morphogenesis discogs resonance

Trevor Wishart

CD in 4 panel digipak

Includes postage - for multiple items I will refund the excess

Cover taken from the original LPs
Released 2002


•   Birth Dream  (13:03)
•   Journey  (47:29)
•   Arrival (18:18)  mp3

total time  78:54

York University's music department houses one of the UK's first ever electronic music studios, and during the early seventies it was a hotbed of creative activity. Much of the released output from the studio at this time revolved around the work of the dynamic composer Trevor Wishart. Journey Into Space was his first release, composed between 1970 and 72, and was privately pressed (shortly before the formation of YES records), as two separate LP's in 1973. (The CD cover amalgamates the 2 original designs). Along with other early private releases of experimental music in the UK (ie the LP of sound poems by Cobbing/Jandl, or the LP of musique concrète by Desmond Leslie), this record is also a total anomaly in the canon of British experimental music and has little to do with the current, or even subsequent work by Wishart. The vast length of this piece has many different styles. There are acoustic sections, mostly of junk and toys (bike bells, squeeze horns, bottles, metal tubes, combs etc.) as well as flute and brass sections that are used as raw material. There are also sections of everyday field recordings, scraps of NASA Apollo transmissions, as well as plenty of multitracking, editing, vocal acrobatics and musique concrète. Among the 48 participants credited on the original sleeve are a whole roster of York University alumni including nearly all the artists who were showcased on the then unreleased 3LP box set 'Electronic Music From York', along with other noteworthy students as diverse as Steve Beresford, Jonty Harrison, Roger Marsh, Dominic Muldowney, Bernard Rands and Jan Steele. The co-operative spirit of York's music and drama departments, plus the raw enthusiasm and open attitude of the participants involved in the project gave this music an immediacy, similar to the later LAFMS scene.



Starting the navigation w/ a release which I at last managed to purchase recently and its title says it all "Journey into Space" the reissue of Trevor Wishart's devastating 2lp set that was issued in 73 and which luckily for us ol'boy clive @ paradigm managed to reissue some time ago. As Wishart himself mentions on the lp's back cover (on the case reprinted on the cd's back cover) notes "Journey into Space, is the allegorical journey of a man towards self-realisation", which I believe can be by itself a great explanation of the "journey" that floats within this reissue's sound waves. Strangely I had the same & stronger feeling as I had w/ "red bird/anticredos" when I heard it ages ago, for me in these 2 works (without underestimating AT ALL the rest) Wishart has a kind of magic to create his soundscapes in such a way that will make you stare at your loudspeakers flabbergasted, and impress you with his soundscapes. One of the very few composers who has the ability to play & construct sounds which speak truly of themselves, a gift which I truly believe that not many people have. As happens in this bizarre "journey" w/ field recordings, tapes and whatever (created w/ the contribution of various friends of Trevor's, such as Steve Beresford, Cliff Atkinson, Ruth Andrews to name but a few) making it a purely (& unaltered from time) milestone MASTERPIECE!!!!! (Nicolas Malevitsis)

This album truly is something different. Predating Wishart's excellent 'Red Bird' (reissued in the 1990s on the CD 'Red Bird/Anticredos), 'Journey Into Space' was composed over the course of three years (1970-1972) and self-released the next year in the form of two separate LPs sold by the composer himself. In early 2002 the label Paradigm reissued the complete work on one CD. With its total duration of 79 minutes (quite ambitious in those days) and its then-unique amalgam of concrete sounds, tamplered bits of free improvisation and scored musical events, the work stands out. Yes, as Wishart himself points out in the new liner notes, some transitions are crude. Someone listening to it without a historical perspective could easily find many examples of naive sound juxtapositions and overtly explicit symbolism (especially when compared to the complex networks of symbols found in 'Red Bird'). Nevertheless the piece still holds a pioneer freshness and commands respect. Plus, those who prefer tape compositions that follow a narrative will be charmed by the underlying allegory which takes us from a 'Birth Dream' to a 'Journey' in which a man's 'day in the life' parallels a rocket launching and the eventual expansion of Life's understanding found in the metaphysical 'Arrival.' The space theme, most probably inspired by Neil Armstrong's moonwalk (still a news event when Wishart started to work on this) is what dates the piece. Furthermore it gives it some sort of psychedelic aura -- the sequence in which the man wakes up and prepares to go to work can't help but recall Pink Floyd's 'Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast'. The instrumental passages include contributions from a cast of York University alumni, including students Jonty Harrison and Steve Beresford. Despite its flaws, Journey into Space remains a fascinating listen and an important document from a key period in avant-garde music history. (François Couture)

