Artist name: The Automatics Group
Title: auto 17
Catalogue no.: AUTO 17C

Track listing:

1 x Side C: 15:11
1 x iphone movie 3:53

[Sides A & B and the iphone movie can be bought on vinyl and download here -]

About this release:

Or and the Automatics Group present auto 17, recordings of raw output from 49 configurations of an EMS VCS 3 synthesiser. Sides A and B are released on 12? vinyl with side C available digitally.

The VCS 3 was the first portable modular synthesiser commercially available. Renowned for its ability to produce wide-ranging electronic sound effects, it was sometimes considered problematic when producing melodic sounds due to the instability of its components. Over time, wear, tear and accumulations of oxide have exaggerated these instabilities, making the machines even less predictable.

The recordings in auto 17 are the result of incremental / violent changes to the modular configuration of the machine. Each configuration makes sound that repeats with some level of predictability. With no external intervention for the duration of each recording, patterns vary according to the physical intricacies of the machine – indeterminate fluctuations in voltage etc.

Recorded directly from the two independent outputs of the VCS 3, unusual modulation routing produces a variety of complex relationships between the left and right channels. Timbral, rhythmic and harmonic themes emerge, revealing unexpected properties of the machine.

The Automatics Group undertake projects investigating issues of control, representation, autonomy and formalism. Auto 17 was recorded by Theo Burt and Peter Worth at the Music Research Centre, York (with thanks).

Further information/reviews
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