15 Most Anticipated Electronic & Experimental Reissues Q4 2013 (Part 3 of 3)
Final five entries in our feature dedicated to 2013 Q4's most wanted electronic and experimental music reissues. This one focuses on rediscovered early 80's Buchla experiments by Charles Cohen on Rabih Beaini's reliable Morphine, long-awaited repress of main titles in Boards Of Canada illustrious back-catalogue, horror-soundtracks by Komeda and Harrisson just in time for Halloween, Artemiev's classic score for Tarkovsky, Cabaret Voltaire's fancy box-set and the latest issue in Jim O'Rourke's Old News series.
1. Charles Cohen "The Middle Distance", "Group Motion", "Music For Dance And Theater" (previously unreleased) 2013 | Morphine
Rabih Beaini better known as Morphosis will do us all a huge favor embarking on releasing the work of Philadelphia via New York via Washington keyboardist and producer Charles Cohen for the very first time. It is quite unbelievable that there is something left to be uncovered in US experimental underground of the late 70's every passing year. But Charles Cohen music is just that - lost treasure. Mainly due to the natural shyness and excessive humbleness of the proprietor as recent feature in Wire leads us to believe.
Cohen started out as sound engineer in the Temple University's theatre department after dropping out from psychology program in NYC. Gradually he went on producing original music for German dance performers Group Motion and exploring (then) new Buchla synth instruments to enliven his pieces. The material released on Morphosis' Morphine label is hailing mainly from this fertile period when Cohen still bothered recording his output (which allegedly ended in the 80s). Now diagnosed with progressing Parkinson's disease Cohen is more precious about his output and thanks to Beaini and his friend hair_loss, who plays with Cohen in abstract techno/noise outfit Metasplice we are able to celebrate this artist' legacy before it's too late for him to appreciate it and enjoy some well-deserved attention. All three collections are going to be pressed on vinyl and going to come out over the span of the next 2 months. Meanwhile Morphosis' re-works of "Dance Of The Spiritchasers" 12" are out via Morphine (you can listen to the excerpt from it below).
2. Eduard Artemiev "Solaris OST" (1972); Krzysztof Komeda "Rosemary's Baby OST" (1968); John Harrison "Day Of The Dead OST" (1985) 2013 | Mirumir/Superior Viaduct; Waxwork
Soundtracks are finally getting their own fare share of long-deserved exposure and interest as of late. This is all in the situation where Hollywood is actually hardly surviving, Paramount is having massive laid-offs and music in film, except few notable exceptions, is stinky rubbish.
Movie soundtracks have a curious characteristic of being much more powerful carriers of personal memories than any favorite band's music ever could. The problem with favorite bands is that they usually go through creatively inspired phase and then discard everything with their later mediocrity or downright awfulness. Some fade into obscurity. Sometime one's tastes change so drastically that what once was considered groundbreaking is now embarrassing.
Soundtrack music can never let you down in this sense. Best of them will always be emotionally charged with both, cinematic and personal memory images.
Three scores that are released this month are quite different from each other. "Solaris" is half variations on J.S.Bach Chorale Prelude in F Minor, half ambient soundscapes performed on rare ANS synthesizer by soviet keyboardist and film composer Eduard Artemiev for Tarkovsky's melancholic sci-fi art masterpiece. Komeda's soundtrack to Polanski's influential chiller "Rosemary's Baby" is all lush 70's jazz, lullabies and satan cult chants accompanied by squeaking noises. Curiously it was the last work that Polish jazz composer was able to complete before his tragic death in Los Angeles in 1968. John Harrison's work for the third in Romero's zombie trilogy is quite schmaltzy and dated, but has that attractive and cozy horror b-movie synth soundworld so redolent of the era. Sometimes it ventures into quite horrible "soulful" power ballads on Yamaha, but all the more interesting for it.
3. Boards Of Canada "Twoism" (1995); "Music Has The Right To Children" (1998); "Geogaddi" (2002); "The Campfire Headphase" (2005) ; "In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country" (2000); "Trans Canada Highway" (2006) 2013 | Warp
There is nothing really left to say about Boards Of Canada other than it's up there with Messiaen, Miles Davis, Steve Reich, Fela Kuti, La Monte Young, Eno and other sacred cows of XXth century important and simultaneously popular music. Recent fascination with their marketing campaign for a new album " Tomorrow's Harvest" proves this fact. They can pretty much do their thing now with cultishly loyal worldwide fanbase following their every step and immensely enjoying solving any senseless puzzle that comes their way. The Scottish duo is partially responsible for the trajectory popular art and music took at the turn of the century. The overwhelming retromania, longing for the sound-design of the British 70's education films without even been raised in UK, fashion for all things analogue and occult - all took roots in "Twoism" and bloomed in still-unrivaled "Music Has The Right To Children". All that came after was more or less successful variation on the theme and "Tomorrow's Harvest" proved that the equation still holds very strong in 2013. Repress comes much appreciated since a few albums have been out-of-print for almost 10 years.
Below you can stream a very inventive beatless-only podcast of BoC's ambient interludes sourced from rare tapes and vinyl releases.
4. Cabaret Voltaire "#8385 Collected Works 1983 - 1985" 2013 | Intone
We have wrote about this one already. It is absolutely essential and gorgeously packaged artifact from one of the most influential bands to come out of fertile post-punk British music scene. This box primarily contains their mid-period transformative period when they left noise and industrialism of their early experiments for good and started exploring dance music following New Order footsteps of the same time.
CV being CV, the result is less Danceteria and more mixture of EBM and proto-techno in the vein of their underrated contemporaries Severed Heads. This pack is worth the money only for the previously unreleased soundtrack to mysterious "Earthshaker". If it's anything in the vein of their another nightmarish noir score for "Johnny YesNo" we are in for a treat. Additionally the box contains rare footage of CV fabled live performances around the time of the period in question.
5. Jim O'Rourke "Old News #9" 2013 | Editions Mego
Renaissance man Jim O'Rourke is an epic story of success living completely in the realm of modern experimental music, while simultaneously been awarded Grammy and been respected by rock, experimental, folk and outer limits experimentalists. His CV of collaborations reads as who was the most important people in music over the past 20 years: Sonic Youth, Fennesz, Ambarchi, Niblock, Faust, Nurse With Wound, list goes on. He soundtracked Herzog, Korine and Assayas. He names his albums after cult director Nicolas Roeg' films. He's been regularly releasing music since 1989 on such labels as Tzadik, Hospital Productions, Mego, Drag City and Soleilmoon.
Old News is the series that Editions Mego put together from vast archive of O'Rourke's older recordings and live performances. #8 was quite astonishing and #9 is as anticipated as the previous issues. There is absolutely no chance in predicting how this one may sound like since O'Rourke work ventured as far and wide as music taste of modern kids can stretch nowadays. The only thing that is known is that it's a previously unavailable recording sourced from musician's live set at Tokyo's famous Steamroom venue.
Below is a rather stunning excerpt from Old News #6 with a jolly title "All That's Cold Is New Again" .