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Alga Marghen

ASHLEY, ROBERT - String Quartet Describing the Motions of Large Real Bodies/How Can I Tell The Difference

2000 release. "String Quartet Describing the Motions of Large Real Bodies" was composed as the potential orchestra for an opera-based on the text of In Sara, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven There Were Men And Women." When the work was composed in 1972, it was clear that a huge change in electronic instrumentation was just beginning, a change that would involve computers and sound-producing devices as yet undreamed-of. The piece consists of an electronic orchestra of 42 sound-producing modules. The technique of the string quartet is for each player to make a stream of intentional but unpremeditated (that is, random) very short sounds, pulses, somewhat like pitched clicks, but with the formats and overtones of a string instrument (this idea came from the rumor of a performance by Takehisa Kosugi). These sounds go directly to a set of four loudspeakers, but at the same time they are delayed electronically, and those delayed sounds are sent to a series of seven networks of sound-producing modules activated by the very brief coincidence of an original sound and a delayed sound. The operation of the networks as a result of the coincidence can, in the theoretical world of electronics, produce almost any sound imaginable. In the performance recorded here, few of the technical resources were available. Now, of course, there are computer "patching" programs that would make the job possible, but complicated. Such are dreams, when technology promises a "new world." Sort of like 1492. The hills and mountains separating San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean are filled with a labyrinth of endless concrete tunnels constructed by the military in the 1930s in anticipation of World War II, to defend San Francisco Bay from invasion. At the entrance of every tunnel is a huge steel door. When the door is slammed, the reverberation through the labyrinth seems to last forever. It is one of the wonders of the world. Naturally, Robert Ashley tried to record this phenomenon. On the occasion of the recording, just as the reverberation seemed to die away, a motorcyclist, miles away in the tunnels, started coming closer. The effect, which took minutes, was as if the reverberation had been reversed, as if the tape recording was running backwards. A perfect case of coincidence as illusion. In Version One of "How Can I Tell the Difference?" the composer tried to create the drama of the recording of the reverberation and the motorcyclist, using the "String Quartet" as an "orchestra," in the way it was intended to be used in the opera. In Version Two of "How Can I Tell the Difference?" a solo string player using the same playing technique as in the "String Quartet" opens and closes the sound "gates" to electronic reverberations and pre-recorded sounds running continuously with the performance. A digipack CD edition including an 8-page booklet with scores and liner notes written by Robert Ashley." - Alga Marghen.

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After nearly a decade of false starts, multiple game plans veering off the rails, and a handful of shattered hopes and/or dreams, the odyssey is finally complete—the new Fusetron site is here.

This is the first phase of a multipart rollout that will span the next few months: the currently browsable stock includes miscellaneous new releases from the past 8+ months (we have a lot of catching up to do), plus approximately a third of our backstock. Note that we’ve reduced/slashed prices on many titles and will continue to do so in order to make room for new stock. We’ll also be expanding / tweaking / improving / debugging the site itself (for example, we still have work to do on the automated international postage system, not to mention the inevitable inventory discrepancies that come with transferring an ancient and massive database to a new system).

Over the next few months, as we take inventory, clean house, and delve into our storage, we will be uploading thousands of additional items, gradually, on a near-daily basis. This will include the majority of the LPs, as well as many titles, in all formats, once thought long-gone. Many currently “sold out” items are likely to resurface.

Finally, once our general backstock is up (probably in the next two or three months) we’ll begin making our extensive stockpile of rarities available online for the first time: tons of random out-of-print titles, "deadstock," warehouse finds, secondhand collectibles, etc., accumulated over the past few decades.

Frequent/returning customers will be getting early access to these items. Details to follow on how this will work (a priority mailing list? a 'frequent flyer'-like program?), but it will not be based on dollars spent. We want to reward those who consistently support us, especially in the discogs marketplace era (to those who show up trying to poach five copies of a one-off rarity, and nothing else, ever… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).

So—we suggest you take some time to dig through the site—even we’ve been surprised by what’s been turning up, and there’s much more to come.



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