Sunday, December 3, 2017
Composers Recordings Inc started as a non-profit label in 1954, founded by the composers Otto Luening and Douglas Moore (and another chap), and dedicated to releasing contemporary classical music by American composers. The distinctive CRI logo is familiar to any habitue of American used record stores who've spent any time flickingd through the 20th Century classical section hoping to find electronic and concrete releases. CRI actually put out a bunch of cool electronic and computer music recordings themselves, but the bulk of the 600-plus releases tend to be rather forlornly orphaned specimens of astringent modernism using the traditional orchestral palette, piano, voice, etc. You can buy them rather cheap, let's put it like that.
I like the design of CRI releases, especially the ones based around the template of a square surrounded by white (sometimes colored) space on all sides. Some of them are genuinely good, I think . Others fall into the "ugly but interesting" zone - I could imagine them ppealing to Julian House, in much the same way that library music covers and Polish movie posters appeal with their wrong-but-right oddness. Overall the CRI designs give off a bold, stark, somehow earnest and open aura that fits the spirit of the music. The covers of the non-electronic recordings are actually as characteristic-looking and striking as the electronic/tape/computer ones, but I've mostly stuck with the latter here.
Particularly like the Allan Bryant Space Guitars cover. Ruddy peculiar record, too.