Paul Beaver & Bernard L. Krause :
'Guide To Electronic Music' : Nonsuch : 1968
This was the first electronic music album I ever heard and
as a wide-eyed 11 year old it opened new worlds away from
my parent's Deep Purple and Beatles records.
Even the titles were other-worldly though they were more
descriptive of the wibble within, with bizarre titles like
‘Periodics Combined’ and ‘Rectangular Waveforms’.
Its creators regarded this double album as a time capsule
for what they considered a survey of electronic music of
the time and their creation has stood that test of time well.
Mort Garson : 'Hair Pieces' : A&M Records : 1969
The hippy musical Hair was hugely successful in spawning
an unhealthy amount of tribute albums in the 60’s and early
70’s but this was the first Moog impression.
The versions here of ‘Aquarius’ and ‘Good Morning Starshine’
etc are not the worst crimes against electronica but they are
trite and tedious, however it is saved by an excellent sleeve!
John Pfeiffer : 'Electronomusic 9 Images' : RCA : '68
The label which was home to Elvis and Bowie also dipped
it's toe into what it called “new music” with releases by,
amongst others, Karlheinz Stockhausen. Some were rather
poe-faced and self indulgent works but thankfully not this LP.
The signs were there on the sleeve itself, with explanatory
notes on the front which rambled on & on.. to the reverse
which made it hard work for your average record buyer, but
thankfully there are fine grooves within and even the odd tune.
Various Artists : 'Electronic Music' : Turnabout : '66
Turnabout were a fine budget label who brought together an
excellent selection of works by various composers including
Andres Lewin-Richter and a pre-sex change Walter Carlos.
She/he would later go on to score his/her soundtrack to
the classic Kubrick movie ‘A Clockwork Orange’.
The unusual mixture of composers along with spoken word
pieces set to early electronic sounds make this a very good
example of the genre and such a great sleeve must have
convinced any sceptics too.
Hugo Montenegro : 'Moog Power' : RCA Victor '69
He is perhaps more famous for his many film scores
including ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ but master composer
Hugo Montenegro shows off his skills on the mighty Moog
organ with this great album.
Of course like most composers of the era he just had to
include something from the musical ‘Hair’ at one point,
but his version of the classic ‘Mac Arthur Park’ is reason
alone to track down this freaky album.
Denis Smalley : 'The Pulses Of Time' : UEA : 1981
This is fine minimalist electro-acoustic music used the
'latest electronic technology' to create and transform
sounds, so explained the sleevenotes.
Using amplified voices and music on tape Denis did indeed
create a timeless work of beautiful albeit synthesized wibble,
which is best appreciated under strict laboratory conditions.
Various Artists : 'Electronic Music' : Turnabout : '67
For this release Turnabout records brought together
an even more eclectic selection of composers than their
previous releases.The stand-out piece here is by Sonic
Youths’ favourite eccentric John Cage, who’s work here
is “a realization of the version for magnetic tape alone.”
It is certainly a lot louder than his infamous track 4’33”
which consisted of total silence for erm, 4 mins and 33 secs.
Don Harper : 'Homo Electronicus' : Columbia : 1974
Don Harper is probably more famous for his electric violin
and fine jazz work, but here he tackles some more other-
worldly compositions. Here you will find good versions of
the ‘World Of Sport’ and ‘Dr. Who’ TV themes and also more ambitious efforts titled ‘Nightmare’ and the super-creepy
‘Cold Worlds’ which required layering 72 separate tracks.
I.B.M. 7090 Computer : 'Music From Mathematics'
Brunswick Records 1962
This very early example of electronic music is even
older than me! The composers of the 18 tracks here
are all doctors too which is most suitable considering
that the size of the patient was a computer big enough
to take up two garages. As you might expect the music
within is very basic and as a curio of it’s time it's pleasant
and easy on the ear but it sure ain’t Kraftwerk.
For this album gallery I present a selection
of my dodgy old electronica LPs. In future
updates I will be featuring subjects ranging
from drugs, the Royal Family, sex, trains
to the spoken word and the REALLY bizarre !