned to the fiery furnace by Nebuchadnezzar.

1956 Martin Klein and Douglas Bolitho used a Datatron computer called Push-Button Bertha to compose music. This computer was used to compose popular tunes; the tunes were derived from random numerical data that was sieved, or mapped, into a preset tonal scheme.

Tokyo at Japanese Radio, an electronic studio established.

Luening and Ussachevsky wrote incidental music for Orson Welles' King Lear , City Center, New York.

1957 Of Wood and Brass was composed by Luening. Sound sources included trumpets, trombones and marimbas.

Scambi, composed by Henri Pousseur, was created at the Milan Studio, Italy.

Warsaw at Polish Radio, an electronic studio established.

Munich, the Siemens Company, an electronic studio established.

Eindhoven, the Philips Company, an electronic studio established.

David Seville created the Chipmunks, by playing recordings of human voices at double speed. Electronic manipulation was never really used again in rock for about ten years.

1958 Edgard Varese (1883-1965) composed Poeme Electronique for the World's Fair, Brussels. The work was composed for the Philips Pavilion, a building designed by the famous architect, Le Corbusier who was assisted by Iannis Xenakis (who later became well-known as a composer rather than an architect). The work was performed on ca. 425 loudspeakers, and was accompanied by projected images. This was truly one of the first large-scale multimedia productions.

Iannis Xenakis (b.1922) composed Concret PH. This work was also composed for the Brussels World's Fair. It made use of a single sound source: amplified burning charcoal.

Max Mathews, of Bell Laboratories, generated music by computers.

John Cage composed Fontana Mix at the Milan Studio.

London, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, an electronic studio established.

Stockholm, Swedish Radio, an electronic studio established.

The Studio for Experimental Music at the University of Illinois established, directed by Lejaren Hiller.

Pierre Henry leaves the Group de Musique Concrete; they reorganize as the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM)

Gordon Mumma and Robert Ashley founded the Cooperative Studio for Electronic Music, Ann Arbor , MI (University of Michigan).

Luciano Berio composed Thema-omaggio a Joyce. The sound source is woman reading from Joyce's Ulysses.

1958-60, Stockhausen composed Kontakte (Contacts) for four-channel tape. There was a second version for piano, percussion and tape.

1958-9 Mauricio Kagel, an Argentinian composer, composed Transicion II, the first piece to call for live tape recorder as part of performance. The work was realized in Cologne. Two musicians perform on a piano, one in the traditional manner, the other playing on the strings and wood. Two other performers use tape recorders so that the work can unites its present of live sounds with its future of pre-recorded materials from later on and its past of recordings made earlier in the performance.

Max Mathews, at Bell Labs, began experimenting with computer programs to create sound material. Mathews and Joan Miller also at Bell Labs, write MUSIC4, the first wide-spread computer sound synthesis program. Versions I through III were experimental versions written in assemble language. Music IV and Music V were written in FORTRAN. MUSIC4 did not allow reentrant instruments (same instrument becoming active again when it is already active), MUSIC5 added this. MUSIC4 required as many different instruments as the thickest chord, while MUSIC5 allowed a score to refer to an instrument as a template, which could then be called upon as many times as was necessary.

The Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center was formally established. The group had applied through the Rockefeller Foundation, and suggested the creation of a University Council for Electronic Music. They asked for technical assistants, electronic equipment, space and materials available to other composers free of charge. A grant of $175,000 over five years was made to Columbia and Princeton Universities. In January, 1959, under the direction of Luening and Ussachevsky of Columbia, and Milton Babbitt and Roger Sessions of Princeton, the Center was formally established.

The RCA Mark II synthesizer was built at Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center (the original version was built for the artificial creation of human speech). The Mark II contained oscillators and noise generators. The operator had to give the synthesizer instructions on a punched paper roll to control pitch, volume, duration and timbre. The synth used a conventional equal-tempered twelve-note scale.

1960 Composers of more traditional orchestral music began to rebel. Many composers tried to get quasi-electronic sounds out of traditional instruments. Bruno Bartelozzi, wrote new book on extended instrumental techniques.

Morton Subotnick, Pauline Oliveros, and Ramon Sender established the San Francisco Tape Music Center.

John Cage composed Cartridge Music, an indeterminate score for several performers applying gramophone cartridges and contact mics to various objects.

1961 The first electronic music concerts at the Columbia-Princeton Studio were held; the music was received with much hostility from other faculty members.

Varese finally completed Deserts at the Columbia-Princeton Studio.

Fortran-based Music IV was used in the generation of "Bicycle Built for Two" (Mathews).

The production of integrated circuits and specifically VLSI-very large scale integration.

Robert Moog met Herbert Deutsch, and together they created a voltage-controlled synthesizer.

Luciano Berio composed Visage. This radio composition is based on the idea of non-verbal communication. There are many word-like passages, but only one word is spoken during the entire composition (actually heard twice), parole (Italian for 'word'). Cathy Berberian, the composer's wife, was the performer.

The theoretical work, Meta+Hodos, written in 1961 by James Tenney (META Meta+Hodos, 1975 followed).

1962 Bell Labs mass produces transistors, professional amplifiers and suppliers.

PLF 2 was developed by James Tenney. This computer program was used to write Four Stochastic Studies, Ergodos and others.

Iannis Xenakis composed Bohor for eight tracks of sound.

Milton Babbitt composed Ensembles for Synthesizer (1962-64) at the Columbia-Princeton Studio.

At the University of Illinois, Kenneth Gaburo composed Antiphony III, for chorus and tape.

Paul Ketoff built the synket. This synthesizer was built for composer John Eaton and was designed specifically as a live performance instrument.

1963 Lejaren Hiller and Robert Baker composed the Computer Cantata.

Babbitt composed Philomel at the Columbia-Princeton Studio. The story is about Philomel, a woman without a tongue, who is transformed into a nightingale (based on a story by Ovid).

Mario Davidovsky composed Synchronism I for flute and tape. Davidovsky has since written many "synchronism" pieces. These works are all written for live instrument(s) and tape. They explore the synchronizing of events between the live and tape.

1964 The fully developed Moog was released. The modular idea came from the miniaturization of electronics.

Gottfried Michael Koenig used PR-1 (Project 1), a computer program that was written in Fortran and implemented on an IBM 7090 computer. The purpose of the program was to provide data to calculate structure in musical composition; written to perform algorithmic serial operations on incoming data. The second version of PR-1 completed, 1965.

