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This CD salvages two electro-acoustic works composed by Barry Schrader
in the mid-'70s on the Buchla 200, a keyboardless analog modular
synthesizer. Not only were these pieces realized on a little-known
instrument, but also they were originally quadraphonic. Few are the
composers who truly mastered Buchla's innovative instruments and the
quadraphonic electro-acoustic repertoire has been all but lost, so this
CD is a very welcome release, both in terms of music history and
listening enjoyment, for these two works remain fascinating, regardless
of how they were conceived. Trinity (1976, 15 minutes) is a
rather formalist exercise in theme and variations, where the theme
consists of sound shapes instead of notes. It is dry, but it exploits
and showcases the possibilities of the Buchla 200 to a nice extent,
while featuring a high level of aesthetic elegance. In comparison, the
40-minute Lost Atlantis (1977) is gorgeously evocative, its sound poetry often reminiscent of Francis Dhomont's Cycle de l"Errance. A suite in ten parts (grouped into six tracks), the work depicts the lost continent as described by Plato in his Critias.
The music is imbued with mystery, its reliance on non-melodic material
empowering it with an ageless appeal that could as well be ancient. Schrader
makes use of a wide palette of tones and textures, and his sense of
space and drama create a mysterious place in which the listener is eager
to lose himself or herself. "The Gardens of Cleito," especially,
achieves a touching form of grace that is light-years away from the
rigors of "Trinity." Recommended.