An astounding, epic journey into the more obscure areas of early electronic music, Phillip Werren’s Electronic Music is a wellspring of contemporary composition across four LPs. Originally released in 1971 in an edition of 100 copies, this impossibly rare piece of early Canadian electronic music has finally been reissued on vinyl in an exact replica box with a silk-screened cover.
Electronic Music was recorded at Simon Fraser University (Vancouver), McGill University (Montreal) and Radio Warzawa (Poland) between 1967 and 1971. Influenced as much by serialism as by psychedelia and the occult, the album features elements of tape collage, voice, and experimental composition. Most of the recordings were performed on a Buchla System 100, one of the first modular synthesizers. An absorbing piece of the Canadian avant-garde, Electronic Music is a journey through space, sound, texture, and unbridled experimentation.
Recommended for fans of artist ranging from Stockhausen, Xenakis, and Ferrari to Basil Kirchin, Conrad Schnitzler, Throbbing Gristle, and Coil – Manufactured Recordings’ reissue of Electronic Music aims to shed light on this crucially overlooked composer. Limited to 500 copies worldwide.
Born in Vallejo, California in 1942 and raised in Wisconsin, Phillip Werren began piano lessons as a young child. By age 12, he started to compose in what he calls “the classical style,” as he had no interest in music written after Schumann.
Werren went on to formal music studies at Yale University, where Donald Martino introduced him to 20th century music and the serial techniques prevalent in the 1960s. A yearlong study exchange in Europe exposed him to the European avant-garde, in particular the music of Stockhausen, which strongly influenced his work. Subsequently, he pursued graduate studies at Princeton, where he worked with Earl Kim, Roger Sessions, and Milton Babbitt.
In 1968, Werren emigrated to Canada and became Resident of Music at the Centre for Communications and the Arts at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. It was a stimulating experience for the young composer, as the Centre was a hotbed for interdisciplinary arts. After several years of teaching and travel, he moved to Toronto to take up a teaching position at York University. He has held a professorship in York’s Department of Music since 1979.