Saturday, December 21, 2019

1974 –Tangerine Dream / Phaedra 
(Virgin Records catalog #87 761-270))

Was Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra  a consequence of
Indeterminism ?

Over the ages, the crossover from the Avant-garde to Popular
has been a constant practice and Noise has not been inmune
to this behavior. Specifically in music, the appropriation of a
new style (especially in Popular music) by combining elements
of different genres in order to appeal to a wider audience, has
always been accompanied by technological advances.

I. Avant-garde music

In reference to the ‘Avant-garde’ movement around the
midst of XX century, whereas what was defined as
Concrete music incorporated elements derived from sound
experiments recorded in anticipation, obtainable from diverse
sources such as noises and relying upon sound materials
directly stored in magnetic tapes; what was defined as
Abstract music employed sounds from instruments which
were considered as frequency abstractions.
Almost simultaneously with the evolution of Concrete and
Abstract music, what was defined as Aleatory music, aka 
Aleatoric or Chance music which is a term derived from
the Latin word alea meaning "dice", was also developed.
This is music in which some element of the composition is
left to chance, and/or some primary element of a composed
work's realization is left to the determination of its performer(s).

On the other side of the spectrum, composers whom supported
Electronic music considered that sounds were the result of
purely theoretical combinations of sound parameters such as
(¹) frecuency, (²) amplitud and (³) duration. These sound
parameters came, generally speaking, from sounds generated
by synthesizers or their predecessors.
There were 3 essential and consecutive steps in a Electronic
music composition: (a) generation, (b) transformation , and
(c) recording of sound material. 

Initially Electronic music, as well as Concrete music and
Abstract music, were very much linked to serial technics.
The main characteristic of Electronic music is that sound
by itself is the generational structure of the composition,
being this its main principle. Constituted a different musical
syntaxis which gain birth from the necessity of reproducing
the sound complexities associated with those of nature, which
later on was embraced by Tangerine Dream in their crossover
attempt (from the Avant-garde to Popular music) by adopting
the sound complexities associated with those of cosmos.

Paris 1948 'Club d'Essai’
Concrete music (French: Musique concrète)

Following Pierre Schaeffer's work with Studio d'Essai at
Radiodiffusion Nationale during the early 1940s he was
credited with originating the theory and practice of musique concrète:
Experimental technique of musical composition using recorded
sounds as raw material. The fundamental principle lies in the
assemblage of various natural sounds recorded on tape (or,
originally, on disks) to produce a montage of sound. During
the preparation of such a composition, the sounds selected
and recorded may be modified in any way desired: played
backward, cut short or extended, subjected to echo-chamber
effects, varied in pitch and intensity, and so on. The finished
composition thus represents the combination of varied auditory
experiences into an artistic unity. 

The Studio d'Essai was renamed Club d 'Essai de la
Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française in 1946 and in the same
year Schaeffer discussed, in writing, the question surrounding
the transformation of time perceived through recording. The
essay evidenced knowledge of sound manipulation techniques
he would further exploit compositionally. In 1948 Schaeffer
formally initiated “Research in to Noises” at the Club d'Essai
and the results of his initial experimentation were premiered
at a concert given in Paris. Five works for phonograph (known
collectively as Cinq études de bruits - Five Studies of Noises)
including Etude violette (Study in Purple) and Etude aux
chemins de fer (Study of the Railroads), were presented. 

Seattle 1951

Aleatory music or Chance music composition is where
some element of the composition is left to chance. The term
was devised by the French composer Pierre Boulez to describe
works where the performer was given certain liberties with
regard to the order and repetition of parts of a musical work.
The term was intended by Boulez to distinguish his work
from works composed through the application of chance
operations by John Cage.
Broadly speaking, works of these composers were conceived
for sounds generated by acoustic instruments such as 

Music of Changes for piano (1951) by John Cage and 
Sonata for guitar, harp, double-bass and percussion (1960)
(membranophones) by Argentine Mauricio Kagel.

Cologne 1951 'Electronic Music Studio'

The Studio for Electronic Music opened in Cologne, Germany,
on 18-Oct-1951 was the first modern music studio for 
electronically-synthesised sound.
Founded by composers Werner Meyer-Eppler, Robert Beyer
and Herbert Eimert as part of the West German Broadcasting
radio station in the midst of the Cold War, the studio was
equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for the optimal
production of brave new electronic sounds.

