An Alternative History of Canadian Electronic Music

Program curated and compiled by Keith Fullerton Whitman (US).

Commissioned by send + receive: a festival of sound v20 – Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – for exhibition at Poolside Gallery October 2018.

Radio broadcasts presented by CKUW 95.9 FM on air throughout October 2018.

Radio series produced by Daniel Emberg.

Narration by Keith Fullerton Whitman, hannah godfrey, Sarah Jo Kirsch, and Colin Smith.

Special thanks to Kelsey Braun and Video Pool Media Arts Center, and to Victoria King, Rob Schmidt and Sam Doucet at CKUW for all of the support. send + receive is grateful for the support of all of our partners and funders, particularly the Canada Council for the Arts, Winnipeg Arts Council and Canadian Heritage.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Tracklisting for An Alternate History of Canadian Electronic Music, 1956-1981.


  • Norman MacLaren, “Rhythmetic” (1956, 7m49s)
  • Norma Beecroft, “Two Went to Sleep” (1967, 2m54s)
  • Wayne Carr, “Timbral Changes” (1968, 4m51s)
  • Jim Brown & Wayne Carr, “There Was So Much” (1968, 5m35s)
  • Robert Bauer, “Extensions II (Guitar)” (1975, 8m23s)
  • Robert Daigneault, “Guitar Collage” (1975, 7m24s)
  • Marcelle Deschênes, “L’Amer – Tube” (1972-73, 11m24s)
  • Marcelle Deschênes, “Extraits de MOLL, Opéra Lilliput pour Six Roches Molles” (1976, 8m03s)


  • Philippe Ménard, “Femme-en-Songe” (1981, 3m49s)
  • Alain Clavier, “Metadata” (1971, 8m36s)
  • Alain Clavier, “Ceci est un message enregistré” (1973, 10m16s)
  • Gilles Tremblay, “Dimensions Soleils” (1970, 4m17s)
  • Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux, “Zones” (1972, 9m12s)
  • Ted Dawson, “Concerto Grosso I (for Tape)” (1973, 13m30s)
  • Ann Southam and sean o’huigin, “Sky Sails (Part Two)” (1973, 15m12s)


  • Lloyd Burritt, “The Hollow Men” (1968, 2m00s)
  • Roy Cooper, “Prelude to 1984” (1970, 7m00s)
  • Michel Longtin, “La Mort du Pierrot” (1972, 5m32s)
  • Bengt Hambraeus, “Tides” (1974, 14m48s)
  • Rudolf Komorous, “Part of a Canon from Anatomy of Melancholy” (1974, 5m06s)
  • Victor Grauer, “Inferno” (1967, 6m28s)
  • Robin MacKenzie, “A Sound Work to Accompany” (1972, 23m51s)

Notes by Daniel Emberg

The fantastic Send + Receive: a festival of sound approached CKUW Radio 95.9fm about doing a radio presentation of an exciting collection they commissioned for their 20th year: obscure and overlooked early Canadian electronic music, compiled by Keith Fullerton Whitman—who obsessively hunted down original physical copies of all this stuff. Keith is one of the few people on the planet with the patience and resourcefulness to do it that way, most people would likely settle for more readily available works, or maybe whatever digital copies they could find.

Content includes artists testing the limits of Buchla and Moog synthesizers, scores from NFB works, tape experiments of several flavours, deconstructed recitations of Leonard Cohen poetry, and people stretching guitars and organs beyond recognition. That doesn’t even cover everything…

It was a treat being involved with this project, props to crys cole for conceiving it and Keith for doing the heavy lifting. CKUW staff were excellent about making this a priority too, airing each edition multiple times while it was still fresh.

The narrators also need to be acknowledged, some of whom have CKUW programs that deserve your attention:

  • hannah_g, of the bountiful MonkeySparrow (Tues, 2230-2300)
  • Sarah Jo, of the always informative Cacophone (Sun, 1400-1600)
  • Colin Smith, from whom we sinners aren’t worthy of a regular show. If you’re feeling lucky, try to find him at the station sometime.

The reality of broadcast schedules did not allow for all the pieces of music to be aired in full. The link below includes uninterrupted versions of ‘em all, along with yet more informative commentary from the generous and gracious Keith Fullerton Whitman.