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Maggi Payne’s 1986 Crystal was first released on Mimi Johnson’s very important Lovely Music label. Crystal is mighty suite of electroacoustic soundscapes, using elaborate multi-tracking, spatialization effects and processing of synths and flutes alike. It’s a record of great dynamic and textural range, sure to delight fans of abstract, sometimes noisy music, and it's great to see it get a reissue here, thanks to Aguirre.


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  • ZORN046LP
  • ZORN046LP / 180g vinyl, gatefold reissue LP on Aguirre. Edition of 500 copies - Remastered and cut at 45rpm by Rashad Becker

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Crystal by Maggi Payne
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9/10 Ant Staff review, 29 June 2017

First ever, and much needed vinyl reissue of Maggi Payne’s classic first album, 1986’s ‘Crystal’. Originally issued on Mimi Johnson’s legendary New York imprint Lovely Music, Ltd. which was home to Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier, John Hassell, Pauline Oliveros, Eliane Radigue, Annea Lockwood, David Tudor, Gordon Mumma etc. So if you’re new to Maggie Payne’s music, that’s an indication of the calibre of her work.

Aguirre have done a great job with this reissue - Remastered and cut at 45rpm by Rashad Becker, pressed on 180g vinyl in an edition of 500 copies in gatefold sleeve with liner notes by the artist.

31 years down the line,‘Crystal’ has aged remarkably well and has really stood the test of time. It sounds unbelievably contemporary. Her gently unfolding, complex and intricate droning structures have a huge sense of scale and space which at optimum volume really transform the listener's environment - at times it’s practically illuminated by glistening blue light. You almost feel you can navigate in and around her sounds, which she composes by processing flute, spoken voice, sonifications and synthesizers. In 2017, this record should appeal beyond it’s original avant-garde audience - with moments that could be enjoyed by listeners of modern drone, ambient and noise. It’s not all chill - there are some fairly intense moments, and even a passage on ‘White Night’ is like proto-techno. Highly recommended.


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