Suzanne Ciani: “Lixiviation” (CD Review)

Lixiviation – “To wash or percolate the soluble matter from.” (Dictionary.com)

Suzanne Ciani
Lixiviation
B-Music BMS040 CD

A sampler’s paradise and a vivid musical time capsule, Lixiviation is a compilation of analog synth guru Suzanne Ciani’s commercial work, as well as studio and live excerpts, from 1969-1985. It includes numerous clips for Atari, TV commercial spots (with clients ranging from Coca-Cola to PBS), a clip from a live concert using Buchla gear in 1975, and excerpts from her contributions to film scores (including the title track, a collaboration with mercury sculptor Ronald Mallory).

The versatility of projects represented is matched by¬† versatility of sonic approaches. Indeed, it’s interesting to hear such a wide chronological swath of the synthesist’s work. A decade and a half, particularly in these relatively early days of the development of synthesizer technology, encompasses multiple generations of gear; as well as, for Ciani, a significant evolution of aesthetic orientation and artistic approach. The general move is from a more ambient, slowly evolving, and improvisatory approach to leaner, tauter structures (as befits working within the constraints of corporate project time frames). The CD makes apparent the debt owed to Ciani by new age, bleep, glitch, sci-fi scores, ambient electronica, and those spearheading today’s analog synth revival.

A (small) caveat: Lixiviation is not curated from a chronological vantage point: its tracks are arranged somewhat more whimsically, perhaps to demonstrate the diversity of approaches adopted by Ciani. Nor are all the tracks precisely dated in the liner notes. Those looking for more a accurate provenance for some of the music will have to do a bit of web sleuthing (in the name of pop musicology) on their own.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>