John White 01 Autumn Countdown Machine (5:30) 02 Son of Gothic Chord (10:04) 03 Jew’s Harp Machine (2:31) 04 Drinking And Hooting Machine (4:42) Gavin Bryars 05 The Squirrel and The Ricketty Racketty Bridge (20:45) Total time 43:30 LP released by Island Records, UK, 1978
Two slices of pure Systems Music by the inventors of the genre. John White (born 1936) is a composer, pianist and tuba player. He founded Promenade Theatre Orchestra in 1969 along with Christopher Hobbs, Alec Hill, and Hugh Shrapnel. He was also a member of The Scratch Orchestra, Garden Furniture Music and the Farewell Symphony Orchestra (see Systems Music Timeline). The John White’s Machine Music featured on this LP refers to a set of rigid rules imposed on the interprets in order to limit their selfishness, exuberance, virtuosity and showmanship. In Son of Gothic Chord, the scale of the music is limited to one piano octave only, while Jew’s Harp Machine is written for an extremely limited instrument, as is Drinking And Hooting Machine, for glass bottles. Exquisite, self-restrained music, in any case. Gavin Bryars‘ Ricketty Racketty Bridge is for 4 guitarists playing 2 table top guitars each. Interprets play the strings with fingertips like a keyboard. Derek Bailey, Fred Frith, Brian Eno and Gavin Bryars play different kind of guitars (see liner notes above). The result is a steady, semi-aleatoric web of soft notes where all personality and selfishness from the guitarists have been erased. Calling this Minimalist Music would be to miss the point entirely. The process is much more ironic.
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