emc ball

Experimental Music Catalogue

experimental music since 1969

Hello and welcome (or welcome back!) to the Experimental Music Catalogue. If you don't know us, there's a little explanation (Who We Are) about our history and how we got back to providing some good experimental music. If you're an old friend, then you'll be interested in what we have which is new.

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sudoku music

Here it is! Hobbs Sudoku Music is out!

The EMC's gone Sudoku mad! Chris Hobbs' long-awaited new release, a double CD of Suduko pieces, is out in time for all those winter gift-giving occasions. Ten pieces for £10! Two hours of lovely Sudoku pieces. Can you afford not to be without it? For more information see the catalogue. Or you can go to Chris Hobbs' MySpace page. Chris is getting a steady stream of kudos and friend requests. He's thrilled, so keep in touch!

There's a review of Sudoku Music on The Wire Magazine in the January issue that just came out. Julian Cowley compares Hobbs' approach to that of Oulipo (Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, the French movement started by Raymond Queneau for potential literature), which used found sources to provide the basis or form for an art work. He notes that Hobbs' use of sudoku puzzles for the overall shape of the pieces, and his use of Apple Mac's GarageBand loops do not constitute a complete abnegation of responsibility:

To assume that this sampled and synthesized music is impersonal would be as misguided as to assume that work by Oulipo writers such as Georges Perec or Italo Calvino doesn't bear their own personal imprint. This is not self-expression though, but experimental music by Christopher Hobbs. Very good it sounds, too.

So, intelligent and a good sound - what's not to like?

If that's not enough, how about some Dave Smith? We got hold of some copies of Dave Smith Plays Smith, on which Dave himself plays bits from his ultra-cool Piano Concerts. This is from the launch list of UH Recordings, the house label for the music department at the University of Hertfordshire. We love Dave's stuff (check out our archive blog for a picture of Dave!), and think that you might like it, too. To get them through us, go to the catalogue.

Here it is - the EMC Blog! It's called 'Other Types of Music...', in order to reflect our view that this is some of the most interesting and original music on the planet. You'll be able to keep in touch with blog entries, podcasts, sound samples, and other stuff by subscribing to our RSS feed. As well as the Dutch trip, we've got some info about Dave Smith's Piano Concerts and we're all gaga about Sudoku, so there's a blog entry about it and samples to enjoy. To go to this site right away, press here

Well, it looks as if White fever has struck. The EMC folk have got the bug and are preparing Dave Smith's long awaited thematic catalogue of John White's sonatas. John White: Volume 1, Piano Sonatas will be the first in the EMC Experimental Repertoire Series. It's in final preparation. Gavin Bryars has given us access to some rare 1960s and 1970s systemic sonatas - some with coloured notation! - so this looks like it will have lots of surprises for White aficionados. If you don't know any John White, you're in for a treat, starting with a sample of his Caledonian sonata on 'Other Types of Music' (see above for link). A new book on the Scratch Orchestra, its activities and repertoire will be the second book in this series, using Richard Ascough's wonderful archive of Scratch materials. It is being written at this moment and should be out by the end of the year.

We've been getting a lot of orders recently for Erik Satie's Fils d'étoiles, edited by the EMC's own Chris Hobbs. And why not? (well, Why Not? is a bass clarinet piece by Hobbs...). Do remember that most other scores and recordings of this piece are usually just of the preludes to the three acts: here you get the whole shebang, the whole enchilada, in its most accurate version based on Satie's own manuscript. We've got plenty of Satie in stock, which can't, unfortunately, be said of Virginia Anderson's British Experimental Music: Cornelius Cardew and His Contemporaries, which is now out of print. Virginia is working on its replacement, temporarily called Experimental Music in Britain, but for now, it's gone.

We've also been getting a lot of requests for help with repertoire, and we love it. Even if you don't see something for your instrument or circumstances on this site, give us an email. We might know where to find it, or someone who's written it, or we can even negotiate contacts for commissions or concerts if you like. Whatever floats your boat....

Have a look at our associated journal Jems (the Journal of Experimental Music Studies), Virginia Anderson's review of the Visible Language double issue on Fluxus, edited by Ken Friedman and Owen Smith is our most recent upload. Read it at the Jems pages.

Other Jems articles include studies on Philip Glass, Cornelius Cardew, Howard Skempton, John White, interviews, and other good things.

You can also get the word if you check out our events page: stuff happens from time to time, like the FRIMPs! Bruce Coates' groovy FRee IMProvisation series in Brummieland. We're all FRIMPing (ooh, missus, sounds a bit rude!) these days. Walt Shaw - a very cool percussionist - is setting up a tour with Chris, Bruce and Mike (who is a very nice man), so watch out for this in future.

Regular stuff:

We have Visa facility for ordering, through Paypal. You have to join Paypal (it's free), but then you can order using your card through them to us. It's worked really well for us and has proved to be very safe so far. This is the cheapest method of ordering, especially for those of you who live outside of Britain. For information on how to order, see How to Order.

Although Jems has taken over online academic work, we still have the EMC Article Archive. The articles on the archive are classic documents of experimental music that are not available elsewhere and are relatively free of editorial interference. Bruce Coates' 'The Construction and Application of a Model for the Analysis of Linear Free Improvised Music' is here. There's Michael Chant's 'A Turning Point in Music History', which he read at the Scratch Orchestra 30th anniversary symposium in 1999. We also have Virginia Anderson's 'Historical Assumptions of the Avant-Garde and Experimental Movements: The Participants and Their Historians', an article from the mid-1980s with some applicability today. Coming up, an article by Richard Ascough.

You might have also noticed the EMC Ball Logo, designed by the saxophone improviser Bruce Coates. It's based on the big ball section of Cornelius Cardew's Treatise (pp. 130-135), with a particular resonance to a ball on p. 134. We think that this logo gives a fine sense of who we are and where we've come from. Thanks so much to Bruce for his talent and friendship.

Finally, thanks so much to those of you who have written to us about your experiences in experimental music. In the ideal world, this music would be better-supported by national arts funding - given the great audiences who turn out for the rare concerts, it should be - but in the meantime, it's nice to have a kind of underground online community of kindred spirits. Keep telling us - and keep playing and listening to experimental music.

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For information on the EMC, contact:


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This site updated 13 August by Virginia Anderson (vander**experimentalmusic.co.uk - for the **, substitute @), who is busy making an updated host for the EMC.

riding an aversion