Released 1980, this 2xLP demonstrates electronic music and musique concrète with the help and examples from composers working at U.T.’s Electronic Music Studio. The latter is not so well documented as Columbia-Princeton, Bell Lab, Mills College or San Francisco’s Tape Music Center, so the whole set is a welcome contribution to our knowledge of US university-funded studios.
Each composer introduces the studio techniques used in his/her composition, often demonstrating the way it works with examples. Usually the entire piece, or a significant excerpt, will be heard next to the demonstration. Style ranges from musique concrète and processed acoustic sounds to electronically generated sounds and sequencer (the Synthi-256 Digital Sequencer, in some cases). The sound effects explained include ring modulator, enveloppe generator, phase-shifter, tape delays, etc.
The educational merits of such a project are indubitable, and there’s nothing too esoteric in the speeches here, but the downside is that, at some point, electronic music becomes a matter of tweaking the knobs, which is oversimplifying things a bit, even if some of the music here is rather elaborated.