Author Topic: The Arcane Mysteries Of The Sonic Arts Union  (Read 1577 times)

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Offline nathanb

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The Arcane Mysteries Of The Sonic Arts Union
« on: October 14, 2016, 11:41:40 AM »
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonic_Arts_Union

Not one of the four primary members has a thread here, at least according the stickied index, so I figured I'd just go with the collective.

Who do you like best? How do you rank them? Favorite works? Favorite recordings? Other miscellaneous musings?

Go.

Offline Crudblud

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Re: The Arcane Mysteries Of The Sonic Arts Union
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2016, 11:49:21 AM »
I'm a big fan of Robert Ashley's Perfect Lives and The Wolfman, some of his other stuff I can take or leave, but on the whole I enjoy his work a lot. Alvin Lucier's I Am Sitting in a Room is probably the best process piece I've ever ever heard, not such a fan of Music on a Long Thin Wire, which is the only other piece of his that I've heard. My experience with Gordon Mumma and David Behrman is either close to or actually zero, every time I see their names I resolve to check them out but for some reason I never do — recommendations welcome.

Offline nathanb

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Re: The Arcane Mysteries Of The Sonic Arts Union
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2016, 12:14:10 PM »
I'm a big fan of Robert Ashley's Perfect Lives and The Wolfman, some of his other stuff I can take or leave, but on the whole I enjoy his work a lot. Alvin Lucier's I Am Sitting in a Room is probably the best process piece I've ever ever heard, not such a fan of Music on a Long Thin Wire, which is the only other piece of his that I've heard. My experience with Gordon Mumma and David Behrman is either close to or actually zero, every time I see their names I resolve to check them out but for some reason I never do — recommendations welcome.

At the very least, add to your list:

Robert Ashley: Automatic Writing, Atalanta
Alvin Lucier: Music For Piano With Magnetic Strings, Music For Solo Performer
Gordon Mumma: Hornpipe
David Behrman: On The Other Ocean

I know that some guy is specifically a huge fan of Ashley's In Sara, Mencken, Christ And Beethoven There Were Men And Women. I'm getting there.

My catalogue of Alvin Lucier is way more expansive, but if you don't care for his work with the pure wave oscillator, that narrows down the list a good bit. Maybe you just think the waves need to be accompanied, in which case perhaps you should try Crossings or Small Waves, for instance. Otherwise, go for earlier works. Vespers, Memory Space, etc.

Really that whole Mumma Tzadik disc is incredible. I'm currently exploring him more via New World / Lovely releases.

My Behrman knowledge is a bit pathetic too, tbh.

Offline Crudblud

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Re: The Arcane Mysteries Of The Sonic Arts Union
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2016, 12:46:07 PM »
At the very least, add to your list:

Robert Ashley: Automatic Writing, Atalanta

In Sara, Mencken, Christ And Beethoven There Were Men And Women

I have these, though I find them tough nuts to crack at present.

Thanks for the other suggestions, I'll try and get to them soonish.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Arcane Mysteries Of The Sonic Arts Union
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2021, 03:14:09 AM »


Wonderful thing here. It is basically a couple of beating sine waves and a piano, sparse notes, in counterpoint, an hour long, totally immersive and absolutely wonderful. An expansion written in 2020 of a shorter similar piece (hence the XL) In the booklet there’s a quote from Lucier which is rather inspiring

Quote
So often, when I’m writing a piece, I have to de-compose, I have to not compose. I have all these ideas about the piece that come from composition that you study. I have to eliminate those things that distract from the acoustical unfolding of the idea. ... To reveal it, I have to work hard to put it in a form that allows it to reveal itself and the magical quality it has without the interference of other ideas that don’t fit in.

I wonder if it would be worth starting a thread on immersive music like this. There’s a lot of it, it’s a big area
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 03:16:31 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Trazom H Cab

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Re: The Arcane Mysteries Of The Sonic Arts Union
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2021, 03:02:25 PM »


This is one of my favorite CDs.  Bought it many years ago  OHM: The early Gurus of Electronic Music.  Contains many of the pieces being discussed here.  Here is one of my faves, Todd Dockstader's "Apocalypse part II."  It does mind-warping things to the sound of a creaky door (although it's electronically generated).  Sounds best on a bid stereo system with a good bass response:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfutkYDPkEI&ab_channel=TheWelleszCompany

Offline T. D.

