One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

DIEM 25th Anniversary
Track list at end of review
DIEM (The Danish Institute of Electronic Music), Aarhus, Denmark, 1987-2012
DACAPO 8.226559-60 [67:29 + 70:49]

Experience Classicsonline

Morton Riis writes, “The story of DIEM (The Danish Institute of Electronic Music) is the story of 25 years of believing that the newest technology can move existing musical boundaries, create new sounds, new structures, and pioneer the development of the music of the future.” Presented in a nice clamshell box and with very decent documentation, this release presents a wide selection of works produced at DIEM from 1987 to 2012. Other than Per Nørgård’s truncated Årsfrise-91 these are all presented in their original form, and most will be unfamiliar, which is no great surprise as many of these pieces are released here for the first time.
By chance I happened to commence composition studies at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague in 1987, so I can vividly recall the electronic music facilities there at the time. Atari computers were the cutting edge, but for us untrained and intuitive types there was still a hands-on experimental feel to the whole thing which I embraced wholeheartedly for about a year. Tape cuttings on the floor and loops in procession around the entire studio, turning the old analogue acoustic chamber which was like a big radiator full of springs into something which sounded like an exploding atom bomb, pushing and pulling plugs and levers - those were the common activities which can never quite be emulated by the relatively easy and certainly more compact range of computers and equipment we use today. If your system has a glitch these days there’s not much for it but to turn off, reboot and start again. Back in 1987 you immediately recorded your glitch and probably made a 20 minute piece out of it - the effect being one unlikely ever to be reproducible in a subsequent session.
There are many fascinating sounds to be heard on these two CDs, though tastes will vary and you’ll have to be willing to allow your imagination free rein in some seriously abstract tracts. Daniel Rothman’s Southwest Sky is one such work, an airy and free-spirited collection of kaleidoscopic lines which suggest stars and space, or clouds and deathly isolation, depending on your mood and associations. This is from 1988, and a more interesting species of work than its recent predecessor, Jonas R. Kirkegaard’s 802, which is a disco drum beat which speeds and slows but does little else - something which would have been impressive in 1988, but which doesn’t cut the mustard in 2012.
No doubt we did some pretty dreadful stuff in the 1980s and early 90s, but as ever with this kind of music, it’s the mind behind the art rather than the means used to produce it which is its guardian of quality and lasting value. I know I’ll be accused of having nostalgic preferences, but I sense a consistency and honesty in the microtonal explorations of Carl Bergstrøm Nielsen’s Omdrejninger II when put against the somewhat haphazard and softly bumbling Hypermodel by Band Ane. The BBC’s original ‘Hitch Hiker’s Guide to The Galaxy’ radio series had more interesting background music than this - bless the Radiophonic Workshop and all who sailed in her.
If seemingly random bumps and squeaks are your thing then Jonas Olesen/Morten Riis’s Prim X is an interesting collage of what sounds like a mixture of analogue and digital sources - minimal in their sculpting of shapes within a deep silence. Grander ambitions in Fuzzy’s Electric Gardens and Their Surroundings send us into a world of richness whose cataclysmic opening and ‘gong’ effects remind me of that literary advice, “start with an avalanche, and go on from there.” This piece has connections with Morton Subotnik and the like - think of The Wild Bull - and could probably have been a few minutes shorter, but it is still a grandiloquent and intensely energetic piece of work. Echoes of Frank Zappa mixed with one or other kind of acid is the order of the day in Puzzleweasel/Richard Devine’s striking Mad Bonce, but Per Nørgård has us more on the edge of our seats with the fascinating Årsfrise-91, an extract from a multi-layered project originally conceived as Kalendermusik, originally about 8 hours’ worth of semi-autonomous electronic tone generators. They should release it as an MP3 file.
At last, humour, with a fairground feel given to the spoken word in Halfdan E. and the late Dan Turéll’s Intro (Team Trash). I also like the concept of Wayne Siegel’s Tunnel Vision, which filters a multitude of sounds into a single, constantly changing note - as if heard through a tube-shaped seashell.
On to CD 2, and while Bjørn Svin’s 7 circler I 1 matrix has something of a doom-disco feel to it, the project is an interesting one, involving the re-mixing of a pioneering 1958 work, Syv cirkler (seven circles) by Else Marie Pade. Michael Nyvang’s impressive Collage IV, Corona manipulates sounds sourced from a piano “to larger or smaller degrees beyond recognition”; a ‘Music for Virtual Orchestra’ and a man after my own heart. An if anything more bizarre disconnect between the familiar into strangeness is Line Tjørnhøj-Thomsen,’s Lauria, which works on the human voice in a way which can be disconcertingly animal, and can be both exquisitely expressive and painful at the same time. This piece has an attractively intuitive and literally tongue-in-cheek feel and is very much worth persisting with. Talking of animals, there are some pretty desperate sounding alien ones in the “overexposed panorama of ruins” in Hans Hansen’s Passiacs Monumenter, one of those real-time recorded works which either work well or not, and this one does.
I love the desperate cartoon world of Jørgen Teller’s Sparklings, which should be used as a soundtrack for the final episode of ‘Top Gear’ when the BBC finally cancels the series. There’s a minor typo on the sleeve of disc 2 which has two tracks marked as number 8. Birgitte Alsted’s poetic Zu versuchen, die Fragen on track 7 is filled with recorded sounds such as doors closing and creaking, and with its dense sense of mystery doesn’t outstay its sixteen minutes of duration. Chilling nuances and nicely transformed noises also inhabit Sofus Forsberg’s Homework, which has an admirably surprising ending. The final track is Rasmus Lunding’s On Learning How to Kill, which is powerfully cinematic. The words in the piece are those of Lunding’s father, who survived as a Jew in Denmark during WWII, smuggling German Jews and others into Sweden. The work’s pacifist message is unmistakable, but by the end you know it is a standpoint which knows its own terrors.
This is a fascinating compilation of work from Denmark’s DIEM studios, and with a majority of good work, a few terrific pieces and only a few duds, this is something which stimulates and educates. I would say it also entertains, but there are few moments to which I would apply this term, and this is a world which takes itself more seriously than not. This is not a closed and intolerant environment however, and there is an openness and eclecticism to many of these composer’s approaches which allows for its own confluences and juxtapositions of influence and style; always something which gives rise to new avenues of discovery. If you want to know what happened in Denmark after the Yamaha DX7 was relegated to a dusty cupboard, this is a hot place to find out.
Dominy Clements 

