The Avant Garde Project is an effort to make available some of my favorite pieces of experimental music from the late 20th century. The extremist intellectual climate of that time gave birth to some of the wildest and most challenging sound combinations that human artistry has ever conceived. The pieces selected for this project were released on LP but have never been released on CD, and so they are effectively inaccessible to the vast majority of music listeners today. Using an analog rig and pre-amplification that is near state-of-the-art, I am able to extract the sound from the grooves with almost none of the surface noise and tracking distortion normally associated with LPs.
I am hoping you will find this material as fascinating and beautiful as I do. If you find any value in your downloads, I ask you please to seed them yourself for as long as possible, so they will continue to be available to other people. Earlier AGP torrents are still being seeded through the generosity of other downloaders, so check them out if you haven't already. A search for "avant garde project" on thepiratebay.org or mininova.org will direct you to them. I'm seeding the earlier torrents as often as I can, though not during the first 24 hours of a new AGP offering, so I can get the new one going as quickly as possible.
At the moment, new AGP torrents are coming out every Friday (Saturday in Europe and Asia), and are advertised at http://bagatellen.com/ihatemusic/viewforum.php?f=4
The ninth AGP torrent features the work of Ben Johnston, who was born in 1926 and studied with Harry Partch, Darius Milhaud, and John Cage. Johnston is best known for his microtonal compositions, based on overtone series to produce pure intervals relative to each note of the octave. The first two pieces in this torrent are selected from his later microtonal compositions, using an extended overtone series and thus a greater diversity of intervals. The first is his sixth string quartet and the second is a choral piece with texts by Gerard Manley Hopkins, sung by the Swingle Singers. The sound of pure and microtonal intervals using voices is really quite striking. The third and fourth pieces are the two parts (with the LP flip in between) of an indeterminate composition that emerged from a collaboration with The New Verbal Workshop, with Johnston participating as a member. This piece of sound poetry is one of Johnston's non-microtonal works.
The recordings that comprise this torrent are from two CRI LPs (CRI SD 497 and CRI SD 515), and exhaust the out-of-print Johnston compositions that I could find in my stacks. A number of Johnston's other string quartets are in print, as are a set of pieces for microtonal piano. The text file included in the torrent contains the liner notes from both LPs.
Equipment used for A/D conversion: Lyra Helikon phono cartridge, Linn LP12/Lingo turntable, Linn Ittok tonearm, Audioquest Leopard tonearm cable, PS Audio PS2 preamplifier, Kimber PBJ interconnect, M-Audio Audiophile USB A/D converter.
01 - String Quartet no. 6 [21:41]
02 - Sonnets of Desolation [10:50]
03 - Visions and Spels, side 1 [10:00]
04 - Visions and Spels, side 2 [16:53]
NOTE: To the best of my knowledge, these recordings are currently out of print. If you know otherwise, please let me know ASAP, as I do not wish to deprive any artists of their much-deserved royalties (however small).