Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Wintertime Super-Fun-Pak! NZ Electroacoustic on CD -- Part Three

Seaswell: The Music of John Rimmer (1992)

A stunning compilation of works dating from 1972 - 1987, four out of the six works on this collection are electroacoustic pieces, including one from the 'Composition #' series, 'No. 4 (for flute and electronic sounds)'. On this blog we've documented Numbers 2, 4, 5, 6 & 9. Composition 3 is available on the New Zealand Electronic Music compilation (re-released by Creel Pone a while back) and Compositions 1, 7, 8 & 10 have never been released on commercial albums. You can listen to a performance of Composition 7 recorded for NZ National Radio here, and the scores (and sometimes links to recordings of the electronic sound accompaniment) can be found here

These works swish in and wash out, one to the next, on the slosh of waves; through the field recordings of 'Tides' and 'Projections at Dawn', or by the evocation of segmented legs skittering in tide pools, iodine-scented trickles dripping from overhanging weeds at low tide and breakers bruising corroded old volcanic stones where green-lipped mussels are most content. 

New Zealand Composer Edition: Hamilton/Harris/Blake/Pruden (1989)

This compilation includes only one short electroacoustic work, but it's by a Switched Out favourite: Ross Harris. The piece, 'Echo', was written by Harris on the occasion of his father's death, and is played on Trumpet and Tape Delay System. That delay snaps snippets and repeats them, panning in stereo from off in the distance (Harris stipulates that in performance the speakers for the tape delay should be placed outside the performance space). A bittersweet work, mournful and triumphant, and a companion piece and coda to the other brass and delay pieces featured on this blog, such as Brent Carlsson's 'Gaga Who?' and John Rimmer's 'Soundweb'. 

Incidentally, 'Echo' was performed by Mary Robbie both on this collection and at the festival from which the New Directions in New Zealand Music LP was produced. This recording may in fact be from that performance. Also listed in that festival's programme is a work by John Rimmer titled 'Extro-Intro', performed in that instance by David Cox on French Horn and Ross Harris on Tape Manipulation. I have included another performance of that work as a bonus track here, performed by James MacDonald from his 1978 LP Pieces for Solo Horn

Elsewhere, Christopher Blake's 'Sounds' for Wind Quintet is a historical landscape painting of Queen Charlotte Sound, David Hamilton evokes the grandeur of the eponymous Martian mountain in 'Nix Olympica', and Larry Pruden is represented by his early 'String Trio'.  

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