The musicians behind Syrinx were composer and keyboardist John Mills-Cockell, saxophonist Doug Pringle, and percussionist Alan Wells. All three were young veterans of the Toronto creative scene by the beginning of 1970. LSD played a supporting role in their artistic pursuits, but equal guidance also came from Mills-Cockell’s studies at the University of Toronto and Royal Conservatory of Music, where he established an ad-hoc, DIY electronic music course in the school’s basement.
Syrinx’s self-titled debut arrived in 1970, followed in 1971 by Long Lost Relatives, which is highlighted as the first album on Tumblers From The Vault. Between the two albums, Syrinx became a vital part of the Toronto music scene, with Pringle’s loft serving as the central node for impromptu performances and the group’s collaborative activities. Syrinx also started receiving high profile work, first for television, film, and dance, and then for orchestra. One commission culminated commercially in “Tillicum”, the unforgettable theme music for pioneering reality television show Here Come the Seventies. As a standalone single, “Tillicum” would climb to #38 on Canada’s RPM charts. The most eventful assignment came from the Toronto Repertory Ensemble’s conductor and composer Milton Barnes, whose solicitation inspired the powerful orchestral suite Stringspace.
The studio version of Stringspace for Long Lost Relatives is a near faithful version to the live performance, the Toronto Repertory Ensemble offering the same sweeping, deeply engrossing symphonic support. The remastered and collected issuing from RVNG Intl., Tumblers From The Vault, includes the original live version, the first studio albums and other rare and alternate Syrinx gems.
Syrinx’s Tumblers From The Vault will be released on October 14, 2016 as triple LP set, double CD, and digital formats. An accompanying documentary about Syrinx by artist and filmmaker Zoe Kirk-Gushowaty will screen selectively.