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Desmond Leslie
 Music of the Future
 (Trunk) CD

This has been a banner year for me as far as stumbling across hitherto unknown early electronic music masters. Now, as if discovering the joys of composers like Else Marie Pade, Douglas Lilburn and Marino Zuccheri weren't enough, the work of Desmond Leslie has popped onto my musical radar; thanks in large measure to this excellent new reissue of Leslie's Music of the Future by Trunk Records.

Desmond Leslie was a noted English eccentric, science fiction author, filmmaker, new age theorist, Ufologist, and electro acoustic pioneer. His experiments with electronic music were limited to a brief period in the 1950s and his recorded output is extraordinarily small. What does exist are inspired examples of early musique concrete, most of which were collected on Music of the Future, a privately pressed record originally published in 1959. The pieces are all soundtracks to short science fiction films and, while the music bears the signs of influence of French musique concrete masters like Schaeffer and Henry, Leslie isn't a slavish imitator. Each work has its own unique surprises. In his highly amusing liner notes, Leslie opposes his work to the "cult of Ugly, and the Highpriesthood of Drears," arguing that his musique concrete is "meant to be enjoyed." Thankfully, this does not mean that this is saccharine or even overly lyrical fluff. It is, however, undeniably enjoyable.

 

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