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Pauline Oliveros and Alan Courtis, "Telematic Concert"

Luminary Pauline Oliveros passed away in 2016, her career spanned fifty years of boundary-dissolving music making. This previously unreleased concert recorded in 2009 has been unearthed for release on Spleencoffin in 2020. Here she plays her accordion and her expanded instrument system along with collaborator Alan Courtis on unstringed guitar and fx.


This concert is an eruption of controlled cacophony. The pieces are improvised, messy, powerfully loud, and in your face. Most sounds are as if made by a mad scientist, with "traditional" musical ideas few and far between. Dissonance wins the day, with many insistent chord clusters of mishmashed notes bleated insistently and at high volume. While I believe this sound emanates from accordion, it sounds like the scraping of metal on metal. The accompaniment shudders voluminously as the sounds of an amplified muffler fill the space of the room.

Telematic Concert leaves me feeling shocked by the sheer assault of it all, but also open to the deeper listening that Oliveros would’ve wanted; a careful hearing and re-hearing that allows me to acquaint myself with the strange contours of this alien and startling music, until listening again yields to familiarity and appreciation.

samples available here