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Arne Nordheim

The Nordheim Tapes

Label: Aurora (Norway)

Format: CDx2 digipack deluxe

Genre: Electronic

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Arne Nordheim might not be the best known early electronic music composer, but with this fabulously presented double disc of work it should help his music achieve at least a little wider recognition. He might be best known (at least outside his native Norway) for the discs on Rune Grammofon, but here we get some of his earliest tape work from the 1960s, possibly his most interesting period, at least to me. As a die hard Radiophonic Workshop enthusiast this collection seems to come from the same period and certainly shares many similarities with the early textural pieces of Delia Derbyshire et al, but where those pieces were composed mostly for BBC television, Nordheim seems to have been allowed a little more creative space to compose. The first disc takes four long form 'collages' which take synthesized drones and blips and layer them into long explorations of sound. This is the undiscovered soundtrack to an alien landing - early electronic music with a definite science fiction twist and that's no bad thing to me. It's the sort of music that many musicians are trying in vein to replicate right now, gorgeous analogue sweeps and decomposing chords floating into the distance and it's utterly perfect. The second disc focuses on tracks Nordheim wrote for radio plays and is made up of shorter more experimental pieces, often using instruments for source material but this is no less intriguing than the first. Playing with the speed and pitch of his instruments Nordheim creates an unusual, haunting electronic landscape which no doubt synched up perfectly with the radio plays themselves. If you have any interest in early electronic music you should check this collection without delay - there's not going to be any more made like this, that I promise you!
Details
Cat. number: ACD 5051
Year: 1970
Notes:
Electronic music from The 1960s available for the first time.

Collage I: material from: Papirfuglen - Hjemkomsten - Vi På Alfabulator - Intermezzo - Faust - Amaryllis - Dagen Vender - Dødsdansen.
Collage II (Multiple Parallell Layers): material from: Her Bor Vi Så Gjerne ('Pausesignal') - Papirfuglen (Piano Strings / Electronic Sounds) - En Havefest (Organ, Power On/Off) - Othello (Percussion Ostinato) - Faust (Church Bells) - Myrfolket (Drums) - Dei Kjenslelause (Electronic Sounds) - Ja Virkelig (Gong, FM-Synth) - Mot Bristepunktet (Nordheim's 'Attack+Resonans' Original) - Lillebror, Lillesøster (Scratching On Piano Strings).
Collage III: material from: Når Vi Døde Vågner (Organ) - Hamlet - Den Lille Prinsen (Instrumental) - Hjemkomsten (Vibraphone Backwards) - Gjengangere - Faust - Papirfuglen - Mot Bristepunktet.
Collage IV: material from: Dei Kjenslelause.

Original recordings from Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) between 1960 and 1970.
Collages on disc 1 prepared by Risto Holopainen at NoTam studion in 2007.