Karlheinz Stockhausen composed Mikrophonie I, a piece that required six musicians to generate. Two performers play a large tam-tam, while two others move microphones around the instrument to pick up different timbres, and the final two performers are controlling electronic processing.

Ilhan Mimaroglu, a Turkish-American composer, wrote Bowery Bum. This is a concrete composition, and used rubber band as single source. It was based on a painting by Dubuffet.

1965 Hi-fi gear is commercially produced.

The first commercially-available Moog.

Varese died.

Karlheinz Stockhausen composed Solo. The composition used a tape recorder with moveable heads to redefine variations in delay between recording and playback, live manipulation during performance.

Karlheinz Stockhausen composed Mikrophonie II for choir, Hammond organ, electronics and tape.

Steve Reich composed It's gonna rain. This is one of the first phase pieces.

1966 The Moog Quartet offered world-wide concerts of (mainly) parlor music.

Herbert Brun composed Non Sequitur VI

Steve Reich composed Come out, another phase piece.

1967 Walter Carlos (later Wendy) composed Switched on Bach using a Moog synthesizer.

Iannis Xenakis wrote Musiques Formelles (Formalized Music). The first discussion of granular synthesis and the clouds and grains of sound is presented in this book.


Leon Kirschner composed String Quartet No. 3, the first piece with electronics to win the Pulitzer Prize.

Kenneth Gaburo composed Antiphony IV, a work for trombone, piccolo, choir and tape.

Morton Subotnick composed Silver Apples of the Moon (title from Yeats), the first work commissioned specifically for the recorded medium.

The Grateful Dead released Anthem of the Sun and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention released Uncle Meat. Both albums made extensive use of electronic manipulation.

1968 Lejaren Hiller and John Cage composed HPSCHD.

Morton Subotnick composed The Wild Bull

Hugh Davies compiled an international catalogue of electronic music.

1969 Terry Riley composed Rainbow in Curved Air

late 1960s The Sal-Mar Construction was built. The instrument was named for composer Salvatore Martirano and designed by him. The Sal-Mar Construction weighed over fifteen hundred pounds and consisted of "analog circuits controlled by internal digital circuits controlled by the composer/performer via a touch-control keyboard with 291 touch-sensitive keys."

Godfrey Winham and Hubert Howe adapted MUSIC IV for the IBM 7094 as MUSIC4B was written in assembly language; MUSIC4BF (a Fortran-language adaptation of MUSIC4B, one version was written by Winham, another was written by Howe).

Music V variants include MUSIC360 and MUSIC11 for the IBM360 and the PDP11 computers, these were written by Barry Vercoe, Roger Hale, and Carl Howe at MIT, respectively.

GROOVE was developed by Mathews and F. Richard Moore at Bell Labs, and was used to control analog synthesizers.

1970 Charles Wuorinen composed "Times Encomium," the first Pulitzer Prize winner for entirely electronic composition.

Charles Dodge composed Earth's Magnetic Field. This is a great example of mapping numerical statistics into musical data.

Steve Reich composed Four Organs.

1972 Pink Floyd's album The Dark Side of the Moon was released; it used ensembles of synthesizers, also used concrete tracks as interludes between tunes.

1973 SAWDUST, a language by Herbert Brun, used functions including: ELEMENT, LINK, MINGLE, MERGER, VARY, and TURN.

1974 The Mellotron was built. The instrument was an early sample player that used tape loops. There were versions that played string


GRISTLEISM - Throbbing Gristle-Inspired Sound Toy/Looping Device!

Gristleism  (5.0 out of 5 stars)
"An Odd Thing, January 2, 2010
By C. Pilkington 'Music Enthusiast'" 
((Review found on Amazon.com)):

I've enjoyed ambient music for quite awhile, and artists like Brian Eno are truly inspiring; even more in present times. His philosophy is that good ambient music should be something that is poignant when both focused on, or placed in the background.

I stumbled on this little wonder after reading quite a bit about the Buddha Machines that FM3 introduced to the world several years ago. This is an offshoot of that product, and instead of containing blissful, soothing tones, Gristleism carries some very creepy and overall strange sounds originally created by Throbbing Gristle. For weird people like me, it's a very interesting little gadget.

Before I continue, I have the red Gristleism; there are at least two other color choices at the moment, I just happened to pick the red one. Every Gristleism has a very simple plastic design: it has a volume adjuster (which also doubles as an on/off switch), a loop selector button, and a pitch/tempo shifting wheel; all located on top of this small, square device. The speaker is located on the front of the unit, and takes up most of the front. The Gristleism runs on 2 AA batteries, and has a unique design that fills the back of the toy. Even the box it comes shipped in has an ornate, but effective, design. That's the whole thing in a nutshell! 

Now, how is this supposed to be interesting, you ask? Well, the Gristleism contains 13 loops; all ranging in length. You can use the pitch/tempo shifter and really bend each loop into something entirely different; thus, the lasting power of this toy seems to be quite large. You can play with it for just a few minutes, and get a good grasp on what the thing is capable of. But, if you dive into it over time, you'll realize that there's a lot you can do with it.

Now, when I get on the computer, sometimes I will just set up the Gristleism, and let it play in the background. It enhances your environment without being too much of a distraction (unless you set the volume really high). The Buddha Machines are obviously much better for this purpose, but I like the dark contrast the Gristleism has to the light of the Buddha Machines. If you have several devices, of either the Buddha or Gristleism variety, there's even more fun to be had.


Interview with Monte Cazazza (Slash,1979)

SLASH Magazine (Vol. 2, #3) | January 1979

"From Oakland to England, from obscurity to being "very widely unknown", Monte Cazazza has a past. One of our finest investigative reporters lays it bare...

Next record due for release from Industrial Records is from Monte Cazazza, a reclusive Oakland artist whose performances have violated the sensibilities of indignant art critics, the entire acid-damaged Bay Area Avantgarde and jaded art-cliques from Menlo Park to Venice (Italy). He's been described as a "brilliant monster," "art gangster," and "a real sick guy," but one thing is unanimous: his personal appearances really rile people up.

His detractors just don't seem to get the point. Genet says it best: "To escape the horror, bury yourself in it." Like other artists who are obsessed with violent images, Cazazza's early life was riddled with hideous events and accidents, including witnessing a necrophiliac in action. Rather than choke down those nightmares, he spat them back out at the world.

