Rvng International

SYRINX - Tumblers From The Vault

The two instrumental albums that Syrinx issued in the early 1970s sound little like the psychedelic music prevailing Torontos rock venues at the time, and are even further removed from the electronic tape experimentations spooled by a younger John Mills-Cockell.


Instead, the path of Syrinx whimsically veers away from the dominant mode of 70s subculture, charting surprising commercial success. Tumblers From The Vault presents their entire recorded legacy, reviving the story of Syrinx and sharing their memorable, mind-bending melodies.


The musicians behind Syrinx were composer and keyboardist John Mills-Cockell, saxophonist Doug Pringle, and percussionist Alan Wells. All three were young veterans of the Toronto creative scene by the beginning of 1970. LSD played a supporting role in their artistic pursuits, but equal guidance also came from Mills-Cockells studies at the University of Toronto and Royal Conservatory of Music, where he established an ad-hoc, DIY electronic music course in the schools basement.


Before long, Mills-Cockell was an accomplished young composer and an important conspirator in Intersystems, a rogue, multimedia ensemble that intersected heterogenous artists and musicians via the Toronto underground. In this freeform environment, Mills-Cockells compositions found alert ears, among them his primary collaborator Doug Pringle, a wily wind player, and producer Felix Pappalardi, whose credits include Creams Disraeli Gears and who helped John land an album deal with True North Columbia.


After Intersystems dissolution, Mills-Cockell journeyed to Canadas west coast to work on an album of original synth-based compositions using his multi-suitcase Moog as the primary instrument. Pringle was enlisted to color outside the musics already adventurous lines, his sinuous, signal-processed saxophone adding another electrifying voice to Syrinxs signature sound. A sound that hybridized chamber music dynamics with wild, yet tuneful electronic melodicism. With Alan Wells understated percussion rolled into the fold, what started as a solo venture for Mills-Cockell became a new kind of collective.


From these coastal sessions were conjured exemplary pieces like “Journey Tree” and “Hollywood Dream Trip,” both plaintive and serene expressions of Mills-Cockells economical arrangements, and also Syrinxs restrained and expert use of their electronic resources. “Hollywood Dream Trip” alone presents a theme so memorable and melancholic that it calls to mind Erik Satie, John Cages early piano works, and the cinematic power of Golden Age soundtrack music. Syrinxs self-titled debut arrived in 1970, followed in 1971 by Long Lost Relatives, which is highlighted as the first album on Tumblers From The Vault.


Between the two albums, Syrinx became a vital part of the Toronto music scene, with Doug Pringles loft serving as the central node for impromptu performances and the groups collaborative activities. Syrinx also started receiving high profile work, first for television, film, and dance, and then for orchestra. One commission culminated commercially in “Tillicum”, the unforgettable theme music for pioneering reality television show Here Come the Seventies. As a standalone single, “Tillicum” would climb to #38 on Canadas RPM charts. The most eventful assignment came from the Toronto Repertory Ensembles conductor and composer Milton Barnes, whose solicitation inspired the powerful orchestral suite Stringspace.


The studio version of Stringspace for Long Lost Relatives is a near faithful version to the live performance, the Toronto Repertory Ensemble offering the same sweeping, deeply engrossing symphonic support. (An original live version also appears on Tumblers from the Vault on the third LP, along with other rare and alternate Syrinx gems). “Tillicum” also appears on Long Lost Relatives, a nod to the groups new visibility, and perhaps an assertion that Syrinx was part of the trailblazing new world that their television theme song signaled.


Syrinxs music is more than a faded strain in Canadas consciousness, but has never expanded universally. One modest task of Tumblers from the Vault is to reinstate Syrinx to their place in the wider canon of groundbreaking music so their story can be appreciated beyond the limits of Canadian notoriety. Another task is to simply have this music heard again, which is an endeavor made less difficult by the fact that the most defining quality of Syrinxs music is its timelessness and agency.


Unlike so many turn of the 60s experiments fusing rock and pop music language with new technology, Syrinx was never excessive in expressing their vision of what electronic music could offer. Instead, they blended these sounds in a holistic way, allowing the acoustic and electronic textures to create one organic voice. They opted to foreground the lyrical and poetic content of their compositions rather than their innovative techniques.


Its a tribute to John Mills-Cockells compositions, and his comrades Doug Pringle and Alan Wells, that the tangential path of Syrinx remains as present, exploratory and inviting as ever.


Syrinxs Tumblers From The Vault will be released on October 14, 2016 in digital format and October 28, 2016 as a triple LP set and double CD. An accompanying documentary about Syrinx by artist and filmmaker Zoe Kirk-Gushowaty will screen selectively. - Rvng International.
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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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