How Much Better If Plymouth Rock Had Landed on the Pilgrims [Complete CD Version] (2009)

The world premiere and only complete recording of all sections of this 1969-71 seminal work, with extensive booklet including an articles by composer, Chris Brown, and philosopher, Sande Cohen; tracks include Section I (essential tension to universe) Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick cellos; Section II (symmetrical harmonies in chaotic orbits) David Rosenboom electronics, computer; Section III (world) Vinny Golia contrabass saxophones; Section IV (life) Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick cellos, Vinny Golia winds, David Rosenboom field recordings; Section V (humanity) Swapan Chaudhuri tabla, Vinny Golia winds, Aashish Khan sarode, Daniel Rosenboom trumpet, David Rosenboom piano, computer; I Nyoman Wenten pemade; Section VI (culture) PLOTZ! and DR. MiNT double rock bands; Section VII (impression) David Rosenboom piano in expanded pelog tuning, I Nyoman Wenten pemade, William Winant jegog, calung; Section VIII (unification) Daniel Rosenboom trumpets, David Rosenboom piano, drawbar organ, computer; Section IX (links) David Rosenboom piano, computer, I Nyoman Wenten Balinese drum, William Winant marimba; on historical recordings in Sections II & V, Donald Buchla, Thomas McFaul, Lynn Newton, Gerald Shapiro, Michael Slevin; New World Records, #80689-2, New York, 2009, [2-CD set]


From "Revisiting Plymouth Rock" by Chris Brown
"Like the country whose colonization its title mocks, David Rosenboom’s How Much Better if Plymouth Rock Had Landed on the Pilgrims evolved over many years into a richly complex musical organism. Created by a young pilgrim exploring the new musical land of drones, tape delay, and live electronics in the1960s, Rosenboom’s approach to the territory began with the intention of correcting the errors of musical Puritanism, by casting down a new type of “rock”—a composition that is at once strict but also very free, harmonic but also subharmonic, based on order but inclusive of chaos, and embracing a wealth of musical styles and influences. Unwinding the potential of the structure he defined at its outset, his rock reveals itself to be more a seed than a boulder, and the piece’s real subject becomes the observation of the varied trajectories of its own evolution." —— From "'The ’60s' as an Intellectual Monster" by Sande Cohen ——
"Historical representation has limited ways to put perspectives on something as singular and malleable as “the ’60s.” Everything, so to speak, “counts” here. As the American historiographer Hayden White pointed out, some “pasts” offer to their future experiences that are matrix and force, cause and condition, almost sui generis, difficult to synthesize—even impossible to narrate into fixed conventions of beginnings and endings, without making serious distortions. At the same time, consciousness of historical reality can be insightful when it is made from conflict and reflection—the defeated Thucydides offered a powerful narrative interpretation of failure. Being “wrong” in judgment can have felicitous outcomes, just as being dominant can have nothing to do with truth and knowledge. Hence, a past that is not past and a present that must radically scour itself for prejudice: is this already continuity of, and with, “the ’60s,” insofar as the latter is where event and language parted company again, as they had many times before, defining the future-present as a place of challenge to representation and to the past?"

Above: David Rosenboom performing ...Plymouth Rock... at the Electric Circus, New York, in 1969. Below: 2008 Plymouth Rock Ensemble at REDCAT in Los Angeles, left to right, David Rosenboom, Aashish Khan, Swapan Chaudhuri, I Nyoman Wenten, Daniel Rosenboom and Vinny Golia. Click on photos to see full frame.