EAE was a LIVE band. We had this odd mixture of bespoke electronic instruments, Buchla modulars and various electro-acoustic instruments. All of these sound sources plugged into our master “instrument,” a handcrafted, onstage touring console, which collected and mixed the sounds; augmenting them with various analog and digital effects and spatial tricks, then feeding them through a custom speaker array that converted the electronic signals back into sound waves which bathed the audience in a glorious, shared visceral experience forming and shaping the music in real time.
In 1981 we entered the studio to record INQUIETUDE. We initially tried to do a traditional multitrack recording by plugging the various instruments into multiple channels on the recording console. It didn’t take long for us to reject this approach as unworkable (because we no longer had our communal macro-instrument). We set up the touring console in the studio, wired as usual. The stereo output went to two channels on the 8 track and we recorded live. In essence, INQUIETUDE is live-in-the-studio.
In the end, the vinyl record was a disappointment, despite having Bob Ludwig master the disc - arguably the best mastering engineer in the world at the time. The dynamic range was lost on vinyl; the excitement gone. This re-release of INQUIETUDE, a direct digital transcription of a long-lost-then-found 15ips backup master, is our attempt to recapture some of the exhilaration of a live EAE performance (please turn up the volume!). We hope you enjoy it. We loved the journey.
Listen or download the latest version of Inquietude for free at Bandcamp:
Original Liner Notes
Electronic Art Ensemble / Inquietude
Gregory Kramer, Director of the Electronic Art Ensemble
Russel Dorwart, engineering/mixing, electronic and tape processing
Stephen Horelick, analog synthesis, drum computer, electronic processing
Gregory Kramer, analog synthesis, electronic organ, piano, voice, percussion
Clive Smith, electric guitar and bass, electric trumpet, electronic and tape processing
Three Bursts Set Out (EAE)
Inquietude 2 (EAE)
Sentences (With Interruptions) (Horelick, Kramer)
Hudson (Horelick, Kramer, Smith)
Produced by Electronic Art Ensemble
Engineered and mixed by Electronic Art Ensemble
Recorded and mixed at Gregory Kramer’s studio, Cold Spring, New York, August – December, 1981
Robert Moog’s Liner Notes
How does electronic music stack up against traditional acoustic music? Does it combine sonic beauty and intense communication to the same extent as traditional music? Does it also demand much of the musician, and reward the attentive listener with uplifting enjoyment? Or is it all dehumanizing, machine-made plastic sound that will put musicians out of business? Does the medium of electronic music offer both the resources and the challenge of other ‘serious’ musical media, or does it restrict and discourage good, old-fashioned musicianship? These questions are being asked daily by music-oriented wordsmiths. And, just as frequently, answers are being supplied by the increasing legion of musicians who have elected to go beyond the clichés of electronic musical instruments that fall out almost as soon as the power switch is turned on, to develop their own techniques for harnessing the elusive resources of the electronic music medium, and to work steadfastly to make honest-to-goodness music for their audiences.
Inquietude is a powerful, compelling answer to those who question the viability of the electronic music medium. The Electronic Art Ensemble, whose performances you hear on this album, have developed and mastered a spectrum of techniques for placing electronically generated and processed sound under musical control, and have gone through much effort to collect, modify, and arrange the equipment necessary to achieve consistently clean, crisp, listenable sound. The selections on this album are studio-realized versions of the music that the Ensemble normally performs live. The instruments they play are all electronic (or electroacoustic), and include standard electronic organs, two Buchla modular synthesizers, a drum computer, a host of studio-quality sound processors, electric guitar, and microphones. No prerecorded tapes are used, and sequences and patterns are set up and modified as part of each performance.
Three Bursts Set Out is a study in textural contrast. Three sustained bursts of dense, swarming pitch clusters lead into a period of spatially modulated, processed vocal sounds, out of which emerges a section of delicate, sustained string-like tones. A secession of star-like pointillistic sounds follows, each one glistening with a slightly different droplet-like shape. The density increases like a sonic rainshower, then develops into a strong, rhythmic texture and ends on the same textural ‘note’ as it began.
Inquietude 2 is a continuously-developing succession of long, sustained tones, starting with the pure pitched sounds of an electronic organ, leading into elaborately modulated ‘clangorous’ (quasi-pitched) synthesizer tones, then to thicker clusters.
Sentences (With Interruptions) is a series of sonic statements, always starting with the same pattern of drum sounds. Each succeeding statement is a slight variation on the one before it, as if we are listening to a rumor being embellished as it is passed along.
Inquietude is a pulsating sonic core, around which a structure of syncopation, drones, and staccato-articulated complex sonorities is built.
Cauldron consists of a series of sustained rumbling tones, over which brief sounds suggestive of screams are placed. Punctuating these are short, pointillistic constructions of complex synthesizer textures. In form, the piece is a rondo, the ominous rumbling being the ‘home theme’.
Hudson is a composition of long sustained notes whose musical intervals are carefully controlled to evoke feelings ranging from energetic activity to pastoral serenity.
Of course, these descriptions are very brief. They do not convey the obvious skill and care with which the sounds are shaped, the listenability of the sounds themselves, the complexity of the sonic relationships, and the convincing feeling of a well-balanced ensemble. These factors cannot be described in terms of the melody, harmony, and tone of traditional acoustic music, because the pieces on this album are concerned primarily with sonic textures and contours. Members of the Electronic Art Ensemble use the electronic music medium to create a large pallet of interesting and attractive tone colors, and then organize the material in time with a degree of flexibility and control that is simply not possible in traditional acoustic music. They are virtuoso sonic sculptors; their music is an emphatic affirmation of the value of the electronic music medium.