Cazazza's reputation was spawned at Oakland College of Arts and Crafts when for his first sculpture assignment he created a cement "waterfall" down the main stairway of the building, making it permanently impassable and got the boot on the second day of school.

His formal education completed, he passed quickly through a mutilated rubber doll period then disappeared among dark rumours of hospitals and jails. He resurfaced with a blatantly commercial attempt to woo the whims of the wealthy with tasteful pornographic collages of orchids sprouting penises at a San Francisco exhibit. He was contacted by an ageing countess as a possible benefactress and lunched at her famous Oakland mansion while visions of dollar signs danced drunkenly around the plates. The Contessa died two weeks later.

Shortly thereafter in 1972 he achieved infamy when he was invited to attend an arts conference weekend-in-the-woods to share transcendental conversations on perspective and grant-writing while nestling paint-spattered jeans in pine needles and toasting hand-dyed marshmallows for "S'Mores" in an ultimate artsy outdoorsy atmosphere. Cazazza arrived with an armed bodyguard and sprinkled arsenic into all the food. At lunch he dropped bricks with the word "dada" painted on them on artistic feet. At dinner he burned a partially decomposed, maggot-infested cat at the table. His bodyguard blocked the exit, and several participants fell ill due to the stench. Photos and stories of this event were published as far away as Holland.

Genesis P-Orridge and Cosey Fanni Tutti of Throbbing Gristle read of Cazazza in Vile Magazine in 1974 when he was a classic Valentine's Day cover boy holding a dripping bloody heart that looked torn out of his chest. The Gristle's and Cazazza's mutual fascination with pornography and fascism prompted the limeys to pay a call to California to view in person the 15'x15' silver screw together swastika Cazazza constructed which could be rapidly dismantled in case of police raids or guerrilla JDL attacks.

Since their visit was at the height of the Gary Gilmore furor, they all photographed each other in blindfolds as though they were in front of a firing squad, complete with a real loaded gun pointed at their hearts to get better reactions. Postcards made of the photos were mailed immediately after Gilmore's execution to the warden of the Utah penitentiary and several newspapers. Over 6,000 T-shirts with the same photo were sold in England, and a picture of one was on the front page of the Hong Kong Daily News. Their mock photo was mistakenly considered the official execution photo according to P-Orridge.

T-shirt sales financed Cazazza's 1977 trip to England where he was let loose in Industrial RecordsP.S. (PLASTIC SURGERY), BUSTED KNEECAPS, F.F.A. (FIST FUCKERS OF AMERICA), HATE, and TO MOM ON MOTHER'S DAY. A Cazazza single will be released in March. studios with an engineer, a chainsaw, the innards of a piano which was played with hammers and violin bows, and other musical instruments. Ten songs were recorded with titles like

Also soon for release from the Throbbing Gristle umbrella corporation is a movie in which Cazazza and a 14 year-old boy are electrocuted. Monte also appeared in Kerry Colonna's DECCADANCE movie in a suit he made out of rubber tubing and razor blades.

Cazazza edited a fanzine NITROUS OXIDE in 1971 (far preceding Sniffin' Glue). He co-edits WIDOWS AND ORPHANS, a colour Xerox picture magazine. He also gives shows and illustrated lectures on Siamese Twins that he researched in medical libraries.

But still his reputation is so nasty that he rarely leaves his house, although he did go out on Halloween dressed as Kearney, the trash bag murderer. He wore a cheap plastic mask and carried a green garbage bag filled with animal livers and hearts (like Hermann Nitsch) and a bloody mannequin head used by medical students for practice in giving mouth-to-mouth respiration. Definitely the life of the party.

Cazazza's pet money-making project for the future is further exploration of "murder junkies" via a double bill of the stories of Edmund Kemper (a cannibalistic necrophiliac) and Dean Coryl, the Texas "candy man" whose brutal sex murders peaked at a chronic one-a-day habit until he had killed 27 teenage boys (before authorities stopped counting).

For artists who think their work is daring, Cazazza's is a double-dare. Those avant garde artists who use sex and violence as a chic intellectual playground for "art theory" are the first to head for the exits when confronted by Cazazza's work. His scientific expose of voyeuristic urges for sex and violence is no-holds-barred. And it is all done with a comic edge that amplifies the sounds of skeletons being yanked from the most repressed closets.

Cazazza never gives personal interviews. He bought a hot Ansa-phone and keeps it hooked up 24 hours a day. When he returned my call, I asked him if he wanted to make any statements for Slash. "NO, NO, NO," he said, "I don't need to talk, I don't need to make quotes. You see, I'm already VERY WIDELY UNKNOWN."  - by JB  *This article was reproduced by Industrial Records and included with Cazazza's "To Mom on Mothers Day / Candy Man" 7-inch single)." 

((Republished here, without permission, orig. found at the Axis Archives, on Brainwashed.com ))
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Ohm: The Early Gurus of Electronic Music

Ohm: The Early Gurus of Electronic Music Special Edition 3CD + DVD
Ohm: The Early Gurus of Electronic Music Special Edition 3CD + DVD

[Track Listings]

Disc: 1
1. Valse Sentimentale - Clara Rockmore
2. Oraison - Ens D'Ondes De Montreal
3. Etude Aux Chemins De Fer - Pierre Schaeffer
4. Williams Mix - John Cage
5. Klangstudie II - Herbert Eimert/Robert Beyer
6. Low Speed - Otto Luening
7. Dripsody - Hugh Le Caine
8. Forbidden Planet: Main Title - Louis Barron/Bebe Barron
9. Elektronische Tanzste: Concertando Rubato - Oskar Sala
10. Poem Electronique - Edgard Varese
11. Sine Music (A Swarm Of Butterflies Encountered Over The Ocean) - Richard Maxfield
12. Apocalypse-Part 2 - Tod Dockstader
13. Kontakte - James Tenney/William Winant
14. Wireless Fant - Vladimir Ussachevsky
15. Philomel - Milton Babbitt
16. Spacecraft - MEV
Disc: 2
1. Cindy Electronium - Raymond Scott
2. Pendulum Music - Sonic Youth
3. Bye Bye Butterfly - Pauline Oliveros
4. Projection Esemplastic For White Noise - Joji Yuasa
5. Silver Apples Of The Moon, Part 1 - Morton Subotnick
6. Rainforest Version 1 - David Tudor
7. Poppy Nogood - Terry Riley
8. Boat-Woman-Song - Holger Czukay
9. Music Promenade - Luc Ferrari
10. Vibrations Composees: Rosace 3 - Francois Bayle
11. Mutations - Jean-Claude Risset
12. Hibiki-Hana-Ma - Iannis Xenakis
13. Map Of 49's Dream The Two Systems Of Eleven Sets Of Galactic Intervals: Drift Study '31/69 c.... - La Monte Young
Disc: 3
1. He Destroyed Her Image - Charles Dodge
2. Six Fants On A Poem By Thomas Campion: Her Song - Paul Lansky
3. Appalachian Grove - Laurie Spiegel
4. En Phase/Hors Phase - Bernard Parmegiani
5. On The Other Ocean - David Behrman
6. Stria - John Chowning
7. Living Sound, Patent Pending Music For Sound-Joined Rooms Series - Maryanne Amacher
8. Automatic Writing - Robert Ashley
9. Canti Illuminati - Alvin Curran
10. Music On A Long Thin Wire - Alvin Lucier
11. Melange - Klaus Schulze
12. Before And After Charm (La Notte) - Jon Hassell
13. Unfamiliar Wind (Leeks Hills) - Brian Eno

