I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree,
And yet much beauty hear eye see
Made with electricity.
My pleasant task is to formulate two playlists from the suggestions of the company of Song Bar regulars and irregulars – an A side and a B -side. Given the avalanche of wonderful music which swept through the weekend this has proved formidably challenging.
For those who are particularly interested in the history I recommend the three-part Bleep Guide To Electronic Music. Since the day that electricity was harnessed ,people have been intrigued by the possibilities of sound. Indeed it helped to redefine the very definition of music. Some musique concrète challenges the listener (myself included) to enjoy it and becomes intellectualised as a result : Stockhausen, Schaeffer et al. But these recordings were hugely influential nevertheless on modern pop & classical music.
My A-list is slightly longer than usual, so is my B-list. I hope you will forgive me.
The A-list is composed of beauty, melody and pure pleasure.
The B-list is more challenging, but similarly full of excellent material.
I haven’t much to say about the individual pieces or artists that you can’t find on the internet, and I’m in a week of great work pressure, so I’ll just leave you with the music. I had various incarnations of a playlists ranging from the historic to the hysterical, but in the end listened to the pieces so many time that they ended up choosing themselves. Thanks to all for playing and reaching into your collections for many of these inspired choices.
Finally – is there any instrument closer to pure human feeling than the Theremin? Uncanny. So let's begin with it:
The Attack-Decay-Sustain-Release Amplitude A-list Playlist:
Clara Rockmore - The Swan (by Saint-Saëns)
Rose Royce - Love Don’t Live Here Anymore
Tonto’s Expanding Headband - Timewhys
Harmonia - Watussi
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - The Gnome
Raymond Scott - Portofino
Yellow Magic Orchestra - Behind The Mask
Abba - SOS
Todd Rundgren - Flamingo
Curved Air - Back Street Luv
Conrad Schnitzler - Electric Garden
Brian Eno - St Elmo’s Fire
David Bowie - Neuköln
Delia Derbyshire - Doctor Who Theme
Vangelis - Création Du Monde
Suzanne Ciani - The Fifth Wave: Water Lullaby
The Boost/Cut Control B-List Playlist:
Afrika Bambaataa - Planet Rock
Al Massrieen - Hatgini Tani
Annette Peacock - I’m The One
Ashra - Sunrain
Tangerine Dream - Phaedra
Pierre Boulez - Repons : Section One
This Heat - Test Card
The Tornados - The Ice Cream Man
Louis & Bebe Barron - Battle With The Invisible Monster
Lenny White - Venusian Summer Suite Pt 2
Beaver & Krause - Legend Days Are Over
Kraftwerk - Tanzmusik
Jean-Jaques Perrey - Gossipo Perpetuo
Nirvana Uk - Rainbow Chaser
Roedelius - Geradewohl
Lipps Inc. - Funkytown
Note: The Hans-Joachim Roedelius track Geradewohl isn’t on YouTube so I substituted track one of the first of the Selbstportrait series which is all magnificent work.
Guru's Wildcard Pick:
What a complete joy this woman is. I saw her astonishing show United States 1-1V at London's Hammersmith in 1984 when she played a violin with a bow made from tape. She is occasionally pretentious – but I embrace these moments too. Brave, Brilliant, Inspiring.
It was a large room.
Full of people. All kinds
And they had all arrived at the same building
At more or less the same time
And they were all free.
And they were all Asking themselves the same question:
What is behind that curtain?
Laurie Anderson - Born, Never Asked
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: The art of noises: electronic music and songs up to 1983. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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Fancy a turn behind the pumps at The Song Bar? Care to choose a playlist from songs nominated and write something about it? Then feel free to contact The Song Bar here, or try the usual email address.