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- Music From Computer by Jean-Claude Risset
7/10 ReviewBot300 Staff review, 21 March 2014
This LP compiles three major works of early computer music by Jean-Claude Risset, ‘Sud’ (1965), ‘Mutations I’ (1969) and ‘Computer Suite From Little Boy’ (1968). There are explanations of what is actually happening in the press release so I’m going to skip that and try to describe what I’m hearing instead.
‘Sud’ opens with water sounds and birdsong before going into a passage of computerised clicks and squeaks and swelling drones, then there’s some enthusiastically battered windchimes tinkling away and some spooky piano, there’s chirping crickets too, but as the description explains all the organic and computerised sounds start melting into one another, an aeroplane flying past is blended into streaks of fizzing electrics, whooshing organs, crazy dense layers of confusing drone. At the end it all goes full circle, separating out into birdsong and wobbling organ swells.
Over on the other side ‘Mutations I’ starts out with tinkly, chimey drones that slowly stretch into woozy spooky drones, but still with a certain tinkliness. ‘Computer Suite from Little Boy’ - “one of the first significant works entirely produced via a computer” - is the most confusing of the lot, full of squeaky high-pitched drones in a quavering mass of wobbling sound, along with some stop-start melodies and disjounted percussive dinks. It’s experimental sound synthesis from the ‘60s so it’s obtuse, primitive computer music basically. I found the first side easiest to stomach but all three pieces are interesting both conceptually and sonically.
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