Barry Truax ‘Sequence of Earlier Heaven’


01 East Wind – 1981 (11:14)
02 Nightwatch – 1982 (13:37)
03 Wave Edge – 1983 (9:27)
04 Solar Ellipse -1984-85 (10:55)

Total time 45:12
LP released on Cambridge Street Records, Canada, 1985

Like John Oswald, Canadian electro-acoustic music composer Barry Truax (b1947) studied with R. Murray Schafer and was a member of the latter’s World Soundscape Project, helping record soundscapes around the Vancouver area as early as 1973 and subsequently using sounds from this collection in his own compositions. Truax launched his own label, Cambridge Street Records in Vancouver, 1985. In 2004 he wrote an electro-acoustic opera ‘The Powers of Two’. Several features on ‘Sequence of Earlier Heaven’ sound familiar from other Canadian composers like Hildegard Westerkamp, Marvin Green, Albert Mayr or Gordon Monahan, namely the inclusion of the outdoor life inside the music, the nature inspiring structure and content, etc – arguably the acoustic ecology imprint left by Murray Schafer on his students. The 2 tracks on side A of this LP are based on processed sounds from acoustic instruments (recorder on A1 and marimba on A2), intertwined with the instrumentist’s live recording. Truax is a pioneer of live instruments real-time processing and it shows in the breathtaking level of musical integration reached in these pieces, as well as the attention to detail, the well balanced effects, the sound vs silence equilibrium and the calculated natural vs artificial balance. The music is deliberately ambiguous and most of the time you can’t tell the acoustic instrument from its artificial image. Surprisingly the 2 tracks on side B, pure computer/synthesizer compositions, reaches the same level of inner life mystery thanks to electronic sounds inspired by nature (waves and wind) and a way of composing that let the sounds breath by themselves, so to speak. Nothing is hurriedly delivered or pushed forward, everything happens at its own pace, so much so you would think Truax approaches the synthesizer as a sacred instrument.


6 Responses to “Barry Truax ‘Sequence of Earlier Heaven’”

  1. 1 Lucky January 28, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Thanks for this rare Barry Truax. He was, like R. Murray Schafer, teacher of John Oswald at the Simon Fraser University, Vancouver (see bio @

    It’s nice to be able to read the whole liner notes online!!

    Cheers ;)

  2. 2 continuo January 28, 2009 at 10:05 am

    In fact Oswald studied with both Truax and Murray Schafer. Thanks for your appreciation, Lucky.

  3. 3 rain January 29, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    tu a des choses sur dick raaijmakers ????


  4. 4 continuo January 29, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    Non, mais c’est disponible en CD.

  5. 5 bgb February 25, 2010 at 12:23 am

    Thank you for this Barry Truax. It will be nice to hear it again. Have you ever come across either of records he released on the Melbourne label? They would make a great posting.

  6. 6 continuo February 25, 2010 at 7:09 am

    I’m not familiar with the Melbourne label. If you can send mp3s along, I’d gladly make a post.

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