Electronic music composer James Dashow, born Chicago, 1944, studied with Milton Babbitt, James K. Randall and Earl Kim at Princeton University; and with Arthur Berger and Seymour Shifrin at Brandeis University. Dashow relocated in Italy around 1975 and settled in Roma, where he became director of the Studio di Musica Elettronica Sciadoni. He co-founded the Centro di Sonologia Computazionale (C.S.C.) at the University of Padova, where composers like Demetrio Stratos, Mauro Graziani and Teresa Rampazzi were also working in the late 1970s-early 1980s. Dashow has been a pioneer of computer assisted music since the early 1970s ; he developed the MUSIC 30 language ; he created the Dyad System for the integration of live instruments and electronic sounds (1975-85) ; he pioneered multi-channel compositions from quadra-phonic to… octophonic ; he taught at MIT, Princeton and Centro para la Difusion di Musica Contemporanea, Madrid. For years, Dashow also ran a contemporary music program on RAI national radio.
♫ Published in 1982 by Italian contemporary music label Edi-Pan, this disc of Musica Elettronica presents three of James Dashow’s works for electronic and computer-generated sounds. Created in the studios of the C.S.C. at University of Padova in 1980, Conditional Assemblies uses the MUSIC 360 program running on one of the University’s IBM computers. This vast electronic composition invites the listener in a virtual, unlimited aural landscape where gravity is abolished and sounds seem to float around in mid air along electromagnetic breezes and supernatural winds. Focusing on quasi-organic sonic events, free from any dramatic contrast, artificial repetition or demonstrative gesture, the programming remarkably suggests autonomous life lying in these computer sounds. Proof of its immersive intentions, Conditional Assemblies was originally conceived for quadraphonic diffusion. Composed in 1978 in Roma’s Studio Sciadoni, Partial Distances blends computer sounds recorded at C.S.C. with ‘traditional’ studio treatment like ring modulation or AM/FM synthesis. This tape composition deploys a rich palette of sounds resplendent with shimmering nuances yet, here again, refrains from being demonstrative. In his liner notes, the composer says the piece is divided in 4 parts, but it’s actually quite hard to spot the different sections as the music continuously evolves or morphs on itself. The oldest piece here, Effetti Collaterali, was composed 1976, immediately after Shadow’s arrival in Italy and uses the Music4BF program originally developed at Princeton University, a FORTRAN language program derived from Max Matthews’ Music4. Neither dialog nor duet, the music confronts authoritative electronic sounds with the clarinet’s serene and playful notes. This was one of the first compositions where Dashow introduced his Dyad generating system based on pitch pairs used to develop the sounds synthesis. There’s an article explaining the complex mathematics of Dyads on Dashow’s official website.
- Effetti Collaterali (10:27)
Philip Rehfeldt, clarinet
- Partial Distances (16:37)
- Conditional Assemblies (19:55)
Total time 47:00
LP released by Edi-Pan, Roma, Italy, 1982