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  • Writer's pictureThom Holmes

"New Arrivals" to the Archives

My Book: Electronic and Experimental Music, sixth edition, Routledge 2020.

My Podcast: The Holmes Archive of Electronic Music

For this episode, I thought it would be fun to play some new arrivals to the Archives. These are recordings I’ve recently acquired that fit the mission of the Archives to find works that are electronic in nature, in any genre, from any country, that tell us something about the multi-faceted state of electronic music at any given time.

I collect examples of vintage recordings that are normally thought of as experimental in the use of technology and methods used by the composer. Early adopters of a technology are of particular interest. In my collection you will find such things as early field recordings, the first multi-tracked recordings made for commercial release, every recording of the early Moog Modular synthesizer as well as the non-synthesizer handmade electronic music created by David Tudor and the many practitioners who worked with him and charted their own course. But there were also early adopters for every model of a synthesizer that was ever made, so I try to represent emerging instruments whenever they emerged, such as my limited but representative collection of Synth-Pop from the dawn of digital synthesizers. One criterion I often have when I am searching for a record is whether or not the instruments are credited on the album. This adds immense value to putting it in the Archives, making it possible to find many examples of what these instruments sounds like. I trust that one day music researchers will be interested in telling the difference between an EMS Synthi AKS and ARP 2600, the Yamaha CS60 and Oberheim TVS-1A, the RMI Keyboard Computer and the ELKA 707, or the Mellotron and the Birotron. There are many hundreds of instruments and I endeavor to capture their performances for future reference.

Doing this New Arrivals list is a lot like looking through the New Arrivals bin at your local used vinyl store. I actually have a rack of recordings waiting to be entered into the database. The only thing they have in common, like in a record store, is that they haven’t been filed yet. So, you will find music from all eras and styles conveniently organized in random fashion for this episode. Mostly, the wide range of musical styles and technology documented in the Archives continues to open doors on past culture and practitioners of electronic music across the planet.


1. Vincenzo Agnetti, “Pieces Of Sound” from Revolutions Per Minute (The Art Record) (1982 Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.). Reading and tape composition by Italian artist, photographer and writer Vincenzo Agnetti. 4:38

2. Chris Burden, “The Atomic Alphabet” from Revolutions Per Minute (The Art Record) (1982 Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.). Solo poetry piece by Chris Burden. 0:31

3. Canarios, “Genesis” and “Prana” from Ciclos (1974 Ariola). Spanish album of symphonic space rock. Adapted by E. Bautista (from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons); Bass, Synthesizer, Theremin, Christian Mellies; Drums, Electronic Drums (Moog), Timbales, Triangle, Vocals, Castanets, Maracas, Bells, Temple Bells, Flexotone, Glockenspiel, Rototoms, Gongs, Percussion (Bambus), Goblet Drum (Dharbuka), Alain Richard; Electric Piano, Hammond Organ, Piano, Violin, Mathias Sanveillan; Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Lyre, Echoplex, Phase Shifter, Vocals, Antonio García De Diego; Synthesizer, Keyboards, Mellotron, Digital Frequency Meter, Ribbon Controller, Vocals,Teddy Bautista. This is pretty audacious. 7:22

4. Holger Czukay, “Ho-Mai-Nhi (The Boat Woman Song)” from Technical Space Composer's Crew ‎– Canaxis 5 (1969/ RE 2018). Basic tape composition work from this German pioneer, circa 1968. Originally privately released in 1969 by Technical Space Composer's Crew and titled "Canaxis 5". Later reissued as "Canaxis" by Holger Czukay and Rolf Dammers. Czukay studied under Karlheinz Stockhausen from 1963–1966, and in 1968 co-founded the German rock group Can. 7:31

5. Deuter, “Atlantis” from D (1971 Kuckuck). Georg Deuter, produced and composed on tape. Early work from this German ambient, electronic composer. 6:04

6. Far East Family Band, “The God Of Wind,” “Moving, Looking, Trying, Jumping In A Maze,” “Wa, Wa (Yamato)” from The Cave: Down To The Earth (1975 Mu Land). Bass, Akira Fukakusa; Drums, Shizuo Takasaki; Guitar, Fumio Miyashita, Hirohito Fukushima; Keyboards, Akira Ito, Fumio Miyashita, Masanori Takahashi; Percussion, Masanori Takahashi; Vocals, Hirohito Fukushima. Japanese psychedelic jam band. Spacey, fun, rollicking organs and guitars. 4:53

7. Langston Hughes, conclusion of Rhythms Of The World (1955 Folkways). African American poet and author Hughes narrated this work based on his book "The First Book of Rhymes.” The “documentary sounds” were field recordings used to underscore the poetry. 5:08

8. Steve Hackett, “Jacuzzi” from Defector (1980 Charisma). Solo album from guitarist for Genesis. This is a track of largely keyboard-like sounds featuring such instruments as the Matell Optigan and Roland GR500 Guitar Synthesizer, played by Hackett. Bass, Dik Cadbury; Concert Flute, Alto Flute, John Hackett; and keyboards by Nick Magnus. 4:37