This is one of those releases that I have never been able to make up my mind on, and I still can't. The original vinyl was incredibly difficult to listen to, as with so many silences the vinyl noise could be the loudest part at some points, and also in being split over 4 LP sides, the intended continuity was lost. With this CD release the quality and continuity are corrected for a perfect listening experience, yet it's still no simple album to explore.
The very nature of vast parts of this being just pure sound collage (or, just sound with no collage) and only moments of musical and/or constructed focus, make it an environment to be absorbed in, rather than a normal musical experience. Trevor's own notes say that he now considers the work over-long, but I don't really think so, not when it's listened to in the right context, as a background environment, a blind-man's film so-to-speak. And after all, it does get pretty musical in a Henze/pousseur type fashion towards the end. A most welcome reissue indeed!

Some twenty years ago when the scientusts of Philips were putting the finishing touches on the shiny plastic medium that now adorns so many homes, they were briefly released from the wool-lined cocoons whence they secreted the miraculous goo that became compact discs.
"Fliegher mumulandia" said the president, which translates roughly as "Our stockholders are plucking their nose hairs in consternation." The new marketing techniques were in place, and the lustre of the discs a splendor to behold, but, inexplicably, no one had decided on an ideal length. "Glench kurtilinka!" he cried with exasperation and vehemence requiring no translation.
Cowering in the corners of the white-walled office, hiding from the sun denied them so many months, the scientists remained quiet, afraid that the smallest sound might awaken yet another storm of wrath. However, their silence only made matters worse, as the president began spinning in counterclockwise circles, his fingers lengthening into hissing, floppy eels, spittle flying off his purple lips and burning the faces of the unfortunate in its path.
After a torturously long time, which may have been only a few seconds, one of the workers, an elderly woman whose hair had been braided into hammocks in which nearly all of the others had slept as infants, spoke up.
"Just tell us," she rasped, her voice creaking like a spiders exoskeleton frozen atop a pond, "Tell us how long you would like to listen. Shall we make your music last an hour, a day? For the amount of time it takes you to rub the jade stick within the opened durian, or for the time it takes to grow a new fruit until it, too, is ripe?"
The president decelerated, discharging frothing missives the whole time. Most of his monologue was lost in the Doppler'd reverberations bouncing off the chandeliers and vases, but the relieved scientists caught enough of his message: "I should be able to listen to Trevor Wishart's Journey Into Space, originally released as two LP's in 1973, without needing to pause between sides or records."
It has taken nearly twenty years, but Paradigm Discs has at last fulfilled the Philips president's dream. Finally, this collage of Scratch Orchestra-style scoring, rudimentary overtone singing, scattershot brass, and deeply resonant beer-bottle-blowing can be listened to in one seventy-eight-minute sitting - or, for most people, listened to at all. Had he not been so adamant about reproducing the entirety of both albums, in 2003 we would not be privy to some of the more obvious elements of this piece (the narrative found sounds such as alarm clock, yawns, belches, and other morning noises familiar to anyone who's ever awakened); historical accuracy and completeness justifiably call "Shotgun!" here, making any revisionist editing take the windy back seat. It was the early '70's after all, when a lot of chiming bells and endearing newborns were expected to sit beside quick tape splicing and unidentifiable spectral gurgling. At last, science has been put into the service of art, and Wishart's nascent collage can be experienced in all its youthful, stimulating glory.
 (Alesandro Moreschi III)

