In astounding gatefold sleeve, tip! Dick Hyman’s 1969 opus, The Age of Electronicus - a visionary, funky excursion into the vast potential presented by the newly developed Moog synthesizer - stands as a shining example of the post-war avant-garde’s infiltration of the popular realm. Awash with creative optimism about the role of progress, change, and technology in society at large, it’s one of those obscurities that’s long been championed by diggers across the world, but has never fully gotten its rightful due. Thankfully, Pleasure For Music’s beautiful, first time vinyl reissue of this treasure, brings the fascinating legacy of Hyman into center stage.
Dick Hyman began his career as a jazz pianist, working with the likes of like Teddy Wilson, Red Norvo, Benny Goodman, and others, before shifting toward a solo career producing interpretations of music from across the popular realm, among the most notable of which - in addition to cult favourites like The Man From O.R.G.A.N. and Moon Gas - is 1969’s The Age of Electronicus, which belongs to roughly the same canon of recordings as Wendy Carlos’ Switched-On Bach, Morton Subotnick’s Silver Apples of the Moon, Mort Garson’s Electronic Hair Pieces, and Raymond Scott’s Soothing Sounds For Baby. It encounters a forward-thinking artist harnessing the new possibilities presented by synthesisers, deploying it as progressive aural signifier within the popular realm, playfully diving in with covers of the Beatles’ Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da and Blackbird; Booker T. & The M.G.’s Time Is Tight and Green Onions; Aquarius from Hair, James Brown’s Give It Up or Turn It Loose; Burt Bacharach'sAlfie; and Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now.
Joyous, funky as hell, and peppered with humor, The Age of Electronicus stands at the lofty heights beyond the exotica and kitsch temperaments that retrospectively burden many of its peers. Pushing the Moog to its limit - blended with primitive drum machines, repetitive bass lines, and robotic beats - it ventures into a world of space-age utopianism that presents a dreaming vision of a possible future that still might come.
An absolute blast from start to finish, and a total immersion into the '60s dream, Pleasure For Music’s beautiful vinyl reissue of Dick Hyman’s The Age of Electronicus brings this long-neglected masterstroke into focus for the first time since its initial release. Issued in a gatefold sleeve, immaculately reproducing the original cover art, it’s one not to miss.