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League Of Automatic Composers - Perkis, Et Al / Folk, Et Al


Release Date: 11/06/2007 
Label:  New World Records   Catalog #: 80671   Spars Code: AAD 
Composer:  John Bischoff
Performer:  Tim PerkisJohn BischoffJim HortonPaul Michael DeMarinis,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The League of Automatic Composers
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 55 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



THE LEAGUE OF AUTOMATIC COMPOSERS 1978–1983 John Bischoff, Jim Horton, Tim Perkis David Behrman, Paul DeMarinis, Rich Gold (electronics) NEW WORLD 80671 (54:39)


PERKIS/BISHOFF/HORTON Dense Drone. Martian Folk Music. Oakland One. Radio Air Check 1981. Oakland Three. Oakland Four. Pedal with Twitter. Oakland Two. BISHOFF/GOLD/DEMARINIS/HORTON Finnish Hall . BEHRMAN/GOLD/BISCHOFF/HORTON Read more Blind Lemon


This is quite simply one of the most amazing discs to come my way, ever. That does not mean I think you will like it, though, but it will certainly spark intense debate. The League of Automatic Composer was a collective of electro-acoustic experimentalists based in the San Francisco Bay area between 1978 and 1983. They utilized the then-new microcomputers in their music, linking computers with other electronic circuits to find new sounds (and, as you will hear if you buy this disc, they certainly achieved that). The electronic music of Stockhausen (particularly the two early Electronic Studies of 1953–54) does spring to mind, however.


The musical atmosphere in San Francisco at this time was one of pure experimentation. Cage, Cowell, Partch, and Lou Harrison were all pushing boundaries in their own ways. One question posed by the booklet was a pertinent one for these composers: “Why not risk creating music that may not succeed at being intelligible at all?”


A leading light in the so-called League of Automatic Composers was Jim Horton (1944–1998). The initial method of composition now sounds extraordinary. The original machines used (the KIM-1) had 1K of memory and were programmed on a hexadecimal keypad, than saved onto audiocassette. The pieces heard on this disc all came from good old tapes, and a photo on the CD back cover shows an assotment of TDKs, BASFs, and Maxells, etc. Horton, Gold, and Bischoff were soon joined by David Behrman (born 1937), and in 1978 the group called itself officially The League of Automatic Composers. In 1980, Tim Perkis joined the group (Gold and Behrman had left by then). The actual techniques used are fascinating. Computers are sometimes generators of sounds themselves, but more often they controlled analog or digital sound-producing circuitry. Computer setups were connected to each other in the same room in a typical League session, and the various machines would feed each other information, converting it in the process.


Just intonation provides the basis for Dense Drone (recorded October 1980). Spread over a nine-unit network, the computers “listen” to each other and react to events as they are programmed to react (for example, when a certain harmonic event happens between two computers, a third will play a predesigned accompanying chord). Horton’s equipment plays a 29-tone-to-the-octave scale. The fascinatingly titled Martian Folk Music (March 1980) has one station playing a piece by Bischoff ( Audio Wave ) while the others react to this simultaneously.


A description of the processes that lead to what we hear on the first two tracks offers the basic template for how all the music is generated here. Of particular interest is Radio Air Check 1981 , wherein extra hardware has been added (Phase Lock Loop) on Perkis’s machinery which attempts to lock-in with the activities of Bischoff’s computer. It does so imperfectly, adding to the anarchy. It is also fascinating to hear Blind Lemon , a recording from the first concert performance under the League name, on Novermber 26, 1978. It is, perhaps, the most purely beautiful piece here. Pedal with Twitter is a live concert recording (complete with audience noise) of a piece that resembles very slow moving organ chords.


The booklet also includes a bibliography and a discography, which will provide fertile hunting ground for the curious. I must add this disc to my Want List now.


FANFARE: Colin Clarke
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Works on This Recording

1.
Dense Drone by John Bischoff
Performer:  Tim Perkis (Electronics), John Bischoff (Electronics), Jim Horton (Electronics)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The League of Automatic Composers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1980; USA 
Notes: This work was composed in collaboration with Jim Horton and Tim Perkis. 
2.
Martian Folk Music by John Bischoff
Performer:  John Bischoff (Electronics), Tim Perkis (Electronics), Jim Horton (Electronics)
Period: 20th Century 
Notes: This work was composed in collaboration with Jim Horton and Tim Perkis. 
3.
Oakland One by John Bischoff
Performer:  John Bischoff (Electronics), Tim Perkis (Electronics), Jim Horton (Electronics)
Period: 20th Century 
Notes: This work was composed in collaboration with Jim Horton and Tim Perkis. 
4.
Radio Air Check 1981 by John Bischoff
Performer:  John Bischoff (Electronics), Tim Perkis (Electronics), Jim Horton (Electronics)
Period: 20th Century 
Notes: This work was composed in collaboration with Jim Horton and Tim Perkis. 
5.
Oakland Three by John Bischoff
Performer:  John Bischoff (Electronics), Tim Perkis (Electronics), Jim Horton (Electronics)
Period: 20th Century 
Notes: This work was composed in collaboration with Jim Horton and Tim Perkis. 
6.
Oakland Four by John Bischoff
Performer:  John Bischoff (Electronics), Tim Perkis (Electronics), Jim Horton (Electronics)
Period: 20th Century 
Notes: This work was composed in collaboration with Jim Horton and Tim Perkis.  
7.
Pedal with Twitter by John Bischoff
Performer:  John Bischoff (Electronics), Tim Perkis (Electronics), Jim Horton (Electronics)
Period: 20th Century 
Notes: This work was composed in collaboration with Jim Horton and Tim Perkis. 
8.
Oakland Two by John Bischoff
Performer:  John Bischoff (Electronics), Tim Perkis (Electronics), Jim Horton (Electronics)
Period: 20th Century 
Notes: This work was composed in collaboration with Jim Horton and Tim Perkis. 
9.
Finnish Hall by John Bischoff
Performer:  Paul Michael DeMarinis (Electronics), Jim Horton (Electronics), John Bischoff (Electronics),
Rich Gold (Electronics)
Period: 20th Century 
Notes: This work was composed in collaboration with Jim Horton, Paul DeMarinis, and Rich Gold. 
10.
Blind Lemon by John Bischoff
Performer:  Jim Horton (Electronics), John Bischoff (Electronics), Rich Gold (Electronics),
David Behrman (Electronics)
Period: 20th Century 
Notes: This work was composed in collaboration with Jim Horton, David Behrman, and Rich Gold. 

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