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Ohm: Early Gurus of Electronic Music [Box set]

Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky , Olivier Messiaen , Pierre Schaeffer , John [1] Cage , Herbert / Beyer, Robert Eimert , Otto Luening , Hugh Le Caine , Louis and Bebe Barron , Oskar Sala , Edgard Varese , Richard Maxfield , Tod Dockstader , Karlheinz Stockhausen , Vladimir Ussachevsky , Milton Babbitt , Musica Elettronica Viva , Raymond [Jazz] Scott , Steve Reich , Pauline Oliveros , Joji Yuasa , Morton Subotnick , David Tudor , Terry Riley , Holger Czukay , Luc Ferrari , Francois Bayle , Jean-Claude Risset , Iannis Xenakis , La Monte Young , Charles Dodge , Paul Lansky , Laurie Spiegel , Bernard Parmegiani , David Behrman , John [1] Chowning , Maryanne Amacher , Robert Ashley , Alvin Curran , Alvin Lucier , Klaus [1] Schulze , Jon [Trumpet] Hassell , Brian Eno , Seiji Ozawa , Nihon Philharmonic Orchestra , Various Artists , Ensemble d'Ondes de Montreal , Bethany Beardslee , Alvin Curran Audio CD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Performer: Musica Elettronica Viva, Various Artists, Ensemble d'Ondes de Montreal, Bethany Beardslee, Alvin Curran
  • Orchestra: Nihon Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Seiji Ozawa
  • Composer: Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Schaeffer, John [1] Cage, Herbert / Beyer, Robert Eimert, et al.
  • Audio CD (April 25, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Ellipsis Arts
  • ASIN: B00004T0FZ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,008 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Valse Sentimentale - Clara Rockmore
2. Oraison - Ens D'Ondes De Montreal
3. Etude Aux Chemins De Fer - Pierre Schaeffer
4. Williams Mix - John Cage
5. Klangstudie II - Herbert Eimert/Robert Beyer
6. Low Speed - Otto Luening
See all 16 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Cindy Electronium - Raymond Scott
2. Pendulum Music - Sonic Youth
3. Bye Bye Butterfly - Pauline Oliveros
4. Projection Esemplastic For White Noise - Joji Yuasa
5. Silver Apples Of The Moon, Part 1 - Morton Subotnick
6. Rainforest Version 1 - David Tudor
See all 13 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. He Destroyed Her Image - Charles Dodge
2. Six Fants On A Poem By Thomas Campion: Her Song - Paul Lansky
3. Appalachian Grove - Laurie Spiegel
4. En Phase/Hors Phase - Bernard Parmegiani
5. On The Other Ocean - David Behrman
6. Stria - John Chowning
See all 13 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Opening with Clara Rockmore's reworking of Tchaikovsky with the theremin, and finishing with one of Brian Eno's ambient soundscapes, OHM artfully succeeds in its goal of giving a representative (as opposed to the impossible, comprehensive) overview of the first several decades of electronic music. Over 3 discs, 42 compositions, and 96 pages of notes and photos, OHM clearly illustrates the producers' and contributing writers' point that early electronic music is much of the foundation of contemporary music. Herein lies the connective tissue bridging musique concrète, 20th-century classical, electronic experimentation, and the theoretical avant-garde to psychedelia, ambient, dub, techno, electro, and synthpop and the globalization of sound. The groundbreaking uses of loops, sampling, drones, remixes, and cut-and-paste technology are put fully into context. The diversity of music included makes any sort of summation impossible, but that is also the point: electronic music is not really a genre, but an open field of endless possibility. From John Cage's famous "William's Mix" of tape snippets to Karkheinz Stockhausen's electronic orchestral compositions, from David Tudor and Holger Czukay's experiments in unrelated blendings of audio elements to David Behrman's supremely peaceful duet between computers and musicians, the aural renegades on OHM tread where none (save a few of their contemporaries) had gone before. The liner notes convey the incredible amount of hard work and experimentation it took to stitch together many of these pieces in the predigital era. Putting aside the inevitable quibbles about what's missing (much of it due to legal and/or logistical issues), a more complete collection of musical eggheads, eccentrics, and visionaries is hard to imagine. --Carl Hanni

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the definitive guide July 19, 2000
Format:Audio CD
OHM makes a very lofty ambition to cover the entire history of electronic music in one set of 3 CDs. While three CDs may offer considerably more time than the standard 1 or 2 disc compilation, it is hardly enough space to really cover much in detail for one decade of music, let alone four. "OHM" is refreshing in its honesty, admitting these flaws and then getting on with what really matters: the music.
Many of the pieces included on this set have been severely shortened for variety's sake. Rather than include the full hour or so of Terry Riley's "Poppy Nogood," for instance, we are treated to a seven minute excerpt. In many instances, this does what the set is meant to do on the whole: it gives a good overview of the history and growth of electronic music as its own experimental genre.
Some of the names appearing within this collection are fairly well known: John Cage, David Tudor, Edgard Varese, Steve Reich (performed by Sonic Youth), Karlheinz Stockhausen, Terry Riley, Iannis Xenakis, Pierre Schaeffer.... There are also a few unexpected appearances, by Tchaikovsky (an absolutely beautiful performance of his "Valse Sentimentale" on theremin), Holger Czukay (of Can), and a few more contemporary artists such as Jon Hassell and Brian Eno, vintage ambient that finishes up the last disc at the close of the seventies.
