Friday, 15 January 2016

Brandeis University Chamber Chorus - Extended Voices (1967)

This is from the same box set as the Pierre Boulez disc from last week, a great 10-CD collection of some of the greatest music of the 20th-century avant garde, from long-out-of-print CBS & RCA LPs spanning approximately 1964-1974.  One of the best £12 I spent last year.

Extended Voices was originally released in 1967, with The Brandeis University Chamber Chorus performing pieces by six avant-garde composers under the direction/sonic manipulation of composer Alvin Lucier.  All of these recordings are worth taking in for their sheer uniqueness and groundbreaking use of sound and technology, making Extended Voices an effective album experience that fascinates throughout.

After an okay start (there's much better Pauline Oliveros works out there to discover), the two long pieces on Side One are particularly mindblowing, with scraps of speech and vocalisation flying around everywhere and being mangled by the electronic treatments. On Side Two, Robert Ashley's 'She Was A Visitor' is the epilogue to a rarely-performed opera-of-sorts, which is really worth reading up on in context.  The two brief Morton Feldman pieces that close out Extended Voices are worth the entry price as well, being hauntingly produced by Lucier for this release.

She was a visitor

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