Saturday, July 11, 2020
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Artist: David Borden (@)
Title: Music For Amplified Keyboard Instruments
Format: CD
Label: Spectrum Spools
Rated: *****
Editions Mego sister label Spectrum Spools keep on exploring somehow hidden paths and difficult-to-find stuff by the true forerunners of electronic music. This time, the historical scouting of the label venture into the private archive of Boston-native minimalist composer David Borden, whose pioneering role in electronic music could be testified by the fact he was one of the beta-testers of the glorious Modular Synthesizer systems and MiniMoog instruments by Bob Moog, who also lent out his prototype synths to Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company, the ensemble that Borden formed in 1969. After Mother Mallard disbanded in 1978, Borden experienced some delays and troubles in spreading his solo compositions, which got grabbed by some lucky collectors, so that the re-release of "Music for Amplified Keyboard Instruments" (1981), a proper rarity whose original copies on the used market are maybe so expensive that you have to starve in order to grab one. Three players and six keyboard instruments was needed to record the four tracks on this output, which saw the light 33 years ago and included two (parts six and nine) of the 12 part cycle for synthesizers, acoustic instruments and voice "The Continuing Story of Counterpoint" - David worked on them for 11 years and the beautiful computational complexity of the melodies, the impressive key changes and time signature manoeuvring of these two assays, which went far beyond the imagination and the compositional skills of American Minimalists of those days, could explain such a lenghty period for processing them -, the polychromatic textures of the opening track "Esty Point, Summer 1978" and "Enfield in Winter", whose softened pad sounds and slowly changing pattern are closer to ambient music before the ever-changing elements lead to a sublime plaiting of chord progressions and glistering patterns.


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