Mothers of Invention keyboardist extraordinaire gets the Sub Rosa treatment with this maxed-out comp of Don Preston’s experimental work. Preston’s day job found the key player bumping shoulders with everyone from Zappa, Beefheart, and Ono to Elvin Jones and Charlie Haden, coloring some of the most out-there rock and jazz recordings of the 60s and 70s. By night though, Preston was hard at work charting formless sonic explorations in the same vein as electronic music’s earliest experimentalists. So here we have a CD and LP collection filled to the brim with heady sounds that are simultaneously timeless and a testament to the era.
Working chronologically through 15 years of material, the comp starts off with the aptly titled “Electronic Music.” You can almost see a focused Preston luring out every inch of sound from his instrument, barely twisting each knob to find a boundary. There’s no rushing here. It’s methodical and paced. The vibes are also haunting and chilling, very cold and distant. Passages of “Electronic Music” closely sync with David Lynch’s industrial decay, but they’re also a fascinating take on pure experimentation.
1975′s “Analog Heaven” is a seven-part trip through varied terrain. Jarring edits offer glimpses of droning tones, textured chords, and fractured blips, certainly revealing a source of inspiration for many of the early Warp releases. It’s almost a self-contained encyclopedia of electronic music, touching on just about every sound you’ve ever heard. It’s all here. The CD edition includes an bonus track in the form of “Fred & Me,” at 20-minute opus recorded in 1982. The piece is a long-form aural painting that’s void of any signs of life, wholly isolating and chilling. A definite must-have for any archivist.