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CD Edition. Ethnoelectronics, issued on cassette by Sound Reporters in 1986, exists beyond the realm of easy definition. Very little information about the album exists, other than the fact that it involved the contributions of a remarkable group of sonic explorers - Walter Maioli, Nirodh Fortini, Fred Gales, Raffaele Serra, John Zandijk and the sculptor Edward Luyken, and was conceptualised as the soundtrack for an obscure science-fiction saga. Or was it?
The title makes clear allusion to the ideas embrace by the Italian scene which sprang up around Walter Maioli, seeking a new, more democratic architecture for organised sound though hybridity - an ancient future, which drew on the fundamental nature of music and expression, while embracing new technologies in a quest for what was to come. Comprised of six voices, these recordings join as collective and individual voice - far beyond their own, rumbling and bristling against each other, while endlessly linked by a shared devotion to a single philosophy and idealism - the movements of synthesizers and radiophonic frequencies intwined with the sounds of the jungle, with frogs, waves, insects, rain and various acoustic instrumentation - flutes, rattles, sound sculptures, idiophones, and field recordings from Tibet, West Papua, Burundi, Tahiti or the shamanic Japan of the Ainu. A distillation of vast universe of creativity, formed by the utopian optimism of the avant-garde, Ethnoelectronics has very few peers - ordered chaos and vision at its best.
Like nearly every cassette issued by Sound Reporters, Ethnoelectronics is an absolutely seminal, but almost entirely neglected gem of its era. A lost and unheard piece in a puzzle that few knew existed. Black Sweat’s edition is not only the first ever issue on vinyl, but the first of any kind. At long last this incredible work gets to see the light of day, more than three decades after its original issue. Stretching across two stunning LPs, this one, like the entire batch to which it belongs, not to mention everything Black Sweat brings to light, is as essential as they come.