Album Notes


Just for the Record

Premiere recordings of multi-keyboard works by composer/friends Robert Ashley, John Bischoff, Paul DeMarinis and Phil Harmonic.

Side A
Sonata Robert Ashley
I+II+III (trio): Christopher Columbus Crosses to the New World in the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria Using Only Dead Reckoning and a Crude Astrolabe

Side B
Timing Phil Harmonic
Great Masters of Melody Paul DeMarinis
Rendezvous John Bischoff

The Sonata is a progression of sounds added to sounds, a continuum of “vertical” textures chosen from the possibilities offered in a 36-note series of pitches and a corresponding schedule of pitch events. Section I was freely composed from those materials. Section II translates the octave choices in Section I into two fixed octaves with “compsensation” in dynamic markings (e.g., a pitch moved downward by an octave has its dynamic marking reduced by one degree). Section III translates the dynamic choices of Section I into register changes at a uniform mezzo-forte throughout (e.g., a note marked fortissimo is played mezzo-forte two octaves lower).
Section I was written in 1959. About the same time I had begun building an electronic music studio and performing in the Space Theater Ensemble. Those two activities led directly to my involvement with the legendary ONCE Group. The possibilities for working with electronic sounds and a performing ensemble took all of my attention, and so I stopped working on the Sonata entirely.
Sections II and III were finished in 1978 at the urging of “Blue” Gene Tyranny. The idea to play the first three sections simultaneously as a final section, which is a perfect interpretation and extension of the principle of accumulation of sounds that governs the piece, is “Blue” Gene’s.

— Robert Ashley

John Cage’s remark that “everything we do is music” helped me begin experiencing a revolution in my creative consciousness 13 years ago which I am still working on refining and sharing with others. These days I seem to prefer those familiar quiet moments of coincidence and cosmic irony to most purposeful manifestations of cultural entertainment. The musical integrity of one moment leading into the next is enhanced when I recognize people themselves to be more interesting and important than their objects d’art.
Timing was composed especially for this recording: two tapes of homogeneous musical material provide the stereophonic image. A very delicate kind of cooperation is involved since each cue calls for a thoughtful change.
Since I have sought to avoid authoritarian behavior in my life and especially in the process of musical composition, I was a little unsure of how to proceed in preparing this music for solo keyboard. “Blue” Gene reminded me that it is interesting enough for me to try to convey a sense of my own personal timing instead of being artificially inventive. During some of my more extended performance presentations (three to twenty-four hours), it is this timing that helps me continue to fell musical and comfortable.

— Phil Harmonic

I had the idea that there are two tendencies, not polar opposites, but probably running at cross-currents. One is the tendency to form habits. The other is the tendency to produce the unexpected, to anticipate things that haven’t happened yet. It seemed that the conventions of music had more to do with the habit-forming tendency. In the sense that everything “past” is inside, and everything “future” is still outside, Great Masters of Melody encourages the performer to stay around and guess. The only instruction I gave was to try to play in unison with the electronic circuit. At one point, it seemed that “Blue’s” playing sounded exactly like my own. There’s no room to have second thoughts.

— Paul DeMarinis

Rendezvous uses a series of melodic phrases that are based on material I had written for a keyboard piece in 1973. apart from the style of the phrases, we tried, in the process of doing the recording, to present the material in such a way that differeent musical structures (listening orientations) would arise during the course of the piece. In this way the structure is not necessarily wedded to the style of the phrases (for example, one phrase is never an “introduction” to another) but rather the two seem to go their own separate ways, sometimes drifting apart and at other times coordinating together.

— John Bischoff

“Blue” Gene Tyranny — Grand piano, Polymoog, Hohner clavinet, modifiers
Phil Harmonic — Voice
Paul DeMarinis — Great Masters of Melody circuit

Produced by “Blue” Gene Tyranny
Recordists: Maggi Payne (Side A); John Bischoff, Paul DeMarinis, “Blue” (Side B)
Mixing: “Blue”

Recorded at The Center for Contemporary Music, Mills College (Oakland, CA), August-September, 1978

Cover photo used by permission of Phil Makanna. Airplane flow by Colonel “Lefty” Gardner and Joe Henderson
Design: Patrick Vitacco and Ken Cornet

Special thanks to Sam Ashley, Anne Klingensmith and Ron Kuivila

Sonata is published by Visibility Music Publishers (BMI).
All other compositions copyright by the composers.
© P 1979 Vital Records, Inc.
© P 2008 Lovely Music, Ltd.

LCD 1062