Track list

Anker Fjeld Simonsen
Oktav III (1988) [4:34]
Jonas R. Kirkegaard
802 (2012) [2:27]
Daniel Rothman
Southwest Sky (1988) 10:58]
Band Ane
Hyper Motel (2011) [2:39]
Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen
Omdrejninger II (1989) [7:12]
Jonas Olesen/Morten Riis
Prim X (2010) [2:59]
Electric Gardens and Their Surroundings (1989) [11:46]
Puzzleweasel/Richard Devine
Mad Bonce (2008) [6:24]
Per Nørgård
Årsfrise-91 (exerpt) (1991) [5:29]
Halfdan E./Dan Turéll
Intro (Team Trash) [1993) [1:30]
Wayne Siegel
Tunnel Vision (1995) [11:31]
Bjørn Svin
7 circler I 1 matrix (2002) [8:33]
Michael Nyvang
Collage IV, Corona (1996) [5:06]
AC-3 (2007) [5:30]
Line Tjørnhøj-Thomsen
Lauria (1998) [13:49]
Hans Hansen
Passiacs Monumenter (1999) [8:17]
Jørgen Teller
Sparklings (2005) [3:03]
Birgitte Alsted
Zu versuchen, die Fragen (2002) [16:20]
Sofus Forsberg
Homework (2005) [1:58]
Rasmus Lunding
On Learning How to Kill (2002) [8:13]


















































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.