Music News

Various Artists

Listeners who think of electronic music as a recent innovation will be disabused of that notion by this fascinating boxed set. The compilation's earliest example of electro dates back to 1937, and many of its most bizarre offerings were created in the '50s and '60s, before performers such as Aphex Twin were born.

The set makes no distinction between high and low art: Edgard Varse and La Monte Young were rule-breaking classicists (and inspirations to Frank Zappa and the Velvet Underground, respectively), while Tod Dockstader and Raymond Scott provided nutty noises for cartoons. Their contributions join works by artists ranging from John Cage to Brian Eno in an entertaining continuum of weirdness.

Originally issued in 2000, the OHM+ special edition now includes a major bonus: a DVD featuring, among other things, clips of the late Leon Theremin and Robert Moog showing off the twisted instruments that bear their names. These Gurus prove that the future is nowŠbut it was also then.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts