||"Tract: A Composition of Agitprop
Music For Electromagnetic Tape" |
||"To Kill a Sunrise: A Requiem for
Those Shot in the Back" |
Ramon Sender is a name unknown to many in the
world of experimental music, but his influence is vast, if often
unheard. The Spanish-born composer helped Morton Subotnick figure
out early Buchla boxes, which would in turn birth Subotnick's Silver Apples on the Moon, the first
full-length electronic music album. Before that, he worked with
Terry Riley on the tape loops that would comprise his groundbreaking
"Mescalin Mix." Add to it that his San Francisco Tape Center also
midwifed work for Pauline Oliveros, and that he helped the infamous
S.F. street guerilla theatre troupe the Diggers, not to mention
setting up successful commune living, and you have a legend in our
Locust Music have kicked off an archival dig
of the man with World Food, two enormous
pieces recorded in those heady early days before the Summer of Love.
"Worldfood VII" is a miasma of choirs singing "To see him with my
eyes" as bells and echoes hang, the looped sounds fermenting in the
air. It feels eternal, without beginning or end, just a mighty
presence that seems to have always been in the annals of tape music.
The longer "Worldfood XII" ambles a bit more with primitive Buchla
sounds, but the promise of greater discoveries lies ahead for the
Locust has also
brought into the digital age yet another unheralded foreign-born
composer whose electromagnetic tape work was crucial to the
experiments of the sixties. Turkish composer Ilhan Mimaroglu worked
at Columbia around the same time as Ussachevsky and Berio, and in
the seventies produced strange records by Freddie Hubbard, Sonny
Sharrock, and Charles Mingus. Agitation
cobbles together two rare Folkways records from the early-seventies.
"Tract" is a heady concoction of what Ilhan called "agit-prop,"
short for agitation-propaganda, using spoken voice snippets and tape
noise in a non-rational manner to get political points across.
Quotes from Mao Tse-tung, Bertolt Brecht, and the Paris Commune get
recited over an ever-shifting landscape of affected sounds.
"To Kill A Sunrise,"
from 1975, premiered at the Kitchen the night of the Weather
Underground bombings. It's an even headier concoction, as names from
Kent State get read, intermingling with an autopsy report of Che
Guevara and poetry from Guatemalan poet Marco Antonio Flores. Dense,
disquieting, thought-provoking, anomalous electronic work still
ahead of its time. [RB]