Jon Appleton was an early pioneer of electronic music in America. He established his first primitive studio whilst studying at the University of Oregon in the mid-60s. Assisted by a financial grant this was greatly expanded at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire in the late 60s where Appleton began to record his sonic explorations at his bespoke electronic music studio.
It seemed only natural that Appleton would come to the attention of the questing ears of Flying Dutchman label supremo Bob Thiele. This led to the album “Appleton Syntonic Menagerie” released on Flying Dutchman in 1969. Recorded at the Dartmouth studio it’s a fascinating album rich in ideas, proto synthesiser sounds and sonic exploration. Listening today, it’s as if Steve Stapleton from Nurse With Wound went back in time to record a secret album.
It was probably Bob Thiele’s idea to put Appleton and Cherry together. Thus, Cherry went to Appleton’s electronic music studio at Dartmouth College to record an album of improvisations. Apparently, laid down live the four extended tracks are sparse, spacious and a compelling listen and where jazz meets early electronica. As a jazz musician, Cherry not only played wood, bamboo and metal flutes, kalimbas; earthquake drums, coronet with traditional mouthpiece and bamboo reed but listened to Appleton’s oscillations to ensure that his parts fit into this unlikely musical jigsaw.
This album has been out of print on vinyl for decades and as well as remastering “Human Music” we have made sure to serve it up in its original gatefold sleeve that features striking original artwork by Don Cherry’s Swedish wife Moki ‘Moqui’ Cherry. An exhibition of her work was recently displayed at the ICA between May and September 2023