Various Or Some Computer Music Issue 1

In a venture from the respected Touch label, the Or Some Computer Music series combines a CD of exclusive recordings with a detailed 24-page booklet on the material therein. If Issue 1 is any indication, this is set to be a truly groundbreaking window into a form of music many know little or nothing about. The main problem associated with more experimental electronic music is that it becomes a case of preaching to the converted, not recruiting new fans. Whether a conscious decision or not, Issue 1 nabs Aphex Twin to contribute a piece and this type of name artist may be the bridge needed to turn a few ears to this instalment. Other contributors include the UK’s Beautyon (known to some for his material on the Irdial label) and Trevor Wishart, CD-Slopper, General Magic and Ubik (representing Germany and Austria), Americans Kevin Drumm and Stephen Travis Pope, and Zbigniew Karkowski and Kaspar T. Toeplitz (declared world travellers with no set home). Though all tracks are made possible through computer-related processes, there is a great variety in the sounds produced. CD-Slopper and Beautyon unveil brief blasts of digital angst; Ubik’s “Plex” is a live performance from the Ars Electronica Festival of 1997 with James Plotkin’s involvement. These shorter works are centred around the disc’s longest piece, a six-part cycle from Pope composed in 1978, realised in ’88 and revised in ’98, that is comprised of heavily manipulated voice samples. The exhaustive liner notes include artist bios, reflection, notes and specifics on the pieces themselves. Whether you’re familiar with this style or looking for new sonic challenges and want to explore the further reaches of electronic sound, this is a compilation you owe it to yourself to investigate. (Or)