CD Catalogue – October 2011
Experimental music pioneer Warren Burt has been composing and performing since 1968. In the more than 4 decades of his career, he has travelled through just about every style, movement and music technology of the period. A regular performer on overseas new music tours, he has been actively involved in promoting new music as well as composing and performing it, and has founded or helped found a number of historically important institutions such as the Clifton Hill Community Music Centre (1975-82), the New and Experimental Music show on 3CR (1977-80), and later on 3PBS (1986-92), and the Linden St. Kilda New Music Series (1986-94). His stylistic range is enormous, and his curiosity virtuosic. Unwilling to be hemmed in by any one musical or theoretical approach, he has ranged across the whole span of contemporary ideas, often with a sense of wit and humour. His work has never been easy to find, as he never made the effort, to any great extent, to release his music commercially. He’s now decided to release the following 92 albums, with over 136 CDs, either separately, or as a special limited complete edition. These are available as special made-to-order CDs, or as downloadable MP3 files (320kpbs, CD quality), or as special made-to-order downloadable OGG or FLAC files.
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Prices: All prices in Australian dollars:
SINGLE CD: CD-$23 plus postage
MP3 download $16
OGG or FLAC download (custom made): $23
DOUBLE CD: CD-$38 plus postage
MP3 download $27
OGG or FLAC download (custom made): $38
TRIPLE CD: CD $55 plus postage
MP3 download $39
OGG or FLAC download (custom made) $55
FOUR CD SET: CD $70 plus postage
MP3 download $50
OGG or FLAC download (custom made) $70
SIX CD SET: CD $90 plus postage
MP3 download $70
OGG or FLAC download (custom made) $90
TWELVE CD SET: CD $180 plus postage
MP3 download $140
OGG or FLAC download (custom made) $180
COMPLETE EDITION: Price on Application
CDs are listed in chronological order:
1. Trilobites and Aardvarks (1969-71)
Burt's first electronic music work. From the rampaging collage of "The Trilobite Trilogy Blues" through the barrage of roaring, whining Formula-One Grand Prix like sound of "Sleiden Sound" to the chopped up sound of 19 people reading 19th century pornography in "The Scarlet Aardvark Strikes Back", this highly energetic and exuberant piece expresses Burt's joy at finding a medium which suited him perfectly. Made with the now historical CEMS synthesizer system designed by Joel Chadabe, early synthesizer fans will love this.
2. Sketches of Scenes and Seasons from Upstate New York (1971-72)
Three analog synthesizer pieces which were made without a keyboard - these are structuralist abstracts. Burt was heavily influenced by the ideas of Constructivist sculptor George Rickey at the time, and these pieces, all of which have landscape titles, are the sound equivalent of the outdoor kinetic sculptures of the late 60s.
3. Anthology 1970-73
A collection of analogue and live-performance pieces from the early 70s. "Lullabies II" for Synthi AKS briefcase synth and tape delay was an early minimalist piece. "For Charlemagne Palestine," a tribute to his friend, was Burt's first microtonal electronic drone piece. "John Lilly Meets the Dolphins" is a piece based on the voices of consciousness-studies pioneer John Lilly and his dolphin collaborators, as well as the sounds of whales and walruses. This is Burt's first piece dealing with underwater soundscapes, a theme that he would continue to explore.
4. Harmonia Mundane (1974) (TWO CD )
Burt was one of the members of the People's Synthesizer Project, which evolved into Serge Modular Music systems, makers of the legendary Serge synthesizer. This is a set of five pieces made with a collection of fabled early electronic music machines: the Serge; the random information generator Daisy; a PDP-11 computer, and the Scalatron microtonal organ. "Bromeliads" is a static, non-directional soundscape, where a computer program simulates the motion of electrons in a black hole. "French Fried Minds of Walruses and Caterpillars", on the other hand, is a directional electroacoustic landscape, and "Busonianiania" is a straight out all-needles-in-the-red distortion piece.
5. Bobo the Clone...(1974)
One of Burt's chief influences was William Burroughs. This highly energetic live performance - made on the Serge synthesizer after a session repairing it – was made in a single afternoon, and encapsulates Burt's reactions to the master of the modern macabre.
6. Aardvarks IV (1972-5)
Noise fans will love this one. One of Burt's major works, it's been called "the best electronic piece since the First World War." A long, violent fresco, it was made with Aardvarks IV, an almost intelligent composing machine that Burt built because he couldn't afford a computer at the time. Evolving from an uneasy drone into complex and roaring sounds, the piece rises to what seems like a climax, only to dissolve into a sense of mystery and curiosity. If you want to find out what the state of the art in electronic music technology was in the early 70s, here it is.
7. Nighthawk, Part 2: 3 Poems of Reassemblage (1975)
Three classic lo-tech experimental poetry pieces. Includes "Frou-Frou Flamingo", Burt's first cassette recorder piece, the dark gangland rhythms of "The Alligator Lords," and the vocal multiphonics and cut up pulp literature of "The Smirking Haddock." Cut-up poetry, toy percussion, cheap electronics - an essential piece from the 1970s sound poetry movement.
8. Nighthawk, Part 3, Bittern (1975-76) (TWO CD )
Eighty minutes of musique concrete and concrete poetry. This is the soundtrack to the third part of Burt's classic 70s multimedia and experimental poetry extravaganza, Nighthawk. The sound of the now defunct St. Kilda train line forms the backdrop for glass gongs, fragmented newpaper hoardings poetry, bean slicers, storm drains, and more ways of saying 'quack' than have ever been used in a musical piece before.
9. Four Quartets and a Canon (1975-76)
A 70 minute collection of five pieces from the mid-70s, including "Song for Gavin Bryars", Burt's homage/response to the British minimalist scene that influenced him greatly; "Tchirp" - a fifteen minute glittering ribbon of sound; and "Big Note Posters Are Good ", a highly abstracted non-socialist-realist response to China's Cultural Revolution.
