John McGuire - Pulse Music [Unseen Worlds - 2022]
Pulse Music collects together the mid to late 70’s electro minimalism work from California composer and music editor John McGuire. It’s a four-track CD release- presented in a mini card gatefold, that features a stuck-on glossy inlay booklet- talking in writing about the pieces, McGuire himself and a few pictures/ paper score recreations.
During the early to mid-1960 McGuire studied composition at Occidental College in Los Angeles and UC Berkeley. He then moved to Europe to study with Karlheinz Stockhausen, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Gottfried Michael Koenig. His work is all about locked serialism’s warped geometries, which are set on an evenly spaced grid- it’s a sound that keeps in place serial music’s multi-dimensionality while ironing out its more jarring elements and sharp sonic angles.Roger Batty
The CD takes in four tracks- with each of these having runtimes between eleven and twenty-four minutes. We open with “Pulse Music I” it's a blend of jittering and bright high-end pitches, which are weaved with piping key runs- it’s a track that’s both sparking and electro ornate in it’s chiming & gentle shifting patterns. Next, we have “Pulse II” here McGuire utilizers a four-piano and small orchestra recording to create an example of minimalism, which has some rather oriental undertones to its locked harmonic patterns.
“Pulse III” returns to bright and glittering 70’s electronica, with a buoyant and suddenly weave of pulsing, blipping and blooping tones which are underfed by mid to low-end single pitch sustains. And “108 Pulses” which has a sort of locked down jaunting electro country vibe, or maybe stuck electro rock ‘n’ roll feel- with set galloping mids, and chiming to jiggling electro vibe stricks.
McGuire certainly had his own distinctive at time quite playful and bright take on the minimalism form- so it’s great to have these four tracks collected together in one place. And I’d most certainly be interested in hearing more of his work if there’s more in an archive somewhere. To find out more about the release head here