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Morton Subotnick's 'Silver Apples Of The Moon' adventure is a foundational piece of electronic music. Created on a then freshly-commissioned Buchla modular synthesiser, it was the first electronic record released by a classical music label and heralded a wave of synthetic music exploration which has birthed many of the sounds we know and love today. In light of the impact created by Charles Cohen's recently excavated Buchla Recordings, and the resurgence of artists in thrall to the possibilities of free-styling, pulsating techno and synth noise, the timing of its release could hardly be more apt, holding up a primordial soup of manic rhythms and chaotic blips. Subotnick was a founder of the San Francisco Tape Music Center alongside Pauline Oliveros and Ramon Sender, but also worked alongside Don Buchla himself on the development of the early synthesizer "Buchla Series 100" . Moving to New York he become an artist-in-residence at the newly established Tisch School Of The Arts of the New York University where he also set up his own studio, which is where he recorded "Silver Apples Of The Moon", an album commissioned by Decca as the first electronic composition especially conceived for a vinyl release.
This album of electronic music represents a signal event in the related history of music and the phonograph. For the first time, an original, full-scale composition has been created expressly for the record medium. The title Silver Apples Of The Moon, a line from a poem by Yeats, was chosen because it aptly reflects the unifying idea of the composition, heard in its pure form at the end of Part II. The work is entirely electronic and was composed and realized at my School of the Arts at New York University. The piece, which was composed especially for a Nonesuch release in 1967, is in two major sections. The idea of writing a work especially for a recording presents the composer with a rather special frame of reference Ã¢Â€Â¦ it is not the reproduction of a work originally intended for the concert hall Ã¢Â€Â¦ rather it is intended to be experienced by individuals or small groups of people listening in intimate surroundings Ã¢Â€Â¦ a kind of chamber music 20th-century style. The modular electronic music system (which is the core of my NYU studio) was built by Donald Buchla for Ramon Sender and myself at the San Francisco Tape Music Center. The three of us worked together for more than a year to develop an electronic music Ã¢Â€ÂœmachineÃ¢Â€Â that would satisfy our needs as composers. The system generates sound and time configurations, which are predetermined by the composer through a series of Ã¢Â€ÂœpatchesÃ¢Â€Â consisting of interconnecting various voltage-control devices. It is possible to produce a specific predetermined sound event Ã¢Â€Â¦ and it is also possible to generate sound events that are predetermined only in generalities Ã¢Â€Â¦ this means that one can Ã¢Â€ÂœtellÃ¢Â€Â the machine what kind of event you want without deciding on the specific details of the event Ã¢Â€Â¦ and listen Ã¢Â€Â¦ and then make final decisions as to the details of the musical gesture. This gives the flexibility to score sections of the piece in the traditional sense Ã¢Â€Â¦ and to mold other sections (from graphic and verbal notes) like a piece of sculpture. Morton Subotnick (Original 1967 liner notes)
Limited edition of 500 copies.