Various An Anthology of Noise & Electronic: Fourth A-chron

This fourth in Sub Rosa’s ongoing series exploring the history of noise, electronic and musique concrete sounds is the real full monty — a veritable hum dinger of rare and strange sounds from all over the globe. Where the first three volumes explored site-specific themes (Pierre Schaeffer’s workshop studio, the Princeton Electronic Music Centre in New York, and WDR Studio in Cologne — the three foundational birth places of concrete and electronic music), this double-disc fourth volume stretches to cover a huge slab of time (1937 to 2005) from sources spread out all over the world. The real reason to get on this collection, however, is the rare and obscure track choices — you won’t find your usual John Cage and Iannis Xenakis picks here, but rather a broad range of choice rarities from obscure early innovators like Olivier Messiaen, Beatriz Ferreyra and Jean-Claude Risset, straight through to more modern heavies like Les Rallizes Denudes, Vibracathedral Orchestra and Maja Ratkje. There’s hardly a moment at play throughout this two-and-a-half hour set that isn’t exquisitely fucked up, and the overall feel presents a nice overview of the avant-garde, even if it never actually delves too deeply into noise’s harsher sides, preferring instead to keep to the more scholarly and minimalist schools of composition. (Sub Rosa)