Thursday, 5 May 2011

The League of Automatic Music Composers 1978- 1983, New World Records, 2007

I came across the CD at Birmingham Central Library knowing little about this collective. This is a record of a sustained collaboration between a number of programmers and a set of primitive PCs. While there is live intervention from John Bischoff, Jim Horton, David Berman et al, what matters is the interplay; the responses and realignments playing out between human and automatic subjects. Early audio and processing tech is stripped down and fucked about with. Three creatures, blithe enemies of fashion, sit around a table, pressing a key here, shifting wiring there, letting the network do its stuff. They are lithe and lovely beasts all put together wrong.

There is pattern; they seem to lean into it and then shrink back in revulsion. But something in the circuitry (that of the boys and the machinery) yearns to retread steps. there's repetition, but no playback. If you're after such things, you can find the comforts of the accidental; an unshaped future to play in and set against the promises yet to be broken or broken again.

This is a work of play: they're kicking the human subject off the throne - not for the sake of liberty but of laughter. Tonalities are plain and just and bright as the nursery walls. A childish delight often shows through. When you come to a track titled "Martian Folk Music", inbred aliens crawl into your skull and pluck at the synapses.

The music gave me a great deal of joy. And it is music; we should name it as such, with recognisable tonalities and something like rhythmn here and there. Calling this noise is to leave from the scene with cheap excuses.

This is music in so far as it's at odds with waged time, in its ludic insistence and unnecessary magic.The computers are singing and the League sings with them.


  1. Well, I haven't heard the League but now I've heard of it and your music gives me its measure of joy.

  2. They had purpose without a definite end and they delighted in it. Grand lads altogether.