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Rainforest (mode064)

by David Tudor

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unruh2525 This is one of my favorite electronic/ambient/avant garde/unclassified pieces of music ever. It's called 'Rainforest' and that's precisely what Tudor provides with mysterious sound alchemy and a subtle musical undertone humming deep below. This makes a fantastic companion to John Cage's 'Fontana Mix' which is admittedly a bit spikier. Both works are ideal examples of just what far-sighted visionaries these men were. The world may even catch up with them someday.
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David Tudor, who passed away in 1996, was a brilliant musician whose musical career can be viewed in two parts. He was as "the" foremost avant-garde pianist of the 1950s and 60s - the great piano works of that period were in his repertoire, with countless premieres and compositions written for him by Brown, Cage, Stockhausen, Bussotti, Feldman, La Monte Young, Wolff, Wolpe and others.

Tudor gradually traded in the keyboard to turn his attention towards composing for live electronics. His influence and effect on electronic music is as great as it was towards the piano. Tudor became an integral musician for The Merce Cunningham Dance Company with John Cage in the 1950s, a career which encompassed both aspects of his musicianship.

RAINFOREST is one of Tudor's landmark works. It exists in 4 possible performance versions, 2 of which are on the present CD and issued commercially for the first time.

To describe RAINFOREST is completely impossible. Like the real rainforest, it has too many moving parts. To describe how it works is only a little less difficult. To hear it in operation, however, is an unforgettable experience. Surrounding and engulfing the listener, RAINFOREST blends music and sculpture by placing music in space in extraordinary ways.

The idea is to channel electronic output through an object rather than through the usual device, a loudspeaker. Dozens of unique and unlikely objects are suspended from the ceiling at about ear level. The space is filled with gentle sounds given off by the vibration of the hanging objects. Tudor could pick up the vibrations of any of these objects via a contact microphone, feed it back into his controls for filtering and mixing, and then redistribute the sound out again to some other object or a conventional loudspeaker. The recycling phenomenon that takes place makes the entire electro-acoustic apparatus of RAINFOREST an "ecologically balanced sound system."

The result is a timeless sonic environment full of rich textures offering the listener an infinite variety of aural densities and spatial effects. Intensely alive and unlimited, it is a masterpiece of composition.


released February 4, 1998

David Tudor & Takehisa Kosugi, live electronics


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Mode Records New York, New York

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