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Subharmonic Mixtures

 Oskar Sala - Subharmonic Mixtures - PS 08/85
  Release Date: 3 February 1997
  Limitation: 1000

   Langsames Stück und Rondo für Trautonium (1935)       5.24
   Caprice Rubato                                        5.08
   Caprice with Variations                              12.32
   Trio-Caprice                                          8.55
   Glissando-Caprice                                     4.33
   Caprice with Sound Levels                             6.56
   Agitato, Lamentoso, Furioso                           6.46
   Saitenspiele und Tonbandkünste                        3.13
   Ostinato mit Fanfaren                                 4.31
   Chaconne electronique                                 7.39
   "The Strangler of Blackmoor Castle" (excerpt)        12.31

  all tracks written by Oskar Sala
   except 1 written by Paul Hindemith

the album starts with some non fax sounds. some unique electronic ambient sounds are presented throughout this album. each track carries a unique and 'playful' melody, yet still maintaining a sense of darkness and somber moods. classical electronic experimental ambience with both a sense of humor, and serious side.

at times the sounds are intense. there are some amazing moments through out the whole album and, if you listen closely, you can surely hear some classic fax moments.

not for everyone, as it is challenging at times. this is a top 15 fax cd for me.

(review by jackthetab)

Bought this a fortnight ago, and have started to listen to it about 5 times, although I've never yet reached the end. Best word I could use to describe would be "interesting." Maybe if you are into the history of electronic music, or can appreciate the technical details of the chord structures described in the booklet this is a better buy, but to a philistine like me looking for the next "organic cloud" or "jet chamber" this one is going in the "rarely played" end of the Fax collection.

Track 1 (Hindemith track) is the easiest to listen to, and is really an attempt to "synthesize" strings. A little like Carlos' "Switched on Bach" type of thing.

The "Caprices" tracks get increasingly challenging/annoying as the disc progresses.

The "Strangler" track seems embarrassingly melodramatic to me.

In the abstract, I think it's great that Pete uses the label to get me to listen to new and "important" stuff, and I hope he keeps doing it. In this particular instance, however....

(review by Andrew Ross)

oskar sala's 'subharmonic mixtures' is definitely not your typical fax release in any way except that it features synthesized instruments.

the trautonium and mixturtrautonium were developed as a type of electronic organ and were of the earliest synthesized instruments. because of their unique architecture, the subharmonic scale was created and developed by mr. sala to maximize the keyboard's abilities.

the music on this disc is more in the vein of classical than ambient (the first track was actually written by paul hindemith for the trautonium). you might be disappointed if you're expecting a typical fax environmental ambient release.

this is one of the fax discs i really enjoy although not one i listen to everyday. The sound quality of the instrument is quite amazing and it really sings on a good quality hi-fi.

the tracks are a mixed bag; some are quite serious, some exhibit a good sense of humor, some just sound really cool.

the last track in particular, 'the strangler of blackmoor castle' is a great example of what is contained on this release. originally recorded as a film soundtrack over thirty years ago, 'the strangler...' is a fine representation of experimental electronic music and is still relevant to today's music and particularly the fax stable.

oh yeah...breaking with fax tradition, this release has a nice, thick booklet that explains the development of the trautonium and the subharmonic scale in 1930s germany as well as an explanation by mr. sala of the music contained within.

if this sounds interesting, buy it. i rather enjoy it.

(review by johnny borland)


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