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Expanding Universe


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Audio CD, September 25, 2012
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 25, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Unseen Worlds Records
  • ASIN: B008OHV6YU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,070 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Patchwork
2. Old Wave
3. Pentachrome
4. A Folk Study
5. Drums
6. Appalachian Grove I
7. Appalachian Grove II
8. Appalachian Grove III
9. The Expanding Universe
10. East River Dawn
11. The Unquestioned Answer
12. The Orient Express
13. Clockworks
14. Dirge Part I
15. Dirge Part II
16. Music for Dance Part I
17. Music for Dance Part II
18. Kepler's Harmony of the Worlds
19. Wandering in Our Times

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Expanding Universe is the classic 1980 debut album by composer and
computer music pioneer Laurie Spiegel. The album is reissued here for
the first time in a massively expanded two-CD set, containing all four original
album tracks plus an additional 15 tracks from the same period, nearly all
previously unreleased! The track Kepler s Harmony of the Worlds is one
of the tracks on the Golden Record included onboard the Voyager I
space mission!

Review

Laurie Spiegel is one of those rare composers in whom head and heart, left brain
and right brain, logic and intuition, merge and even exchange roles. --Kyle Gann

An underground legend ... Countless synthesizer-driven acts in Brooklyn are,
right this very second, criminally unaware of the debt they owe her. --Slate

An underground legend ... Countless synthesizer-driven acts in Brooklyn are,
right this very second, criminally unaware of the debt they owe her. --Slate

An underground legend ... Countless synthesizer-driven acts in Brooklyn are,
right this very second, criminally unaware of the debt they owe her. --Slate

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
90%
4 star
10%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 10 customer reviews
Some amazing compositions of early electronic music.
Zack
I really enjoy the more 'minimalist' tracks, the sounds are thick and luscious, and the music holds up well.
Z. Lovitch
Highly recommended for anyone interested in electronic music.
James Combs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jokie X Wilson on October 26, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I originally found out about Laurie Spiegel's work from the original LP version of what is now New Music For Electronic & Recorded Media: Women In Electronic Music -1977. I enjoyed "Appalachian Grove" very much. In later years, I collected Unseen Worlds and Obsolete Systems, as well as some other titles. But I had missed the original LP version of this CD. I am so happy to be able to add this to my collection now! Apparently, part of what sparked interest in this project was the success of the film, The Hunger Games [2-Disc DVD + Ultra-Violet Digital Copy], in which Laurie's piece, "Sediment" appears, which can be found only on the An Anthology of Noise & Electronic Music, Fourth A-Chronology, 1937-2005 CD. Now, the track listing has been greatly expanded from the original four compositions on the LP to two CD disks and nineteen tracks! There are over 2 1/2 hours of music now!

The music is pleasantly melodic and never particularly mechanical-sounding. It works well both as primary music and ambient or chill music. It is mostly upbeat and cheery, while never becoming syrupy. It is great for meditation or making art. It relaxes and relieves stress while exciting the imagination. Even though the original album was released in 1980, it has a rather contemporary feel.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Max T. Shea on May 9, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Spiegel is a composer with a computer scientist's mind and a folk singer's heart. Indeed, she plays the banjo as well, and her famous work "Appalachian Grove" was conceived while performing with hillbilly bands at barn dances on an excursion through the mountain range bearing its name. The original LP was released on Philo in 1980 when there was some notion going around that electronic music was an American folk form. Folkways also released a few electronic music records.

The double CD version features the original LP plus over an hour's worth of archival material from her years at Bell Labs in the 1970s. Spiegel manages to be folksy and catchy with pieces such as Patchwork, A Folk Study, Appalachian Grove, and East River Dawn without being New Agey or twee. She also masters intensive electronic atmospheres on composition such as Wandering in Our Time, The Expanding Universe, and Orient Express while avoiding the pitfalls of spacy ambient noodling.

Be quite certain, this is not electronica, this is not chill-out, and it is not glitchy stuff kids make with laptops. Spiegel is a true pioneer in computer music from her work at Bell Labs with Max Mathews to her development of the Music Mouse in the 1980s. I also recommend "Unseen Worlds" and "Obsolete Systems," both of which present a host of Spiegel's wonderful music without repetition of material presented here. Drums, a piece inspired by West African percussion music, appears on both "Obsolete Systems" and on the "Expanding Universe" double CD, but you can't hear that one too many times!

I have one major complaint about "Expanding Universe" and it is not the music, it is the atrocious artwork.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. Nicholson on November 24, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a legendary album, I used to have it on original vinyl but it had gone missing over the years so I was happy to reacquire it on CD. These tracks are surprisingly contemporary sounding even though done in the 1970s with big, clunky computers and reel to reel tape. Fans of Electronic New Music from that era need no introduction to Laurie Spiegel - those that are new to her and like experimental "New" Music will be in for a treat.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James Combs on November 25, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Laurie has been a long time favorite and this re-release is exquisite! Highly recommended for anyone interested in electronic music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Zack on November 24, 2012
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Some amazing compositions of early electronic music. Perfect to listen to while pondering the limitless expanse of the cosmos. Obvious influence for many current electronic groups
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