Founded in Toronto in 1971 by David Grimes, David Jaeger, Larry Lake and James Montgomery, the Canadian Electronic Ensemble plays live electronic music with occasional guest musicians on acoustic instruments. Since 1974, the CEE organize an annual music festival with visiting composers and performers and have been touring abroad extensively since the mid-1970s. The CEE’s first LP appeared on Music Gallery in 1977.
♫ This 1981 Centredisc LP was their 3rd release and features a purely electronic collective composition on side A and a piece for voice and electronics on the flip. A distinct feature of the CEE compared with regular, studio electroacoustic compositions is the obvious live and semi-improvised aspect of the music. Sounds enter and disappear with a pace of their own, sometimes slightly out of synch with the rest of the proceedings, but always contributing to a living sonic organism of sorts, not unlike other Music Gallery projects like The Glass Orchestra, for instance. While the Ensemble uses purely electronic sounds sourced from EMS Synthi A, ARP Odissey and Roland SH-5 synthesizers, plus self-build electronic devices and ring modulator, their music has a chamber-like quality which is rather unique in the field. In Chaconne à son goût (hard to translate pun), deep, powerful electronic drones are contrasted with delicate synth loops and textures emerging from the sonic continuum. In All Wounds, the surreal voice of soprano Billie Bridgman with pianist Karen Kieser sends the music into dreamlike soundscapes with echoes of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande opera.
Note: my copy of this disc comes with Braille system insert sheet and inside cover sticker, pictured above.
01 Chaconne à son goût (17:30)
02 All Wounds (14:25)
Total time 31:55
LP released by Centrediscs, Canada, 1981
Canadian Electronic Ensemble selected discography:
1977 s/t LP, Music Gallery Editions, MGE 8
1978 w/ James Campbell and John York, LP, Radio Canada International’s Transcription series, RCI 484
1981 s/t LP, CentreDiscs, CMC 1
1983 The Electronic Messiah, with the Elmer Iseler Singers, LP, Moss Music Group, D-MMG 113