Canadian Electronic Ensemble – debut LP

Canadian Electronic Ensemble - debut LP front cover
Canadian Electronic Ensemble - debut LP back cover
Canadian Electronic Ensemble - debut LP side 1

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.

The Ensemble is still active today and maintains a web presence here.
I posted their 3rd LP before.

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


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11 Responses to “Canadian Electronic Ensemble – debut LP”

  1. 1 el hombre invisible February 9, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Thank you for this sensational stereophonic listening experience.

  2. 2 continuo February 9, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    I guess this kind of music would make a lot of sense on headphones, too.
    Thanks for your comment.

  3. 3 Marc Fontfreda February 11, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Just awesome ! , and not the faintest trace of a decent 2nd hand copy
    anywhere .

    Strange that a record like this, has not seen a proper reissue …


  4. 4 continuo February 11, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Maybe a Canadian label like ORAL will reissue some of the CEE releases, like they did with Sonde, also from the Music Gallery rooster of experimentalists.
    Thanks for your comment, Marc.

  5. 6 Brian February 16, 2012 at 7:42 am

    What a pleasure to see their 1st LP! I downloaded your previous posting and found myself longing for this album more than ever [I have this LP, but no functional turntable.] I can’t thank you enough, Continuo.


  6. 7 continuo February 16, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Note some readers would be interested if you could re-upload the LP you downloaded and send us a link.
    Thanks for your comment.

  7. 8 royalbobcat February 23, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Brian, Yes please for the re-up.
    Continuo, Thank you so much. I love this album. Many repeats of happy listening!

  8. 9 continuo February 23, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Glad you enjoyed.

  9. 10 Brian February 24, 2012 at 5:41 am

    I would like to help you with a re-upload, continuo, but I don’t know anything about the processes involved. I don’t belong to any social online site and have no experience with anything other than downloading: your typical aging senior citizen??!!! Perhaps if you can direct me to a “how to’ sort of resource I could learn.


  10. 11 continuo February 24, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Hi, Brian. I will post a step-by-step How To guide tomorrow on the blog explaining the uploading procedure. You will become a seasoned serial uploader in a minute! Note that, for the benefit of all, it will appear as a new post, not as a reply to your comment.

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