DRONES- from Stockhausen to La Monte Young to Nurse With Wound...

Other Planets: The Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen

Theatres of Eternal Music
Say the word drone and, depending on your conversation partner, any number of possible responses might emerge: an entomologist's exegesis on the male honeybee's mating practices, the military expert's account of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, perhaps a musicologist's analysis of the drone-like features of the bagpipe, bluegrass banjo, and didgeridoo. Within electronic music circles, the word might elicit historical anecdotes populated by dramatis personae like La Monte Young and Terry Riley, plus nostalgic recollections colored by strobe-lit chanters and tambura players. Far from being an esoteric phenomenon of the ‘60s, recent works by Greg Davis, Deathprod, Robert Henke, Minit, and Growing suggest that the drone is still very much alive and, if anything, thriving. While there appears to be a resurgence of interest, it's also possible we're merely witnessing new additions to a genre that has never really gone out of fashion.
What constitutes a drone? To begin, sustained intonation that establishes a harmonic center for its accompanying elements; the drone might utilize a single note repeated indefinitely or, at the opposite extreme, all of the scale's notes spread across numerous octaves. Other key aspects include extended duration, modular repetition, and a focus on overtones. Influenced by the music of India, Indonesia, and Africa, the drone form's oft-used alternate tuning (Just Intonation) and vertical concentration challenges the tacit supremacy of a Western tradition that prioritizes horizontal development.
Young and Riley are regularly lumped in with Philip Glass and Steve Reich in discussions of minimalism yet the two pairs embody fundamentally different subsets. According to composer and violinist Tony Conrad, minimal music (of the Young type) involves tonality, repeating modes, and long pieces with middles but no endings or beginnings. Bereft of conventional development, the trance-inducing drone with its extended tones and layered pitches does change but glacially. In lieu of lengthy tones, the early works of Reich and Glass are founded on modal patterns that slowly shift throughout prolonged repetition to a similarly hypnotic effect. One might differentiate, then, between “drone minimalism,” with its tonal emphasis, and “pattern minimalism,” with its rhythmic pulsations. Of course, such theoretical distinctions prove less straightforward in practice. Reich's Four Organs, for example, straddles both drone and pattern variations since its organs repeat the same chord progression for 24 minutes with varying lengths of silence separating the chords. His voice pieces Come Out and It's Gonna Rain serve as better examples given their minimal means, yet here, too, repeating patterns morph into drone-like episodes.
Ambient music and drone genres also overlap, Greg Davis's Somnia drone “Clouds As Edges (version 3 edit)” a case in point. Certainly a piece can satisfy the drone criteria yet be ambient if it also meets Brian Eno's criterion that an ambient work should be “as ignorable as it is interesting” (Music for Airports, 1978). Davis says, “Aside from the more placid, meditative kind of music we often associate with drones, I enjoy that intense style, too, where it's so loud and overwhelming it's completely immersive.” Davis might just as easily be alluding here to the volcanic roar of Young's Theatre of Eternal Music ensemble, Lou Reed's 1975 scabrous feedback fest Metal Machine Music, or the droning riffage of Sunn 0))) and Growing.
Dream Syndicates
Each day, multitudes flock past the unprepossessing entrance to the Dream House, unaware of its musical significance. Located at 275 Church Street in Manhattan's TriBeCa district where La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela moved in 1963, the Dream House functions as an ongoing exhibition and performing space for Young's music and Zazeela's light installations. The loft's white interiors are bathed in Zazeela's colored lights and large speakers emit the ongoing frequencies of Young's drones; sounds resonate more loudly or softly depending on one's position in the room. (Another Dream House was operated from 1979 to 1985 at 6 Harrison Street, a six-story building where Young and Zazeela lived, though they kept the Church Street loft as a legal address.)
No history of drone music is complete without Young, even if voluminous documentation of the artist and his work is available elsewhere. Born in 1935 in a small log cabin in Bern, Idaho to a Mormon family and initially trained on saxophone (he even played with free jazz legend Eric Dolphy), Young discovered Anton Webern, Japanese gagaku, Indonesian gamelan, and Indian classical music upon his 1957 arrival at UCLA. Exposed to the ragas of Ali Akbar Kahn, Young developed a fascination for sustained tones and, with his 1958 landmark composition Trio for Strings (which eschews melody and pulse for static chords and sustained tones), arguably founded minimalism. A 1959 Darmstadt summer course with Karlheinz Stockhausen exposed Young to the radical philosophies of John Cage. (Young's Piano Piece for David Tudor #1, in which the performer offers a bale of hay to his piano to eat and a bucket of water to drink, clearly shows Cage's influence.) Young then moved to New York to study electronic music with Cage and briefly became involved in the Dada-influenced Fluxus movement.
Of course, Young wasn't the first to use the drone—it's fundamental to Indian music—but he can be credited with reviving it within Western classical music. Based entirely on four alternate-tuned pitches, “The Second Dream of the High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer” from The Four Dreams of China (1962, with a later eight-trumpet version issued on Gramavision in 1991) was his first drone piece in Just Intonation (which substitutes the equal temperament pitches of conventional Western music for tuning that Pythagoras quantified in ancient Greece and is used in many non-Western musics and by composers like Pauline Oliveros and Glenn Branca). With sustained overtones that eventually destabilize the listener's grasp of space and time, its harmonies evoke the electronic hums of hydro wires and power transformers that transfixed Young as a boy.
By 1962, Young was performing with a small ensemble that was eventually christened the Theatre of Eternal Music in 1965; aside from the voices of Young and Zazeela, the group variously included violinist Tony Conrad, violist John Cale, hand drummer Angus MacLise, trumpeter Jon Hassell, violist David Rosenboom, organist-vocalist Terry Riley, and others. Dedicated to realizing Young's The Tortoise, His Dreams and Journeys (an ongoing composition that Young initiated in 1964), the music conflated elements of improvisatory jazz, minimalism, Indian music, and psychedelia into one, with the group's ritualistic (and ferociously loud) bowed-strings-voice improvisations lasting for hours. (Around 1965, Young attached a microphone to his turtle's aquarium motor in order to tune his ensemble to its hum, hence the work's title). Later variations of the Eternal ensemble included the Theatre of Eternal Music Brass Ensemble (led by trumpeter Ben Neill) and The Theatre of Eternal Music String Ensemble (led by cellist Charles Curtis). Young's landmark composition remains The Well-Tuned Piano (the title parodying Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier), a raga-like, multi-tonal (and ongoing) work begun in 1964 and performed in 1981 on a Bösendorfer Imperial grand piano, a performance issued initially on vinyl and then as a five-disc set on Gramavision; that five-hour version is eclipsed by a 1987 performance issued on DVD that better matches the work's six uninterrupted hours (and includes the enhancing spectacle of Zazeela's light sculpture).
