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Music Reviews : Scream Festival

November 10, 1986|GREGG WAGER

The field of electro-acoustic music is currently growing by leaps and bounds. Today's listeners, faced with such innovations as the Synclavier, the MIDI system and the many different computer programs, may need to brush up a little on electrical engineering as well as their vocabularies.

SCREAM (the Southern California Resource for Electro-Acoustic Music)--part of the larger national organization SEAMUS (the Society of Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States)--is the project of six Los Angeles area schools interested in promoting via performance the latest developments in electro-acoustic music. Saturday, at the Gerald R. Daniel Recital Hall on the campus of Cal State Long Beach, 19 pieces were presented as the first installment in a promised annual SCREAM festival.

In general, these pieces don't stray far from the beaten path of what have become standard genres in electronic music: Most are either tape pieces or tape pieces with live performers. The only exception is David Myska's "Fantasy" for harp and an on-stage setup of synthesizers, an electronic drum machine and a computer, all operated by Myska. Here, harpist Susan Allen plays steady rhythms, idiomatic glissandi and arpeggios against Myska's electronics, creating a musical collage which is a style and language all its own.

Of the tape pieces, "Mixed Emotions" (1971) by Louis and Bebe Barron broke the newest ground. The Barrons, who created the innovative electronic music to the 1956 motion picture "The Forbidden Planet," continue to explore new electronic setups which discover strange, eerie musical universes.

Also a tape piece is Herbert Brun's "i TOLD YOu so." Tape pieces with live performers included Rodney Oakes' "Pozan Tanc," William Alves' "The Question Mark's Black Ink" and Barry Schrader's "Moon-Whales and other Moon Songs."

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