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The first-ever vinyl issue of Alvin Curran's 1983 cassette release, a composition of organized field recordings, a major work he describes as a series of "still lifes" from 20 years of recordings with an engrossingly diverse set of curious and concrete sounds - amazing!
 

Curran, Alvin
Natural History [VINYL]

Curran, Alvin: Natural History [VINYL] (Black Truffle)

Label: Black Truffle    
Released in: Australia    


"The first-ever vinyl issue of Alvin Curran's Natural History, originally released on cassette by Edition Giannozzo Berlin in 1983. A founding member of the radical electronic improvising group Musica Elettronica Viva, since the early 1970s Curran has developed an idiosyncratic body of solo work that occupies a unique position in the post-Cageian experimental tradition. Singularly undogmatic, Curran's work takes the Cageian experience as the starting point for a radical openness to all forms of music and sound. Refusing to abstract music from its human functions, his work draws on existing musical genres, cutting-edge electronics and environmental recordings to craft compositions that mimic the hazy texture of everyday life, moving from the abstract to the referential, from the observational to the emotive, from the structured to the random. As he reflects in the liner notes written especially for this edition: "This infinite stream of sound became my life and my music all at once".

Curran's other classic solo works of the 1970s and 1980s, such as Songs and Views of the Magnetic Garden (1975) and Canti Illuminati (1982) are elaborate collages that combine keyboard and voice improvisation and composition with field-recorded environments. Natural History consists entirely of field recordings from Curran's archive, arranged as a series of "still lifes", sometimes layered, but without any additional processing. Sounds recorded over the course of nearly twenty years, at Curran's home in Rome or while traveling: constructions sites, insects, children's toys, a piano being tuned, foghorns, familiar to admirers of Curran masterful Maritime Rites (2004), lovemaking, a singing neighbor. It is, as Curran says, an attempt to "put the sound of the entire world on a cassette tape". Heard against the backdrop of the increasing prevalence of field recordings in contemporary music over the last few years, Natural History is like a refreshing breeze, suffused with the joy of discovery."-Black Truffle



Biography for: Alvin Curran

"Born December 13, 1938, Providence, Rhode Island. From five years: piano lessons, trombone, marching bands, Synagogue chants, Jazz, and his father's dance bands. Becomes an artist at age 13 in an apple tree at the house of his lifelong friend, poet Clark Coolidge. Hears Spike Jones, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, Satchmo, The Boston Symphony Orcherstra, Art Tatum, Charlie Parker, The Band of America, Thelonius Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Miles Davis, Coltrane, Bartok and Christian Wolff.

With a fortuitous bang, he begins his musical journey (1965 in Rome) as co-founder of the radical music collective Musica Elettronica Viva, as a solo performer, and as a composer for Rome's avantgarde theater scene. In the 70's, he creates a poetic series of solo works for synthesizer, voice, taped sounds and found objects. Seeking to develop new musical spaces, and now considered one of the leading figures in making music outside of the concert halls -- he develops a series of concerts for lakes, ports, parks, buildings, quarries and caves -- his natural laboratories. In the 1980's, he extends the ideas of musical geography by creating simultaneous radio concerts for three, then six large ensembles performing together from many European Capitals. By connecting digital samplers to MIDI Grands (Diskklavier) and computers, since 1987, he produces an enriched body of solo performance works -- an ideal synthesis between the concert hall and all sounding phenomena in the world. He creates a visually striking series of sound installations, some of them in collaboration with visual artists including Paul Klerr, Melissa Gould, Kristin Jones, Pietro Fortuna, Umberto Bignardi, Uli Sigg. Throughout these years he continues to write numerous pieces for radio and for acoustic instruments.

Studies composition with Ron Nelson (B.A. Brown University 1960) and with Elliott Carter and Mel Powell ( M.Mus., Yale School of Music 1963). During summer vacations, plays European crossings with the "Brunotes" on the Holland American Line, in a Greek Dance Band in the Catskills, and in the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas.

Continues studies and friendship with Carter in Berlin (1964 Ford Foundation Grant), meets Stravinsky, Xenakis, Berio, Yuji Takahashi, Andriessen, Remo Remotti, and above all Rzewski. Goes to Darmstadt, hangs with Babbitt and Earl Brown, hears Stockhausen and Ligeti. Goes to Rome with Joel Chadabe and plays piano in bars on via Veneto, meets Franco Evangelisti and Cornelius Cardew.

In the Musica Elettronica Viva years (1966 -1971 in Rome), performs in over 200 concerts in Europe and the USA with Teitelbaum and Rzewski, Carol Plantamura, Ivan Vandor, Alan Bryant and Jon Phetteplace; and makes significant artistic encounters with Giuseppe Chiari, Edith Schloss, AMM, Cardew, Steve Lacy, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Steve ben Israel, Anthony Braxton, Simone Forti, Steve Reich, Joan La Barbara, Michael Nyman, La Monte Young, Trisha Brown, Ashley, Behrman, Gordon Mumma, Alvin Lucier, Larry Austin, Bill Smith, Ketoff, Robert Moog, Nuova Consonanza, MEV2, Meme Perlini, Mario Ricci, Maria Monti, Prima Materia, Ron Bunzl, Phil Glass, Charlemagne Palestine, Terry Riley, George Lewis, Evan Parker, Gregory Reeves, Serge Tcherepnin, Kosugi, Pulsa, Maryanne Amacher, John Cage, David Tudor, Morton Feldman. Scelsi becomes his friend and mentor.

From 1975-80 taught vocal improvisation at the Accademia Nazionale d'Arte Drammatica (Rome) and from 1991 to 2006 was the Milhaud Professor of Composition at Mills College in Oakland, California. Currently teaching privately in Rome in addition to master classes, residencies, and lectures at Oberlin, Peabody, Brown, Berkeley, The Hague, Haifa, Bolzano, Northwestern, Yale, Beijing, etc."

-Alvin Curran Website (http://www.alvincurran.com/Curran_bio.html)



Gatefold sleeve with liner notes and photos by Alvin Curran and design by Stephen O'Malley. Vinyl cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates.




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Price: $25.95
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Product Information:

Gatefold sleeve with liner notes and photos by Alvin Curran and design by Stephen O'Malley. Vinyl cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates.

UPC: 880319774515

Label: Black Truffle
Catalog ID: BT 022LP
Squidco Product Code: 22494

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2016
Country: Australia
Packaging: LP - Gatefold
Recorded in Rome, Italy, and while while traveling, over a 20 year period, by the artist.

Personnel:

Alvin Curran-field recordings

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Track Listing:

SIDE A



1. Natural History Part 1

SIDE B



1. Natural History Part 2