allen ravenstine Waiting for the Bomb (CD, £12.25)
Pere Ubu's Allen Ravenstine, believed missing in action; now back with a timely reminder of the importance of quality and swimming against the tide. Proto-synth innovator Allen Ravenstine will release a new album titled, Waiting for the Bomb, on fellow Pere Ubu alumni (and Henry Cow founder), Chris Cutler's label Recommended Records. "This album has brought Allen back," Cutler says "to modular synthesis and, in this unusual recording, he arrives at a hybrid musical form that is more or less without precedent: discursive, digressive and disrupted by generic and emotional shifts; a music in which real-world sounds and real-world instruments occasionally argue with - or complement - the electronic current…" Noted journalist Rob Bowman adds “[Waiting for the Bomb] is a huge step forward for Ravenstine…various tracks conjure up ambient soundtracks, jazzy miniatures, space age exploration, world music, the ghost of Harry Partch, and, on “Day Shift”, the industrial dance floor”. Allen Ravenstine is recognised as one of the most creative synthesiser players of the past forty-plus years. His career began around 1975 when his composition, Terminal Drive, (released last year on Smog Veil Records) led him to become a founding member of the band Pere Ubu. Music scholar Nick Blakey notes "Terminal Drive's significance, in terms of Cleveland underground music, cannot be understated." And Keyboard Magazine wrote "…he constructed the recording using concrète sounds and a primitive, yet powerful analog synthesizer—the EML ElectroComp 200." Although Ravenstine initially rejected live performance, by joining Pere Ubu he was soon a working, touring, full-time musician. He contributed, as Robert Bowman writes "unpredictable textures, effects, bleeps, squalls, pulsating washes of sound—whatever he felt could enhance the soundscape of the band’s performances and recordings. In the mid-1980s, with Pere Ubu on hiatus, Ravenstine crafted similar sonic coloration for Red Krayola and David Thomas’ Wooden Birds, the latter of which eventually mutated into Pere Ubu Mk 5." By the early 1990s, Ravenstine quit working as a professional musician and instead became a commercial airplane pilot. However, in 2014 due to circumstances surrounding the documentary film, "I Dream of Wires," Ravenstine was drawn back into making music. Last year he released The Pharaoh’s Bee, and began writing and recording Waiting for the Bomb. "Most of this record was recorded in my apartment in New York city," Ravenstine explains, "using both analog and digital instruments, hardware and software. I accompanied the files to the Grant Avenue Studio in Hamilton Ontario where tracks were added by Bob Doidge, Joe Sorbara and William Blakeney. Bob Doidge and Amy King assisted by Andrew MacPhail engineered the studio sessions. William Blakeney acted as producer and mastered the recording. George Boski provided transportation." William Blakeney's production credits include CD projects by John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, Luc Ferrari, Mark Sutherland, Joel Chadabe, Gayle Young, Yoko Ono, John Luther Adams, Hugh Le Caine, Lukas Foss, Allen Ravenstine & Robert Wheeler, Reptilicus, Syrinx, Intersystems, John Mills-Cockell and many others. Film credits include "I Dream of Wires," "Electronic Voyager" and "Subotnick." Ravenstine has played on countless classic recordings of global acclaim, including “30 Seconds Over Tokyo/Heart of Darkness” 45 (Hearthan/1975); “The Modern Dance/Heaven” 45 (Hearthan/1977); The Modern Dance (Blank/1977); Dub Housing (Chrysalis/1978); Datapanik In The Year Zero EP (Radar/1978). As a live performer he has shared the stage with acts like John Cale, The Cramps, The Dead Boys, 15-60- 75 (The Numbers Band), Destroy All Monsters, Devo, Gang of Four, The Human League, The Stranglers, The Styrenes, Tin Huey, X and many, many others. Allen Ravenstine lives in New York City and is a commercial airline pilot. He enjoys playing and recording music but rarely performs live.
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