The Expanding Universe is the 1980 debut album by composer and computer music pioneer Laurie Spiegel. The original album is reissued here as a massively expanded 3LP or 2CD set, containing all four original album tracks plus an additional 15 tracks from the same period, nearly all previously unreleased and many making their first appearance on vinyl in this brand new 2018 edition. Since this album's first reissue in 2012, it has gone on to be widely established as a classic of electronic, ambient, and 20th century classical music. Some of the well-loved works included in this set are "Patchwork", the "Appalachian Grove" series, "East River Dawn" and "Kepler's Harmony of the Worlds", which was included on the Golden Record launched on board the Voyager spacecraft. The pieces comprising The Expanding Universe combine slowly evolving textures with the emotional richness of intricate counterpoint, harmony, and complex rhythms (John Fahey and J. S. Bach are both cited as major influences in the original cover's notes), all built of electronic sounds using the GROOVE system at Bell Laboratories during the 1970s. The 3LP vinyl edition was cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates and Mastering, Berlin.
Laurie Spiegel’s second full-length album, Unseen Worlds, arrived just over ten years after her debut album. Having realized the pieces found on The Expanding Universe (1980) on an instrument no longer available to her, the GROOVE System at Bell Laboratories, Spiegel moved on to composing and developing for the Alles Machine, alphaSyntauri, McLeyvier and various other instruments before creating an instrument entirely her own. Spiegel created “Music Mouse - An Intelligent Instrument” on a Macintosh 512k so that she could have an instrument that was not general purpose but a small, specialized, and well defined musical instrument for and by her that she did not have to compromise on or risk losing access to it. While it was a very personal instrument for Spiegel, demand among friends and colleagues nevertheless grew until “Music Mouse - An Intelligent Instrument” became a commercial product for the Macintosh, Amiga, and Atari personal computers with a devoted popular following that continues to this day, despite the obsoletion of those platforms. At the time of her Unseen Worlds album’s original release in 1991, the issuing record label turned out to be going out of business, dissolved and disappeared, sending the album immediately into obscurity. Outside of a private CD edition issued by Spiegel on her own Aesthetic Engineering label in 1994, this new edition represents the first proper commercial release of Unseen Worlds.
“Unseen Worlds is not so much based on melody and rhythm as it is on textures, pulses, and sonic environments. Sometimes dark, sometimes light, its drama pulls in the adventurous listener who wants to take a musical journey. Using computer software she wrote in order to implement a unique musical vision, Unseen Worlds blends the artistic and the technical, the cerebral and the sensual, and revives the virtually abandoned tradition of electronic music. Unseen Worlds is the work of a sonic explorer whose music can both challenge and caress. Those looking for other worlds of sound can put on headphones and find them here.” - Craig Anderton
Extremes are extreme, extremely. For Philip Corner, a lifelong commitment to extremes - extreme expression, extreme beauty, extreme noise, extreme silence - developed a mastery of expression, any one extreme may result in all of the others. In gripping new recordings by the duo of Silvia Tarozzi, violin, and Deborah Walker, cello - with assistance from Rhodri Davies, harp, and Philip Corner, piano - Corner's early ensemble works from 1958 are paired with newer, late works from 2015-2016. The works from 1958, "Two-part monologue" and "FINALE," were composed while Corner was teaching at City College and still finishing his Masters at Columbia University under Henry Cowell and Otto Luening. Extremes being extreme, they were too extreme for Columbia. Yet, Corner completed his degree and continued to stretch on, creating works somewhere between the supercomputer-refined micro-tunings of James Tenney and the ecstatic enactments of Malcolm Goldstein, his Tone Roads bandmates. Now, with the world (somewhat) caught up, we can appreciate Philip Corner's EXTREEMIZMS, early and late, together.
