“Heliograms” was the first album by Canadian composer and video artist Jean Piché. Originally released in 1982 on the tiny Melbourne label (which disappeared shortly after), the record - in spite of its importance as one of the first ever works made entirely with digital synthesisers - faded into oblivion, sharing in the imprint's fall. Thirty years later, Digitalis is announcing its reissue, in an attempt to do justice to its position as an essential piece in the history of electronic music.
The four pieces on the album were recorded between 1977 and 1980 at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. It combines computers, digital synthesisers and the odd acoustic instrument - assembling the whole using the POD system for interactive composition, developed by Barry Truax. The result is a succession of ambient passages - in the vein of pioneers like Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Lou Harrison - which sound unmistakably linked to the new wave of modern cosmic explorers. “Heliograms” is slated for release on 28th May. Here we leave you with an extract of its four tracks.