10. Aardvarks V: Symphony (August 9th ) (1977)
A single unaccompanied melody which lasts for an hour. Using Aardvarks IV, his homemade quasi-computer and semi-intelligent music composing machine, Burt steers his digital processes through the seas of musical structure, creating a polyphonic electronic single line melody. Think of a Bach solo cello partita updated with hard edged electronic sounds, elaborate spatial panning, and atonal and microtonal harmonies and you'll get the idea.
11. Pastorale (1977-78)
A more gentle set of pieces for concrete and electronic sounds. Two minimalist dance scores for choreographer Eva Karczag; a patch which gets the synthesizer to laugh, and compositions for environmental sounds and percussion make a suite which could almost, but not quite, (just a bit too subversive, it is!) fit into the New Age bin.
12. Le Grand Ni Symphony (1978)
Burt and Julian Driscoll designed and built Aardvarks VII, a digital composing machine made out of the simplest chips. Simple in concept, but powerful in execution, this microtonal music machine formed the basis for a 70 minute long symphonic piece (Glenn Branca wasn't the only person doing unorthodox symphonies in this period!), for live electronics. Performed all over Australia, Europe and the US it's in C Major, no less, and alternates high-speed minimalist melodics with the sounds of rattling metal signs activated by the electronics of Aardvarks VII.
13. 8-8s: Four Pairs in the Shape of a Piece (1978-79)
These pieces had quite wide exposure in the late 70s, with some being released on LP and cassette, and much radio play. Gathered together here as originally intended, there are eight 8-minute pieces, ranging from clanging bell-ringing change pieces, to happy minimalist pulse pieces. Four are made with one of the first Synclaviers (a pioneering digital synthesizer), and four with the Serge-Driscoll synthesizer that Burt had built.
14. Two New York Drones (1979) (TWO CD)
Two 45 minute long drones, composed on the New York City subway, and exploring the depths of the subharmonic series. Burt and Julian Driscoll had built devices to generate precisely related frequencies, and in these pieces, Burt begins his exploration of long sustained dissonance. The pieces might be compared to La Monte Young's drone work of the same period, although at this time Burt had neither met Young, nor heard any of his music.
15. Sound Bath (1979)
A 50 minute piece for junk electronics and six cassette recorders, originally performed on the 1979 Plastic Platypus tour of Europe. One of Burt's most shrieking treble-heavy complex pieces ever. It resembles mostly the soundscape of a jungle, or a forest, but it’s all made with electronic feedback of various sorts.
16. Suite for Synclavier (1979)
A 50 minute suite of five pieces made on the Synclavier system at Adelaide University, one of the first digital synthesizers. Four of the pieces were used as soundtracks for the video piece “Even Five More Moods, Yet”, while one, “Japonica's Dream” is previously unreleased. Includes the collage piece “for Ives and Jobim” and the lush, overblown minimalism of “Gorgeous Formalism.”
17. Tasmanian "D" and Suite for Cheap Technology (1977-80)
In the 1970s, Burt was one of the pioneers of Melbourne's cassette culture. His work with Ron Nagorcka in the now legendary duo Plastic Platypus led to these solo pieces. “Tasmanian ‘D'” starts with the sound of a key ring and a single circular breathing ‘D' on a piccolo, and through multiple cassette recorders transforms them, in live performance, to a shrieking mass of shredded sound. “Suite for Cheap Technology” is a collection of pieces premiered at Melbourne's seminal Clifton Hill Community Music Centre, using lots of little electronic devices to create “electronic music that anyone could make.”
18. Lo-Fi Melodic Electronics (1979-81)
Low technology, low humour, and low volume characterize these pieces. “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” is the sound track for an early performance by New York cross-cultural music legend Ned Sublette. It's a kind of automated medieval music that nods to minimalism. “Dr. Burt's Microtonal Disco-Fat Arkestra” is three badly played pop tunes (so bad they're really baaad!) in the style of the legendary California incompetence ensemble Fatty Acid (that Burt helped found)- one of the earliest pieces made with the Fairlight CMI; and “Leather Disco” is an attempt to out-disco Giorgio Moroder with a table full of electronic toys and cassette recorders.
19. From the Dreambooks and Lo-Fi Proposals (1980 & 86)
“The thing about Warren Burt is, he can take any thin thread of trashy material, and make a piece out of it.” -Ron Robboy. The trashy materials here are Dreambooks, gambling charts formerly used in the numbers racket in the US. Using these as a source of random information, Burt makes one of the earliest Synclavier pieces, basing each highly cyclical piece on the bogus numerology of the Dreambooks. “Lo Fi Proposals”, on the other hand, continues Burt's love affair with cheap technology and it's defects as a source for art. Here the mighty Casio SK1 toy sampler is put through its paces in a series of environmental, political, orchestral, and structural miniatures.
20. Explorations of 31 (1981)
A set of four 15 minute drone pieces using the subharmonic series. Burt and Julian Driscoll had designed a frequency divider to produce precisely tuned subharmonic intervals. This piece, in which long stable chords hang in space, is the first outing of these modules. In performance the piece was played with loudspeakers swung on the ends of long chords, or with a dancer moving in front of the speakers, or with the audience moving about the space. A long lost and now recovered piece of tuning and synthesizer history.
21. Four Pieces for Synthesizer (1981)
Four major analogue synthesizer pieces from the early 80s, mostly made without keyboards, where the synthesizer is treated like an analogue computer, and is programmed to control itself. Two of them were dance scores for choreographer Eva Karczag, and are definitive early minimalist pieces. The other two pursue a more complex path – “Simultaneous Portraits” features intense polyrhythms, and “Harmonies at Launching Place” uses the sound of rain and lyrebirds in the Victorian bush to trigger off and control walls of glittering sound.
