Boomkat Product Review:
The 1956 soundtrack to sci-fi classic 'Forbidden Planet' is possibly one of the best known, yet least owned pieces of tape music in history. It's definitively evocative 'electronic tonalities' were crafted by husband/wife duo Louis and Bebe Barron using the earliest tape recording techniques. Louis, a playwright, and Bebe, a researcher for Life magazine had gained some experience with tape through an early Telefunken model given by a German friend as a wedding present. When the couple moved to New York's artistic haven, Greenwich Village around 1950 they encountered John Cage who commissioned them and their tape machine to work with him and David Tudor, resulting one year later in Cage's Williams Mix, a four minute composition comprised from spliced fragments of over 600 recordings. Because they were one of a very select few to own such equipment at the time, their studio was frequently visited by the likes of Pierre Boulez, Stockhausen, and Edgard Varèse, while their writing connection also lead to them making spoken-word recordings of Anais Nin, Henry Miller, Aldous Huxley and Tennessee Williams. Commissions for IBM and Ford followed, before a meeting with MGM's Dore Schary lead to the creation of the 'Forbidden Planet' soundtrack, which at the time was considered by John Cage to be "disgustingly orchestral and musical" and ironically not even recognised as music by the Musicians' Union who decreed it be credited as "Electronic Tonalities". At the time, MGM didn't even release the original soundtrack, instead opting for an orchestrated version of the theme by the David Rose Orchestra, which begs the question what may have come if the general public at large were able to own a copy of the fantastical sounds they had just been exposed to at the cinema, and what this may have inspired from them, and Louis and Bebe Barron? Aside from a slight pressing fault at the start of Side B in 'Krell Shuttle Ride and Power Station', the mastering and sound recreation by Norman Blake is faithful and near flawless, enhancing what is surely one of the most essential purchases for fans of electronic music.