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Artist: FIRST, DAVID
Title: Electronic Works 1976-1977
Format: LP
Label: Dais
Country: USA
Price: $18.00
"When people associate composer David First with his musical resume, anyone goes straight to his late 70s avant punk band, The Notekillers and their influential 1980 single The Zipper. Prior to his time in the basements of Philadelphia, he had already played in Cecil Taylor’s ensemble and after the Notekillers broke up he moved to New York City in the early 80s, taking root in the downtown NYC avant garde scene. It was there that First honed his craft for experimental composition and ambient drone which still continues to the present day.
Though this narrative made sense, there was a piece missing in the puzzle of First’s musical background. In 1976, two years after playing with Taylor and the year before starting the Notekillers, he enrolled in a class in electronic music at Princeton in the department headed at the time by legendary electronic composer Milton Babbitt.
During his time at Princeton, First was introduced to the classical electronic music studio there, a lonely outpost of the famed Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center which housed one of the very first Buchla 100 series systems acquired by Vladimir Ussachevsky & Otto Luening.
Unfortunately, due to the introduction of digital technology within the music world, this system was left to languish in the studio unattended and nearly forgotten. First fell in love with this equipment and seized the opportunity to compose using the Buchla 100 synthesizer, at first experimenting only with electronic synthesis but later adding in his signature guitar stylings to make these compositions unique to the academic output typical of university music.
Thankfully, these compositions were recorded by First at Princeton on various reel to reel tapes and stored away for over 35 years. It wasn’t until the summer of 2012, when David First and Ryan Martin (of Dais Records) decided to revisit and transfer these reels to compile an album presented here as a selection of genuine, uninhibited exploration into modular electronic synthesis. Limited to an edition of 500 copies with liner notes by David First." - Dais.

Artist: FIRST, DAVID
Title: Same Animal, Different Cages Vol. 1: Études For Acoustic Guitar
Format: LP
Label: Fabrica
Country: USA
Price: $27.00
"Fabrica Records announces the first volume in the Same Animal, Different Cages series by American composer and improviser David First. On Études for Acoustic Guitar, First twists and bends notes from his steel-string acoustic guitar, an instrument traditionally associated with American folk, country and blues music. And in fact, those genres are central to Firsts explorations here, constituting portions of a palette that also encompasses jazz and Indian classical music. In this series of stylistic hybrids, an expansive tonality is propelled with rhythmic authority. The effect is similar to that of tape manipulation, or to the challenges posed to the inner ear by Phil Niblocks shifting dissonances. Its almost as if the room itself speeds up and slows down as First performs in it, anchoring himself in three humble dimensions and letting time do what it will. The Same Animal, Different Cages series serves as the latest chapter in the oeuvre of a musician whose defining quality is arguably his curiosity. First asks the right questions, and there are no wrong answers. Subsequent volumes in the series will include similar explorations on analog modular synthesizer, harmonica, sitar, computer, voice and electric guitar." - Fabrica.

Artist: FIRST, DAVID
Title: Same Animal, Different Cages Vol. 2: Solomonos for Analog Synthesizer
Format: LP
Label: Fabrica
Country: USA
Price: $22.00
"On this second installment in the Same Animal, Different Cages series of tonal investigations, David First dons his no-madder-than-you scientists lab coat and proceeds to fire up and overheat his newest subject, a Korg MS-20. The resulting six tracks are characterized by rapid-fire analog oscillations, relentlessly and exuberantly pitched up and down to suit their performers curiosity. Solomonos for Analog Synthesizer is synth-based experimental music rooted in actual experimentation. Once again, First delivers two sides of vinyl that are equally hypnotic, intriguing and challenging." - Fabrica.

Artist: FIRST, DAVID
Title: The AM Radio Band
Format: Cass
Label: Robert & Leopold
Country: USA
Price: $6.00
"David Firsts complex career in music started in the academic circles of Princeton in the mid-70s (documented in his recent LP “Electronic Works 76-77 on Dais Records) but quickly jumped ship to the underground punk scenes of the late 70s to create the avant art-punk trio, The Notekillers. Once the 80s hit, First moved his operations to NYC and joined in as an ambient composer amongst the downtown art scenes of the time. His droneworks and conceptual installations have been recognized worldwide on labels as OO Discs and Phil Niblocks XI Records. Most Recently, David has been active collaborating with a variety of guest artists such as Kid Millions (Oneida) and Bernard Gann (Liturgy) as well as his well-respected ensemble, The Western Enisphere. The past year has seen First taking a step back to revisit his solo experimental works - including his breakthrough compositions using vintage signal generators and oscillators dating as far back as the 1950s, to create virtual improvisational symphonies within the air and then broadcast through a variety of transistor radios, each independently taking part in Davids placement of sound with his new medium, frequency bandwidth." - Robert & Leopold.
SOLD OUT

Artist: FIRST, DAVID
Title: Privacy Issues (Droneworks 1996-2009)
Format: Triple CD
Label: XI
Country: USA
Price: $30.00
2010 release. Featuring Chris McIntyre and Peter Zummo, trombones; "Blue" Gene Tyranny, keyboards; and The Black Jackets Ensemble. "This was something unexpected and truly different: pulsing electronic textures that derived their rhythm from the beating patterns of closely-tune pitches -- as if Alvin Lucier and Philip Glass had gone on a blind date to CBGBs... David put the beat in beating patterns" --from the liner notes by composer Nic Collins (on his initial exposure to Firsts music in 1987). This special and specially priced set (three CDs for the price of two) contains nine works composed between 1996 and 2009. "1996 was the beginning of a new period for me," says First. "I had spent the prior five or six years creating a lot of music for other players and larger ensembles -- culminating in 1995 with a couple of mountings of my opera, The Manhattan Book of the Dead. I was a little burned out on this and decided to return to a more personal, intimate format -- one that ended up including an even more extensive exploration of tunings, alternative compositional softwares and how my playing techniques interacted with these things. I think I just wanted to go deeper and have more control over the results. During the ensuing years Ive had a few pendulum swings -- forays into beat-oriented pop music with lyrics and vocals and, of course, the re-animation of my rock band from the late 70s -- The Notekillers. But Ive continued, through all of the changes, to maintain my grounding in my love of the drone and associated acoustical phenomena -- a love affair that began in my teenage psychedelic years and will, no doubt, be a most significant aspect of my music path for as long as I am at it. The tracks here represent almost every major work created from 1996 to the present and Im grateful that they will be heard by a wider swath of people than those who lived in NYC or happened to be at one of my touring performances during these years." - XI.

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