Friday, July 27, 2012

Two Outside the Guild

Two names recently surfaced on my monitor belonging to figures who were well-represented early on in recorded electronic music, but who were not particularly close to the world of professional composers and have slipped into some obscurity.

The first name, Ilhan Mimaroglu, appeared, sadly, in an obituary (here) had academic compositional credentials but was best-know professionally for his work as a jazz producer (primarily with Charles Mingus) for Atlantic records, which distributed his own music label, Finnadar, which provided Mimaroglu the opportunity to curate a series including his own electronic and acoustic music alongside work, much of it experimental, from Cowell and Varese to Cage, Rzewski and Hays.

The second name is that of Tod Dockstader who is still alive, but no longer able to be active and to whom a new blog has been dedicated, here.  Dockstader did not have formal musical credentials, but was a professional sound engineer, a career he had entered via animation, and eventually established an educational film production company. Both Mimaroglu and Dockstader, cut off from the local academic studio (due to lack of credentials, work with jazz musicians or in commercial recording), made concrete and electronic music in the down-time in commercial audio or film studios.  Dockstadter responded to this in part by insisting on the description of his work as "organized sound" rather than as music.

Personally, I am not close to the work of either man, but then again, I'm basically indifferent (okay, I like "Philomel") to the whole corpus of music produced in the Columbia-Princeton studio, and the fact that these two were able produce significant bodies of lively music (or organized sound, if you have to) completely outside that establishment was an important precedent, alongside the music of Richard Maxfield (much also made in commercial studio down time), the Cooperative Studio for Electronic Music in Ann Arbor and The San Francisco Tape Music Center, for the lively independent scene today.


jodru said...

I'm all about Coucou Bazar

Daniel Wolf said...

Thanks, Joe, I was totally unaware of that!