Following the widely acclaimed 3LP collection, Electronic Music from the Seventies and Eighties, Unseen Worlds has compiled a second, 2LP collection of favorite and unreleased Carl Stone works. Electronic Music from the Eighties and Nineties presents the soothing, hallucinatory side of Stone's slow-evolving, time-bending composition. While we can't always identify the source, we can hear that his sounds come from somewhere, and that there is a "correct" or "complete" version of them in theory; and so we can hear when they are being changed. What drives Stone's music is the flow that he draws out of those differences: the way an Indonesian gamelan morphs into a chorus built from one female vocalist over the course of "Mae Yao"'s twenty-three minutes, the surprise emergence of a Mozart chorus out of the synths and skip-glitches of "Sonali," or the slow, ambient evolution of "Banteay Srey". "Woo Lae Oak," issued in a single side edit for the first time, is an exception. Its samples - a tremolo string and a bottle being blown across the top like a flute - are simple in the extreme. Yet the Stone locates the inherent emotional properties of the sounds and takes them into unexpected expressive territory.
Maria Monti's 1974 LP Il Bestario is a rare item even in its native country. Monti is an Italian singer and actress with a noteworthy career, performing as a cabaret singer in the 60s, an ambitious avant-garde folk artist in the 70s, and starring in films by directors such Sergio Leone and Bernardo Bertolucci all the while. In addition to lyrics by the infamous poet Aldo Braibanti, Il Bestiario features arrangements and synthesizer from legendary avant-garde composer Alvin Curran, as well as the soprano saxophone of jazz-great Steve Lacy. The music of Il Bestiario is a prime example of "the new art-song" of the 1970s, as Alvin Curran calls it - lush, dynamic and full of intelligence and beauty. Sourced from the original master tapes and remastered by Taylor Deupree.
Privately pressed to LP in 1978 under the name "J. Jasmine" and made especially for the Ann Arbor Film Festival, with artistic collaboration from the festival's founder and Once Group artist, George Manupelli, My New Music is the debut album by Jacqueline Humbert and David Rosenboom. Featuring a cast of Mills College personalities like David Behrman and Sam Ashley on backup vocal duties, this song cycle is at every turn boundary pushing and intent upon gender-busting, yet still hilarious, sweet, and genuine, all delivered in a post-genre, art-song, cabaret musical style that happens to boast some serious avant-garde chops, courtesy of Rosenboom. If it weren't so spot on, you'd swear it was a guilty pleasure. As J. Jasmine writes, My New Music is a collection of personal stories and private desires, exposed, articulated, performed and dedicated to the hope that one person's fantasies can contribute to another person's freedom. Get lost in J. Jasmine's world for a little long while.
A new album of piano driven ambient music from British composer Robert Haigh. Following in the path of his albums for the Japanese Siren label, Creatures of the Deep is an underground vantage of a meeting between the musical worlds of Harold Budd and Erik Satie. With a storied musical career that has ranged widely in style - from his industrial-avant-garde works on Nurse With Wound's United Diaries label as SEMA to his legendary ambient drum and bass records as Omni Trio on Moving Shadow - Robert Haigh's work occupies a space between music and mystery. With Creatures of the Deep, Haigh is at the peak of his powers. Among noir, minimal, neo-classical landscapes are robust scatterings of bright reflection and a musical expression that is subtle and elusive yet uniquely Haigh's in its voice and masterful execution. The closer we examine, the more is revealed, and the less is defined.
"British composer Robert Haigh has brought another style to the fore in what's already a gloriously varied musical career: he's previously worked within industrial avant-garde as well as ambient drum n' bass as Omni Trio. With Creatures of the Deep, mysteries are allowed to shine weakly, emerging through the speakers at a slow rate, the airy ambient textures and the ghostly passages of the fathoms offering glints of something much biggerâ€¦monolithic, even, exploring a world in tones that pacify instead of terrify." - James Catchpole, Fluid Radio
"simply any place where [there is] a slight deviation in sound can be stunningly beautiful" - Duncan Edwards, Brainwashed