Trevor Wishart's legendary electroacoustic trip from the yawning York University breakfast table into the off planet starmind vacuum originally span onto two bits of vinyl way back in 1973. Now Paradigm have rescued it to aluminium bit-coded posterity, in all it's lo-fi collaged glory, with a slightly off putting sleeve note from the composer who seems embarrassed by the naivities he now finds in the execution of his first release. Three years in the making, 'Journey Into Space' mixes up free improvised junk toy fiddling, clocks ticking, rocket launch blasts, slamming doors, heartbeats and haunted chain rattling, with a hell of a lot of tubular bell bashing along the way. Wishart mixed and remixed field recordings and captures with improvised and scored contributions from 48 musicians, including Steve Beresford and Jonty Harrison. The opening thirteen minutes of deep bowed string drone, gurgling grey hospital limbo groans and creaks and jingling bells might feel right at home on your favourite Nurse With Wound album or sat alongside the admittedly more tidy and better recorded Throbbing Gristle masterpiece 'Journey Through a Body.' This is a perhaps a genuinely seminal work, which might have had as much if not more influence on the outsider industrial scene as the academic corridors from which it crept slowly. The "Birth" intro winds out with distant choirs singing odd hymns to a crying new baby. The least successful sequence is the man waking, yawning, belching and generally farting about that starts the almost fifty minute 'Journey,' which continues with a car zooming off into the quaint honking city. Suddenly a fanfare heralds a rocket launch amongst the dwindling traffic noise and the scene shifts, planets dwindle, time slips. The rocket engine roar eats everything until discordant anti-vacuum bells dissolve into the silence of space. Strange new worlds open up in alien instrumention. Distant radio crackles in from homeworld. Chiming into the void new forms take shape from hazy fluting, and an alien city emerges from the blue bell fog. Inside they're having a good ol' B-movie tentacle party, ritually squeezing honk horns, until the nightmare giant babies google in from the black and white swamplands and the first word is spoken by chanting nose-monks. It's hard to hear this without being reminded of early 1970s sci-fi classics 'Solaris' and '2001.' 2002: Lost in space the land that time forgot is remembered and reissued. (Graeme Rowland)

A remarkable accomplishment, only available as a cassette, now reissued on aluminum by one of new music's few truly essential labels. Journey Into Space was completed by Trevor Wishart in 1975, after two years of labor, and self-released by the artist on two LPs. In his 'anti-score' travelogue companion booklet (available separately), Wishart sketches out his intentions for the piece, describing the varying levels of sound collection that acted as the compsition's ingredients. He describes (in 1975) the tape machine as the most significant development in Western music since the advent of notation, whose regime tape technology now overthrows. Wishart sketches out a liberal plan for himself, briefly touching upon the idea of a sound-art that is bound neither to musicianship nor the dictates of musique concrète, but incorporates multiple levels of production ethos and recording strategies. This is not, however, a technological 'total work' but, for Wishart, a shifting surrealist juxtaposition of audio representations and the unrepresentable other, lying in wait inside the tape edit. The music - and Wishart does make a point of calling it music - takes on the form of a phantasmagoric movement from one sonic situation to the next, making 'natural' the seamed transitions from one cluster of sounds onward. It's easy to see how this piece could find its antecedent in so much dissident studio-as-instrument work: namecheck Steven Stapleton/Nurse With Wound or Richard Young's kaleidoscopic studio assemblages. Wishart's modus is the confusion of the audio object, and this seminal piece of oddball tape genius is proof of his throneworthiness in the cut-up underground. (K. Scott Handley)

Paradigm's continuing journey into the nether reaches of experimental music has unearthed another gem.
Trevor Wishart's work comes from the early 70s hotbed of electronic music, York University. Journey Into Space was originally two separate LPs released in 1973, and this is their first reissue as a combined entity. And what a marvel it is - a veritable journey into sonic experimentation.
The 47-minute title track opens with the sound of a man waking, dressing and then taking a car journey, and this 'ambient' piece continues with spliced-up tape snippets of field recordings, vocal gymnastics and many unmusical moments.
It's a challenging piece and - like the best ambient esoterica - is probably best listened to under the cover of darkness, where it can soundtrack your personal visions. (Trevor King)

