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.
Most AGP torrents are still available through the generosity of other downloaders, and if you like what you hear, please seed them yourself for as long as you can. A search for "avant garde project" will turn them up. Ignore the seeders/leechers statistics, as they often show no seeders when in fact there are some. For the time being, a new AGP torrent is being seeded around midnight each Friday night (GMT), and is advertised on the I Hate Music Forum.
AGP18 features three of John Cage's indeterminate works. All of these works are available on CD in other recordings, but Cage's scores are so open-ended that each performance of one of these works is in many respects a unique composition. The recording of Variations II that is currently available on CD is performed by a chamber ensemble, while the version in this torrent involves David Tudor using the various parts of a piano to make sound, amplified by contact microphones and phonograph cartridges. The sounds that are produced resemble electroacoustic music more than a piano. 27'10.554" for a Percussionist calls for sounds made by four categories of instruments: metals, woods, skins, and "all others". In the recording included in this torrent, Donald Knaack uses a range of new and altered percussion instruments, and the sounds in his "all others" category come from a Moog Percussion Trigger. BTW, this is an exceptionally detailed and intimate recording of percussion instruments. The recordings of 26'1.1499" for a String Player that are available on CD are played on cello, while the one included in this torrent is played by Bertram Turetzky on contrabass. In keeping with one of Cage's suggestions, Turetzky overlaps parts of the score so that he plays the entire work in just over 16 minutes. The included text file contains the LP liner notes pertaining to these three performances.
The LPs from which these recordings were transcribed are in excellent condition but do of course have some low-level pressing noise. This is epecially audible in 27'10.554" because that work includes periods of silence, in keeping with John Cage's fascination with the relationship between sound and silence. Since one of Cage's points was that complete silence is never possible (even, he found, in soundproof rooms in recording studios), I think he would appreciate the interaction between the light pressing noise of the LP and the recorded sounds of the percussionist.
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 - Variations II [26:18]
02 - 27'10.554" for a Percussionist, side 1 [6:10]
03 - 27'10.554" for a Percussionist, side 2 [21:00]
04 - 26'1.1499" for a String Player [16:18]
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).