For those in the know, Allen Ravenstine has been one of the most creative synthesizer players of the past forty-plus years. Ravenstine started out in the mid-1970s experimenting in his Cleveland apartment with an analogue EML 200 synthesizer, eventually creating a piece in 1975 that became known as Terminal Drive. While he had no intention of releasing his compositions, word got out about the kind of sounds he was experimenting with, which led to an invitation to join pioneering “avant garage” group Pere Ubu for the recording of the group’s first 45, “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.” He soon joined Pere Ubu full-time, bringing to the band’s sound unpredictable textures, effects, bleeps, squalls, pulsating washes of sound—whatever he felt could enhance the soundscape of the band’s performances and recordings.
By the early 1990s, Ravenstine had grown sick of the road, band infighting and the music industry in general. Deciding a change was needed, he opted to forego music altogether, making his living as an airplane pilot. His music career remained in limbo until 2012, when an interview for the I Dream Of Wires documentary, alongside Robert Wheeler who had succeeded him as Pere Ubu’s synthesist, turned into a recording session for the duo, leading to a series of collaborative releases. As well as having his 1975 Terminal Drive recordings released to great acclaim in 2017, Ravenstine has been prolific in recent years, with Electron Music/Shore Leave now marking his 3rd solo full-length.
Electron Music/Shore Leave brings together ten of the prodigious composer’s most recent lyrical and abstract compositions collectively comprised of the sounds of analogue and digital synthesizers, traditional acoustic instruments and the sampled sounds of birds, dogs and other artifacts of nature. Working prodigiously on a daily basis, over the past two years Ravenstine has amassed a large number of atmospheric recordings that he has intuitively aggregated into groups of five pieces each. The first five recordings, subtitled Electron Music, are found on Side A of this LP while the second five, Shore Leave, comprise Side B.
Ravenstine played the majority of the sampled instruments on these recordings as well as piano, Moog theremin, a Roland Aerophone and a bevy of synthesizers including a Korg MS20, EML 200, and a Doepfer Dark Energy. Recording virtually over the internet due to the covid pandemic, collaborators from around the world contributed Ondes Martenot, prepared piano, transverse flute, trumpet, saxophone, double bass and percussion. The result is a heady, disparate brew of compositions that range from abstract to lyrical, in the process conjuring up a bricolage of ambient soundtracks, jazzy miniatures, space age exploration, world music, Erik Satie-like studies and the ghost of Harry Partch. As a collection Electron Music/Shore Leave is a stunningly mature work that provides new and surprising sonic rewards with each and every listen.
The album contains 10 songs on vinyl LP - limited to 300 copies.