Of course, the Theatre of Eternal Music's other members established themselves beyond their association with Young, Terry Riley a case in point. Arguably his most important work, Riley's revolutionary 1964 In C comprises 53 melodic modules that can be repeated as often as desired by an undetermined number of instruments with the piece formally ending once all players reach module 53. In 1997, Conrad issued the four-disc set Early Minimalism: Volume 1, which includes the scorching sustain of 1964's Four Violins plus three 1990's extensions, each album given the name of a month in 1965. (The infamous falling-out between Young and Conrad is well-documented but merits brief mention as it helps clarify why relatively few of the Theatre of Eternal Music's recordings have been issued. Even though many group sessions were recorded, Young has refused to release them despite the protestations of his former colleagues. The discord is rooted in Young's assertion that he is the sole composer of the original performances; the others contend they are co-composers of what were collectively improvised sessions. A recording of the ensemble was issued in 2000, the 31-minute Inside the Dream Syndicate, Vol. I: Day of Niagaraand, while the recording's sound quality is abysmal, the document does capture the ensemble's glorious roar and its attempt to “freeze” sound.)
Bridging the Gap
John Cale brought his viola but more importantly Young's concepts to the Velvet Underground before moving on to a storied solo career of great recordings (Fear, Slow Dazzle) and collaborations with Eno (Wrong Way Up) and former VU partner Lou Reed (Songs for Drella). Rather perversely, Reed himself kept the drone flame alive with the 1975 release of Metal Machine Music, two albums of seething noise that outraged his Transformer fans and found them returning to the record stores in droves demanding refunds. (The Loop Orchestra's John Blades says, “I clearly remember it turning up in all the second-hand record shops in Sydney just after it was released” while Greg Davis recalls it playing once in a Chicago bookstore he was working in at the time, much to the bewilderment of the store's customers, one presumes.) The ongoing debate over the work's legitimacy was re-ignited in Berlin, 2002 when the German New Music group Zeitkratzer performed the piece live, with Reed joining in on guitar.
Drones awareness spread to prog- and art-rock aficionados with the 1972 release of Tangerine Dream's double-album Zeit (arguably supplanted by 1974's seminal Phaedra) and the 1973 release of No Pussyfooting, comprised of two drones generated by Robert Fripp's guitar and Brian Eno's loops and synths, while krautrock fans discovered Tony Conrad through his Outside the Dream Syndicate collaboration with Faust in 1974 (reissued with a bonus track on Table Of The Elements in 1993). The drones phenomenon held steady throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s due to influential works by the Hafler Trio, :zoviet*france, Nurse With Wound, Phill Niblock, Glenn Branca, Charlemagne Palestine, Earth, Keiji Haino, and others. During the ‘90s, the barren dronescapes of Thomas Köner's gong-generated Nunatak Gongamour and Teimo releases offered a diametric contrast to the comparatively warmer ambient-drone-techno hybrids Zauberberg, Königsforst, and Pop created by Wolfgang Voigt under his Gas guise.
In the early 1980s, Australian radio programmers John Blades and Richard Fielding started experimenting with tape machines by cutting, rearranging, and rejoining pre-recorded tape to generate loops. Developing their ideas further as the Loop Orchestra, the pair made its 1983 debut with four reel-to-reel machines playing slowly evolving constructions. Far from static, the group's loops ebb and flow hypnotically. “I believe our music is only drone-like due to the nature of tape loops,” says Blades. “There is a slow progress and evolution through the duration of a piece, but I prefer the term ambient as this is the effect created by most of our music. After all, the so-called ambient music of Eno (Discreet Music, Music for Airports) is really very dronal.”
In spite of technological advances, the four compositions on 2004's Not Overtly Orchestral were generated using those same reel-to-reel machines. Why do so when newer technologies are available? According to Blades, “We have a great affection for the technology of reel-to-reel machines, a technology which has been largely left behind by the digital age. The machines are beautiful pieces of sculpture; the loops are simple, very organic, and very human. The digital technology is purely a black box and too easy and cold. Also, tape loops and reel-to-reel tape machines are historically significant as the history of electronic music dates back to musique concrete.”
“We're dedicated to creating a body of work that cannot be instantly identified with any past or current movement or style or era,” adds Fielding, “a music that has no patina of contemporariness, no obvious technological or technical development, no mastery of technique, and no mature style.”
Blades says, “We generally try to keep the music as free of associative and identifiable elements as possible. Our first record (released in 1991) included a 20-minute piece called “Suspense” created from tape loops made from suspense and horror movie music from the 1940s to the 1980s (films like Creature From the Black Lagoon); in this case identifiability was part of the intended effect. On the other hand, “Bride” was created using loops from the soundtrack to the 1936 film Bride of Frankenstein; with all the loops layered and the music fragmented, the original score became unrecognizable. It depends on the theme, then, whether loops remain identifiable or not.”
New Practitioners
Asked about current drone artists, Blades says, “At the moment, the most significant artist creating beautiful, intricate layerings of electronic sound is Minit.” The group, formed by Jasmine Guffond and Torben Tilly in 1997, uses sampling, digital processing, and electro-acoustic techniques to create meditative soundscapes, four of which are heard to fine effect on the recent Now Right Here. The epic title track is the most impressive, a 20-minute drone whose shimmering tones grow into a dense mass until a bass line appears, anchoring the piece magnificently. While the piece is largely abstract, the timbre and color of its French horns remain readily identifiable. “The use of French horn was instrumental in the process of developing the kind of ecstatic build-up that we wanted,” says Tilly. “Klara Logan played the horn to an already existing bed of sound, and it was her playing that in turn modulated the development of the piece as it leads up to the introduction of the bass line.”
Asked to describe Minit's sound, Tilley says, “When Jasmine and I began the Minit project around 1997, our music was (and to a large extent still is) built almost entirely out of looped samples. Over the last five years, we've attempted to make the loop less obvious, more intricate, and to produce a denser, richer texture, which is perhaps less electronic sounding. The drone works well as a kind of stable firmament under which details can be inscribed and transformations can occur.
“I feel like we are developing our own kind of spectral music, spectral in the sense of paying attention to all the minute details of color and grain within a particular recorded sound. So in a way for us the 'drone' just naturally comes out of this approach, as time and rhythm are sublimated by tone and color.”
Arriving on the heels of Curling Pond Woods' campfire hymns and Beach Boys homages, Davis' Somnia may have caught some listeners by surprise. In fact, the album was created in tandem with his Carpark albums, even if the timing of the releases makes it appear otherwise. (An early version of “Clouds as Edges” was issued as a six-minute single in 2001.) Somnia brings to fruition Davis 's long-standing passion for the genre, an interest that began as early as high school when he discovered Indian classical music, modal jazz, Aphex Twin's ambient works, Reich, and Eno.
Davis bases each Somnia piece on a single instrument yet alters its sound so completely via computer that the result sometimes bears little resemblance to its origins. Speaking between tour stops in Montreal and Boston, he says, “I did constantly ask myself,'‘How far do I take this process?' I was trying to reach the point where the instruments' sound qualities were radically transformed but not beyond the point where you could no longer recognize the original instrument. Its tone color, I believe, is still apparent in the end.” His audacious instrument choices included a bowed psaltery for “Archer” and a toy harmonica for “Diaphanous (edit).”
