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