George Harrison - Electronic Sound (Zapple, 1969)

Non, vous ne rêvez pas, l'auteur de cet album de musique électronique expérimentale est bien le George Harrison des Beatles. Autant dire que les fans du groupe se retrouvent bien souvent complètement largués devant cet objet qui n'a rien de pop! N'attendez pas de rock psychédélique non plus! Deux faces, deux longs morceaux qui explorent des synthétiseurs aujourd'hui vintage, pour en sortir des sons que ne renierait pas la NASA. C'est paraît-il le premier album à utiliser le Moog. Vous êtes prévenus! Et si malgré ça vous le downloadez parce que vous êtes fan des Beatles, ne venez pas vous plaindre! Dites-vous que je vous aurai fait économiser une petite somme, puisque ce disque étrange se vend près de 45€ sur Amazon, import japonais oblige.

George Harrison
Electronic Sound

LP Zapple 3358 (UK, 1969)

01. Under the Mersey Wall
02. No Time or Space

Note : Hard as it is to believe, George Harrison, guitar picker, was also an electronic music pioneer, as these two lengthy, abstract tone poems for early-vintage Moog synthesizer reveal. A naif in the electronic sphere, George had a lot of help putting this music together, particularly from ace California electronic composer Bernie Krause. Interestingly, Krause was originally given prominent credit in the artist's childlike artwork on the LP cover, but when the album came out, Krause's name was almost, but not quite, obscured by silver paint, and the CD erases it entirely. The main difference between the CD reissue and the original LP is that the identities of the two works apparently have been reversed; "Under the Mersey Wall" is really "No Time or Space" and vice-versa. Accordingly, Krause is given "assistance" credit for the latter piece instead of the former, which is significant because "No Time or Space" is the masterpiece of the record. Dramatically structured, unearthly in its pitchless writhing, flamboyantly manipulating pink and white noise from the opening electronic gun battle onward, "No Time or Space" is still an entertaining listening experience, and some of its passages would turn up later in the "I Remember Jeep" jam from Harrison's All Things Must Pass album. The shorter "Mersey Wall," recorded in Harrison's Esher bungalow with his own Moog, is a low-key, drifting affair, not quite as virtuosic in its handling of abstract sound, nor nearly as theatrical. The sound is slightly sharper in the CD remastering, exposing more extraneous distortion and hum. Though scoffed at when they were released, these pieces can hold their own and then some with many of those of other, more seriously regarded electronic composers. And when you consider that synthesizers were only capable of playing one note at a time and sounds could not be stored or recalled with the push of a button, the achievement becomes even more remarkable. Alas, George never followed up on this direction, which, like the Zapple label, was abandoned after this release.


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