Music Review | posted 23.05.2016
Suzanne Ciani
Buchla Concerts 1975
Finders Keepers, 2016
Text Kristoffer Cornils
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8.7
Editorial
Cover Suzanne Ciani  - Buchla Concerts 1975

Sometimes it takes the revivals of machines, in order to bring vanished people back to life. A lot was written in the past years about modular synthesizers and often they were put into service again. Whether on the Techno floor or in the White Cube, the knob turning and cable patching of ancient times are undergoing a renaissance. Suzanne Ciani is one of the figures, who at the time, essentially disappeared into the shadows of her male colleagues. Thereby, the composer, whose sufficiently impressive commissions reading from Star Wars to Coca Cola adverts, not only located the foundation for a whole attitude to life-mutated genre – New Age -, but rather she also mastered the Buchla-synthesizer. The system arose from the so-called West Coast-philosophy, but was defeated by the Moog-synthesizer, which enjoyed public interest due to its easy to operate piano style keyboard, as explained in her recently published documentary-film »I Dream Of Wires«; the Buchla should be a radically new instrument and enable an entirely new music genre. To be precise, Ciani descends from this hippy moulded environment and occupied herself already early on with the Buchla. After certain recent publications from her broad back catalog, the label Finders Keepers recently published two live recordings from the year 1975, which impressively captures Ciani’s skills and her easy manual handling of the complicated device. In about 20 minutes – the first recording in a music shop, the others in the loft of none other than Phill Niblock – Ciani exhausted the possibilities of the Buchla in a form, that simultaneously allows rhythmical digressions, as it is held together by a subtle formal rigor. The first side especially, drifts off into almost trance-like spiral sounds, never losing grip however on reality. The second, slightly noisy recording however shows Ciani as an instant composer, who can establish large narrative structures from internal tensions. Meanwhile the best modular synthesizer based album of the year is arguably Kaityn Aurelia Smith’s brilliant »EARS«, however with these fantastic recordings, Ciani could ensure the pole position of the reissues. Even 40 years later the West Coast-philosophy is once again hearable; today the spherically dense »Buchla Concerts 1975« also sounds like the commitment to an entirely new music genre.

You can find the album »Buchla Concerts 1975« by Suzanne Ciani at hhv.de on LP.
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