22. Studies (1982) for Synthesizer
Briefly tiring of long pieces, Burt here produced 17 two minute etudes for analogue synthesizer. The tuning and rhythmic capabilities of the Serge and Driscoll synthesizers are here stretched to their limits. All sorts of sources and textures are used, from Soloman Islands pan pipe playing to David Tudor inspired noise and feedback patches to elegant interactive note pieces, to minimalist and tonal melodies. A landmark piece in the evolution of the analogue synthesizer.
23. Four Pieces for Radio (1981-3)
“Wires,” “Texts,” “Acoustic Music,” and “Natural Rhythm” were four pieces exploring acoustics, feedback, environmental sounds and interactivity, made for various Australian radio programs. “Acoustic Music” is a feedback piece made in a five story underground parking cylinder. “Natural Rhythm” uses sounds from an underwater microphone at St. Kilda Pier to control a synthesizer, creating a duet for tinkling electronic bells and shrimp. Are shrimp better composers than people? Listen to “Natural Rhythm” and judge for yourself. “Texts” uses a cut-up text and subjects it to very subtle electronic manipulation. “Wires” is a piece using four very long wires set up to feedback on themselves, and be resonated by an upright piano sound board.
24. Aardvarks IX (1982-84) (FOUR CD)
Aardvarks IX was a two year project of Burt's, in which one of the very early single board microcomputers was used to control an analogue synthesizer. This four CD set consists of a 2 hour cycle of pieces that vary from serial to tonal to chaotic to incredibly noisy; a one hour live performance for Australian environmental sounds and live electronics interacting with those sounds; and six versions of an early experiment in artificial intelligence where a computer program was instructed to compose and play an endless series of variations. As well of being of historical interest, these pieces swing.
25. Three Environmental Compositions (84-85) and Two Environmental Pieces (1996-99) (FOUR CD)
Environmental recording and acoustic ecology have been interests of Burt's since the early 1970s. In 1984 and 85, he made a series of ground breaking soundscape pieces, which were broadcast extensively in that period. Here they are collected together for the first time, with two more recent pieces as a bonus. “Yarra for Annea”, Burt's contribution to Annea Lockwood's “World Rivers Archive” is a sonic journey up the Yarra River, from the docks to the source. “Peebles Island Tapes” is an intimate exploration of a State Park and Native American sacred site in northern New York State. “Four Environments” is four sonic snapshots, from a steel grate bridge to a drunk singing on a Collingwood tram. Burt's approach to the environment is reminiscent of Walt Whitman's all-embracing transcendental poetry.
26. Justice, Equality and Beatings 1 & 2 (1984-85)
This series of pieces started in a snowbound motel room in New Hampshire, in the northern winter of 1984. Trapped by the snow with a friend's DX7, Burt began playing with its tuning capabilities. The result was the first of series of drone pieces that continued until 1990. The first three of the series are on this CD. Glowing, glittering sounds that seem to stretch on forever, yet, almost without the listener realizing it, evolve into continually new and surprising sonic terrains.
27. Computer Music 1985 for Fairlight CMI
Can tacky kitsch and serious inquiry coexist in the same piece? Burt's entire career has constituted an emphatic YES! to this question. In the forty minute “Easy Rounds and Folk Dances” he alternates between the refined and the silly, the severe and the stupid. “Post Modern Waltzes” is Burt's non-verbal denunciation of ineptly written post-modern theory. If only those word-obsessed critics had had the smarts to hear it and really understand! In “Portraits and Homages”, Burt uses and pays homage to the ideas of his spiritual forefathers: Charles Ives, Conlon Nancarrow, Henry Cowell, Lou Harrison and Percy Grainger. If you ever wondered what the Fairlight CMI sounded like outside of a pop context, this CD is for you.
28. Music for Tuning Forks (1985-87)
Burt built his tuning forks in 1985 in order to explore microtonal tuning ideas. They quickly took on a life of their own, as their pure sine waves created glowing and warm washes of sound. The first three pieces for the forks show them off in a number of different contexts. “Improvisation in Two Ancient Greek Modes”, with Ernie Althoff, is a multitracked piece exploring ancient harmonies; “Voices, Tuning Forks and Accordion” is a much more contemporary take - the Astra Choir uses the forks to assemble long sustained clouds of sound, weaving their voices around the tuning forks' haunting sines. “Almond Bread Harmonies II” for five players is a very slow, almost metaphysical scanning of the Mandelbrot Matrix, a chaos pattern, to make a piece that is sparkling and calming at the same time.
29. Experimental Music for Orchestra (1969-97)
Pieces for real and sampled orchestras. “Drakula” from 1969 is Burt's first major work - a three minute piece for orchestra divided into five parts, each of which traces out a different path. “Canter's Deli” (1986-7) is a transcription of the sounds of Canter's Deli, on Fairfax in LA, for chamber orchestra. The sampled orchestra and the sounds of the cutlery and dishes mix in epicurean splendour. “Thirteen Pieces for Chamber Orchestra” transcribes ancient Greek modes and different kinds of randomness for instrumental samples. “For Orchestra and Live Electronics” is a live orchestra playing a drone piece which Burt processes on the spot, creating a microtonal soundscape.
30. Samples I, II, III (1986-87) for Orchestra (TWO CD )
“Samples I and II” are Plunderphonic pieces where a sampler is used, with samples of orchestral music by other people, to create complex and luminous soundscapes. “Samples III” is another kettle of fish altogether. Burt wrote 50 fragments of orchestral music, which were recorded by the Adelaide Symphony. He then sampled these, and assembled them into an 84 minute long sonic fresco for three imaginary orchestras in as many simultaneous keys and rhythms. “Polyrhythm” and “polytexture” are the warp and woof of this imagination-bending score.
