The Times had a respectful if distant obituary this morning. They wrote about how he’d become distant and isolated in his later years, narrowing down his circle to his chosen set of musicians — who were by and large also family members. He’d been out there for a while though. Back in the ’70s I read an interview in which he claimed to be from Sirius and that “he was put on earth to give voice to a cosmic music that will change the world.”
Yes, well then. He was of course tremendously influential, being one of the inventors of electronic music. And his picture was one of those notables on the cover of Sgt. Pepper. Here are a couple of ripped MP3s for further study. First, an excerpt from “Zodiac,” a piece he composed for specially constructed music boxes. This one is the currently relevant one, Sagittarius.
Probably more representative of what made him famous, part of Klavierstück IX.
I’ve got more, but it’s on vinyl. When I was in high school I picked up a copy of Mikrophonie I and Mikrophonie II, with which I frightened the little girls across the street. Mikrophonie I is for tam-tam, two microphones, two filters and potentiometers. It’s basically sixteen minutes of making various sounds by exciting a tam-tam with various objects, moving the microphones around while altering the sound with electronics. Mikrophonie II has the sound of a choir and a hammond organ interacting in real time with their own electronically modified sounds coming out of four loudspeakers on stage.