While Pierre Schaeffer is often thought of as the father of the electronic music form known as musique concrète the gentleman above, Halim El-Dabh, actually got there several years before, 1944 to be exact. Born in Egypt in 1921, El-Dabh studied agriculture at Cairo University while playing piano and other traditional instruments as a pastime. One day, the student and a friend borrowed a wire recorder — a device predating magnetic tape — from the Middle East Radio Station and hit the streets to capture ambient sounds. El-Dabh recorded a spirit-summoning ritual called a zaar ceremony and ultimately found that he could use the sounds as the raw ingredients for a new composition. In a recent interview with the Electronic Music Foundation, El-Dabh, who is University Professor Emeritus of African Ethnomusicology at Kent State University and continues to compose music, tells the story of his musical career, including this bit about the pioneering 1944 piece listenable above, an excerpt from "The Expression of Zaar":
We had to sneak in (to the ritual) with our heads covered like the women, since men were not allowed in. I recorded the music and brought the recording back to the radio station and experimented with modulating the recorded sounds. I emphasized the harmonics of the sound by removing the fundamental tones and changing the reverberation and echo by recording in a space with movable walls. I did some of this using voltage controlled devices. It was not easy to do. I didn't think of it as electronic music, but just as an experience. I called the piece Ta'abir al-Zaar, (The Expression of Zaar). A short version of it has become known as Wire Recorder Piece. At the time in Egypt, nobody else was working with electronic sounds. I was just ecstatic about sounds.
Phil Spector, the legendary music producer and murderer, is dead at 81. California Health Care Facility inmate Phillip Spector was pronounced deceased of natural causes at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at an outside hospital. His official cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner in the San Joaquin County Sheriff's… READ THE REST
The Paul O'Sullivan band features Paul O'Sullivan on bass, guitar, drums, and vocals. But it's not a one man band. Each member is a different musician with the birth name Paul O'Sullivan, each of whom lives in a different city. They've always jammed remotely. From CBS News: "One night, I was kind of just indiscriminately… READ THE REST
Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire) is directing a six episode biopic about punk pioneers the Sex Pistols. Titled "Pistol," it's based on the book "Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol" by the band's guitarist Steve Jones. "Imagine breaking into the world of 'The Crown' and 'Downton Abbey' with your mates and screaming your songs… READ THE REST
Only 20% of American students learn a foreign language. While that's low, it ends up feeling downright pathetic when you consider that more than 9 out of 10 European students are schooled in at least one other tongue. Sure, there are so many languages in Europe that residents there have to learn a few to… READ THE REST
You love your family and friends. You love your spouse. You love your kids. But, even among those things you treasure most in this world, there's still a special kind of love you hold only for your pet. For as much as we shower our love and affection over these furry family members, there isn't… READ THE REST
We realize it's still frigidly cold in many places, but advanced planning for summer 2021 needs to start happening now. And, even with so much still up in the air about what life will even feel like six months from now, it's time to get the ball rolling today. Of course, the centerpiece of any… READ THE REST