Following Stockhausen, one could say the music of Canadian Electronic Ensemble is Intuitive Music for vintage synthesizers, in as much as their music is the fruit of a collective process, their discs always recorded live, and their works always retaining something of a living organism where the keyboard player is akin to a gardener looking over blooming electronic flowers. If the San Franciscan avantgarde championed by Source Magazine heralded the mutation of the composer into a technician ca.1965, as early as 1971 – the year it was created–, the CEE foresaw the new role of the “interpret” as a helper, tending the new music in its cradle. For David Grimes, David Jaeger, Larry Lake and James Montgomery, “composing” did not necessarily imply a pre-conceived idea of what music would sound like. As a consequence, their music shunned facile electronic manifestos and de-humanized processes where the machine would took over the human. Instead of the ubiquitous, embalmed-in-amber tape music of the 1970s, they created live electronic music which was allowed a life of its own, a kind of organic electronic music, perhaps. Most importantly, they did not summon the electronics to sound radical and make themselves look cool.
♫ On their first, self-titled LP, issued by Music Gallery Editions in 1977, the Ensemble collected astonishing tracks of live electronic music created with an army of vintage synthesizers and a few acoustic instruments like reeds and piano. The music develops almost organically throughout, a bit like new branches growing on a stem, and new buds appearing on the branches. Instead of the conventional role of a chamber music ensemble member, each member of the CEE is asked to help the music develop with a minimum of intrusion and carefully, sparingly chosen sounds. As a result, this exceptional record doesn’t sound like 35 years old.
01 Arnold (26:40)
02 Whale Oil (10:02)
03 Piano Quintet (10:10)
David Grimes, EMS Synthi A, Roland Sh-5, Dyna-soar, trombone
David Jaeger, EMS Synthi A, Arp Odyssey
Larry Lake, EMS Synthi A, trumpet
Jim Montgomery, EMS Synthi A, Arp Odyssey, Dyna-soar, ping-pong balls, piano, French horn
Karen Kieser, piano (#3)
Total time 46:52
LP released by Music Gallery Edition, ref. MGE 8, Toronto, Canada, 1977