[CP 250-251 CD] Electronic Music from York
On the Creel Pone short-list for easily as long as #200's William S. Fischer title, this 1973 compilation of music, all composed at York University's Electronic Music Studio during the late 60s & early 70s has been a real white whale for ages & ages, until composer Martin Wesley-Smith's personal copy landed (literally) in the lap of the core C.P. cognoscenti earlier this year.
Consisting of three sides (1, 3, 5, appearing here as disc one) of music by resident composers, staff, and hangers-on at York University, including Andrew Bentley, Martin Gellhorn, John Cardale, Richard Orton, Martin Wesley-Smith, & Richard Pickett, then three sides (ditto, 2, 4, 6) offering a single, hour-long piece by Trevor Wishart, this extended set absolutely drips with era & geographic charm.
Andrey Bentley's "Moan" starts with perhaps the most apropos interpretation of this title, in the form of a barely contained feedback cluster that slowly transmutes into a burbling whisper of oscillator drift; Martin Gelhorn's "Compression" (incidentally composed for Harvey Matusow's epic ICES '72 festival) spikes up in terms of energy-delivery with a scattershot grind of mutating, filtered noise; John Cardale's "Dionysus" spurs a dareisay melodic fragment through its paces before the whole enterprise is detuned, echoes of the recent CP of Antero Honkanen & Ake Andersson's work for Reidar Särestöniemi's paintings.
The next three are all by Richard Orton, whose name should be familiar from his appearance on the "New Music from London" set in Earle Brown's Mainstream series; "Kiss" is perhaps his most famous Electronic work, having been performed in several festivals in the early 70s (including Keith Humble's 1971 "Electronic Music Seminar & International Sampling" here in Melbourne) - it's bubbling, liquid connotations are clear; "For The Time Being" offering wispy layers of spectral crackle, delicate & direct; "Clock Farm", similarly, utilizes only stray mechanism & gear noises to punctuate the literality of the title, albeit in a wildly imaginative way.
Martin Wesley-Smith's "Media Music" is perhaps the real surprise of the set - I'd only heard the Australian Composer's later Fairlight-era work, but this early piece is a masterstroke in finely tuned runaway tape echo & punctuating real-world interjections, merging the "Acoustic Concrète" of Josef Anton Riedl with an almost proto-Industrial sensibility, remarkable; and finally, Richard Pickett's "Light Black" posits two slightly detuned, filtered-out modular synth lines into a stereo field, where they are slowly overcome by distance & a resonant, metallic whisper...
This Creel Pone edition comes complete with both discs housed inside a gatefold booklet recreating the label art (& even the inside of the box) along with a recreation of the 4-panel booklet offering technical insight & conceptual musings by each of the Composers present. An absolute joy to have this on offer, again, with all original aesthetics remaining intact.