Avant / Experimental

Music for weirdos, and people who fancy themselves smart.

Oakland Youth Orchestra – The Black Composer In America

Although this LP is undated, it seems to be from the late ’60s and was released on the Desto label from New Jersey. It features the Oakland Youth Orchestra (a High School aged Orchestra) as well as Mezzo-Soprano Cynthia Bedford and is conducted by Robert Hughes. The works are all fron the 20th Century and […]

Lejaren Hiller – Avalanche

A jarring and exploratory set from Hiller in which unsettling sounds seem to come and go. Forays into electronci computer music with percussion and tape also lend interest. Definitely covering some interesting concepts in taking existing material, cutting it up, combining with other information and constructing new pieces around it. Released on Heliodor in 1970 […]

Seagull – Seagull

At first thought you’d probably think that a duo LP of Electric Guitar and Violin could either go two ways. Atonal free jazz squawking or soothing new age relaxation. To be truthful this LP falls somewhere in the middle. It has soothing ocean sounds to go with the Seagull moniker but at times also some […]

Tim Clark – The Last Question

Ambient / Electronic composer Tim Clark started his career in the early 1970’s composing Moog synthesizer soundtracks for Planetarium shows at the Strasenburgh Planetarium in Rochester, New York.¬† According to the liner notes on this privately-pressed LP, Clark was the Music Director at the Strasenburgh, and it was his job to assemble complete soundtracks for […]

Chris Campbell – Meetings With Remarkable Alloys

This 1987 cassette / CD release appears at a glance to be some sort of world fusion atrocity, but the Gurdjieff reference in the title turns out to be a very good thing indeed. It’s a consistently intense album with far more melody and direction than most bowl recordings, which are always pretty to listen […]

Henry Cowell – Piano Music

1/5 definintely not suitable for children, one song inparticular, March 15, 2003 By A Customer I bought this CD, and I ended up throwing it in the bin the very next day. I bought it and I’m a bit of a ghost freak and I saw the song “Banshee,” I put the record in and […]

Philippe Menard – Portrait Musical

A part of the CAPAC Portrait Musical 7″ series, this release is a mix of excerpts from electro-acoustic works by Menard. The clip I’ve included here, “Conte Vert”, contains a burst of energy early in the track that leaves me wanting more, and brings to mind his contemporary, Bernard Bonnier, and his Cassete album. This […]

Mystery Test Record

This record comes without labels or cover, so I have no idea what it is. Seems to be a test pressing of sorts. One side has typical test record stuff, with signals, a chunk of classical music and a bland pop song. Don’t know what happened and why, but on the flip side of this […]

Peabody College and Vanderbilt University – The Contemporary College Wind Ensemble

This was one of the first school band records I ever bought. I’d heard *of* Vanderbilt University, but never realized it was in Nashville. Hmm, Nashville… strange then to find this tantalizing blurb on the back: “This album is a new departure in wind ensemble programming. Leading Nashville composers and arrangers have bridged many musical […]

Howard Nishioka – Street Songs

If I had to distill the essence of this album down to one word, I would go with Maelstrom. If I’ve got two words to work with then it’s Shit Storm. Howard Nishioka, who plays electric and acoustic guitar and bass guitar (and vocals on a couple songs), sounds like a man tearing holes in […]

Rod Poole – For Bag / Derek

Rod Poole was an excellent and unique musician who died a tragic and pointless death in mid-2007. Todd S. Jenkins wrote “On May 13, 2007, Poole and his wife, Lisa, were walking through the parking lot of Mel’s Drive-In in Hollywood when a car driven by Angela Sheridan, 24, of Los Angeles, nearly backed into […]

Savant – Stationary Dance / Sensible Music

Released on “Palace of Lights” in 1981, Savant was a group lead by Kerry Leimer, the head of the label and someone who still releases electronic/ambient music to this day. The record contains only two tracks, both with a decidedly Eno-vibe (each in their own way). The a-side’s “Stationary Dance” reminds me of something that […]