31. A 1987 Sampler
Early sampler pieces. “String Quartet No. 4" is a piece for computer controlled string quartet samples. An elegant fake that approaches the complexity of the real thing. “for Caroline” is a multitracked environment for both sunny sounds (Burt's tuning forks), and subterranean ones (cellist Sarah Hopkins and poet Chris Mann in a storm drain). “Justice, Equality and Beatings IV” continues Burt's explorations in drones at the edge of consonance and dissonance.
32. Electronic Music 1988
Three major live electronic pieces and a few shorter ones. “Not for Public Consumption” is a live multi-cassette recorder mix - Burt was one of the people who pioneered cassette culture in the early 1970s, and here he shows his mastery in a rampaging collage. “Riffs for Ross” is Burt and a keyboard sampler assembling his dream bebop band, where Charlie Parker and Art van Damme finally get to play together. “From my Window” is for breath controlled Serge synthesizer and samplers – a combination of European electroacoustics and Australian free improv.
33. Fantasias, Quartets and Nocturnes (1986-88) (TWO CD )
Three similar sets of pieces, in three different tunings: 12 tone, 19 tone and 31 tone equal temperament. The Fantasias are nostalgic exercises in free expressionist composition, ala Schoenberg, updated to the world of computer controlled analogue synthesis; the Quartets are rigorous 1950s serialist “change-ringing pieces”, and the Nocturnes are experiments in composing on the edge of sleep. Just before bed, each night, Burt would improvise into his sequencer until he dropped off to sleep. The Nocturnes consist of spliced together phrases made just on the edge of sleep. The exploration of the subconscious in the Nocturnes contrasts vividly with the caffeinated consciousness of the Fantasias and Quartets.
34. Chaotic Research Music (1989-90) (TWO CD )
In the early days of Chaos research, when it threatened to become a fashion industry, Burt was quizzical, and not a little critical. This suite of 10 pieces includes an extensive essay on Chaos and Music where he tries to cut through the hype surrounding the use of ideas from math and physics in music, and produce pieces that might actually be reflections of those ideas, while still being interesting and challenging as music in themselves.
35. Some Kind of Seasoning (1990-91) Volume 1: Summer Music (TWO CD)
36. Some Kind of Seasoning (1990-91) Volume 2: Our Autumn Collection
37. Some Kind of Seasoning (1990-91) Volume 3: A Winter's Tunings (TWO CD)
38. Some Kind of Seasoning (1990-91) Volume 4: Spring Songs (TWO CD)
A five hour forty minute epic cycle of interactive computer and synthesizer pieces from 1990-91, originally performed as a forty hour (five days at 8 hours per day) installation / performance at St. Kilda's Linden Gallery, this piece, on 7 CDs is one of Burt's most enormous and varied sonic landscapes. From the jazz influenced “Martigny” to the Sun Ra inspired “A Post-Modern Object-Oriented Chaotic Cellular Teledildonic Virtual Simulacra!” and “I Have My Standards” to the gentle ancient Greek harmonies of “21 Studies in the Modes of Archytas”, and the almost mystical harmonies of “Summer Music I and IV”, this is a large cycle of works from the early 1990s. Includes extensive notes on all the pieces, and the cycle as a whole.
39. Chris Mann and Warren Burt: Collaborative Works 1977-1993 (TWO CD)
The collaboration of Burt and Mann was legendary in Melbourne and international performance poetry circles. For almost two decades, they worked together on a series of gritty, uncompromising performances where Burt provided sonic environments as convoluted as Mann's multi-layered texts. The CD includes “Syntactic Switches,” from 1977, an historical La Mama performance; as well as the forty members of the Astra Choir performing with an equal number of cassette recorders, resynthesizing the sounds of Pidgin and the audience's voices. “of course” and “anyway”, their two major collaborations from the late 80s, for live computer and voice, are also included here.
40. Texts and Music 1987-1998 (TWO CD)
Working with both human and machine poets, Burt here sets texts and performances by humans Amanda Stewart, Gertrude Stein, Elizabeth Block, Allyn Brodsky, Brigid Burke, Nossis, Ptolemy, Plato, etc. and cyber-authors Racter and Eliza. Performers include Howard Stanley, Susie Fraser, bernie m janssen, Ernie Althoff, and a host of others. This wide ranging collection of texts and settings is almost an encyclopaedia of ways contemporary composers dealt with words in the late 80s and 1990s.
41. Horizon Rerun (1994)
Burt and choreographic co-conspirator Eva Karczag made sound and movement magic happen together for three decades from the late 70s. This piece features Karczag's stream of consciousness poetry, environmental sounds, and a series of microtonal electric piano pieces by Burt. Karczag uses a theremin to trigger off electric piano sounds, Burt tracks her movement with a Buchla Lightning, and the two of them interact with the machines in an engrossing soundscape.
42. Drones 1994 (TWO CD)
Where most drone pieces explore fairly consonant sounds, Burt's Drones, which he's been composing since the early 1970s, sometimes explore the farther reaches of dissonance. Think of it as music for your ears to lie back in an easy chair with, except that the easy chair occasionally morphs into something a bit, well, more “interesting.” One of these drones, transgressing all the structural laws of medieval music, consists of nothing but commas (the mistuned, beating sounds produced by medieval intonation), extended in time. Clearly, the most dissonant piece written in 1394! Only 600 years too late, but better late than never.
43. Music from Movement 1993-1995
Back when interactivity had not yet become a buzzword, Burt was exploring the interface between sound and movement with a series of elegant, beautiful, and challenging soundscapes - all triggered off by the movements of his (“ageing, ungraceful” to quote one critic) body. Don Buchla's Lightning movement sensor controls a variety of samplers, analogue synthesizers, and laptop computers. (Remember the 286 laptop that weighed 8 kg?) Seen in many performance venues in Melbourne (and around the world), this is the complete collection of these pioneering pieces.
