Various Artists - Stockholm Elektronmusikfestival (LP Fylkingen)
A document released to mark the fourth annual Electronic Music Festival, this one in October 1982 at Stockholm's 'Culture House.'
The five composers here span a fairly wide and representative cross-section of Sweden's highly regarded tape/electronics world. The emphasis (if there is one) is on tight composition and detail. No lapsing into harshness, just a studied use of sounds.
In 1976 Stanley Haynes performed a work entitled 'Pyramids' which combined piano and electronics. He revisits the work with the track on here 'Prisms for Piano and Tape' where he plays back piano performances on tape and has a live pianist Kristine Scholz accompanying it. This combination of tape, piano, and unreliable memory (things change every time we remember them) forms into a hugely enjoyable plink plonk composition. It's very 'present' and thankfully lacks in even the slightest sense of processing although it's obviously there in the form of tape.
Anders Hillborg's 'Rite of Passage' is an altogether more fulsome affair despite being his first foray into electronic composition. It makes sense that he's better known for his choral and orchestral work. It has that density to it. Glides turn into roars.
Ingvar Karkoff goes all out for the processing model, electronic skitter, shudder, convulse and shatter. Very much in keeping with his early years of study with counterpoint. Multi layered and complex, there is rapid movement to all the layers but always composed and controlled.
Estonian born Ilmar Laaban was a sound poet who made his mark in Sweden. As a lecturer at Stockholm University and a member of the International Association of Art Critics, I'm guessing his approach to sound poetry was more academically based than improvised. I have no idea but the results are visceral and break linguistic progression and then promptly reassemble it. In 'Chien d'Absolu' there are two voices, one fore, one behind. No idea what he's saying but it's insistent and enthralling.
If there is anything that lets the all too brief album down it's the closing track 'Hypothetical Moments' by Charles Amirkhanian. Maybe it's because it's in English and lacks the simple pleasure of exoticism that the other tracks have, but it's dull, coming across as one of those bloody annoying 'ironic' poetry readings with sound effects loitering in the background. Tsk.
Excellent quality pressing and a fine little album despite the last track. HM