Monday, March 13, 2017

Electronic Music From York



Verily a holy grail for electronic / tape-music collectors, but oddly unCreeled as yet:  Electronic Music From York, a 1973 triple LP box of pieces made at the University of York Electronic Music Studio.

I had a bash at virtually reconstructing it in its entirety, using the riches of the internet - and didn't get very far. 

At all.

Electronic Music From York tracklist

A1Andrew BentleyMoan

No luck
A2Martin GellhornCompression ICES '72

No luck
B1John CardaleDionysus

No luck 
B2Richard Orton (2)

       No Luck
C1Richard Orton (2)For The Time Being

No luck
C2Richard Orton (2)Clock Farm

No luck

however I do own a copy of this, so that's 
something I s'pose

D1    Martin Wesley-SmithMedia Music

No luck

D2Richard PickettLight Black

No luck 
ETrevor WishartMachine Part 1

Yes luck

F1Trevor WishartMachine Part 2

Yes luck
F2Trevor WishartMachine Part 3

Yes luck

The whole of Machine at the Other Minds


So that is  - Wishart aside - a complete bust. (And in fact I already had the

Paradigm reissue of Machine, so it's an even total-er fail)

If  you've got one 
(wheedling tone) do us a burn will ya?

However bits 'n' bobs from Electronic Music from York are said to be part of

this long mix (in two parts) called Epsilonia Mix: Trevor Wishart and Friends

It's an excellent listen (includes things from Trev's Journey Into SpaceRed Bird
Mouth MusicSing CircleBeach Singularity, etc + stuff from another incredibly
 rare release from York Electronic Studios, the more song-oriented 
All Day - York Pop Music Project.

 But be warned: nothing is identified or in discernible sequence so who knows
 how much or which components of the elusive triple LP are in here.

In my questings for properly tagged and identified Electronic Music From York 

tune-age I did find a few other  Wishart odds 'n' sods that I'm not certain I've got 
(got a lot - on CD too  - plus various stray internet gleanings).

This tune is from  Intregration, a cassette compilation  from the early Eighties
that minimal synth and DIY Anglotronica fiends regard highly. 

Now I think about it, I believe I do have this next one on disc, but what the hey, 

it's mad stuff, do give it a listen.

I also came across an an extensive obituary of Richard Orton.

However the other chaps on Electronic Music From York
Andrew Bentley, Martin Gelhorn, John Cardale, Richard Pickett and Martin Wesley-Smith - appear to be so obscure that they don't even have entries in Tape Leaders, last year's indispensable book about early  Brit electronic and concrete composers by Ian Helliwell - and that's a man who does love him some obscurity. 

In fact most of that lot don't seem to have composed anything else at all apart from the pieces on E.M.F.Y. 

Martin Wesley-Smith has left the most traceable spoor. 

Now Martin Gellhorn's piece "Compression ICES '72" derives part of its name from
International Carnival of Experimental Sound aka "ICES 72", an August 1972 avant-garde music
festival held at the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, London...

Poster design is by Gee Vaucher - yes, as in Crass.

Oh, for a time machine!

The festival is discussed at Other Minds - that's the  audio of an interview with ICES organiser Harvey Matusow done in the early 1970s,  by Charles Amirkhanian:  

"Featuring 46 concerts in 14 days, including marathon performances in an refurbished railroad roundhouse, a music train to Edinburgh, films, happenings, and performances by avant-garde artists, dancers, and musicians from around the world, ICES ‘72 could be considered as a spiritual progenitor of such extravagances as Burning Man. That it was the brain child of Matusow, (with help from John LIfton and the editors of “Source Magazine”), is of little surprise as the man was part clown, part con man, and full time promoter of all things weird and wonderful. Once known as the “most hated man in America” for his role in informing, or misinforming, on Communists, including Pete Seeger, during the McCarthy Era, Matusow was a consummate show man and artistic visionary. In this interview he describes the Carnival, and introduces a number of recordings from it, including two works featuring the electronic music of Takehisa Kosugi as well as a sort of classical muddley by the Portsmouth Sinfonia. The Sinfonia was formed by group of students at Portsmouth School of Art in Portsmouth, England, however, unlike most student orchestras this one required that all the participants either be untrained or at least playing an instrument with which they were unfamiliar, all with very predictable results. A further description of ICES ‘72 and a recording of many of the pieces performed at the Festival can be found at"

(There's an album of AMM's performance at ICES but that appears to be as far as Pogus got with releasing archival stuff from the festival - there's no ICES02 on their catalogue online at any rate.) 

Here's a thorough non-audio account of the event and its participant performers by Dave Thompson

And here's a 1972 Rolling Stone piece .

Now The Wire had a large feature by Julian Cowley on this festival and the improbable Mr Matusow several years ago, but I don't believe it is online. However they do have a little treasury of links.

Ices ‘72 (aka International Carnival of Experimental Sound) (1972) by Anonymous

postscript 2/19/2020, Creel come through - on sale last year, and now free to all at YouTube