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[CP 158-189 CD] William Hoskins, William Strickland, Lawrence Moss, Mark Wilson; Galactic Fantasy, Eastern Reflections, An Electronic Trip to the Zoo, Sound Hypnosis, Theatre Music By Johan Franco, Melodrama, Aeolus

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September 2023; réédition of these classic mid-period C.P. offerings, now being offered as a single double-disc set conceptually united by their original issues on the Spectrum label in 1979 & augmented significantly here by a bounty of bonus materials: a side-length suite of music by composer Johan Franco, performed by The Everyman Players (a Floridian carillon ensemble) heavily involving Hoskins' "Electronic Montages" closing out the first disc, then a pair of pieces by Lawrence Moss & Mark Wilson (similarly issued, albeit 3 years later, on the Spectrum "Soundscape" compilation) the second.

This, alongside the (currently unavailable) Jack Tamul title and the (soon to be) revamped Lejaren Hiller set, offers the last word on the storied label's apropos Electronic Music (sparing you James Sellars' "Disco Toccata" & "The Computer Spectrum") ... 

[158] Criminally under-rated set of Early American Moog Modular Synthesizer Music - the sole release by composer William Hoskins, the "Director of Electronic Music and Composer-in-Residence at Jacksonville University in Florida." Issued in 1979 by the Harriman, NY-based Spectrum - a "Division of UNI-PRO Recordings, Inc." the LP consists of a pair of discrete pieces, with each taking up a side of its own.

"Galactic Fantasy" lives up to the premise of its title, its far-reaching narratives are concerned with the same windswept alien-landscapes as so many of Nik "Pascal" Raicevic's classic Private-Press sides. Recorded at the Jacksonville College of Fine Arts' Electronic Music Studio - at some point between when he set it up in January 1969 & the LP's issue - it's a rather unorthodox mix of purely aleatoric Synth Bleep & reoccurring motivic patterns that lands halfway between Douglas Leedy & Angel Rada.

"Eastern Reflections: A Suite for Imaginary Orchestra" concerns itself with "travel through time. It postulates an imaginary orchestra of the future, a cosmopolitan merger of Japanese, Balinese, Chinese, and Indian styles of writing and playing." - all sounds again ℅ the Moog Modular. Much like Chris Swansen's reconstruction of a complete Jazz ensemble utilizing the instrument's Oscillators, Filters & Modifiers, Hoskins has fashioned a series of non-extant instruments to model. The results aren't that far away from semi-contemporaenous work such as Slava Ranko's "Arctic Hysteria" in their pan-cultural appropriations, re-cast & realized in Electronic Sound. 

[189] Closing out a trilogy of releases initially readied by the Harriman, NY powerhouse Spectrum (following the Jack Tamul & William Hoskins titles) is this fantastic set of noisy synthesizer adagios, composed in the late 70s by William Strickland on Moog Modular, Organ, and Four-Channel Tape. 

Offering a pair of conceptual, side-length suites, a series of exceedingly lo-fi miniatures meets us on the A-Side; "An Electronic Visit to the Zoo" seems to almost ignore its own premise - despite the red-herring titles; "Apes", "Lions", "Elephants", etc. - offering a fairly rough & hissy take of over-gained & time-domain blurred synthesizer gristle, all but buried in grime & extremely distant voltage-haze - about as far away from an "Animals Christmas" / "Le Zoo Electronique" type exploito-Library affair as is possible. On the flip, the "Sound Hypnosis" pieces work a mix of weird, processed drum machine & extremely resonant-filter strategies not all that far removed from the later Nicholas "Nik Pascal" Raicevic Narco sides; it's about as "Hypnotic" as it gets without resorting to cod-New-Age cloud-float. "Repetitions with Distortions", indeed.

Of the three Spectrum's we've had the pleasure of reinvestigating, this is by far the most elusive, confusing, & singular; very glad to have this C.P. reproduction in the fray.