Medium uw09
The Expanding Universe
UW09 | September 2012
All items include instant download

Release Info

The Expanding Universe is the classic 1980 debut album by composer and computer music pioneer Laurie Spiegel. The album is reissued here for the first time in a massively expanded two-CD set, containing all four original album tracks plus an additional 15 tracks from the same period, nearly all previously unreleased. Some of the already well-know works included in this set are "Patchwork", the complete "Appalachian Grove" series, and "Kepler's Harmony of the Worlds", which was included on the golden record launched on board the Voyager spacecraft. The pieces comprising The Expanding Universe combine slowly evolving textures with the emotional richness of intricate counterpoint, harmony, and complex rhythms (John Fahey and J. S. Bach are both cited as major influences in the original cover's notes), all built of electronic sounds. These works, often grouped with those of Terry Riley, Phil Glass, Steve Reich, differ in their much shorter, clear forms. Composed and realized between 1974 and 1977 on the GROOVE system developed by Max Mathews and F.R. Moore at Bell Laboratories, the pieces on this album were far ahead of their time both in musical content and in how they were made. Each of the included works broke new ground, pioneering completely new methods of live interaction with computer-based logic - ways of creating music that are now reaching the heights of their popularity with Ableton Live, Max/MSP and other interactive music software entering mainstream music production.

Product Info


2 CD set
24 page booklet with comprehensive liner notes by Laurie Spiegel and period photos


First edition LP limited to 500 copies on transparent vinyl (sold out)
Second edition LP on black vinyl (currently available)
Tip-on LP sleeve
The LP reissue mirrors the original tracklisting (Side A: Patchwork, Old Wave, Pentachrome / Side B: The Expanding Universe), but adds "A Folk Study" to the end of Side A to further even out the sides
Download code of the entire 2CD collection is included with each LP


Your choice of the following formats:
MP3  - 320kbps
FLAC - 16/44.1
ALAC - 16/44.1
Digital booklet


"This is an excerpt of my late-1970s piece "Voyages", generated at Bell Labs using the "VAMPIRE" video-and-music co-generation system I had been working on as a varient of the GROOVE system that would output both visual and audible music. This particular clip lacks the audio track, so consider it to be one of the series of 'Living Paintings' I had started doing using the same software." - Laurie Spiegel