Recently discovered that the great UBU Web archive has merged with Continuo, an experimental music blog that I was unaware of till now. This meeting has caused for a huge collection of 20th Century Classical, Music Concret, Sound Poetry, and so on, available for you to download for free. Many (maybe all?) of the recordings are out of print, mostly ripped from vinyl or cassette, or are open source. There is even a category on the site called “incredibly strange music”, which surprisingly Milovan Srdenovic doesn’t seem to be filed under (his albums are on the site under something else). I thought I’d refresh my memory on what the archive holds and spit a little game in the direction of a few notable recordings that changed my life in high school. UBU Web’s content is more educational-use open source material, while much of Continuo is a bit more on the outsider tip. Each side has their gems, and lucky for us a lot of this important work has been made available to us for free.
Jagger made this laboratory sounding piece on a Moog for Kenneth Anger’s film comprised of outtake footage from the then stolen Lucifer Rising reels. A really static soundtrack Jagger probably made while he was balling groupies in a white coat inside the Cal Tech sound studios. A hypnotizing composition that sounds ether like a broken tape loop or a data tape played through a stereo. It’s conceptual worth won’t buy much, but it’s simplistic Crowleyite eeriness makes one of Anger’s least interesting films worth watching (hear also: Lucifer Rising, Scorpio Rising OSTs).
Before Rob Ashley got really into Opera and started making goofy self-help records, he was the fucking man. It’s no mistake that Michigan is the Noise state, for back in 1964 this Ann Arbor native already had a microphone down his throat (no homo?). A pretty terrifying record that predates Whitehouse, Masonna, and anything of it’s kind. I heard he almost replaced John Brannon in Negative Approach once. His 1979 piece Automatic Writing is one of the best recordings ever, but I’ll touch on that later.
This Heat Mario and Mario Boyer Diekuuroh/Albert Marcoeur Split Cassette 1982
I was pretty familiar with This Heat’s music by the time I had heard this, but it didn’t matter much for this ones not so studio oriented and composed like their other records. Ghanaian musician Mario Boyer Diekuuroh showed up to jam with the band and made up half of their split side to the tape. Fela Kuti rhythms that sound like (and actually were) recordings from a Camberwell meat freezer. Albert Marcoeur’s side is pretty forgetable.
A very important figure in not just Japanese, but experimental music in general. Kosugi founded Group Ongaku in 1960 along with Yasunao Tone, the first noted improv group in Japan. His Catch Wave LP is more in the vein of his later group, the Taj Mahal Travelers, so lots of treated instruments, oscillators, and radios. As in with Merce Cunningham’s Dance Company as it is with Julian Cope’s Japrocksampler.
Not the first, or even the best Voice Crack recording, but a group that certainly deserves a nod. Playing together since the early 70s, Andy Guhl and Norbert Moslang formed the group for this album which was the first in a series of bent improvised electronics records spanning almost three decades. A table full of cracked battery-powered household items inspired in part by the live electronics recordings of David Tudor and co. For further listening seek out the duos collaboration with Japanese turntablist Otomo Yoshihide Bits, Bots & Signs.