Eric Siday – Musique Electronique

I wrote a little review on J. Matthews’ Electronic Music a while ago on this site. Here’s another very cool one that comes in the same pre-1968 library format, 78rpm microgroove. This one has the same title, be it in French, but it is 5 years earlier, from 1960. It’s by Eric Siday, an English […]

Anenzephalia – Lyse

First I’ll start off with a disclaimer: I borrowed this record from my girlfriend who used to be a big industrial fan. I am really not that knowledgable on industrial stuff at all, hell I don’t really like it even, but this one seemed too weird not to be shared. Thanks to her for the […]

Ron Bucknam – Hints

Spaced out experimental music on the obscure Daagnim label, recorded live at the 1979 New Dallas Arts Festival in Dallas, TX. Here, Ron plays guitar and piano; (Heinasirkka) Dennis Gonzalez plays trumpet, cymbals, various small instruments and is pictured playing the cello on the back cover and Jim Hunter plays the upright bass. The three […]

Jeffrey Morgan – Quasar-Mach

Recommended thematic avant-garde/free-jazz suite loosely based on the effects of time-travel. The album wavers between very sparse, brooding percussion based avant compositions reminiscent of the Gamelan Son of Lion LP on folkways and intense free jazz bridging on noise in parts. There is even a track that would sit well in the no-wave category. Definitely […]

Driven Element (Various Artists)

From around 1982 until about 1991 (dates are unclear) Marcel Dion ran a weekly Electronic/Experimental/Avant-Garde radio show on CJSR (campus/community radio station in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) called Departures. It’s always unclear with campus/community radio how large your audience is and so it’s unknown how popular the show was. However, what is clear is that it […]

L’Evangile Selon Saint Luc et les Recits de l’Enfance St. Matthieu St. Luc

A 1963 edition from the Office Catholique Du Disque with sleek cloth-bound good looks,¬†chunky 24-page papyrus booklet insert and 5 discs all in superb condition despite coming from a dank junkshop corner amongst other stuff that was badly water-damaged. Imagine my delight when I open the box and see the fine print: Musique – Pierre […]

Barton Smith – Reelizations

Bedroom electronics from a relatively unknown experimental composer on Folkways circa 1980. This one is the first of a two part “Reelizations” series. While there are a few acoustic guitar-only tracks on here, the majority of the record contains a real wide selection of instruments; ranging from heavily processed synthesizers to Roland drum machines to […]

Tom Hamilton, J.D. Parran, Rich O’Donnell – Formal & Informal Music

Here’s an experimental record from 1980, featuring the side long “Formal and Informal Music.” It’s performed by three musicians and led by the electronics guy Tom Hamilton. I can best describe it as an oscillating electronic bee-hive with beautiful woodwind solo’s by J.D. Parran and percussion by Rich O’Donnell. Especially the flute segment is amazing, […]

Evelyn Lohoefer DeBoeck: Music For Movement Expression

I was pretty totally unprepared for an avant jazz freak-out on an Educational Activities Inc. record, but that is exactly what a couple tracks on here are. Prepared piano with bass and percussion that reminds me of something you might hear on an ESP-Disk lp. The rest is quite good too but it’s more of […]

Felice Fugazza – Megamoog

Here is another ‘space electronics’ library, quite similar to the Electronic Age LP i posted a week or two ago. Released on Orly’s “Kaleidoscope” series, these tracks probably first appeared on a small Italian label and were soon after re-licensed to this particular French library (there are a few other records in this series credited […]

The Entourage Music & Theatre Ensemble – The Neptune Collection

I picked this album up recently half-expecting some excessively artsy, self-indulgent improv noodling with maybe a redeemable moment or two sprinkled within. The “Theatre Ensemble” part of the name kind of just gave me the willies for some reason. On the other hand, it is on Folkways and it has a cool cover with some […]

Electronic Age – Modern Science, Space & Mystery

Absolute classic as far as avant garde/electronic library records are concerned. A number of Studio G regulars are on this LP, all of whom display a deep appreciation for tape delay, distortion, warbling synths, and minimal ‘space age’ electronics. If there were ever a soundtrack to everyday space station living in the 22nd century, this […]