44. Five Chaotic Movements for David Tudor (1996)
Remembering one of his inspirations, Burt uses analogue synthesizers, computers, and samplers without regard for their ideologies to assemble a series of chaotic, self-generating environments to memorialise the late 20th century master of the genre. All pieces recorded live.
45. Microtonal Fake Chamber Music 1993-1997
Burt returns to his late 60s roots, sort of, in these pieces, with a CD of contemporary classical chamber music pieces that would be absolutely impossible for humans to play. This collection includes his complexist “Scenes from the Jungle of Intonational Injustice” for imaginary piano and wind quintet (a homage to gamelan composer and pioneer minimalist Colin McPhee), and the music theatre piece “Remembering Griffes II”, a musical seance where Burt tries to invoke the spirit of American modern music pioneer Charles Tomlinson Griffes.
46. Harmonic Colour Fields (1996-97)
Recently released on the American label Pogus, (http://www.pogus.com/) and available from them. From the glowing ambience of “Portrait of Erv Wilson” to the throbbing clusters of “48=>53; 53=>48", this piece contradicts the prevailing post-modernist musical orthodoxy with a one way ride from extreme consonance to extreme dissonance.
47. Randelli's Assortment (1994-99) (TWO CD)
In their 20 year collaboration, Burt wrote hours of satirical music for the video art and multimedia projects of Robert Randall and Frank Bendinelli. Drawing on his experiences in the seminal California incompetence band, Fatty Acid, Burt creates a series of laughing soundscapes, where the boundary between bad taste and high comedy is frequently transgressed with almost adolescent glee. Includes the never before broadcast computer-voice science-fiction radio-play “Sexy Space Romp.”
48. Four Experimental Computer Pieces (1995-97)
“Daisy Feeds the Temporal Piano Attractor” has a vintage historical electronic music machine (Daisy) caught in a feedback loop with a microtonal sampled piano. Can self-generating loops be musically intelligent? Only their hairdresser knows for sure. Microtonal drones with crunchiness abound in Burt's satirical take on Messiaen: “Vingt Enflures sur l'Enfant Melvin”; and the fake gamelan music of “Pi and the Square Root of 2 #1", which actually owes more to the Chudnovsky brothers (mathematical theorists) than to Bali, though it might sound the other way around.
49. Two Installation Pieces 1997
“Pi and the Square Root of Two #2" is almost New Age Ambient Chill Out (add other terms as needed here) in its absolute glacial calm, as two parallel harmonic series of piano notes spin out the random digits of Pi and the square root of 2 for half an hour. A darker vision is offered with “Reality Check”, an interactive installation about the absolute futility of playing along with the system. The system, as always, has a way of persisting.....
50. A 90s Miscellany
Fourteen short pieces, mostly made for mail art and collective sound art projects. Includes “With Proper Regard for Copyright”, Burt's 1996 plunderphonic collaboration with Tim Kreger, and “A Little Lullaby for Lev and Clara, Reunited in Heaven”, where Burt plays “der Russian perfesser”, in an homage to Leon Theremin, who was one of the folks who got this whole thing started.
51. Sound Installations 1998: Horsham, Warrnambool and Sale (TWO CD)
Twelve pieces from three sound sculpture installations in Victorian country regions. The first CD has remixes of sounds from nine installations, including Burt's award winning “La Strega Bianca della Luna II” (also released on Innova), and “Sines/Forks 3”, featuring the legendary Al Wunder on percussion and Alison Thomson on flutes. The second CD mixes environmental sounds from the areas surrounding the galleries. Each consists of at least two or three layers of environmental sound, mixed to make a “faster” progression of events from the environment.
(“La Strega Bianca della Luna II” is also available as part of “Sonic Circuits VI” from Innova Records: (http://innova.mu/artist1.asp?skuID=158))
52. Diversity (1997-98)
Burt's political multimedia theatre from 1998, directed by the late Sylvia Staehli. At times satirical, at times direct and hard hitting, “Diversity” pulls no punches in its attack on the domination of contemporary society by economics and business culture.
53. Music for Microtonal Piano Sounds (1992-98) (SIX CD )
An almost six hour long set of pieces, written over the course of six years. Using one of the most familiar of musical sounds, the piano, to explore the unfamiliar territory of microtonality. Looks in the direction of La Monte Young, Charlemagne Palestine and Terry Riley, but takes a left turn at the corner of Tuning and Complexity. Automatic composing machines, human improvisation, human-machine interaction, just plain playing, chaos turned into note patterns, this immense piece has it all. Includes “39 Dissonant Etudes”, available separately on Tall Poppies, and New York pianist Loretta Goldberg performing Burt's “Book of Symmetries”, for Disklavier and EPS sampler, also available separately on Centaur.
“39 Dissonant Etudes” on Tall Poppies: http://www.tallpoppies.net/
Loretta Goldberg: “Zygotones” includes “A Book of Symmetries” http://www.centaurrecords.com/
54. Ear Cleaners: 15 Short Experiments in Hard Listening (1995-1999)
These are research pieces, most of which last 4:33. Hand drawn waveforms, unique shreddings of waveforms from malfunctioning home-made software, massive clouds of corella samples, raucous tunings and timbres, skronky fm timbres. This is Burt at his most uncompromising and hard edged, revealing him as one of the predecessors of the Glitch movement.
55. Sorrento Suite (1998-99)
Seven improvised computer music pieces, on a marine theme, for seven dancers to solo with. Which also function as musical portraits of the dancers. These were first performed at Conundrum, in Melbourne in 1999. Experimental music for experimental dancing has been one of Burt’s pre-occupations throughout his career.
56. Two Improvisations (October 1999)
“A Tour Thru Temperament”, first performed live at Melbourne's Planet Café, traverses most of the historical tunings used in Europe from about 1100-1800, and does it in a mere 43 electric-organ drone laced minutes. “Charles Ives' 125th Birthday”, performed live at Melbourne's Collected Works Bookstore, has Burt talking and wise-cracking about his teen hero Charles Ives, playing samples of Ives' music and his own electronic reconstruction of the “Life Pulse” from Ives' indeterminate “Universe Symphony.”