Unfamiliar instruments available to musicians for the first
time at the studio included the Monochord and Melochord,
precursors to the modern synthesizer. Controversial composer 

Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007) is probably its most
famous alumni but Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk (NWDR)
became a meeting place and forum for an international group
of avant-garde composers including Ernst Krenek (Austria/

USA), György Ligeti (Hungary), Franco Evangelisti (Italy),
Cornelius Cardew (England), Mauricio Kagel (Argentina),

Nam June Paik (Korea) and Gottfried Michael Koenig who 
became the technical assistant at WDR and helped many
composers create their pieces. Its progressive example paved
the way for such pioneering Krautrock bands as Kraftwerk,
CAN and the uncompromisingly avant-garde and frequently
alarming sounds of Einsturzende Neubauten. Owing some
debt to the aural experiments carried out in Cologne, its
influence can be traced even further to all modern dance,
house and trance music.

New York/New Jersey 1951 'Electronic Music Center'

In the 1950’s RCA was one of the largest entertainment
conglomerates in the United States; business interests
included manufacturing record players, radio and electronic
equipment (military and domestic – including the US version
of the Theremin) as well as recording music and manufacturing
records. In the early 50’s RCA initiated a unusual research
project whose aim was to “auto-generate pop hits” by
analysing thousands of  music recordings.
The RCA electrical engineers Harry Olson and Hebart Belar
were appointed to develop an instrument capable of delivering
this complex task, and in doing so inadvertently (as is so
often the case in the history of electronic music) created one
of the first programmable synthesizers:  The RCA Mark synthesizer
(the precursors being the Givelet Coupleux Organ of 1930 and
the Hanert Electric Orchestra in 1945).

The RCA Mark I machine was a monstrous collection of
modular components that took up a whole room at 
as the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center). The
‘instrument’ was basically an analogue computer; the only
input to the machine was a typewriter-style keyboard where
the musician wrote a score in a type of binary code. The sound
itself was generated by a series of vacuum tube oscillators
(12 in the MkI and 24 in the MkII) giving four voice polyphony
which could be divided down into different octaves.
The sound was manually routed to the various components –
a technique that was adopted in the modular synthesizers of
the 1960’s and 70’s:
In 1963, with a US$200 research grant from Columbia
University, Robert Arthur Moog collaborated with the
experimental musician Herbert Deutsch on the design of what
was to become the first modular Moog Synthesizer.

The international group of avant-garde composers which
worked together at the RCA Mark II facility included :
Milton BabbittOtto Luening, Vladimir Ussachevsky, Pril Smily 
Delson, Alice Shields and Argentine Mario Davidovsky awarded 
with the Pulitzer Prize in 1971 for Synchronism Nº6 for piano 
and tape (one of his highly influential Synchronism series of
works combining live instrumental performances with pre-
recorded electronic sounds).

Milan 1955 'Electronic Music Studio’
Electronic music

The Milan Electronic Music Studio or  ‘RAI Studio of 
Phonology’ was designed by Alfredo Lietti in 1955 with the
guidance of the musicians Luciano Berio and Bruno Maderna,
and remained in use until 1983. In 2011 the entire studio was
archived at the Municipal Collections of the Castello Sforzesco.

The studio was primarily created to produce experimental
electronic music but also to create effects and soundtracks
for film and TV (and was the model for the 2012 film

Berio drew inspiration from the working methods of American
serialist composers Vladimir Ussachevsky and Otto Luening
from GRMC in Paris through his friendship with Pierre
Schaeffer and the Club d’Essai. Maderna’s influence came
through his time studying at The Darmstadt (serialism) School
with Pierre Boulez, Karel Goeyvaerts, Luigi Nono (his
connection with Schoenberg in his piece Canonical Variations
based on Schoenberg's tone-row from his ‘Ode to Napoleon’,
was not just symbolically important: he married Schoenberg's
daughter Nuria in 1955), Henri Pousseur, Karlheinz
Stockhausen and Meyer-Eppler.

Among the compostions created in ‘RAI Studio of Musical
Phonology’ through 1983 with close collaboration of sound
John Cage’s Fontana Mix (1958), Notturno by Bruno Maderna
(1956) and ‘Omaggio a Emilio Vedova’ (1960), the only one
work being entirely electronic by Luigi Nono.
Musicians and composers who also worked at the RAI studio
include Gino Marinuzzi Jr. (the 1958 Fonosynth), Niccolo
Castiglioni, Aldo Clementi, Franco Donatoni, Armando
Gentilucci, Giacomo Manzoni , Angelo Paccagnini, Salvatore
Sciarrino, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Camilo Togni and Henri Pousseur.