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Re: The Arcane Mysteries Of The Sonic Arts Union
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2021, 06:37:26 AM »
Not on topic, but this is as good a place to post it as any.
I've seen this recommended:

https://www.newworldrecords.org/products/music-from-the-once-festival-1961-1966-box-set
I'm not deeply into archival electronica of this vintage (gradually tired of the OHM box when I owned it), but will audition what ONCE Festival material I can find. Lots by Ashley and associates.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2021, 06:39:07 AM by T. D. »

Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Arcane Mysteries Of The Sonic Arts Union
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2021, 10:07:03 AM »
Not on topic, but this is as good a place to post it as any.
I've seen this recommended:

https://www.newworldrecords.org/products/music-from-the-once-festival-1961-1966-box-set
I'm not deeply into archival electronica of this vintage (gradually tired of the OHM box when I owned it), but will audition what ONCE Festival material I can find. Lots by Ashley and associates.

I'm enjoying this.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Arcane Mysteries Of The Sonic Arts Union
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2021, 10:24:12 AM »
I'm enjoying this.

Come back to say it again. It is excellent.
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Offline T. D.

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Re: The Arcane Mysteries Of The Sonic Arts Union
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2021, 11:39:26 AM »
Apologies for extremely short notice, but there's live Alvin Lucier, Weirs for electric guitar and resonant objects [OK, performed by Mark Stewart] today - in less than 2 hours!  :o

https://live.bangonacan.org/february2021marathon/

At least the third such streamed BOAC event during the pandemic. I really enjoyed the one in Spring 2020, missed August's.
Today's lineup is heavier on jazz/improv than past ones AFAICT.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2021, 02:06:44 PM by T. D. »

Offline T. D.

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Re: The Arcane Mysteries Of The Sonic Arts Union
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2021, 11:41:56 AM »
Come back to say it again. It is excellent.

Thanks! I didn't expect anyone to care.  ;)
I've recently noticed loads of attractive recordings in the New World catalog.

Offline T. D.

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Re: The Arcane Mysteries Of The Sonic Arts Union
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2021, 12:00:06 PM »
Not on topic, but this is as good a place to post it as any.
I've seen this recommended:

https://www.newworldrecords.org/products/music-from-the-once-festival-1961-1966-box-set

Follow-up: Purchased this, agree that it's really good. Far exceeded expectations. I feared that many of the works (esp. pointillistic, serial or graphic score pieces) would sound "academic" or dated, but they almost all worked for me. The physical box comes with a thick and excellent booklet.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Arcane Mysteries Of The Sonic Arts Union
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2021, 12:19:10 PM »
Follow-up: Purchased this, agree that it's really good. Far exceeded expectations. I feared that many of the works (esp. pointillistic, serial or graphic score pieces) would sound "academic" or dated, but they almost all worked for me. The physical box comes with a thick and excellent booklet.

Good, when I saw you bought it I started to listen again -- to the George Cacioppo trio. The music and performances are excellent -- just the sound quality shows the vintage, but it's not a problem for me.
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Offline mabuse

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Re: The Arcane Mysteries Of The Sonic Arts Union
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2021, 04:44:10 PM »
About Music from the ONCE Festival, thank you very much for the discovery !
It sounds like real good fresh music to me  :P
There is apparently a lot to explore in there ...
I am seriously considering ordering the box set.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Arcane Mysteries Of The Sonic Arts Union
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2021, 12:32:19 PM »


Lucier’s Small Waves is for piano, string quartet, trombone, sine wave generator and water vessels. It lasts about an hour. It reminds me of Feldman because it’s quiet and very immersive - better judged for length than Feldman. It’s fabulous. I just saw that Bozzini have recorded it, will check tomorrow.
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Offline T. D.

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Re: The Arcane Mysteries Of The Sonic Arts Union
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2021, 07:13:29 AM »
Just ordered this book, which I was pleasantly surprised to find still in print:



Haven't yet gotten around to purchasing Gann's Cage book No Such Thing as Silence, but this volume is a higher priority and I've already read a lot about Cage.
(Couldn't find an Ashley thread on the forum)
« Last Edit: June 09, 2021, 07:24:42 AM by T. D. »