Electronic Art Ensemble – Inquietude

Electronic Art Ensemble - Inquietude LP front cover
Electronic Art Ensemble - Inquietude LP back cover
Electronic Art Ensemble - Inquietude LP side 1

New York experimental music collective Electronic Art Ensemble was founded by Gregory Kramer and Clive Smith around 1980. The two had met at NYU where they both got their M.A. in Composition in 1978. In the mid-1970s, Kramer was performing solo behind a battery of analog synthesizers and oscillators as Electric Music Mobile. He later collaborated with Robert Moog on the development of new instruments and was a Buchla synthesizers representative (Moog contributes liner notes to this LP). In 1977, Kramer founded non-profit art organization Harvestworks, who later contributed to the birth of the Tellus audio cassette magazine. A member of Conversion band, trumpet player Clive Smith managed Studio PASS from 1977 to 1983. Other members of the EAE were film music composer Stephen Horelick (who composed the music of horror movie Madman, 1982, and the Reading Rainbow TV series, 1983), and Russel Dorwart. The EAE quartet toured extensively throughout the northeastern United States and Canada during their lifetime (e.g. Presott Park Arts Festival, Portsmouth, NH, 1981 ; Experimental Television Center, Buffalo, 1982 ; Plexus Performance Space, NYC, 1983).

Unlike the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, the Electronic Art Ensemble weren’t focusing on synthesizers, but rather on electronic means to process various instruments including guitar, trumpet or prerecorded tapes in addition to synthesizers. The role of sound engineer Russel Dorwart seems key in this respect, and he might be credited for the great originality of the ensemble, which is to sound like a real band with interplay between players, to the extent where everything sounds live, even drum machines (cf. beginning of tr.#3). The LP doesn’t claim to be a live recording, yet is sounds as such, thanks to dynamic, not-too-polished level controls, unexpected live interventions or simply soloing instrumentalists responding to each other. Obviously intended as a manifest, the opening track starts with this most shocking thing in the context of avantgarde: a guitar solo! This highly hybridized music also involves fine tape manipulation and sound processing, regular synthesizer chords playing, or musique concrète sounds (onomatopeia, cats). At times, I am reminded Joel Haertling’s intermedia and electroacoustic music project Architect’s Office. Another point of comparison would be French INA-GRM’s Trio Electroacoustique. But I can’t say I came across many examples of this kind of music, especially as early as 1982.

01 Three Bursts Set Out (9:14)
02 Inquietude 2 (2:56)
03 Sentences (With Interruptions) (6:20)
04 Inquietude (3:04)
05 Cauldron (8:08)
06 Hudson (6:30)

Gregory Kramer, synthesizers, elec. organ, piano, voice, percussion
Clive Smith, electric guitar and bass, trumpet, tapes, processing
Russel Dorwart, sound engineer, mix, electronics, tapes
Stephen Horelick, synthesizers, drum computers, processing

Total time 36:15
LP released by Gramavision, New York, 1982


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9 Responses to “Electronic Art Ensemble – Inquietude”

  1. 2 Kenny May 28, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Thank you so much! Been looking for this for decades, literally, for decades. (Actually, I never actively searched for it. I heard it way back then on WKCR, New York, and always wanted it, but it faded from memory. And now here it is. Thanks for the pleasure of this rediscovery!

  2. 3 continuo May 28, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    The Electronic Art Ensemble apparently escaped many radars in the last 30 years. The Ensemble is not mentioned in the ElectroAcoustic Improvised music article on Wikipedia. On the other hand, Gregory Kramer and Clive Smith started the recording organization/facilities paving the way to the Tellus Tapes, though, regrettably, they’re not even mentioned on the Harvestworks website. Glad you didn’t forget this band, Kenny.

  3. 4 marcelo May 30, 2012 at 2:32 am

    caro moderador o link rodolfo caesar a arte dos sons encontra se vencido um forte abraço !

  4. 5 royalbobcat June 1, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Continuo, just had to thank you for this one. A real discovery for me. Looks ECM-ish but the music is so much better! Really enjoyed it. Can’t wait to hear Allen Ginsberg next (downloading . .)

  5. 6 continuo June 1, 2012 at 8:47 am

    I also thought the cover art was insipid, but luckily the music is more lively and original. Thanks for your comment.

  6. 7 Palix June 7, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Bravo for your blog that i follow for years…
    for info : the famous and historical magazine “Synapse” around electronic music is now online (via my own blog which could interrest you):
    best wishes from Paris

  7. 8 continuo June 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Hi, Jean-Jacques. I already made a post about Synapse on my other blog, as well as a minimix. The magazine is indeed a great resource.
    Pleased to know you read my blog. I’m subscribing to yours, which is new to me. Thanks for your comment.

  8. 9 Gregory Kramer January 6, 2015 at 4:38 am

    Good to see this album receiving a bit of life on the web.

    FYI, “Inquietude” was essentially recorded live in my studio in Cold Spring, NY, with only modest additions to the tracks after the fact. And but for Clive’s guitar and trumpet and some of my processed voice and hand percussion, it was all synthesized sound. I loved playing with Steve and Clive, and when Russ joined EAE a couple of years before this recording was made, there was a noted increase in audio quality in our performances.

    And, yes, I co-founded, with Gerald Lindahl, Harvestworks-Studio PASS, and Clive was one of our first studio directors.

    It’d be nice to see EAE get together again for a new project.

    Gregory Kramer

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