57. Installations, Radio Pieces, etc. (August - November 1999)
Includes Burt's essay in semi-artificial almost-intelligence (or is it an emulation of a bureaucratic bungle structure?) “Installation for 3 Laptops”, where 3 laptops talk to each other, each one telling the other what to do, - imagine Kenneth Gaburo jamming with Art Tatum on electric pianos. And “Summerlake,” an installation for the Ripponlea Estate, designed to appeal to the swamphens and ducks in the lake. Human listeners can take their chances. Plus Burt's cut-up/homage to Melbourne improvising legend David Tolley.
58. Music of the Pre-Neo-Cyberian (1998-99)
Perhaps some of Burt's oldest music - one of the scales used on this collection of 19 pieces is probably about 25,000 years old. Paleomathematics as music! Also Burt's tribute to British drum and bass magazines, a set of microtonal etudes, some noiseband work, and an hommage to the late great performance poet Jas Duke.
59. Lost and Abducted (2000)
Hartley Newnham and Carolyn Connors star in “Abducted” a gruesome Sci Fi tale about alien abductions and breeding experiments. Text by Robert Randall, music by Burt, Newnham and Connors for computer processed voices, harmonic canon and tuning forks. “Lost” is Randall's staged updating of 19th century bush ballads, set to dramatic recitation by Ian Holdaway and highly textured music by Burt. Two challenging pieces of contemporary music theatre.
60. Antipodean Collection: A Laptop Symphony (2000)
A suite of nine live computer pieces, performed on tour by Burt in late 2000. Includes “Looking Towards Antarctica” the piece that Merzbow fans found too aggressive (!), and “Some Physical Virtual Sensuality”, Burt's satirical take on the cyber-culture of the late 90s. Also the gentle beauty of “Debussy Cloud” and the sampled duck quacks of “Fractal Follies” where, conceptually anyway, Benoit Mandelbrot met Mel Blanc.
61. Two Live Computer Improvisations May and August 2000
Sexologist Ruth Westheimer meets the currawongs of Canberra in the first of two pieces on this CD. Recorded live at La Mama, Melbourne, it's 30 minutes of AudioMulching harmonies, words and birds. The second piece is an early version of Burt's treatment of the poems of New Zealand socialist realist poet Rewi Alley. Recorded live at exp@Centriphugal.
62. Five Environmental Displacements (2000)
Five unedited slices of the environment, each 10 minutes long. Originally recorded for correspondence artist David Dellafiora, these recordings are designed to be used by the listener to make personal environmental soundscapes.
63. Winter Solstice Mix (1999-2000)
One hour long live recording of the soundtrack to a multimedia performance by Burt and filmmaker Dirk de Bruyn. Using recordings for drums and electronics specially made by Burt and Ben (Metaphysician's Hammer) Chadabe, along with a table full of computers, toys, and penguin recordings, this is a sonic roller coaster ride.
64. Playing in Traffic (2000-2001) (TWO CD)
A 110 minute cycle of 8 computer and traffic noise pieces, some of the pieces are filled with more notes per square second than you'll hear this side of Conlon Nancarrow, another is a fierce political denunciations of General Electric's environmental destruction; still another is a gentle wash of pure sine waves evoking Fitzroy, Melbourne in the summer heat. Birdcalls are stretched, samba samples are mangled, and in the end, a recalcitrant steam radiator triumphs.
65. Paul Panhuysen/Warren Burt: Number Made Visible Made Audible (2001) (TWO CD)
Dutch sound art legend Paul Panhuysen and Burt collaborated on this, turning Panhuysen's “Number Made Visible” and “Calcucos” drawings into a deep, roaring soundscape. The first CD has two pieces, 48 and 24 minutes long; the second has all 63 sections of the first piece on the first CD presented individually, for random shuffle play. Create your own personally ordered Dutch-Australian soundscape.
66. Five 23 Tone Pieces (2001-2002)
An obsession with a scale (23 tone equal temperament) regarded as useless by many produced 5 different pieces. “23 Tone Boom Boom” and “The Disco Fat Arkestra Live at the Café Montmartre, Madison” are fairly abstract, but funny, takes on techno and jazz. “The Family Supper” is a setting of a socialist realist poem. “Expanded Cinema - Mark 2" is a soundtrack for a multimedia presentation by Burt and filmmaker Dirk de Bruyn (which gives new meaning to the term “music concrete”), and “9 Out of 23" is a long drone piece for electronics, plucked strings, accordion, and Burt's collection of custom-made tuning forks.
67. William Gillespie and Warren Burt: The WEFT Improvs (2002)
Two mutants in a public radio studio in the middle of the American mid-West: experimental poet William Gillespie (spinelessbooks.com) and Burt improvise “Smooth Jazz” with samples and, for everyone who ever suffered through a radio pledge drive, here's a tonic for your ears: a live performance of cut up and sampled pledge drive ads performed, that's right, as part of a radio pledge drive. Very silly.
68. The Mossy Slopes of Mt. Meru (2002)
This is a sine wave drone piece that explores the many harmonies that can be found in the mathematical structure known as Pascal's triangle. Some of the harmonies are quite familiar, some very strange, and the specially tuned sine waves produce an unfolding pyramid of aural illusions.
69. Warren Burt - Eva Karczag - Dancehouse, Melbourne, 13 July 2002
This live performance for computer, voices, samples of hip-hop, CPE Bach, and Villa-Lobos, chord harmonica, music box springs, baritone ukulele, piano and footsteps marks the 25th anniversary of the sound-movement collaboration of Burt and Karczag. Recorded live in performance at Dancehouse, the 50 minute piece covers a wide range of emotional territory, from conventional prettiness to noisy, scratchy textures, to some moments of ethereal beauty.
