Monday, 18 January 2016
Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center (1964)
The Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center was established in the early 1950s by some of the composers featured here; this album was recorded in 1961 and released in 1964 (except for the last Babbitt piece on this CD, which didn't appear on the original LP and dates from 1967).
A few of these composers were new names to me on discovering this album, and I think I'll listen to all of them in more detail at some point. Bülent Arel and Halim El-Dabh for definite - their pieces that open the album are the most engaging, and all the more mindblowing for their vintage. The latter is based on an ancient Persian story, and is narrated in a truly bizarre, 'tape-transformed' voice.
Elsewhere on the album there's a piece by Vladimir Ussachevsky that sounds like it belongs more on Extended Voices, and the final track, Otto Leuning's Gargoyles, adds violin into the mix to provide a more accessible reference point. Overall, I'd say this album intrigued me rather than being fully engrossing in the way that Extended Voices was, but Columbia-Princeton is still well worth getting to grips with. For another view, here's a somewhat charming reminisce from someone who first encountered it as a nine-year-old!
Leyla And The Poet