Sunday, June 8, 2008


Odyssey, 1967; out of print

3 tracks, 42:27

This early electronic compilation is mostly famous due to the presence of Steve Reich's "Come Out". That track was reviewed elsewhere on this blog, so I will attempt to describe the other two tracks. Richard Maxfield (1927-1969) was a visionary composer and artist who made the best out of pre-synthesizer electronics. His "Night Music" is only featured here (for now, anyway), and is a classic little piece of primitive squeals, bleeps, and whirs. The sounds gradually take on new and strange shapes, maintaining interest throughout. Pauline Oliveros' "I Of IV" sounds considerably less primitive, and stands as an early bit of ambient minimalism. Rising and falling tones make up the bulk of this twenty-plus minute monster, accompanied by cavernous throbs and ringing high pitched whines. It definitely points towards Oliveros' later experiments in "deep listening", and still holds up incredibly well. Reich's track is available on his EARLY WORKS collection, and Oliveros' track can be found in an extended version on her ELECTRONIC WORKS compilation. That being said, only six Maxfield recordings have ever been released, and every serious electronic and/or modern composition fan owes it to themselves to hear all six. Four other Maxfield tracks are available on THE OAK OF THE GOLDEN DREAMS, which also features two extended Buchla pieces by Harold Budd. These four tracks were previously issued in 1969 by Vanguard as ELECTRONIC MUSIC.

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