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Iannis Xenakis - Electronic Music

This really is essential stuff, for those looking into the history of electronic music and also for anyone looking to hear some of the most radical and stunning musique concrete ever committed to tape. This disk collects most of Xenakisís best electronic works and provides a superb entry point for a new comer to work of Xenakis in general . Beginning with Diamorphoses, this seven minute slice of concrete recorded in the legendary Paris studios of Pierre Schaeffer is a perfect example of Xenakisís approach to electronic music. Beautifully mutated and reworked recordings of thunder lightning and other natural sounds blending perfectly with more electronic sounds. High pitched swaths of electronics compete with dampened drones and thumps and the occasional crash of lightning. Unique and fascinating composition.

The second track is Concrete pH, the shortest of the tracks on offer it was used to accompany Edgard Vareseís Poem Electronic which was played through 400 speakers inside the famous Philips Pavilion in Paris in 1958. The work consists of recordings of burning embers which have the attack cut off them creating a clicking like mass, which is made even more dense by layering the sounds on top of each other. A continuous mass of sound.

Orient-Occident is a wonderful piece of musique concrete, which has an almost majestic quality about it. Made up mostly of metallic and bass like drones which are punctuated by occasional bursts of electronic glissandi it twists and turn exploring a wide range of tones and textures while never becoming abrasive. Something which you could never say of Bohor the forth track. Apparently composed using the amplified sounds of eastern bracelets rattling around this huge mass of noise wells up at you and doesnít really relent until the end of itís 21minute course. Never boring but certainly challenging this piece was a huge influence on the modern noise scene, with Bohor being name checked by the likes of Merzbow and Whitehouse among others.

Fifth track is Hibiki-Hana-Ma. This is probably the most complex of all the works on offer here, made up of a multitude of sound sources including horrifying mutations of Xenakis work for Orchestra Metastasis. Lotís of abrasive percussion and electronic madness. It is quite remarkable how fresh and powerful these works sound in the 21st century. The final track is S.709 which is composed using the GENDYN computer program which allows the user to compose using mathematical or stochastic means. The track itís self is an entirely electronic mass of noise squealing and twisting tones. Not the most listener friendly of works but the theory is whatís most important here. Xenakis was a genius and this CD is a superb testament to that.