Yet another excellent 'rescued' item from the past of experimental music. The more of these things that come to light, the more that we have to reassess and reappraise our supposed understanding of the chronology and history of events. Well, the music experts may have to do that - fortunately I knew next to nothing in the first place, so I'm just grateful for whatever extra snippets of information I can pick up. Eddie Prevost's Silver Pyramid would be just such a reissue, if only I had time to write about it this issue. The MEV reissue from Alga Marghen is also an important and little-heard part of the history of improvisation in the 1960s. Whichever way you cut it, it was superb music then and it's equally superb now, and ripe for our enjoyment. This Trevor Wishart item is a significant part of the legacy of UK electro-acoustic composition, but also opens a window on the York University 'scene' of the early 1970s. (For further information on this little-known chapter, it seems a triple LP box set called Electronic Music From York is on its way.) In the early 1970s, men were men. The music and drama departments at York fostered a collaborative spirit and added to the power of this music. 48 participants and players (presumably students, colleagues, and friends), along with some who became important and famous, are listed on the sleeve; hopefully, they were earnest bearded intellectuals to a man, unashamed to accept offers of appearing on Open University documentaries to show the public what 'modern music' is all about. This unusual release was originally a private press item, two vinyl LPs available by mail order from Wishart at the music department. Describing it as 'a total anomaly in the canon of British experimental music' , Clive Graham compares the original vinyl with Desmond Leslie's LP of musique concr?te and Bob Cobbing's sound poems LP. It turns out that the music is quite untypical of what Wishart would later go on to produce, but remains well-loved by all who heard it, even if Wishart now rather wishes he could live it down. 'Journey into Space was a transitional and important work for me when I made it,' he admits, 'but as a whole I now find it over-long, many transitions too pedestrian, and its treatment of ideas too crude. It's almost embarrassingly late 60s!' I find it absolutely gorgeous, particularly the field recording segments of the long track which are almost like an aural document of a vanished, 1970s, three-day week Britain. Over 78 minutes of music here, kids; bring your own packed lunches. The marathon kicks off with 'Birth Dream', 13 minutes of bottle-blowing music with added dings and chimes, and a low groaning vocal noise suggesting of birth pangs, or floating in amniotic fluid. Remember that Kubrick's Star-Child was observed not long before this, an image etched in the memory of any sensible person who beheld it. More outer-space high jinks follow in 'Journey', where Wishart uses NASA samples and the sound of rockets taking off, long before anyone else was doing it (with the possible exception of Astral Navigations, the underground progressive rock LP). The Apollo moon programme was well under way at this time and its powerful images and sounds abounded on the television sets of the UK, quite often with informed commentary from James Burke and Raymond Baxter. But Wishart is not filled with childish Buck Rogers dreams of life among the planets. His 'Journey' is partly mundane, quotidian, depicting a man awaking, turning off his alarm clock, climbing out of bed, washing, and driving down the motorway. His car journey is transformed into a space odyssey by the simple juxtaposition of the engine noise with an overlaid Saturn missile roaring. Halfway through, he stops to refill with petrol. These are all very 'narrative' elements, and almost naive, but gorgeous; this is almost like the early Monty Python LP track which poses the quiz question, 'Which famous film director is this, getting up in the morning?' - following it with a sound collage which could be absolutely anybody getting up in the morning. And I mean no disrespect with that observation, believe me. Wishart and Python might not be that far apart. The field recordings are gradually overtaken by the compositional elements; minimalist percussion and bell music, overlaid with treated motorway sounds. Electro-acoustic at its very best, and soon to get better; the composition grows increasingly mad. Chimes, babies screaming, heartbeats, clangs, noises and radio sets; 'plenty of multi-tracking, editing, vocal acrobatics and musique concr?te', as Clive Graham's sleeve note says. The closing track 'Arrival' is where all of the elements are brought together in a psychedelic freak-out style - preceded by lots of doors opening, we're assaulted by a melange of insane flutes, more bells and chimes, random grunts and yelps and inane chants from the York student brigade, while fragments of the original 'Journey' tapes seep into the fabric. All wonderful stuff; who could fail to be entertained? The best package yet from Paradigm; it reproduces an exact facsimile of the original LP back cover, and conflates the two front covers into a new striking compound design. Inside are fragments from the original score, or 'antiscore', copies of which can be ordered from Paradigm, a nice photo of a Yorkshire Landscape where these adventures took place, and a sketch of an alarm clock printed on the white CD. This might turn out to be the last release from this unique UK label, as label boss Graham is thinking of giving up the unequal struggle in the face of indifference. Prove him wrong and buy a copy of this. (Ed Pinsent)