II. Popular music

Tangerine Dream was to synthesizing in the 70’s what in
the 80’s The Art Of Noise was to sampling, but both shared
a common denominator. Their creations exploited to the
maximum the musical technology of their time, changing
underlying values and motivations which worked as a spring
board for upcoming styles and genres.
Whereas The Art Of Noise contributed to dance, techno,
hip-hop, industrial, crossover jazz, etc., Tangerine Dream
paved the way to new age, ambient, electronica, relaxation,
space music, etc. 

According to Anne Dudley, The Art Of Noise was a studio
team working with Trevor Horn, producing records like
ABC’s Lexicon of Love and Malcolm McLaren’s Duck Rock.
But they started playing together in their own time. Trevor
had got a new synthesiser from Australia, a Fairlight, which
fascinated them. It made it relatively easy to put in a sample
of, say, a dog barking, and then play it in different pitches.
No one knew how to take them. They were described as techno
boffins (a common colloquial term used in Britain during
WW2 by tech experts) whereas they had a free-ranging jazz
sensibility. Steve Reich and Philip Glass were an influence
and they loved the absurdist ideas of John Cage.

As defined by Paul Morley,, the label name – Zang Tuum Tumb 
(ZTT) – came from a sound poem by the Italian futurist
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti; and apparently he went back
to the Thames and Hudson Guide to Futurism for the band’s
name: The Art of Noises, a 1913 manifesto about musical
aesthetics by Luigi Russolo, so they performed an edit and
named the group the Art of Noise.

Luigi Russolo (1885-1947) anticipated - indeed he may have
precipitated - a whole range of musical and aesthetic notions
that formed the basis of much of the avant-garde thought of
the past several decades. His ideas were absorbed, modified,
and eventually transmitted to later generations by a number
of movements and individuals-among them the Futurists, the
Dadaists, and a number of composers and writers of the
nineteen-twenties. The Noise instruments he invented
fascinated and infuriated his contemporaries, and he was
among the earliest musicians to put the often-discussed micro
tone to regular practical use in Western music. Russolo's
views looked forward to the time when composers would
exercise an absolute choice and control of the sounds that their
music employed. He was the precursor of electronic music
before electronics had come of age.

The Moog Modular Synthesiser produced in 1964 became
the first widely used electronic music synthesizer and the first
instrument to make the crossover from the Avant-garde to
Popular music. The release in 1968 of Wendy Carlos’s
album ‘Switched on Bach’ which was entirely recorded
using Moog synthesizers (and one of the highest-selling 
classical music recordings of its era), brought the Moog to
public attention and changed conceptions about electronic
music and synthesizers in general.

The Beatles bought one, as did Mick Jagger who bought a
hugely expensive modular Moog in 1969 (which was only
used once, on Nicolas Roeg’s  film ‘Performance’) and was
later sold to the German experimentalist rock group Tangerine
Dream : 
Edgar Froese commented "The Rolling Stones had purchased
a massive modular system from Moog in 1969 (several members
of the group had them in fact, as odd as that might sound).
Mick Jagger tried for a long time to produce a few particular
sounds with it but had no luck and eventually wanted to sell
the machine. Of course, when we heard it was available we
were very excited and took immediate steps to get it. The
system was composed of several large units and we purchased
it piece by piece over a period of time. We had the whole
machine only shortly before we began recording Phaedra
and went into the studio without having used it beforehand.
Luckily, and here's something I've never admitted to anyone,
luckily we managed to hook up the machine more or less
correctly without knowing how to at all. We connected the
wires between the various components, the sequencer, oscillator,
filter and so forth, using pure guesswork: 
So much of what you hear on Phaedra was accidental".

Side 1
A. Phaedra
     Composed by – Franke*, Froese*, Baumann*
Side 2
B1. Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares
       Composed by – Froese*
B2. Movements Of A Visionary
       Composed by – Franke*, Froese*, Baumann*
B3. Sequent C
       Composed by – Baumann*

Design [Sleeve Design], Painting – Edgar Froese
Engineer – Phil Becque
Mellotron, Bass Guitar, Synthesizer [Vcs3], Organ – Edgar Froese
Organ, Electric Piano, Synthesizer [Vcs3], Flute – Peter Baumann
Producer – Edgar Froese
Synthesizer [Moog, Vcs3], Keyboards – Chris Franke*

Phonographic Copyright (p) – Virgin Records Ltd.
Published by – Virgin Music (Publishing) Ltd.
Recorded at – The Manor (UK)
Distributed by – Ariola Group Of Companies
Pressed by – Sonopress

Catalog No. 87 761-270 on cover backside, 
                    87 761 XOT at the center labels
Recorded in December 1973 at The Manor/Shepton-on-Cherwell.
1974 Virgin Records Ltd.
Equipment: Farfisa, Ems London