Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Ohm sweet Ohm

Around the summer of 1999, I went through a pile of CD's with impressario Thomas Ziegler trying to figure out what were the primest pieces of mid-20th century electronic music we could come up with. Even though I would have liked to have even more artists included (Gyorgy Ligeti, Henri Pousseur, Olly Wilson, Mario Davidovsky, Gordon Mumma, Toshio Mayuzumi, Roger Reynolds, James Tenney, John Appleton to name a few) a 3-CD set seemed to be a nice introduction to the music. Ohm- The Early Gurus of Electronic Music was the result of intense negotiations with record companies, artists and publishers. When you put together a huge project like this with dozens of artists, you gradually realize that what you'd ideally like to see there and what's legally possible are sometimes two very different things. As a result, we had to decide on other pieces for Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pauline Oliveros but que sera... Getting to including Terry Riley, Steve Reich, La Monte Young and other favorites there (and getting to interview these people about their work) made all the headaches almost worth it- nowadays, I'd advice eager compilers that they need the patience of a saint to put together any kind of multi-artist release (unless their label has very deep pockets).

After all of that hard work, I was a little distressed to see that Ohm wasn't available for a while. Granted that the costs of keeping something like that in print ain't cheap but it's sad to see all that hard work become E-Bay fodder. So when Ellipsis Arts decided earlier this year that the box set should come back with a new edition including videos, it sounded like a great idea. I even momentarily forgot what a headache it is to gather material and clear the rights! It still is but I'm really happy with the end result. We were able to collect ballet pieces, cartoons, performances, abstract art creations, interviews and all manner of bizarre music videos. In the end, it's so gratifying to see the set out there again and now in an even more improved state. Hope you enjoy it.

By the way, the Off the Radar radio program in Georgia has a recent interview with me about Ohm where I actually come up with a few interesting thoughts about electronic music (my segment starts about 15 minutes in there), including decades-old battles between different factions, how this music come out of the lab and into the pop sphere, etc..


Blogger Phil said...

hey, ohm is one great comp. thanks for all the hard work. must pick up the video one too.

5:37 AM  

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