Else Marie Pade — Electronic Works 1958-1995 (2014, ImpRecs)
On the Important Records webpage for this release, there is a quote from the artist claiming, “in the evening I could imagine that the stars and the moon and the sky uttered sounds and those turned into electronic music.” Danish electronic pioneer, Else Marie Pade didn’t just produce works that sound like they came from the night sky, but rather sonic tapestries that originate from a place that is well beyond the uppermost reaches of the stratosphere. Pade’s work is an enigmatic blend of oscillations, sine and square waves, and Stockhausen-esque chirps. Opening with the artist’s “Faust Suite” a deeply harmonic piece with a ghostly and unsettling aura, brilliantly captures the risk and intrigue of Faust’s pact with the devil. The earliest work on the album, “Syv Cirkler” from 1958, is again marked by an eerie sense of surrealism. The tune features rising and fall tonal strokes as square waves fade in and recede. Other highlights include “Illustrationer” a work from 1995 comprised of four movements, demonstrates a clear continuation of Pade’s modus operandi. This piece captures the playfully frigidity of a cloudless day in Northern Europe in the late autumn, just before winter and short days take hold. The album jacket features an image of Pade with a wry smile, gazed transfixed onto something in the distance. The image image feels entirely appropriate given that her music still sounds light years away, even after the development of electronic music(s) in the decades that followed the earliest recordings on the record. This wonderfully curated retrospective of one of the avant garde’s unsung heroes and is required listening for those interested in the aforementioned Stockhausen (whom Pade studied under at Darmstadt), the history of and/or early electronic music(s), or any variant of otherworldly sounds.