70. Drawings, Voices, Splices and Fortune Cookies - A Dozen Assorted Pieces 2000-2002
Twelve pieces in this highly varied assortment of pieces from the early 21st century. There are noiseband pieces, concrete poetry, socialist realist poetry, drone pieces, and maniac splicing pieces that go right to the edge of perception. Plus a counterfeit Percy Grainger piano piece, played as if by Percy himself!
71. Road Works - Some Numbers - Graphic Descriptions - Stretti (2002-2003) (TWO CD)
Here are thirteen pieces, more turburlent than most, using either mathematical structures or graphic synthesis programs. “31 or 41 Ways of Looking at a Prime Numbered Spiral” which starts incredibly slowly (2 bpm) and gradually gets faster and denser, has been described as “Pterodactyl Gagaku”! “And the Canonic Afterthought” combines turbulent orchestral samples with floating, ambient electronic sounds to form a contradictory emotional world. “343 Oscillators - The Public Version” is a series of continually changing veils of sound, each one washing over the next. “Stretti,” on the other hand, are expansions in time of single phrases from pop icons, while “Graphic Descriptions” and “Road Works” extend computer graphic work with spectrograms to new levels of complexity. A must for those who think math and emotional art are incompatible.
72. Occasional Works (2003-2004)
An anthology of experimental and funny works: MPB (musica popular brasileira) is deconstructed and hilariously reassembled in “Oulipian Ipanemas” and “Bossa Blotto”. Experimental poets are remembered in “Vocabulary Requiem for Nicholas Zurbrugg” and “Jas Rhythms”. Corruscated electronic sound textures are explored in “And Pterodactyls Danced in Dewsbury”, the soundtracks for Elizabeth Block's films, and “Rule Gnu...” an improvisation with a wildly malfunctioning electronic keyboard. Wild improvisation with Catherine Schieve on Ecuadorian shaman's drum is also featured in “Shaman's Drum and Beat-Sliced Samples”, where the techno technique of beat slicing is taken to extremes.
73. Pythagoras Babylonian Bathtub (2003) (TWO CD)
Live recording of a 2 and ½ hour performance using three laptops, 3 synthesizers, 4 loudspeakers, 48 oscillators, and 167 scales, this continually changing piece is made up of a series of improvised chord progressions in a whole series of scales which extend Ervin Wilson's structure of “The Scale Tree” into new levels of dissonance and complexity.
74. Saturday in the Triakontahedron with Leonhard (2003-2004)
In this 72 minute long exploration of a single 64 note scale, broken up into many smaller scales and chords, the opening sections sound like the most traditional kind of harmony, but quickly change to strange and unexpected chords, melodies and rhythms. One of the most complex works exploring contemporary concepts of harmony.
75. The Wilson Installations (2002-2004) (FOUR CD)
Burt's major work from the early 2000s, this is a set of three large and long works exploring harmonic ideas suggested by the work of Los Angeles music theorist Ervin Wilson. Includes “Pythagoras' Babylonian Bathtub” (2 cds), “Saturday in the Triakontahedron with Leonhard” (1 cd) and a new CD-long version of “The MOSsy Slopes of Mt. Meru: The Meru Expansion.” (2002-2004) made especially for this set: this is a major contemporary microtonal cycle.
76. Works for Radio (2004) (THREE CD)
Text-based works made especially for radio. Includes “Poems of Rewi Alley”, in which the works of the New Zealand-born Chinese-resident poet Rewi Alley are read by the amazing actor John Britton, with musical accompaniments by Burt; and “Thy Sting” and “Schrodinger's Catch”, two science fiction stories by Australian award winning author Damien Broderick, performed by Quiddity Theatre, with music and production by Burt. The Alley poems will inspire you, and the Broderick stories will send shivers up your spine. Also includes a bonus disk of music used in the Broderick stories heard on its own.
76a. Poems of Rewi Alley (2003)
76b. “Thy Sting” and “Schrodinger's Catch” (2004)
The Rewi Alley poems, or the two Damien Broderick science fiction stories, from the above 3 CD set, available separately.
77. The Malleable Urn (2004)
A microtonal composition for Baritone Ukulele tuned in quarter tones. This is a very sparse, soft, repetitive composition lasting about an hour.
78. Pieces for the Logos Instruments and Pieces for Electronics (2004-2005)
A suite of 6 pieces for the computer controlled microtonal acoustic instruments at the Logos Foundation in Ghent, Belgium, and 6 microtonal computer pieces, some made using the program PD. Includes “Thoughts on Volume,” a rant about excessive volume, turned into quiet and pretty music through a letters to numbers conversion program.
79. 18 New Fuguing Tunes for Henry Cowell (Pocket Calculator Music III) (2005)
A pocket calculator is used to generate a series of semi-random numbers. These are used to control microtonally tuned vintage samples from the Emu Proteus series into a series of 18 contrapuntal pieces. Each piece also uses a different tuning from the set of microtonal Euler-Fokker genera.
80. Someone Moved in a Room (Computer Music from Sonified Movement Data) (2005)
Data from the Wollongong Room Calorimeter Project, sampled in two different ways, was used to make 2 suites of 18 movements each in various microtonal scales (Equal temperaments with ancient Greek mode types extracted from them). It also explores some of the timbres available with virtual analogue synthesis, as also asks questions about the nature of sonification.
81. Processed Re-Processed. (Collaboration with Eli Jones) (2005)
This CD is the result of a correspondence collaboration with Melbourne composer Eli Jones. Jones made a piece with sounds supplied by Burt. Burt made a piece with sounds from Jones' piece. Jones made a piece with sounds from Burt's piece. Etc. Tennis, anyone?
