Pauline Oliveros

Pauline Oliveros: No Mo; Something Else; Bog Road

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No Mo is a collection of three early Pauline Oliveros pieces, the first two, No Mo and Something Else, were recorded at the University of Toronto in 1966 and Bog Road on a Buchla system at the Mills Tape Music Center in 1967. They reveal Oliveros as an electronic music pioneer in both a practical and an artistic sense; these works often find now-familiar electronic sounds in settings of uniquely Oliverine provenance, created in the near half-hour-long form she prefers, consisting of slowly evolving structures. The best of the three, Something Else, is unfortunately a fragment of only 14 minutes' duration. Oliveros establishes an eerie, static, slowly changing background with fractional foreground elements darting in and out of the landscape. In a psychological sense, Something Else is a very effective piece, capped off by a gist of sadness as the master tape skitters out of the playback -- there is no more to be heard.

Conversely, No Mo is more challenging to listen to as it is made up of some rather distorted, very high frequency sounds. A few minutes into it and your ears get accustomed to the piece, though it can be a rough ride for the opening. A little more subdued is the Buchla-generated Bog Road, which is enjoyable overall, although the concluding moments can't help sounding like a Space Invaders game. It's not Oliveros' fault that her vintage 1967 experimental creativity shares some commonality with mainstream noises from the future tense, but even though this is true it goes to demonstrate the sententiousness of her foresight.

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