The first volume of this series stirred up some controversy, but the second installment, by remaining true to the same direction, strengthens compiler Guy Marc Hinant's position. Now listeners have a wider angle and can see how inclusive the aim of the series is and how these CDs should be approached the same way one approaches a radio program that has been carefully put together. Eclecticism and innovation are the key words to understand this incredibly varied list of artists. Disc one focuses more on the academic side of electronic music, although many names, like Luc Ferrari, Tod Dockstader, Daphne Oram, and Johanna M. Beyer are academic mavericks at the very least. A short tape piece by Vladimir Ussachevsky and Otto Luening introduces a generous segment of pre-'70s music. Beyer's "Music of the Spheres," composed in 1938 for electric instruments, is the find of the whole set. Slipped among these tracks are brand new pieces by Dockstader and Scanner. Disc two turns to the techno and noise scenes, starting with Autechre and two cuts from the Bass Drop Network label. A delicate drone piece by David Lee Myers (aka Arcane Device) introduces a noise segment featuring Laibach (an early piece from 1982) and SPK. Percy Grainger's short "Free Music No. 1" (for four theremins) leads to two bands that used to make a lot of noise on stage: Sun Ra & the Arkestra (a track from Nothing Is..., 1965) and Captain Beefheart. The latter is an excerpt from a live performance at the Amougies Festival (Belgium) in 1969 and is presented in audio format on the CD and as video footage on an enhanced portion of the disc. Fans of experimental music will find a few unearthed treasures here. Newcomers and curious minds will be overwhelmed by the number of doors this collection opens.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2