David Borden, born Christmas Day, 1938, in Boston, Massachusetts, is an American minimalist composer and electronic music pioneer. He was one of the first people to beta test Bob Moog’s modular synthesizer systems. His Earthquack Records imprint inspired Mimi Johnson to found the legendary Lovely Music, Ltd. with Robert Ashley. He formed the first all-synthesizer ensemble, Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Company, in 1969. If there were ever a missing link in American minimalism, Borden is it. Music for Amplified Keyboard Instruments is his masterpiece, released in 1981 to little fanfare on the now-defunct Dutch label Red Records. As its reputation has grown, most listeners have had to settle for compressed YouTube clips and poor vinyl-to-digital transfers, with original copies increasingly rare and expensive. Now, 34 years after its original release, Spectrum Spools presents the first reissue of Music for Amplified Keyboard Instruments, after recovering in Borden’s private archives the only known safety master. Music for Amplified Keyboard Instruments contains four pieces, each utilizing three players and six keyboard instruments. “Etsy Point, Summer 1978” begins with a mournful, ominous mood and slowly blossoms into an immense, humid labyrinth of colorful, buzzing textures and howling melodies. “The Continuing Story of Counterpoint” is a 12-part cycle for synthesizers, acoustic instruments, and voice, upon which Borden labored for over 11 years. Parts nine and six, included here, are miraculous achievements in prodigious playing technique, remarkable mosaic-like structure, and aural magnitude, operating in the relative terrain of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians and Terry Riley’s Dervishes pieces. The “Counterpoint” pieces here are rigidly arranged with breakneck key changes and intricate time signature maneuvering. The resulting audio conjures kaleidoscopic patterns of beautiful melodies and compositional anatomy unparalleled in much of American minimalism. “Enfield in Winter” displays some of Borden’s more ambient leanings, with slow, morphing drones and gentle pad sounds that erupt into shimmering patterns backed by a grandiose chord progression. Music for Amplified Keyboards represents a veritable zenith in Borden’s corpus; a radiant achievement in sonic elegance, experimentation, and ambitious composition technique, and a work of the highest archival significance. Music for Amplified Keyboard Instruments was remastered with love and transparency by Giuseppe Tillieci at EnissLab, Rome. These newly remastered works are superior to the original vinyl master, giving the world a chance to hear this remarkable work in the highest possible fidelity across multiple formats. Includes extensive liner notes and photos by Borden.
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