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Alan Licht's minimal Top Ten

Alan Licht's revelatory lists of rare and obscure minimalism releases.

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Folke Rabe


Label: Dexters Cigar

Format: CD

Genre: Electronic

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"What?? is a focused and grounding work produced by Swedish composer Folke Rabe in 1967. From his interest in sound phenomena and harmonics Rabe was able to make one of the most deep, moving pieces of sustained sound generated in this formative era of minimalist electronic composition. Initially reissued on Dexter's Cigar in 1997 and now available on Important with expanded packaging including archival materials furnished by the composer. Amplified infinity."

"My interest in the makeup of various sound phenomena began many years ago. The basic physical preconditions were familiar to me, but I wanted to experience the components of the sound with my hearing. I attempted to 'hear into' the different sounds in order to grasp the components that made them up. I experienced how the overtones in a tone sounding on the piano change slowly as they die away. I also attempted to grasp the brittle arpeggio of formants that arises when a vowel is slowly changed at a particular pitch. I also tried, as far as possible, to train my hearing to tease out the complex processes that occur at the origin of sound... About 85% of the material is made up of electronically generated tones, which however are never present in their static, original form. Each partial has been specially treated in itself, which can at times yield a very rich result. What?? was created in the late summer of 1967, and was realized by me in the electronic studio of the Swedish Radio. The piece was presented for the first time in the same year as part of a collective evening performance ('Signery') in the Stockholm Radio Hall by Jan Bark, Bo Anders Persson and myself." --Folke Rabe

Cat. number: EX12CD
Year: 1997
Two productions from the electronic studio of the Swedish Radio, Stockholm. Originally created in 1967. The second What?? is the same as the first, but played at half-speed, i.e. one octave lower. The first track was originally released in 1970 on [url=http://www.discogs.com/release/219801]LP[/url] by Wergo under the name "Was??". Micromusic and Macromusic Manufactured by Drag City (on disc face). Released in a regular jewel-case (stickered: Made In Canada) with an Obi strip.