The Wanderer

Pauline Oliveros

A quietly crucial American composer, Pauline Oliveros has been a pioneer of music that works at the confluence of tone, breath and the expansion of perceptions – an organic tone scientist breathing spirit music with the sometimes unwieldy lungs of the accordion. The eclectic Important label has offered us a nice surprise, re-issuing on CD two classic Oliveros albums from the 1980s.

The Wanderer, originally released in 1984, presents Oliveros’ accordion and vision in live recordings, within various group contexts. The re-issued version opens, surprisingly, with a previously un-released piece, “Duo for Accordion & Bandoneon,” featuring Oliveros and David Tudor. It’s a conversation between the two players and their instruments, offering a plethora of reed tones, bleeps, blurts, and satisfyingly Cage-ian explosions and silences. “The Wanderer: Song & Dance” is a wild, stomping piece for the Springfield Accordion Orchestra and percussion – a sort of Ur-folk dance concerto, with rhythmic cells pumping, pulsing and, once again, breathing . A quartet version of “Horse Sings From Cloud” –featuring Oliveros with Heloise Gold, Julia Haynes and Linda Montano – re-imagines the billowing drones and textures of the piece with the added complexity of the four players’ various wind-blown reeds and their microtonal variations in tuning, making for a quietly awe-inspiring soundwork.

Important has given loving attention to detail in these reissues, reproducing in CD-size the LP jackets, retaining the original liner notes and adding new notes by the composer. Best of all, the CD mastering has preserved the dynamic range of the recordings.

By Kevin Macneil Brown, Dusted


Price: $16.00