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- LTMCD2569 / Deluxe digipak 2CD on LTM inc. Satie, Schoenberg, Stockhausen, Cage, Varese etc.
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What a marvellous collection! Here’s a lovingly assembled 2CD set designed as a primer for the heavy intellectual terrain that is modern avant-garde and experimental music, with a massive 145 minutes of music accompanied by some concise and lively liner notes, describing not only why the works included are significant but also including illuminating anecdotes about the soap opera-esque drama that existed between various factions of the art world, setting the music in a valuable context which really brings it to life.
Starting with the likes of Erik Satie and Luigi Russolo’s early experimentalism, which to modern ears sounds relatively conventional, the compilation traces a path from the turn of the 20th century through to the early ‘60s, with the music becoming increasingly challenging as you rush dizzyingly through the likes of Duchamp, Poulenc, Cocteau, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Stockhausen, Varese...and of course John Cage’s 4’33” makes its obligatory appearance.
One would think that a compilation dedicated to the avant-garde would be heavy going, and it’s certainly a pretty dense listening experience if you’re following the liner notes, but while much of it does sound quite otherworldly and experimental there’s very little on here that’s truly hard work. The result is a collection which is accessible and educational, tracing the recording history of those musicians who decided the rule book wasn’t really for them in a succinct and lovingly constructed way. People who enjoyed the recent bargainous ‘High Voltage’ early electronic collection on Fantastic Voyage will find this a delight. Whether you want to educate a young person on the delights of avant-garde music or you just want to learn about its history for yourself, this is a totally worthwhile purchase and a bargain at this price.
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