Monday, 7 May 2018

Electronic Music For The Mind And Body (2013 compilation, rec. 1958-62)

Cheekily parodying the title of Country Joe & The Fish's legendary psych classic, this inspired compilation from Cherry Red's él subsidiary turned back the clock a further decade for 80 minutes of truly revolutionary sound warping.  The first 35 of these 80 minutes is an entire album in itself, originally composed and recorded 1959-60: Stockhausen's still-astonishing Kontakte.  Working at WDR with Gottfried Michael Koenig, Stockhausen laid out his grandest vision yet of electronic tones, timbres and (in live situations) spatial movement.  A second version would later add in David Tudor's piano and Christoph Caskel's percussion.  Whether in that form or in this pure electronic recording, it remains a magnificent, otherworldly soundscape to get lost in.

Next up on this CD is Iannis Xenakis' Orient-Occident, already featured here, devised in 1960 as a film soundtrack for Enrico Fuchignoni, and featuring a definite Pierre Schaeffer influence.  The shortest piece on the compilation is György Ligeti's Artikulation, recorded at WDR in 1958 with the assistance of Koenig and Cornelius Cardew.  One of only two electronic pieces that Ligeti would fully realise, Artikulation certainly packs a lot into its four minutes, arranging different recordings of noises before piecing them together at random into a 'conversation' of sorts, as if inventing a new machine-language.

Lastly, we get two pieces of prime John Cage.  The 20-minute Cartridge Music was composed in 1960 for performers following a chance score, armed with phonograph cartridges and contact microphones which are then struck against various objects.  This recording is an amalgamation of four performances of the score by Cage and David Tudor in 1962.  The final track on the CD is Aria With Fontana Mix, another 1962 recording overlaying two Cage compositions - his free-score Fontana Mix (much more noisily used by Max Neuhaus a few years later) is used for various tape sources, whilst Cathy Berberian performs his vocal work Aria over the top.



  1. Many, many thanks for the Music !!!

  2. YESSSSSSSS!!! I've been looking for Cartridge Music, thank you!

  3. Wow, appreciate this and the rest. Don't see much avant garde type things on the blogs.

  4. Wow, it's funny, I just re-acquired the original LPs a few weeks ago. Classic stuff, really indispensable.