Exposé Online banner

Pauline Oliveros — Alien Bog / Beautiful Soop
(Pogus Productions P21012-2, 1967/1997, CD)

by Mike Ezzo, Published 1998-07-01

Alien Bog / Beautiful Soop Cover art

Born in 1932, accordionist / musical philosopher / teacher Oliveros has been hailed a champion of the avant garde in America, ever since instigating the field of meditative music. Founding the Deep Listening Band in 1980, she is responsible for a body of musical composition which explores meaning in ritual and myth, simultaneously tapping into the dramatic and theatrical aspects of the art world. Highly respected status in new music circles has subsidized a number of different projects of which this CD is the most recent. That is as far as release date goes anyway. Don't expect any meditation however, as Alien Bog / Beautiful Soop portrays electronic music experiments from her late 60s teaching stint at Mills College. Created on that Mt. Rushmore of instruments: the Buchla modular synthesizer system, these two archival works predate the era of mass production — when a synthesizer was a one-of-kind laboratory piece, commanding the respect (and space!) that would be considered comical in a world where the beastly machines roll off assembly lines in the blink of an eye. As source material Oliveros here uses a series of contrasting low and high frequency waveshapes which constantly interweave with each other in a non-repetitive continuum. Despite its radical nature (i.e., no real melody or rhythm to speak of), there is still a tangible arching form which carries over, if ever so obliquely, as the shape of the music twists and bends on its wily course. Do not mistake this as sheer random noise. Rather the textural fluctuations and sound events are strictly patterned to move in a discreet direction. And yet while no stickers warn "Danger! Avant Garde Territory!" perhaps only the small legion of supporters of composers such as Subotnick, Stockhausen, et al. will find much to grasp onto. Clocking in at a good thirty minutes a go, a confrontation with one of these monsters can be like serving a prison sentence for anyone expecting Klaus Schulze. Especially on "Beautiful Soop," which for me was spoiled by narration. But if true innovation is your bag, then Oliveros' CD provides a 60-minute history lesson in an almost extinct compositional idiom.


Filed under: Archives, Issue 15, 1997 releases, 1967 recordings

Related artist(s): Pauline Oliveros

More info
http://oliveros.bandcamp.com/album/alien-bog-beautiful-soop

Latest news

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ars Nova - Fear and Anxiety – Here is one of those albums that I hate at one listen, and love at the next. Ars Nova is a Japanese instrumental trio of mega-keyboards, bass, and drums, playing pretty much in the tired old keyboard...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues