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Vladimir Ussachevsky and Otto Luening: “Incantation for Tape” (1953)

From the album An Anthology of Noise & Electronic Music / Second A-Chronology 1936-2003

Luening and Ussachevsky were two of the primary movers in the New York “tape music” scene, America’s answer to the roughly contemporaneous movements of musique concrète in Paris and elektronische Musik in Cologne.  The American experimenters were less doctrinaire in their choice of sounds than their European counterparts— the French favoring “found sounds” and the Germans insisting on the purity of synthetically generated signals such as white noise and sine waves— but their style is no less distinctive.

The title “Incantation” is appropriate, not only for the vaguely religious mood of the music, with its tolling bells and backwards, chant-like vocals, but also because this piece signals the historical moment at which electronic music as we know it was called into being.  This music quietly announces the age of disembodied sound.

"Incantation" can be found on a superlative collection assembled by Guy-Marc Hinant and released on his Sub Rosa label.  Each of the four two-disc sets contains a fantastic cornucopia of electronic and experimental music, much of which is previously unpublished.


Played 269 time(s).

March 18, 2009, 12:17pm

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