OHM- The Early Gurus of Electronic Music
INTERVIEWS AND ESSAYS BY JASON GROSS (April 2000)
Every 'history' is biased and has some kind of ax to grind. The one that Thomas Ziegler and I set out to do was no different. In the summer of 1999, he asked me if I wanted to help him put together a multi-CD set to cover the history of electronic music. I jumped at the chance, having no idea what I was getting into and with zero experience as a producer. After settling down on a year span (the '80's seemed like a time when things really splintered), we then had the pain-staking task of deciding which artists and which pieces should be on it. As detailed in our liners for the release, some legal problems prevented us from including everything that we would have wanted to but in the end, we had 3 CD's with about forty artists, covering some of the most extraordinary composers and visionaries of the last century. A number of other collections had covered one particular time period or region but there wasn't one release that had all of them together in one place. Along with inescapible names like Cage, Eno, Stockhausen, Riley, Reich and Xenakis, I thought it would also be important to include other composers who have made important contribution but might not be as well known, such as Eimert, Lansky, Chowning, Dodge, Le Caine, Maxfield, Parmegiani, Risset and Ussachevsky.
The end result is OHM- The Early Gurus of Electronic Music on Ellipsis Arts (available April 24th). Along with Thomas and the Ellipsis crew, we worked long and hard to contact all of the living composers to get quotes about their pieces as well as find archival essays and photos to go along with comments from artists influenced by these composers. Gruelling as it was, I hope that the end result will be worthwhile to anyone with an interest in electronic music.
I myself learned a lot from the experience and found myself with a treasure trove of material that we were not able to include in the accompanying booklet. Rather than let this historic material gather dust in my drawers, I thought I'd like to share this important material with the online world. As with OHM, I hope that this will become an invitation to you to explore more of this rich and astounding field.
TRACK LISTING: see exactly what's on OHM
INTRODUCTION:The original essay for the release
HISTORY: Interviews and essays
- Milton Babbitt : talks about "Philomel"
- Columbia-Princeton Electronic Center : the first American electronic co-operative
- Charles Dodge : talks about his "Speech Songs"
- Herbert Eimert : interview with Konrad Boehmer
- INA-GRM : the origins of this pioneering French studio
- Alvin Lucier : talks about "Music on A Long Thin Wire"
- MEV : Allan Bryant talks about his old group
- Steve Reich : talks about "Pendulum Music" and his early tape pieces
- Oskar Sala: a tribute by Pete Namlook
- Karlheinz Stockhausen : Holger Czukay on his old teacher
- Edgard Varese : interview with Professor Chou Wen-Chung
- WDR : the early history of the Cologne studio
- Xenakis : tribute by DJ Spooky
GENERAL COMMENTS FROM OTHERS:
For the notes for OHM, I did a number of interviews with artists to get their thoughts on the evolution of electronic music
- Kyle Gann (author, composer)
- Bill Laswell (musician, producer)
- Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth)
- Peter Namlook (Fax Records)
- David Toop (author, musician)
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