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MOTHER MALLARD'S PORTABLE MASTERPIECE CO.

Progressive Electronic • United States


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Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co. biography
Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company, formed in 1969 by David Borden, was the world's first synthesizer ensemble, predating groups like Tonto's Expanding Head Band and Tangerine Dream. David Borden was in close contact with Dr. Robert Moog and was one of the first musicians to use his Minimoog. After recruiting Steve Drews and Linda Fisher to operate additional synthesizers, the group began playing concerts of minimalist music by Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass. They began recording their first self-titled album in 1970, but it would not be released until 1973 by Earthquack Records. Their second album, Like a Duck to Water, was released in 1976.
David Borden and Mother Mallard continued performing and releasing albums in the following years, most notably on the Cuneiform record label. Borden adopted new digital synthesizer technology over time, and also incorporated various acoustic woodwind instruments and voices. Borden's most ambitious work, The Continuing Story of Counterpoint Parts 1-12, composed between 1976-1987, was recorded and released on three Cuneiform CDs between 1988-1991. The label also reissued Mother Mallard's first two 1970s recordings on CD.
(Source: Wikipedia)

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MOTHER MALLARD'S PORTABLE MASTERPIECE CO. top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 3 ratings
Like A Duck To Water
1976

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4.32 | 3 ratings
(1970-1973)
1999

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MOTHER MALLARD'S PORTABLE MASTERPIECE CO. Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 (1970-1973) by MOTHER MALLARD'S PORTABLE MASTERPIECE CO.  album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1999
4.32 | 3 ratings

BUY
(1970-1973)
Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co. Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt

5 stars A MUST BY ALL MEANS!

A masterful journey through the possible universes of electronic music.

Box-sets, if not by rule, usually worry less for quality in composition, in favour of recording-dates or availability (or rarity) of the material. So it is kind of normal to approach them as historic "antiques" that no matter what, have to be respected because of that solely. Therefore in that regard they tend to be quiet unfriendly.

Opposite to that, there are flawless compilations, which by luck, fate or accident, are true to the spirit of audiophiles, more than historians. And of course there are also, if scarce, those compilations that achieve both. They are not only pure delight to listen to, but also master degree classes on the subject. This incredible Box-Set belongs to the latter.

There is no single piece in this "MOTHER MALLARD'S PORTABLE MASTERPIECE CO. - (1970-1973)" which could not offspring by itself, the creative electronic language of future projects or musicians, right now in 2014!. Every piece, even if influenced in its time of creation by contemporary musicians, becomes transmuted to the point of offering in return, to those same "influences", future possible material, which by then, they were not even imagining!

David Borden should stand somehow as the "prophet" who was able to carry Robert Moog's vision to reality, for the joy of us prog/electonic and electronic-music followers.

Yes!, This is not an "average" prog/audiophiles wish come true ( no guitars or solos, no weird time signatures nor drums, no front-men preaching (or singing as you call it), etc. etc...) . This Box-Set, therefore could hardly be thought of as "prog/universal" appealing (I mean, in this category the top band, has 1/4 of the ratings of the most mediocre Rush album!). BUT for followers of this sub-genre, it is a "sin" to miss it , and to to those I address!

*****5 complete PA stars, and still missing some!

Thanks to PA reviewer Sean Trane for this recommendaion!

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 (1970-1973) by MOTHER MALLARD'S PORTABLE MASTERPIECE CO.  album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1999
4.32 | 3 ratings

BUY
(1970-1973)
Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co. Progressive Electronic

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars MM was initially but indirectly born from a meeting with synth creator Robert Moog and Ithaca (upstate NY) music student David Borden on his return from a Berlin music grant-holder studies. Apparently, R Moog used Borden as a sort of guinea pig for his future Moog synth that would change the face of music during the early 70's. Through a series of event (via a Cornell Univ teaching job), Doctor Mallard came to be as a duo and was named after Borden's grandma. Using a prototype of the Moog (courtesy of the creator) and other types of avant-garde electronics techniques, Borden and Steve Drews started playing live in spring 70 and inspiring on Walter Carlos and John Cage, Terry Riley and other minimalist works. The following year, they were joined by Linda Fisher and her electric piano and the band built their own studio in some village nearby their centre of gravity the following year.

From what I understand none of their early music committed to tape were ever released at the time. Once not being a habit, Cuneiform released these early works in 99 in the form of 'archives', but with no liner notes. The opening Ceres Motion is the only Drews composition and is one of the later pieces included on this archive disc. It starts very calmly and slowly builds inertia and momentum, with the help of his partners and loops built very pleasant soundscapes with sequencer rhythms that Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze would develop a few years later. The repetitive and hypnotic nature of their music that evolves gradually but permanently makes this kind of aural pleasure very hard to resist, but its abrupt end is somewhat unsettling, leaving you with a taste of unfinished business. Up next, the much less accessible Cloudscape For Peggy starts on cosmic Moog noises, and we're hovering around the Zeit or Atem TD soundscapes era.

The 12-mins piece Music is a bit of a WTF moments with Fisher's vocals (albeit short-lived) topping a very upbeat and almost pop-y piece; by this time (72), the mini-moog was out and indeed dominates the track. The short Train piece (still almost 7-mins) is another Drews composition, but it sticks aurally close to Cloudscape (same sessions most likely), and is darkly cosmic, slightly nightmarish. The almost-20-mins closing Easter also dates from the Robert Moog's Trumansburg installations, and is probably the weirder and most experimental track on this disc. This over-the- top build-up of twisted quagmires of sonic drools and rants will crash your sanity against the wall of incomprehension if your third ear is not sufficiently developed.

Yet another impeccable and essential archive recording from Feigelbaum's label, though uncharacteristically it doesn't feature much additional historical details. If you're in electronic music, certainly this belongs in the most-visited shelf.

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 Like A Duck To Water by MOTHER MALLARD'S PORTABLE MASTERPIECE CO.  album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Like A Duck To Water
Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co. Progressive Electronic

Review by philippe
Special Collaborator Content Development & Krautrock Team

3 stars This album figures among those numerous instrumental efforts (in popular music) entirely built around the Moog synth. Historically speaking, Walter (Wendy) Carlos and her "Switched on Bach" correspond to the first Moog dominated musical adventure, followed a few years later by Popol Vuh and their mystical "Affestunde". This Mother Mallard's electronic collection features MiniMoog textures and intricate "superposed" melodies. All Compositions sound pleasantly despite that nothing is really transcendent. Some repetitive motifs and cyclical electronic operations punctuate the ensemble and reveals influences from Steve Reich (additional "structural" process in "all set" noably) or Tangerine Dream (for the almost "hypnotic" like patterns). "Oleo strust" (the best track on this album) starts with a repetitive synth process combined to bass continuous lines. The last minutes contain a long monotonous but luminous minimal chord. The album features some "pop" accentuated tones and some misplaced "humorous" passages ("Harpsichord truck") that I would prefer to avoid. Simplistic MiniMoog exercices in pop-prog proportions!

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