Much of the music is what may be considered "difficult" by unexperienced ears. Every once in a while this is true: La Monte Young's "31 I 69" maybe be edited down to a mere 7 minutes, but it's still almost impossible to endure the solid tone of mid-range feedback. Tudor's "Rainforest" squawks and chirps like an electronic jungle of his own creation.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kid Stockhausen January 16, 2003
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is required listening for anybody interested in the history of electronic music. Although implicitly aiming for the techno music audience, this audio history is overwhelmingly focused on the classical avant-garde of electro-acoustic composers. The closest you'll get to pop electronica is the Brian Eno track at the end of the third disc. No Kraftwerk, no Moroder, etc. Instead "OHM" manages to point to the continuities between, say, John Cage and artists currently working at the experimental edges of electronica (so-called IDM). It seems to be saying, "You think Kid 606 is visionary? Well check out this Stockhausen track from '59!"
Admittedly, some of the songs are much more interesting to think about than they are to listen to. Some of the early pieces that were made through thosuands of hours of pains-taking tape-splicing could be made today in an afternoon with a digital audio editor and a few effects plug-ins.
It is a beautiful package, containing a 90 page booklet of essays, quotations from the featured artists, and photographs. What all music should be: an education in daring.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars where the art is December 17, 2000
Format:Audio CD
OHM is a really exciting release. The product is clearly a labour of love, and the location of artists in a larger context is brilliantly achieved - together with a definition of that context. Possibly the best compilation effort I've ever seen, it breaks ground like Hughes' `Shock of The New', providing a similar public service: the definition of essential repertoire. OHM gives us, for the first time, a map of this strange, fascinating territory, showing us the connections, and offering brilliant, concise critique in the beautifully-designed accompanying booklet.
One complaint about early electronica is that it's `interesting', but you can't listen to it. It's a din, or it sounds like cartoon or sci-fi music. Counter this criticism with OHM, which comprehensively renders the accusation false. The music is uniformly beautiful, substantial, affecting, repeatable. And it hits its targets in ways which can make contemporary stuff look wanting. Messaien's drifting, spiritual ondes martenot piece `Oraison' is an object lesson in the humanisation of electronica. Cage's `Williams Mix' is jawdropping: half a century old and hyperkinetically modern beyond Autechre or Kid 606, with a prophetic title. Tod Dockstader's `Apocalypse II' does things with voice synthesis to make Thomas Bangalter turn pale. Ussachevsky's `Wireless Fantasy' from 1960 is a techno bleepscape set against alien clouds of ambient noise. It's moving in ways FSOL, and even The Orb, imply but never quite get to. MEV's `Spacecraft' is an intensely clear, bone-raw noisefest to inspire any of Norway's current cutting-edge electronica/improv crossover artists; like AMM told they have 6 minutes left to live.
That's just CD1.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Choose Carefully May 8, 2000
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
If you're looking for disco electronica, dance music of any kind, 'ambient', 'ill-bient' or anything put out by the assorted DJ 'bands,' then this is not a set for you. However, if you are interested in serious electronic music by the inventors of the field, pieces that are concerned with sound, structure and the technical aspects of the genre at its very basics, highly experimental music that demands attentive listening, than indeed buy this collection. It is not only the sole collected survey of serious electronic music available, it's an excellent one, containing the very most important pieces ever made and a nice selection of others that have stretched the field form its earliest days, pre-WWII. Very much pre- and un-rave.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone...
I'll preface this by saying that I won't pretend to be an authority on most of the musicians involved with the projects included with this collection, so I certainly cannot speak... Read more
Published on February 29, 2012 by cincy-kid
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your grandson's electronic music
For those who are unacquainted, this set is the gateway into an entirely new experience of sound. Few listeners, and likely not many practitioners, for that matter, of dance,... Read more
Published on September 11, 2007 by Christopher Costabile
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent but uncomplete
Althought most of the music here is an excellent collection of electronic music history, this 3 CDs lack of the important contribution given by the RAI phonology studios of Milan,... Read more
Published on November 11, 2006 by G. Sancristoforo
4.0 out of 5 stars To call it music may be a bit limiting.
Some of the tracks on here are "music". That is that they contain all the bits we're trained to experience as music -- melody, etc. Read more
Published on October 23, 2006 by Gregory Mills
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile collection
The OHM collection contains some of those ground breaking electronic compositions that have shaped today's styles, from the early electronic instruments of Theremin and Martenot,... Read more
Published on January 11, 2006 by zzzzt
1.0 out of 5 stars OhMyGodHowDreadful
Ok, this collection is supposed to be early works and, thus not expected to be very sophisticated or polished. Read more
Published on August 15, 2005 by Theresa Hoekstra
3.0 out of 5 stars All I Can Say Is...
Wow!! This is great early electronic music for any occasion - driving, parties, romantic evenings, etc. Read more
Published on July 5, 2002 by munzeeyun
4.0 out of 5 stars Sprawl for the uninitiated
As someone who doesn't know a lot about electronic music, I just immersed myself in the listening experience. Read more
Published on May 28, 2002 by Charlie Patterino
2.0 out of 5 stars Electronic Academics
I started listening to electronic "music" when I was 13 years old. 27 years of listening, and being an experimental artist as well, I was very unmoved by the material... Read more
Published on December 27, 2001 by Lynn Leistinger
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Broad synopsis of Electronic Music
Electronic Music has a storied career. It is a genre of music that is uniformly denounced when at the time of its creation, yet that becomes completely assimilated decades later. Read more
Published on November 5, 2001 by Stephen B. Ward
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