82. Three Complex Pieces – August-September 2005.
“The Scaling of Lucas Heights” is a generative piece for microtonally tuned sampled strings. “After Sea Pieces” is a polyrhythmic piece for choir and pre-recorded sounds. “Radio Namings” is a piece made for Andrew Garton's “Frequency Post” project for Kunstradio ORF, Vienna. It's a microtonal algorithmic piece where both the texts and the music are generated by processes, using the early history of radio in Australia as its subject matter.
83.Illawarra Raga (2005)
A gentle set of 3 meditative just-intonation pieces using the Arturia Moog synthesizer and environmental sounds from the Illawarra region of New South Wales. Very soothing, but with some intriguing harmonies along the way.
84. Three Watermoods (2006)
Three meditative microtonal pieces using recordings of streams from the Illawarra region of New South Wales, acoustic instruments (bells, gongs, and quarter-tone baritone ukulele) and computer samplers: this is a gentle exploration of the merging of modal electronic sounds with sounds from the environment.
85. Proliferating Infinities (2006) (TWELVE CD)
A 12-CD set of music for an installation. All the sounds are of a sampled harp. The same algorithmic process is used for each of the 264 three-minute etudes, each of which is based on a different additive sequence equation, and each of which is in a different tuning. Like the many thousands of images of the Buddha that adorn the interior of Buddhist temples, showing that everyone can become a Buddha, every etude, every scale, is part of the greater infinity, and can be observed as such. It is envisioned that this set of CDs will provide a kind of continually evolving sonic perfume with which selected environments (such as gardens) may be adorned.
86. Three Improvised Collages (2005-2007)
I've regularly performed live interactive computer pieces which mix together many diverse sounds, some processed, some not. This CD presents 3 pieces, one a year, from 2005-2007.
87. Experience of Marfa: A Book of Drones (2007) (FOUR CD)
This 4-CD set consists of nine long pieces, each in a different microtonal tuning, and each made with various virtual analogue synthesizers or computer samplers. Each one changes very slowly, exploring different harmonic territory, but often not in ways that one might expect from “drone” composition. These pieces were performed live in Wollongong, Sydney and Melbourne between 2007 and 2010, and are here available complete for the first time.
88. Shorter Works: September 2005- April 2008
A collection of 16 shorter works which explore various ideas and situations. “Harbour Symphony” (a collaboration with Catherine Schieve) is scored for the sounds of boat horns in St. Johns' harbour, Newfoundland. “Ice Cream Headache” made for an aborted project, used the sounds of New York ice cream trucks. “Hands and Samples” uses the reconstructed Cross-Grainger Free Music Machine to extend ideas of Grainger's 1940s-1950s Free Music. “Wet Weather in Wollongong” sonifies weather maps of a particularly rainy period.
89. Noisy Lullabies (2008) (TWO CD, for the price of ONE)
“I began wondering just how much the definition of noise-music could be stretched for something to still be considered noise-music. Since one aspect of noise-music seemed involve a self-image of some kind of transgression, I wondered just how nurturing noise-music could be. Could one make a lullaby, all on the white keys, in regular rhythms, out of noise? And could this noisy lullaby be used in a nurturing manner? Would this then still be noise-music?” 2 CDs, one with the lullabies in decelerating tempi. We've found this music, made with the Arturia Moog synthesizer, does, indeed, induce peaceful sleep.
90. Interactive Works, June-December 2008
These are works for live home-made instruments and computer processing. Electroacoustic percussion boards, bells, and my reconstruction of Harry Partch's Harmonic Canon are all used live with computers modifying them. Plus, the full length version of “Belugas and Hummingbirds,” made for David Rothenberg's Whale Music project.
A selection of mostly very short pieces made during 2009 which use microtonal scales, sampled sounds, algorithmic processes, fractal mathematics and the like. Plus a set of 3 pieces for live experimental poetry (featuring algorithmically generated texts, some generated in real time) and simultaneous live computer modification.
92. The Netbook Project, Part 1 (2010)
In March 2010, I bought a netbook to see what could be done with it. A great deal, as it turns out. This is a collection of live interactive performances and fixed-media algorithmic pieces that explore the possibilities of (not-so) limited computer resources. Plus “Three Microtonal Piano Roll Etudes” - which use midi transcriptions of ancient piano rolls in various microtonal scales using the Pianoteq physically modelled piano.
93. Music of Textures (2011) (The Netbook Project, Part 2)
This is a 2 CD set of works from 2011, most of which involved converting graphics to sound in some way, or musique concrete style manipulations of found sounds. Includes “Berries” and “Gravel” 2 half-hour continually changing textural drone pieces, and “The Shape of the Voice I: Milton Babbitt” a memorial piece recently published by Open Space as part of their Babbitt memorial anthology.
94. Six Preludes and Six Postludes to A Meeting with the Giant Murray Cod (2012)
Published as a download on www.vicmod.net, this CD makes the pieces available in full fidelity on CD. The microtonal Preludes and Postludes use Martin Fay's Vaz Modular softsynth almost exclusively, in homage to the analogue revival work of the VicMod collective. The centre piece celebrates, in a very silly manner, a visit to an Australian tourist icon. (Available as CD only. For download versions, go to www.vicmod.net)
95. Nightshade Etudes (2012)
A set of 24 three-minute microtonal pieces which use protein patterns derived from the DNA of members of the Solanum plant family (tomato, potato, tobacco, capsicum, eggplant, and belladonna) to control a series of virtual keyboard instruments. A wide variety of musical styles are used to show the range of compositional possibilities when using natural found-object patterns derived from proteins.
ALSO, DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THIS FINE CD:
The Animation of Lists and the Archytan Transpositions (2005)
On XI Records: http://www.pogus.com/21028.html This is a two hour composition for multitracked tuning forks that explores first, a relatively simple harmonic world, and then, on the second CD, a much more complex world. The same melodic material is used in both parts, but the mood of the music changes considerably with the change in tuning.