This album was compiled by Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto, and contains 25 recordings made by high school students from 1968 to 1973 (with one piece from 1984). Apart from a few spoken intros stating that these compositions were created by students in Philadelphia and Greenwich, CT (plus the cover, which says "Gloucester Public Schools"), and the years the recordings were made, there isn't any other information on this album. I'm not any sort of expert on vintage synthesizers, so I can't really tell how these pieces were made, or whose works these students were inspired by. Regardless, it kind of goes without saying that what's on here is fascinating.
The first six tracks on the disc are all about a minute long, and basically seem to consist of one sound or idea being messed around with for the duration of the piece. Things get more complex with the piece "Musique Concrete", which is credited to York University. The piece features a series of bizarre, unsettling tape loops, and probably frightened the parents of whoever created it. This is followed by "Willy Reverb" by David Brown, which either samples or imitates some type of flute sound, and adds some dub-sounding reverb to it towards the end. A few other pieces experiment with using nature sounds and sound effects, and even some popular music. Probably the most stunning piece on here is "Vietnam-Love It Or Leave It", credited to Beth Bolton and Mag Johnson. The piece contains cutups of Jimi Hendrix's "Star Spangled Banner" and what I'm assuming is Vietnamese pop music, alongside blistering noise, to create a bracing work of social commentary.
The pieces from 1973 start to incorporate more melodic ideas, ending up sounding like demented cousins of some of Raymond Scott's pioneering electronic works. The album ends with Michio Kumagai's "Katros", from 1984, which sounds like a soundtrack to an abduction.
Admittedly, as interesting as this entire album is, there are plenty of pieces on here that sound like something any kid with a tape recorder and sine wave generator could come up with. The album definitely gets better as it progresses, however, and is very much worth a listen to anyone interested in early electronic music. 8/10 -- Paul Simpson (6 May, 2008)