Morton Subotnick

Morton Subotnick: Sidewinder; Until Spring

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Due to wide critical acclaim for his groundbreaking Silver Apples of the Moon (1967) and The Wild Bull (1968), Morton Subotnick became the most publicized composer of electronic music in the early '70s. Using Donald Buchla's Electronic Music Box -- a rudimentary but versatile synthesizer -- Subotnick continued to create sound sculptures along the lines of his earlier works, but with greater subtlety and with the heightened effects of quadraphonic recording. Sidewinder (1970) bears the strongest resemblance to Silver Apples since it employs many of the same electronic sounds and follows a similar episodic sequence. The rattlesnake effects of the opening recur in various guises throughout; and the ensuing drones, clicks, beeps, flutters, and ethereal wisps of sound are suggestive of music floating in space, moving along the imaginary orbits of Subotnick's "virtual grooves." Until Spring (1975) is less concerned with novel sound production and cosmic cycles, and more about the transformation of small gestures over time. There is a strong rhythmic current of pizzicato-like flurries and twittering noises, moving in and out of phase, all apparently derived from what Subotnick describes as an "emergent moment." For this Mode release, Subotnick's four-channel works have been digitally remastered and mixed into surround-sound versions, which are extremely effective, even on a modest stereo system.

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