INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Mojo JULY 2000 - by Mark Paytress
OHM: THE EARLY GURUS OF ELECTRONIC MUSIC 1948-1980
From the extreme noise terror of MEV's ego-defying exercises in distortion to the painstaking sine wave calculations of La Monte Young, this well-assembled anthology contains more eggheads than you'd find at Humpty Dumpty's birthday party. "As music, some of it stands the test of time," insists Brian Eno in the deluxe one-hundred-page booklet. It hardly prompts sweaty anticipation, but then the sound of a drop of water manipulated electronically by someone who resembles a 1950s newsreader is never going to rival Sex Machine. Stockhausen, Reich, Xenakis et al might well be pioneers, but the reality is that these forty-two well-chosen 'early gurus' of electronic music remain outsiders today. Pierre Schaeffer's 1940s studio-based experiments anticipate sampling, but his sonic collages are hardly Fatboy Slim. Terry Riley's Poppy Nogood took repetition to new heights, though it's hardly the stuff of Trance Anthems 3. Yes, electronic rhythms and sound manipulation have transformed music during the past two decades, but this set - at times infuriating, more often jaw-droppingly remarkable - largely chronicles the sounds and ideas that got away. No dancing shoes required.