9. Pedro Morquecho, “Mi Corazon Es Un Violin (Fox)” from Pedro Morquecho (Su Novacord Y Su Orquesta) (1965 Orfeon). Mexican keyboard artist who found his groove with the amazing Hammond Novachord. Here he plays some numbers for the night life, popular favorites designated for different kinds of dances, such as Afro-Beguine, Fox, and Rhumba. 3:33

10. Enoch Light And The Light Brigade, “Swamp-Fire” from Dimension •3• (1964 Command). This is one of the many amazing instrumental albums produced by Enoch Light for Command in the sixties. In this case, we have Dick Hyman on organ, Tony Mottola on guitar and Alto Saxophone by Walt Levinsky. I also hear an uncredited appearance by an Ondioline, a monophonic organ known to be used by Enoch Light on many albums. 2:19

11. Akira Itoh, “Life from the Light 光からの生命” from Inner Light Of Life / やすらぎを、君に (1978 King Records). Alto Saxophone, Flute, Vocals – Noboru Kimura; Electric Bass – Keiju Ishikawa; Electric Guitar, Vocals – Nobuo Hajime; Piano, Vocals – Kenji Kijo; Synthesizer – Akira Ito; Vocals – Goko Kunikida. Ito was previously a member of the Far East Family Band (see earlier track). 6:53

12. Alain Markusfeld, “1st movement” from Contemporus (1979 Egg). French singer and songwriter. Composed by, arranged By, ARP Polyphonic, ARP Prosoloist, Acoustic Piano, electric guitar, Organ, Percussion, Cymbals, Triangle, Marimbas, Harmonica, Handclaps, Vocals – Alain Markusfeld; vocals Patricia Markusfeld. 3:06

13. Masquerade, “Guardian Angel” from Masquerade ‎– Guardian Angel (1983 Metronome). PPG Waveterm synthesizer, Chris Evans. I don’t know much about this group, other than this song and it was basically one person playing the instruments, the short-lived PPG Wave synthesizer, also used by Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, among others. 4:27

14. Bruno Menny, “Orbite Autour De La Planète 3” from Cosmographie (1972 Arion). This is unique album from the engineer who was also a student of composer Iannis Xenakis. This is his only album. It is a blend of concrete and synthesized sounds. 19:12

15. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, “Maid Of Orleans (The Waltz Joan Of Arc)” from Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (1981 Dindisc). A 7-inch single. Bass, Guitar, Horns, Mellotron, Organ, Percussion (Acoustic, Electronic), rhythm program, Synthesizer, Vocals, Andrew McCluskey; Drums, Percussion (Acoustic, Electronic), Synthesizer Bass, Malcolm Holmes; Mellotron, Melodica, Organ, Percussion (Acoustic, Electronic), Piano, rhythm program, Synthesizer, Vocals, Paul Humphreys; Organ, Piano, Synthesizer, Michael Douglas. 4:12

16. Harold L. O'Neal Jr. (producer), “Ultimate Obstacle (All Tests Simultaneously)” from RCOA Stereo Systems Test Record (1972 Yorkshire Records). Test record using electronic sounds and tone clusters, bursts. “The Ultimate High-Fidelity Test Record.” 2:04

17. Karlheinz Stockhausen, “Mikrophonie I” (1964), first part, from Mikrophonie I & II / Prozession (1969 CBS). From France comes this boxed set. Electronics (Filters), Hugh Davies, Jaap Spek, Karlheinz Stockhausen; Electronics (Microphone) – Harald Boje*, Johannes G. Fritsch; Percussion (Tam-tam), Alfred Alings, Aloys Kontarsky. Mikrophonie I for Tamtam, Two Microphones, Two Filters and Potentiometers Essentially, a piece for cardboard tubes scraped on cymbals and mixed with electronic amplification and reverberation. Hugh Davies worked with Stockhausen during this period. Recorded at West German Radio Studios, Cologne, December 17 & 18, 1965. 7:24

18. Donna Summer, “Grand Illusion” from The Wanderer (1980 Geffen). Words and vocals by Donna Summer; Music by Giorgio Moroder; Synthesizers, Harold Faltermeyer, Sylvester Levay; Guitar, Jeff Baxter, Steve Lukather, Tim May; Drums, Percussion, Keith Forsey; Bass Guitar, John Pierce, Lee Sklar, Les Hurdle. 3:50

19. Ruth White, David White, Gary Maynard, Animals Are Wonderful (1982 Tom Thumb Records). Synthesizers, Ruth White. Yes, that’s the Ruth White of sixties Moog Modular fame. She also made her way with children’s activity records such as this. 2:16

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Electronic and Experimental Music

Notes on the development and continuing history of electronic music, its creators, and the technology.

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