Music of the Spheres

The Electric Weasel Ensemble (Allen Strange, Stephen Ruppenthal, David Morse, Music Easel synthesizers; Brenda Hutchinson, pulse control; Donald Buchla, frequency shifting and mix) and Charles Amirkhanian, triangle

The first sounds heard on Johanna M. Beyer’s Music of the Spheres is an unsettling mix of soothing ocean waves and the ominous roars of a mutant lion, which revs everything up for the danse macabre that follows. Theremin-like sine waves weave around one another, occasionally punctuated by the dings of a triangle. Welcome to electronic music circa 1938. It took nearly 40 years before the piece was premiered in—you guessed it—1977. Whoa, talk about composing for the desk drawer.

—RN