Monday, December 22, 2008

On the Wireless: Electrolight, Lyric FM

Edgard Varèse looking at some pants or something.

Another recommendation for electronic music on the airwaves: Lyric FM's Electrolight explores the story of music made with the help of electronics, charting the course of some of its innovators and pioneers across the past six decades, starting with the lab-coated, presumably bespectacled boffins of Musique Concrète in Paris and Elektronische Musik in Cologne.

As far as I can tell (it's not dated very clearly on the site), this went out around this time last year or maybe the year before on Lyric FM, but the series is archived for streaming in its entirety on the Lyric FM site. It's hosted by Irish composer Roger Doyle, who has a relaxed, friendly and fun style, which, just like Matthew Collings, lets us in on the jokes and to connect with the music, rather than staring po-faced at us. He also plays around with some of the effects he's discussing in the music, which is fun.

If This Is Modern Art (more of which later hopefully) was a kind of Modern Art for Dummies! introduction, this show is the same thing for modern electronic and electroacoustic music, which, if anything, is even more baffling than modern art. So, in the first show, Doyle takes us from music made from recording burning charcoal (Xenakis' Concret PH 2), to a single drip multiplied on tape and endlessly varied (Dripsody by Hugh Lecaine), to a piece by self-proclaimed extra-terrestrial Karlheinz Stockhausen, whose early work was painstakingly created using sine tones created by early synthesizers, played back into rooms for reverb, recorded on tape, and finally spliced together according to detailed graphic scores.

Well worth a listen! Lyric FM minisite.

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