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Wobbly’s Massive Birdsong Megamix MP3

Back in May, San Francisco–based musician Wobbly (aka Jon Leidecker) filled the gaps between acts at a concert headlined by krautrock legends Cluster with several DJ sets, two of which he has posted at his website, detritus.net/wobbly, for free download. (Also appearing on the Cluster bill were Tussle and White Rainbow.) Regulars of the Disquiet Downstream section will recollect an earlier Wobbly MP3 set, the “Thousand-Year Choir,” which stitched together century upon century of vocal music, from Hildegard von Bingen to Yoko Ono, with Morton Feldman and others in between (disquiet.com, June 30, 2006).

This time out, Wobbly took as his theme, as he describes it, “music that modelled or sampled birdsong or insect calls, from the 50’s to present day,” which traces from the Barrons (composers of the Forbidden Planet soundtrack), through David Tudor, on to Wendy Carlos, up through Florian Hecker and Christina Kubisch and beyond (“Pastoral,” MP3). Thoughtfully, he’s also provided not only a set list, but one with detailed time codes, so listeners can follow along — or birdwatch, as it were:

  • 00:00 – jim fassett – symphony of the birds (explanatory comments)
  • 00:08 – louis & bebe barron – a shangri-la in the desert garden with cuddly tiger
  • 01:20 – jim fassett – symphony of the birds (first movement)
  • 04:21 – francois bayle – trois reves d’oiseau / triste
  • 06:25 – pierre henry – le voyage / divinités irritées
  • 07:29 – leo kupper – automatisms sonores
  • 09:26 – eliane radigue – epsilon = a = b = a + b
  • 10:02 – karlheinz stockhausen – marsh ducks quack the marsellaise
  • 11:22 – delia derbyshire – birdsong
  • 12:40 – david tudor – rainforest IV (berlin)
  • 15:11 – oskar sala – cathy’s party / swifts in brenner’s house
  • 16:43 – ralph lundsten – fader var (prayer I)
  • 18:33 – tod dockstader / david lee myers – pond (crepitata)
  • 23:11 – luc ferrari – presque rien no. 2
  • 26:30 – hildegard westerkamp – cricket voice
  • 30:49 – wendy carlos – sonic seasonings (summer)
  • 35:46 – bernard parmegiani – capture ephémère
  • 38:29 – blevin blectum – david and justine, 47th and san leandro
  • 40:10 – conrad schnitzler – electric garden
  • 43:14 – péter eötvös – cricket music
  • 45:16 – jacques lejeune – blanche neige (solitude > golop final)
  • 50:52 – florian hecker – stocha acid zlook
  • 51:50 – christina kubisch – night flights (the cat’s dream)
  • 53:32 – thomas dimuzio / david lee myers – uncertain symmetry
  • 57:00 – jean-claude risset – sud
It being a small world, the Kubisch track was a previous Downstream entry (disquiet.com, November 11, 2007).

Complementing the massive birdsong megamix was a Wobbly set consisting of work by Cluster’s contemporaries (“Sky Plus,” MP3):

  • vladimir martynov / yuriy bogdanov – why aske you?
  • harald grosskopf – emphasis
  • bernard parmegiani – capture ephemere
  • michael rother – KM10
  • asmus tietchens – die elektrische horde
  • günter schickert – überfallig (puls)
  • monoton – dancing and singing
  • tyndall – unterwegs
  • vladimir martynov / yuriy bogdanov – spring etude
  • vangelis – at chew’s lab
  • david tudor – sliding pitches in the rainforest in the field
  • francois bayle – trois reves d’oiseau / zen
  • conrad schnitzler – ballet statique
Just as an aside, I was in attendance at that Sunday evening Cluster concert, and it was a tremendous experience to get to see those two gentlemen work their veering-on-romantic synthesizers for a crowd many of whom never thought they’d have the opportunity to experience such a thing. Thus it was all the more unfortunate, if not surprising, that so many people in the crowd persisted in talking through the Cluster set, including members of at least one of the opening bands. Dax Pierson (of the band Subtle) happened to be situated in the crowd in front of me at the start of the Cluster performance, and after a short while he spun his wheelchair around, mouthed the words “Too much talking,” and headed toward the door.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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