gullbuy music review

J.D. Robb


Rhythmania: Electronic Music from Razor Blades to Moog


Locust Music


Rhythmania CD coverAccording to the cd sleevenotes from Rhythmania: Electronic Music from Razor Blades to Moog: "In 1941, at the age of 49, John Donald Robb walked away from a successful international law career, headed west, set up shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico and later founded the Rio Grande Electronic Music Laboratory." And thus J.D. Robb (not Nora Roberts, the writer, aka JD Robb, nor related to the mid-60s midwestern rock group The Robbs) became one of the early experimental music composers. Thanks to the folks at Locust Music, we can once again hear the recordings he originally released on Folkway Records: Electronic Music: From Razor Blades to Moog (1970) and Triptych & Other Electronic Musical Compositions (1976).

Judging from his bio, J.D. Robb recorded these sometime in the 1950s or 1960s (and I don't believe these were recorded as late as the release date of the Folkway Records lps these were originally released on). Highlights from Rhythmania include Collage with it's quickly whirling sounds. Rhythmania (it should be noted that according to the Locust Music website, Rhythmania & Canon No.1 were mistakenly reversed in the cd track listing) has clanking alien rhythms which would make a band like Cluster proud. Rondino sounds like the music used in those creepy shortwave radio recordings from the Number Stations. And finally, the tour de force of this cd - Green Mansions - Abel And Rima - at almost 13 minute long, Green Mansions is a squelching masterpiece, and sounds like a lost Stockhausen piece.

---Patrick, October 21, 2003