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[CP 264 CD] Elias Tanenbaum; Arp Art +

Creel Pone

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July 2022; long in the C.P. works, this single-disc wonder compiles not just Elias Tanenbaum's sole 1972 Desto-label "Arpsploitation" LP, but a quartet of relatable Avant-Electronic pieces composed between the late 60s & mid-80s as issued on a number of regional "Private" Classical imprints (including his Compositions from the American Brass Quintet's 1969 Desto "Music For Brass: 1500-1970" Boxed Set, the 1984 Leonarda-label Katherine Hoover recital LP "New Music For Flute", the New York Harp Ensemble's "American Cavalcade: Music For Harp Ensemble" set on Musical Heritage Society (!?), and the "American Composers Alliance Recording Award Electronic Music" set on CRI).

Tanenbaum studied with Dante Fiorillo, Bohuslav Martinu, Otto Luening and Wallingford Riegger before founding the Electronic Computer Music Studio at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City in 1970. Choosing the uncommon Arp 2500 (known primarily as Eliane Radigue's main instrument in the coming decades) semi-modular as his weapon-of-choice shortly after its availability in 1970, Tanenbaum spun out a quartet of spare, ghostly figures for the instrument, working in a considerably less busy/shredding lane than his contemporary Morton Subotnick, and as such this collection of quite unusual & spare music has slowly gained a small but loyal audience amongst the Early Electronic heads for its quite singular vision. That the record was issued in the prime Moogsplotation era of 1972 (with such a bland & unimaginative title no less) was certainly a red herring; this music couldn't be any farther from the crowd-pleasing "Switched-On" airs of anything other than the gaseous voids of Analogue sound it offers. 

The bonus pieces are all concerned with Tanenbaum's writing for solo instrumentalists with tape-backing (largely comprised of segments composed on said instrument w/ Concrète flourish) and add considerably to the overall impression of Tanenbaum as a Composer way ahead of his own time.