Boomkat Product Review:
Don Preston is best known as the keyboardist in Frank Zappa's The Mothers Of Invention, contributing heavily throughout their career beside an uncredited appearance on Captain Beefheart's legendary 'Trout Mask Replica'. 'Filters, Oscillators & Envelopes 1967-82' collects his earliest, exploratory solo recordings made with homebuilt synthesizers, and also covers a number of compositions from 1975 and one longform piece from 1982. Around the time of his first piece, the abstract, freeform 15 minute composition 'Electronic Music', Preston had already been listening intently to, and absorbing the ideas of, Luciano Berio, Luigi Nono, and Tod Dockstader, besides attending concerts by Stockhausen and Cage. With a set-up consisting of an RMI keyboard, a 30" Paiste gong and a homemade synthesizer using 40 oscillators, 6 filters, a Theremin and an Echoplex tape echo machine, he created a largely minimal, otherworldly swarm of tones, jazzy blurts and squirming rhythms which sounds very much of its time. By 1975 he had struck up a close friendship with Robert Moog, and Louis and Bebe Barron, and the seven pieces included from this period are also the most intriguing, ranging from eerie cosmic minimalism to brooding drones and inquisitive alien atmospheres displaying an increasing aptitude and mastery of his equipment. The twenty minute improvisation 'Fred & Me' from 1982 completes the set with assistance from drummer Fred Stofflet, whose sensitive contributions patiently lurk among the jazz-wise but deeply reserved scapes created by Preston.