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Friday, August 12, 2016

David First, The World Casio Quartet, The Complete Gramavision Series (1989)

The advent of inexpensive Casio keyboards was a boon for amateur music making. But how many used any in "real art"? It turns out David First got the idea of making contemporary modern sounds from a quartet of them. He and three other keyboardists formed the World Casio Quartet and although they did not set the world on fire, they did see active service from 1987-1991.

It all started when David First was experimenting around with microtonal composition and after buying a Casio CZ-1000 found he could detune pitches on the instrument fairly easily. He found three other contemporary musicians who happened to have Casios and formed the quartet.

After some trial runs, First came up with four compositions for the quartet and proceeded to take them into the recording studio. The finished product is in our hands at last with the release of The Complete Gramavision Session (1989) (Pogus P-21084-2).

Each piece sets up a cosmic landscape, detuned drones, sustained, shifting panoramas of textures and harmonic clusters, soundscapes that are surprisingly rich given the sources.

It may not be an album that changes the world, exactly, but it is a fascinating sonic adventure that will put you into a different place. Recommended for those with a spirit of exploration.

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