The Avant Garde Project is a series of 20th-century classical-experimental-electroacoustic torrents digitized from LPs whose music has in most cases never been released on CD, and so is effectively inaccessible to the vast majority of music listeners today. This is wild stuff, so check it out if you've never heard this sort of music before. The analog rig used to extract the sound from the grooves is near state-of-the-art, producing almost none of the tracking distortion or surface noise normally associated with LPs.
AGP1-111 are now available for direct download in the archive at www.avantgardeproject.org
AGP112-114 and other recent AGP installments are also available at http://thepiratebay.org/user/loudav
AGP115 is the first of two devoted to the French theorist, pedagogue, and composer Claude Ballif, who died just four years ago. Ballif's theoretical work centered around what he called 'metatonality'--a scale containing eleven of the twelve notes of the chromatic scale, where the missing note preserves an element of tonality. This sounds a bit like Stefan Wolpe's tone rows having greater or fewer than twelve notes, but that may be only a superficial comparison. Nor can I claim myself to hear the metatonal structure in Ballif's works transcribed for these installments.
This week's installment features Un coup de dés (1981), for five choirs, two double basses, two percussionists, two kettledrums, and electronic tape. It is, as described in the LP liner notes, "essentially grave, still music." The choral textures remind me of Penderecki's great sacred works, of Ligeti's Requiem, and perhaps a bit of Tibetan Buddhist chants.
The LP transcribed is in excellent condition, with very little surface or pressing noise, but there is some tracking distortion in the last two minutes or so of each LP side that produces a mildly annoying static sound in the louder passages. I tried fiddling with the cartridge tracking force without much effect. The torrent includes a PDF file with scans of the liner notes of the two LPs transcribed for this installment as well as next week's.
01 - Un coup de dés, side A [27:43]
02 - Un coup de dés, side A [24:24]
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.
NOTE: To the best of my knowledge, this recording is currently out of print. If you know otherwise, please let me know ASAP, as I do not wish any artists to be deprived of the royalties that they so richly deserve.