TESTCARD #11 (translated)
It begins comparatively calm and conventional in order to develop all the more furiously. 'Journey Into Space' is a multi facetted trip and a (long forgotten) classic of electroacoustic music. It came into being between 1970 and 1972 at one of the first electronic studios in the UK at York University. The recording appeared first of all as a double LP in a long sought after private pressing. On the back cover Wishart thanks all who took part - perhaps several are known from 'Tongues Of Fire' (on Voiceprint) - 48 names altogether, of whom several are still known today ie Steve Beresford and Jan Steele. The musical palette spans acoustic music (with bicycle bells, bottles, metal objects) via flutes and brass to field recordings and samples, among them are NASA-recordings of the Apollo flight. It is divided into three sections which span a broad acoustic cosmic path. More conventional recordings of everyday sounds (alarm clocks, traffic sounds etc), change with harsh cut-up-collages and new-music-passages which go from Morton Feldman to humourous Fluxus minimalism. The inventiveness of this recording is enormous and represents a mixed spectrum of the musical forms of expression of its time, a journey which on the left hand has the door of Pierre Henry, and at the same time opens the gate to psychedelia with the right hand. During the hour the composition comes to an enormous intensification: What began with the narrow room with its constricted sound cosmos, ends in a thunderous orchestra pit, which his threads spin to the edge of the universe. (Martin Büsser)

This CD is a re-issue of two self-released LPs by Trevor Wishart from the early seventies, which were apperentely not very well-known. I think I may have heard the odd piece by Wishart on the odd compilation in the early 80s, and associated his name with stacks of analogue synths. And looking at a title like 'Journey Into Space' that might not be very wrong. I imagined a very spacey CD with long synth patterns... the only thing wrong in this picture is the re-issue on the Paradigm label, who are not really known for releasing cosmic music. So it is. Wishart's old recording is 'the allegorical journey of a man towards self-realisation'. He uses techniques from musique concrete to built his lengthy pieces (this CD lasts over 78 minutes, mind you) and the sound input ranges from toys, bottles, metal tubes and sounds from builder's yards. These sounds are edited, mixed, re-edited, re-mixed and treated (speed-change, filtering, reversing). The piece operates in blocks. There is a block with toys, a block with metal sounds, a block with environment sounds etc. Although this is all fun to hear, the compositions themselves seem to be a bit randomly put together. Sounds here and there, changing sections to the next etc, but the real structure, some sort of tension... it seems to be lacking a bit. More a soundscape than a composition maybe. Wishart feels sort of similar, as he writes on the cover: 'as a whole I now find it over-long, many transitions too pedestrian, and its treatment of 'ideas' too crude: it's almost embarrassingly late 60s!!' Don't worry Trevor, some people find this very appealling (but they generally prefer the old vinyl over a new CD) and me... I just thought of it as a very nice curiousty from the ancient days which I enjoyed hearing. (FdW)

The WIRE (April 2002)
Trevor Wishart prepared this 79 minute tape piece at York University between 1970 and 72, pressing the double LP himself. His original notes say it describes 'the allegorigal journey of a man towards self-realisation'. This journey is represented by a collage of field recordings and deconstructed instrumental performances, the latter both improvised and sketchily scored. 'Birth Dream' is a woozy ten minutes of blown bottles and brass. So far, so good; but a children's chorus and baby's cry mark the start of a tedious literal programme: an alarm clock and lengthy throat clearing announce the man's journey is underway, with Wishart's microphone following his slide into reverie and space. It would be embarrassing if it weren't boring, more radio FX than composition. Later, though, we find ourselves in outer space. There are some nice soundscapes here - a haze of tubular bells and squeeze-horns, 'Stimmung'-style vocals, but it's all so aimless. Only towards the end of the piece does the pace pick up, with some choppy editing, free trumpet and flutes (one of which, I presume, is played by Steve Beresford, who was then studying at York). Wishart stitches together his materials with skill, so it's a shame that what must have amounted to thousands of hours of work is undone by aesthetic misjudgements of some magnitude. In a sleevenote written for this CD rerelease, Wishart writes that he now finds the piece 'overlong, and its treatment of 'ideas' almost embarrassingly crude'. He's not wrong. (Tom Perchard)

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