VARIOUS ARTISTS : ‘Musical Offering’ – OUT 26.05.23

Музыкальное Приношение


a compilation of rare recordings created on the ANS synthesizer by five Soviet era Russian composers

CD | digital
out 26.05.23 
(Cold Spring)

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Available on CD for the first time outside Russia, ‘Musical Offering’ sees five Soviet era Russian composers perform their works on the legendary ANS synthesizer. Recorded in the 1960s and early 70s, it contains six tracks of experiments on the unique photoelectronic instrument by Eduard Artemiev, Oleg Buloshkin, Edison Denisov, Sofia Gubaidulina and Alfred Schnittke. These were originally released on a 1990 LP issued by the state-run Melodiya label.

‘Musical Offering’ demonstrates a musical machine unlike any other and one that has long fascinated cutting edge, modern electronic composers such as Coil and Adi Newton of The Anti Group Communications (TAGC)/Clock DVA. Both have released recordings utilising the ANS.

Invented by the Russian engineer Evgeny Murzin between 1937 and 1957, the technological basis of the ANS was the method of graphical sound recording used in cinematography (developed in Russia concurrently with the USA) that made it possible to obtain a visible image of a sound wave, as well as to realise the opposite goal of synthesizing a sound from an artificially drawn sound spectogram.

The ANS houses five rotating glass discs with 144 tones hand printed individually by Murzin on each. Light is projected through the discs onto a photovoltaic cellbank that converts the light into electricity and sends signals to the ANS’s amplifiers and bandpass filters. Fully polyphonic, it can generate all 720 tones this way and – unlike a human musician – play them all simultaneously.

Murzin named his invention in honour of Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin (1872-1915), the composer best known for ‘Poem of Ecstasy’ and a renowned early exponent of colour-sound theories (synesthesia). Fans of Russian cinema will be familiar with recordings made on the ANS by Eduard Artemiev for films directed by Andrei Tarkovsky that include The Mirror, Stalker and, most notably, 1972’s Solaris, in which the ANS was used to abstract, sci-fi effect akin to ambient music. He also used it on the soundtrack to the 1979 Andrei Konchalovsky movie epic ’Siberiade’.

‘Musical Offering’ has been remastered by Martin Bowes at The Cage and is presented in a CD digipak with stunning new artwork designed by Abby Helasdottir.

1  OLEG BULOSHKIN Sacrament (3:32)
2  SOFIA GUBAIDULINA Vivente-Non Vivente (Alive And Dead) (10:44)
3  EDUARD ARTEMIEV Mosaic (4:05)
4  EDUARD ARTEMIEV Twelve Looks At The World Of Sound (12:53)
5  EDISON DENISOV Birds Singing (5:04)
6  ALFRED SCHNITTKE Stream (5:57)

the one, the only ANS synthesizer

Cold Spring