Various Artists

OR, Some Computer Music, Vol. 2

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Or Some Computer Music introduces itself as a self-contained computer music audio magazine. This second installment presents eight pieces by as many artists active in the fields of computer music, sound art, and electro-acoustics. The accompanying booklet is filled with esoteric schematics and technical verbiage (at least for the non-initiate), but remains very quiet when it comes to useful information -- forget about finding out who Tom Wallace is or how Jim O'Rourke created "Like Urine Loves Cold Slate." Compilation albums come and go, and this one, by attempting to provide a representation of the current developments in computer music, will soon feel dated. But some of these works in progress are truly worth hearing. Atau Tanaka and Eric Wenger's collaboration, "Bondage," is based on photographs by Nobuyoshi Araki scanned, analyzed, and transformed into sonograms. This version of the work is more ethereal, complex, abstract, and overall satisfying than the beat-driven one Tanaka contributed to Bip-Hop Generation, Vol. 3. The other highlight is Phoenicia's "Non-Specific Acoustic Stimulation," a piece of musique concrète rather traditional in form but very well composed. To counterbalance these composition-oriented pieces, you have two excerpts from a live performance by Farmers Manual -- not its best, but still a worthy effort, especially "Shgreeshykt (Live.XCRPT), Pt. 1" (which incidentally comes in second).

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