The blurb on the back cover says: "It's not easy being a composer of music so novel, so offbeat that it has no name. Folks at cocktail parties inevitably ask, Just what sort of music does your group play, anyways? and there you are. No quick answer. One tends to try and explain the 8-year history of Other Music, and / or the 8000 year history of world music. One becomes entangled describing arcane tuning systems, instrument-building techniques, and intricate electronic circuitry. Perhaps it would be best and wisest simply to say that we write polyrhythmic pop tunes with a long memory. we have fun with them and hope you will too." - Other Music
It's unusual for american composers to use 'world music' or at least it was, in those days, compared to the europeans who embraced the style and added it frequently to the progressive mix (cf. the recent Pan-Ra posting). These guys hail from California and did another record in 1980 called Prime Numbers. I think their originality, although it reminds us a lot of the 'minimal synth' stuff coming out of Germany, deserves to make their product better known, and to me, it is definitely utterly unique and enjoyable. I also love the humour (or humor) that they inject into the mix. On the front the band is feasting on some electronic components, on the back, chopsticks are holding an old circuit component. I think they could be best described for the prog fan as an american version of A la ping pong with some Third Ear Band-like medieval folk elements thrown in.
Musicians are: Andrew Fischer - hammered dulcimer, dumbec, english horn, metallophones, synths.
David Doty - cello, marimba, metallophones, synth.
Dale S. Soules - french horn, trombone.
Carola B. Anderson - drums, marimba, metallophones, sax, synth.
Henry S. Rosenthal - chimes, drums, elec. guitar, metallophones, synth.
All the selections are in just intonation -- I will explain in the next post what this is, for those who don't know. I will also explain therein what their "metallophone" is, as well as launch into a long and boring disquisition about the mathematics of music and its connexion to neurobiology which no one will read fully, a subject that endlessly fascinates me to the same extreme degree it bores my wife to tears. The "just intonation" is what gives the music the ethereal-ethnic sound that is not familiar to us (in the west that is) ever since the days of the well-tempered klavier. The cover and the photography are by the percussionist, Carola B. Anderson.
Incidentally I knew nothing at all about this group until osurec introduced me to them more than a year ago, thanks again to his knowledge and expertise in unearthing these lost treasures for us all. Why do I always feel like I playing catch-up to these master collectors?
So here we go, 'polyrhythmic pop tunes with a long memory' ...