Describing his production approach to “Archer,” Davis says, “I wanted to create a piece that shimmered with rich overtones, so I sampled myself playing every diatonic note on the bowed psaltery, and then used a MAX/MSP patch to generate a drone, which I then processed towards its final form.” Even more arresting are the whistles and moans of “Mirages (version 2)” that were generated from a Schaaf punch-card music box (which generates sounds when holes are punched out of staffs displayed on cardboard strips and then fed into the music box). “Using music box samples, I wanted to transform the stereotypical associations we have with music boxes,” he says, “and using spectral graphical processing and resynthesis techniques, ended up creating a haunted quality.”
Somnia not only includes long tracks like the 22-minute “Campestral (version 2)” but also short pieces like the 4-minute “Furnace.” “I struggled a lot with song duration and album length,” Davis admits. “‘Campestral' had a long melody to begin with, and with time-stretching, transposing, and layering, it ended up being a naturally longer piece. At the same time, I liked the idea of incorporating shorter pieces to show that an immersive and effective drone can still be created in four minutes.” His interest in the project extends to the stage as well. “Each night I've been creating a new piece using real-time processing on one of the instruments I've brought on tour (bells, glockenspiel, harmonica, melodica, stylophone, Egyptian double reed flute, gongs, farfisa, autoharp, guitar, et cetera),” he says. “Sometimes I'll also incorporate field recordings and improvisations into the live tapestry.”
Robert Henke (a.k.a. Monolake) shares Davis ' enthusiasm for bringing drone material to the stage, although for him the ideal scenario for presenting Signal to Noise would be a multi-channel setup with the audience completely surrounded by sound. Even though the drone is most powerfully experienced live (as its duration isn't determined by album running time), the two slowly mutating works on Signal to Noise are definitely immersive. For the album's 32-minute title piece, Henke used a Yamaha SY77 to generate timbres he then filtered, pitch-shifted, and processed to create drifting, wave-like clusters, while static bursts and rumbles on the more programmatic “Studies for Thunder” were sculpted to mimic thunderstorms. Henke's interest in drones stems from a fascination with gradually evolving structures, even if their forms are different: “For me, a pulsating, repetitive club track, the music of Steve Reich, a Thomas Köner soundscape, or distant urban traffic noises are all equal sources of inspiration and delight.”
While Davis 's Arbor and Curling Pond Woods are on Carpark, Chicago-based kranky seems the more fitting home for Somnia given the label's roster of drone-related artists like Stars of the Lid, Charalambides, and Growing. By the title alone, Growing's most recent album, The Soul of the Rainbow and the Harmony of Light, begs associations with Young and the psychedelicized ‘60s period, even if the title derives from an 1893 essay by Bainbridge Bishop on his 1877 color organ invention (a device capable of playing sound and corresponding light together or separately). While group members Kevin Doria (bass and guitar) and Joe Denardo (guitar) embrace the drone's primal power (the roar of “Anaheim II,” for example), their seething shards of guitar and waves of delay are loud but not dissonant or cacophonous; their “ambient doom” sound is rapturous, elemental in force and ethereal in effect. The album opens with “Onement,” an 18-minute epic of shuddering guitars, harmonium-like drones, and cymbal noise that eventually engulfs all other sounds. The harmonium sound reappears in the more incantatory “Epochal Reminiscence,” where crystalline tones appear alongside gargantuan guitar slabs.
The group's interest in drones is evident on its 2003 debut The Sky's Run Into The Sea but that interest emerged long before. As a developing bass player, Doria gravitated towards artists like Sonic Youth, Earth, Glenn Branca, Young, Riley, and Pandit Pran Nath; likewise, Denardo was captivated by Earth's 1993 Earth 2 special low frequency version (Sub Pop) and he's “still wearing out the grooves on (Terry Riley's organ improvisation) Persian Surgery Dervishes.” In addition, he says, “It's always wonderful to see Sunn 0))) play, to feel its awesome power.” When asked about memorable drone-related experiences, Denardo cites a visit to the Dream House, and in doing so echoes Davis, who visited there with Keith Fullerton Whitman and David Grubbs.
An Eternal Voice
The sum total of artists working in drone-related genres is immense, as evidenced by an inquiry into the practitioners' favorites. In addition to Minit, Blades cites Brendan Walls and Scott Horscroft; Fielding's eclectic list includes Birchville Cat Motel, the Dead C, the Master Musicians of Joujouka, Harvest Music of Chad, Tuvan throat singing, Inuit women, and Sufi music. Tilley says, “I'm very interested in what Radian is doing, because the group is merging the sonic and spectral with the rhythmic and melodic.” Greg Davis cites the impact of Alvin Lucier's Music on a Long Thin Wire and The Tamburas of Pandit Pran Nath and mentions Rafael Toral, Fennesz, Hazard, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Growing, and more in a long list of favored contemporary drone artists.
Given the fervent level of artistic enthusiasm for the genre, one wonders if there has been a surge of recent interest. Davis contends that there have always been practitioners even though current technologies allow drone music to be more easily produced, a sentiment shared by Henke and Denardo. “There have always been practitioners but, even more than the media deciding what to cover, I think the ‘listening public' is paying attention,” says Denardo. “In certain parts of the country, people consistently come to our shows, and Earth and Branca have never stopped doing this type of music.” Henke similarly notes the media's intermediary role as a factor: “If you are a music journalist and on your table are ten Eurotrance CDs and one drone record, which one will you remember?”
“The resurgence of interest in drones goes hand-in-hand with a resurgence of interest in minimalism,” says Blades. “In recent years, there has been an increase in total listening, and drone listening requires total immersion in the sound environment. I also believe that, with the global atmosphere of violence and terrorism, meditative and total listening experiences are more highly regarded.” Blades cites artists like :zoviet*france, Hafler Trio, Nurse With Wound, Bernhard Gunter, Oren Ambarchi, and Phill Niblock as carrying on the drone tradition.
Why does the drone have such enduring appeal? “Its music and sound environment is very minimal and pure, devoid of fashions or trends like glitch,” says Blades. Another factor is its vast spectrum of stylistic possibilities, that it can simultaneously accommodate the unearthly, funereal epics of Deathprod's Morals and Dogma and the stately beauty of Jóhann Jóhannsson's Virðulegu forsetar. Maybe its longevity is rooted in something more primal: Denardo says that the most inescapable drones (and those which keep us from any true silence) are the low pulses of our circulatory systems and the high hums of our nervous systems. Or perhaps, as Davis says, it's because “the drone is the eternal voice of the universe.”
Further Reading :
Four Musical Minimalists by Keith Potter (Cambridge University Press, 2002).
Minimalists by K. Robert Schwartz (Phaidon, 1996).
“Dream Encounters: La Monte Young meets Mark Webber,” The Wire, December 1998, issue 178.
“Early Minimalism,” The Wire, April 2001, issue 206.
“Inside The Dream Syndicate,” The Wire, April 2001, issue 206.
Web info:
Further Listening:
Greg Davis: Somnia (kranky)
Growing: The Soul of the Rainbow and the Harmony of Light (kranky)
Robert Henke: Signal to Noise (Imbalance)
The Loop Orchestra: Not Overtly Orchestral (Quecksilber)
Minit: Now Right Here (Staubgold)
John Cale: Day of Niagara: Inside The Dream Syndicate,
Vol. I
(Table of the Elements)
John Cale: Dream Interpretation: Inside The Dream Syndicate, Vol. II (Table of the Elements)
John Cale:
Stainless Gamelan: Inside The Dream Syndicate,
Vol. III
(Table of the Elements)
John Cale: Sun Blindness Music --> New York in the 1960s, Vol. 1: Sun Blindness Music
Tony Conrad: Early Minimalism, Vol. 1 (Table of the Elements)
Tony Conrad (with Faust):
Outside The Dream Syndicate:
30th Anniversary Ed.
(Table of the Elements)
Terry Riley: In C (Sony)
Terry Riley: In C: 25 th Anniversary Concert (New Albion)
Terry Riley: Persian Surgery Dervishes (NewTone)
La Monte Young: The Melodic Version of The Second Dream of The High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer from

