Sound-installation artist and Fluxus friend and collaborator Yoshi Wada recorded Earth Horns With Electronic Drone back in 1974, live at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse. This is the world premiere of the piece as recorded back then — though you need a turntable to get the full effect of the achievement.
The CD version features one 77-minute section of the work, but there is a three-LP version that presents all 162 minutes. Overall, the piece hasn’t dated a bit. In fact, given the explosion of minimalist, drone and ambient music in the last fifteen years or so, it sounds like a contemporary piece. Wada’s work always seemed to anticipate.
That anticipation applies not only to trends, but also to the whims of sound. Joined here by musicians such as Liz Phillips, Garrett List and Barbara Stewart, Wada gives the atmosphere in Earth Horns plenty of space to speak of their own path. A slight pulse, working within the acoustics of the room, fragments into unexpected colors. Meditative but restless, the piece is textbook drone, one requiring patience and deep listening to fully appreciate.
I’m not sure how they decided on this section for the CD release — it would seem to imply that Earth Horns With Electronic Drone works in its entirety as well as in various chunks — but this adds to the already legendary Yoshi Wada canon. A forgotten gem, this is one of the ground zeroes for minimalism and ambient drone. It is a powerful piece that also fills in some historical gaps.