Boomkat Product Review:
First vinyl reissue of Pauline Oliveros’ 1984 minimalist masterwork, a sibling to ‘Accordion & Voice’, and exemplary of her holistic acoustic magick in effect.
For heads, and bodies, ‘The Wanderer’ is a wholly immersive recording of Oliveros’ unique, accordion drone music exploring microtonal integers of the harmonic spectrum. It was first dispensed by the legendary Lovely Music, Inc. and original LP copies now, perhaps understandably, trade for triple figures on the 2nd hand market. This newly cut edition is pressed for optimal fidelity representing one of her best known and beloved performances, likely to beggar the belief of fresh ears to her instrument’s ability to generate sumptuously rich, sustained harmonies and, equally, sharp cuts and rhythms that feel almost electronic.
At no disservice to the intriguing appeal of its jagged, modal title piece collapsing aspects of folk jigs and reels with batacudas, Bulgars, klezmer forms and Cajun dances, the record is really most impressive for its B-side ‘Horse Sings From Cloud’. Written in 1975, and also found in a solo performance on the ‘Accordion & Voice’ LP, this time ‘Horse Sings From Cloud’ is performed by an ensemble including Oliveros on bandoneon, plus Heloise Gold on Harmonium, Julia Haines on accordion, and Linda Montano on concertina.
Playing according (pun intended) to the score’s instruction “Sustain a tone or sound until any desire to change it disappears. When there is no longer any desire to change the tone or sound, then change it.” the players yield a stunning airborne play of swooping avian dynamics and naturally windswept reeds that revel in the microtonal differences of the instruments, before erupting into a gloriously wild sort of folk dance that needs to be heard to be believed.