The Four Dreams of China
La Monte Young: The Tamburas of Pandit Pran Nath
(Just Dreams)
La Monte Young: Theatre Of Eternal Music (Shandar)
La Monte Young: The Well-Tuned Piano (Gramavision)
Related Listening:
The sheer number of drones-related recordings verges on astronomical but a representative list might include:
Glenn Branca: Symphony No. 5 (Altavistic)
Charalambides: Joy Shapes (kranky)
Rhys Chatham:
An Angel Moves Too Fast to See,
Selected Works: 1971-1989
(Table of the Elements)
Deathprod: Morals and Dogma (Rune Grammofon)
Stuart Dempster: Underground Overlays from the Cistern Chapel (New Albion )
John Duncan: Phantom Broadcast (Allquestions)
Earth: Earth 2 special low frequency version (Sub Pop)
Faust: Ravvivando (Klangbad)
Fripp and Eno: No Pussyfooting (Eeg)
Fushitsusha: The Wisdom Prepared (Tokuma)
Gas: Zauberberg (Mille Plateaux)
Philip Glass: Music in Twelve Parts (Nonesuch)
Keiji Haino: So, Black Is Myself (Alien8)
Harmony Rockets: Paralyzed Mind of the Archangel Void
(Big Cat)
Ryoji Ikeda: Matrix (Touch)
Jóhann Jóhannsson: Virðulegu forsetar (Touch)
Thomas Köner: Nunatak Gongamour (Barooni)
Alan Lamb: Primal Image (Dorobo)
Jean-François Laporte: Mantra (Metamkine)
Alvin Lucier: Music On A Long Thin Wire (Lovely Music)
Roy Montgomery: Scenes From The South Island (Drunken Fish)
Phill Niblock: Young Person's Guide to Phill Niblock (Blast First)
Nurse With Wound: Soliloquy For Lilith (Idle Hole)
Pauline Oliveros: Deep Listening (New Albion)
Jim O'Rourke: Happy Days (Revenant)
Paul Panhuysen: Partitas For Long Strings (XI Records)
Charlemagne Palestine: Schlingen-Blangen (New World)
Pelt: Empty Bell Ringing in the Sky (Vhf)
Folke Rabe: What?? (Dexter's Cigar)
Steve Reich: Early Works (Nonesuch, includes Come Out
and It's Gonna Rain )
Steve Reich: Four Organs/Phase Patterns (NewTone)
Janek Schaefer: Above Buildings (Fat Cat)
Stars of the Lid: The Tired Sounds of (kranky)
Sunn 0))): Flight Of The Behemoth (Southern Lord)
Sunroof!: Bliss (Vhf)
Tangerine Dream: Zeit (Sanctuary/Castle)
Rafael Toral: Violence of Discovery and Calm of Acceptance (Touch)
David Tudor: Rain Forest (Mode Records)
Vibracathedral Orchestra: Dabbling With Gravity & Who You Are (Vhf)
Windy & Carl: Consciousness (kranky)
Richard Youngs: Advent (Jagjaguwar)
:zoviet* france: The Decriminalisation Of Country Music (Tramway)

