Boomkat Product Review:
The four compositions collected for this excellent disc were recorded between 1959 and 1966, which should give you some indication of just how deeply embedded in the history of electronic music Pauline Oliveros truly is.
The 1959 piece 'Time Perspectives' was Oliveros' very first venture into tape music, and it's a mightily impressive 'first stab', taking as its starting point the recording of small percussive events - chiefly the banging of objects against a wooden wall, only to be processed and remodelled in the most improvised and oddly homemade fashion: Oliveros would use cardboard tubes wrapped around the microphones as filters, converting her bathroom into a reverb chamber. Alterations in pitch and speed were then applied to the recordings, only to be subsequently edited into the beautiful twenty minute narrative documented here.
Although this first step into the domain of electronic sound was very much within the tradition of tape editing and splicing, later works would take on a real-time working method, patching oscillators directly into amplifiers and tape machines, as is the case on 1965's 'Mnemonics III'. The tape recorders are used as part of a delay loop, permitting improvisation and pitch adjustment as the signals feedback. A refinement of this technique can be found on 'V Of IV', recorded a year later at the University Of Toronto using a greater number of oscillators and a keyboard controller. There's a newfound crispness and precision present on this piece, and the particular kind of modulation Oliveros applies seems to transgress the more overtly analogue feel of the 'Mnemonics III' recording.
'Once Again' (1966) is another landmark, capturing one of the earliest examples of Oliveros' experimentation with a Buchla synthesizer. The starkness of this composition has more in common with contemporary noise musicians than it does with the conventional parameters of academic composition, and the wild, jittering signals feel far more unhinged and evolved than those early feedback excursions. Another terrific historical document from the unwaveringly marvellous Sub Rosa.