Monday, June 14, 2010
Making Electronic Music
Another one of my favorite records. Except this one is also a book. I love it when textbooks come with companion demonstration records -- in this case a double 45. The Scholastic Book and Record series got me hooked on this when I was a little kid. I wish the publishing houses would revive this ancient audio-visual format. I also love the idea of teachers cueing up scratchy vinyl records as learning tools in the classroom. There's something séance-like about everybody leaning in to listen, consulting the same cryptic mechanical oracle. Here is a picture of the accompanying book (click to enlarge). Such a beautiful sleeve and book jacket. The stock institutional graphics, the pageboy hair, the suggestion of an outer space control panel. The book is actually extremely user-friendly considering its subject matter. "You are about to join the growing band of people who are entitled to call themselves electronic musicians," Terence Dwyer writes. There's even a list of necessary supplies: a splicing block, jointing tape, razor blade, coloured leader tape (red, green and white), and yellow chinagraph pencil.
The companion 45s provide fodder to be spliced and manipulated in student exercises described in the book. But they stand quite well as mini-albums in their own right, kind of like Broadcast's Microtronics mini-CDs or a Georges Teperino/Cecil Leuter library record on some obscure French imprint like TVMusic. I'm not sure if it's Dwyer or his students who "realise" these sounds. Whoever it is comes up with four sides worth of surprisingly polished wibbly wobbly concrète miniatures. Check out these two tracks: "Material 17" and "Example O".
And to round out the AV experience here are some photos from the book. How cool are these kids? I love the weird heiroglyphics and captions: "Ready to Go"... "The final preparation in a complex piece".