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[CP 053-085-138 CD] IPEM 1963-73, I.P.E.M., Elektronische Produktie Van I.P.E.M.

Creel Pone

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2021 reédition, compiling all three of the Alpha Brussels LPs into a single Double Compact Disc-Recordable set, including (in order) [CP 138] "IPEM 1963-73"," [CP 085] "I.P.E.M.," & [CP 053] "Elektronische Produktie Van I.P.E.M.!"

[CP 138] Easily the most elusive of the three “I.P.E.M.” (Institute for Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music) titles released by Alpha Brussels (you want to do this? alright, here we go - this one, CP 138, was the first to be released, SP-6015, 1973 - followed by CP 085, “I.P.E.M. (aka “Harry Sparnaay • Lucien Goethals • Louis De Meester”)”, SP-6028, 1975 - then, finally CP 053, “Elektronische Produktie van I.P.E.M. (aka “Muziek in Vlaanderen”), DBM-N 257, 1978) - this collection of pieces by Karel Goeyvaerts & Lucien Goethals, released on the eve of the IPEM’s 10th anniversary, delivers on a series of fronts, offering an epic side-length drifter by Goeyvaerts (27 minutes of epic piano klang & held tones) followed by three shorter études by Goethals (gooey analogia in sliding, de-centralized pitch scales not too far removed from the levels of manic excess witnessed on Pietro Grossi’s “Computer Music” 2LP.)

In the lineage of early Belgian electronic music, this set (along with Leo Küpper’s fantastic 1971 “L'Enclume Des Forces / Électro-Poème / Automatismes Sonores” LP on Deutsche Grammophon) is arguably the high-point - the, frankly, impossible-to-find (word has it the C.P. brain-trust had been at it for 5 years!!) O.G. edition has been wonderfully replicated here, down to the “Gatefold” (recreated as two extra panels in the included booklet.)

[CP 085] Here's the first Creel Pone of 2008! Let’s all ring in the new year - anew - with this reproduction of a 1975 Alpha Brussels (Alpha SP 6028) LP containing three pieces dating from the mid-60s to the mid-70s by two of Belgium’s unsung Early Electronic Music Composers: Lucien Goethals & Louis de Meester.

Goethals’ “Difonium” gets things rolling; an 18-minute suite for “Live” bass-clarinet - performed here by Harry Sparnaay - & pre-recorded / tape sounds - mainly distorted Synthesizer jabs & Concrète-lineage piano-rumble - spacious music with a considerably wide dynamic range; even if Sparnaay’s limited embouchure / timbral palette can get a bit grating in spots, the Electronic content makes up for it with some Panasonic-esque jolts of analog thud.

More engaging still is Goethals’ “Studie V,” a 1964 piece using only filtered noise - ala Joji Yuasa’s “Esemplastic” - as source material; quick, edit-heavy chatter-phrases whiz by, lightning-fast, drowned in plate reverb & augmented with deep, clanging tones; presumably created by slamming the Reverb-tank, Thomas Lehn style.

Finally, and easily the centerpiece / “Selling-point” of the record is Louis de Meester’s 1971 epic “Mimodrama” - a 26+ minute - amazing they could squeeze this on an LP-side back then; although the fidelity noticeably suffers in a few spots - suite of woozy, lo-fi atonal drones, terrifying disembodied voices, “Real-time” Synthesized robot-speak, and, strangely, some downright jaunty Synthesizer Hoe-down-ery - coming across as the neglected love-child of Dissevelt / Raaijmaker’s “Song of the Second Moon,” Ruth White’s “Flowers of Evil”, and Raymond Scott’s “Manhattan Research” jingles.

[CP 053] Reproduction of a seriously eye-opening 1976 LP containing pieces composed at the belgian I.P.E.M. - or ‘Instituut voor Psychoakoestiek en Elektronische Muziek - Gent’ - studio between 1962 and 1974 by a quartet of Composers that until now i’d personally never heard head nor hide of: Louis de Meester, Peter Beyls, Raoul de Smet, and Lucien Goethals.

The record starts out with an innocuous -enough trio for Flute, Cello, and Tape-Sounds - as is often the case; a single Lyrical / “Musical” piece presaging an hour+ of scattered din - but things really kick into high gear with the arrival of Beyls’ “Prints;” killer spacious synth-noises in full stereo spread ala Akos Rozmann’s “Images of the Dream and Death.” From there on out the LP consists mainly of Pure-Electronic music & Tape Manipulation studies in increasingly dense configurations.

This is as essential an overview of the early Belgian Electronic Music scene as we’re likely to get these days; cherish it.