February 2005

~Re-posted without permission, from an article found on Textura.org: http://www.textura.org/archivespages/abcd/dronesarticle.htm

Industrial Music (A Condensed History)

Read the full post by [gay til death] on Industrial Music For Industrial People - The Something Awful Forums...

"...Industrial music is a widely varied style of music which today doesn't really have a common thread other than it sounds 'dark', originally it was experimental, confrontational, abrasive, and vulgar. Started in the late 60s and early 70s by radical 'post-hippie' artists in England (COUM Transmissions, later becoming Throbbing Gristle) and San Francisco (Monte Cazazza, who collaborated with Throbbing Gristle and it's members for many years)), it spread through out the UK and Europe without making a huge impact in the US until the 80s (save for a few artists and mainly in San Francisco with Monte Cazazza, who coined the term Industrial Music, and Boyd Rice).

In the late 60s there was COUM Transmissions, a radical artist collective. The two most important members were Genesis P-Orridge and Cosey Fanny Tutti. These two along with Peter Christopherson (aka "Sleazy", and Chris Carter they made up the musical aspect of COUM Transmissions. Eventually COUM became Throbbing Gristle. Every Throbbing Gristle show was recorded and eventually released on cassette on their label Industrial Records. These dudes had a huge impact on the experimental music scene in the UK, US and Europe. Like minded individuals and copy cats popped up and a scene was born.

For the next 30 years industrial expanded and evolved (or devolved in some cases), ranging from pop music masquerading as something 'dark' or 'sinister', to some of the most vulgar and abrasive music out there. After Throbbing Gristle broke up and went their separate ways, many said Industrial had died, and thus retroactively we call anything after the TG break up post-industrial (I have to say I don't like this term, it stinks of something made up on Wikipedia or some forum 20 years after the fact).

So! From this point we have a huge amount of music to explore, since dozens of sub-genres have sprung up since TG's last performance. Most notably we have neo-folk, power electronics, electro-industrial, EBM, dark ambient, death industrial, rhythmic noise, darkwave, and minimal wave. This isn't inclusive at all, and a few are debatable, but genre semantics is for nerds.

To get you all started, here are some important releases with a lil blurb about them.

Throbbing Gristle - 20 Jazz Funk Greats
Probably their most accessible, if you can call it that. After seven years of chaotic improvised life performances their sound by this point had been channeled and was more 'musical'. Closest thing to this really is Kraftwerk, especially Autobahn, but maybe because both those albums came into my life at the same time.

Throbbing Gristle - Mission of Dead Souls
Their last live performance, historically important.

Throbbing Gristle - Heathen Earth
My favorite release by them probably, I believe it may be a bootleg but I'm not sure.

Cabaret Voltaire - Extended Play
One of their earlier releases, cold, minimal, lots of weird home made sounds and cut up tape loops. They would become more musical as they went on, by the mid 80s they had become synth pop (don't be put off, The Crackdown, their first synthpop release is amazing) and by the 90s were making IDM. Each one of their releases up to Code are great.

Cabaret Voltaire - The Mix-Up
One of the best industrial full lengths of the era

SPK - Factory/Retard/Slogun 7'
The best of their early singles. Before moving into less musical territory (and way before the electro rap single), they were essentially a post punk band, but jesus christ are they harsh here. This thing is ridiculously ahead of its time.

Come - Rampton
Mainly important due to its members and the label Come Org that was started to put these out. Included William Bennett (of Whitehouse), Daniel Miller (of the Normal, and founder of Mute Records), and JG Thirlwell (of Foetus). Comparable to the Residents I guess, weird rock music deconstructed.

christ there is so much here I'll just give a select few, most importantly the former members of TGs new pursuits.

Psychic TV - Force the Hand of Chance
After TG broke up Genesis P-Orrdige and Sleazy came together with Alex Fergusson of Alternative TV and some other people and formed the band/cult/art collective/whatever Temple ov Thee Psychic Youth and the band Psychic TV. This release is one of my all time favorite albums, mixing straight forward pop songs (like really poppy, string sections and lots of pizzicato) and psychedelic industrial, this is one of the more bizarre albums I've heard. I can't imagine buying this in 1982 after only knowing Genesis from his work in Throbbing Gristle.

Chris & Cosey - Techno Primitiv
Chris Carter and Cosey Fanny Tutti were the other half of TG, their secret relationship being partly responsible for the breakup in the first place. Minimal synth pop, with some of Cosey's cornet playing shown off! Their first 3 or 4 releases are all I've explored, so I can't give you a definite rec here.

Coil - Horse Rotovator
Made up of Sleazy and a Throbbing Gristle groupie, Jhonn Balance, and formed while both were in Psychic TV. Horse Rotovator is their best 80s album, but their first three full lengths, Scatology, Horse Rotovator, and Loves Secret Domain are all excellent. Paussolini's Death (Ostia) is the best track here.

There are so many albums that I could recommend from here it would take days to complete this post. So lets start the discussion! Lets avoid the NIN and KMFDM and Rammstein chat though, looking to expand people's horizon here or just circle jerk about your favorite MB tape

Some youtube links:

an awkward Whitehouse performance

the BEST Whitehouse track, well not best, but I'm really enjoying their output from the last few years

probably the most seen Throbbing Gristle video

SPK - Slogun, amazingly ahead of its time

Cabaret Voltaire - Do The Mussolini (Head kick)

DAF - Tanz Der Mussolini, early EBM

Laibach - Geburt Einer Nation, a Queen cover I believe, classical Martial Indsutrial

Les Joyaux De La Princesse, excellent group, combining ambient, martial industrial, marching songs, french pop from the 40s and 30s into a a great atmosphere. mostly focusing on the Nazi occupation of France
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pqNK4pQbVY ..."

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