J.D. Robb Electronic Music: From Razor Blades to Moog (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)
There were giants here. Among them: John Donald Robb an ethnomusicologist stationed at UNM, who, with his trusted crew, recorded the vital and eternal sounds of New Mexican folk music in the ’50s through the ’60s. A composer by trade who had studied with Boulanger, he was one of the modernists that landed in Burque during or after WWII, becoming one of the city’s deep cultural reservoirs—founding orchestras, leading the College of Fine Arts and influencing generations of artists and musicians in the area. Robb was also a contributor in the nascent field of electronic music. Late in his career, he turned his attention to the work of Robert Moog and then began composing again. The results of Robb’s subsequent experimentalism formed the groundwork for much of what followed—academically and even in popular culture—as electronic music began to take root in musical canons from rock to classical in the late ’60s. Essentially speaking, this recording is essential listening for anyone interested in electronic music, and specifically those who marvel at the tremendous influence Burqueños have had in the development and propagation of electronica. Difficult yet totally def, 60 years on, here is the root of it all, a relic of the transistor age that presages and perhaps announces the digital future, all bundled together with wires and fires, ese.