I remember specifically, when I created the intro to “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” I’d done it with a technique that I’d long been hoping to try out, which was basically just to sort of build yourself a Mellotron by recording a sustained note on each track of the multi-track and manipulating them in a wave to create combinations of harmonies. I’d been longing to do that for years, and I actually got to do that one night at Electric Lady and put it on the intro of “Waiting for a Girl Like You.” The band came in in the morning and I played it for them, and there was sort of a silence and then the bass player said, “It’s a bit like massage music, isn’t it?”
Wendy Carlos is one of the most important composers living today. While primarily connected to the fields of electronic music, sound design, and alternate tunings, her compositions transcend these genres. It is certain that her music will be included among the major milestones of 20th century music.
Isao Tomita, early pioneer of electronic music, has died. In the 1970s, he made several albums of classical pieces played on Moog synthesizers, including Debussy's "Clair de Lune", and "Arabesque no. 1" (which for many years was used as the theme music for the PBS "Stargazer" program). He also recorded a full version of Holst's "The Planets." [more inside]
Women reacting to (and producing) harsh noise and sexy men of the synthesizer, two single-serving tumblrs from a WHPK dj (previously)
A Beginner's Guide to the Synth is a nice long write-up to the history of the synthesizers, from their origins up to the present, with embedded sound samples. For a deeper dive into the history of the hardware, learn the secrets of the synths from Sound on Sound.
Createdigitalmusic collects together 11+ documentaries on the history of electronic music. Ranging from 2 on Delia Derbyshire of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (1 previously), to EMS (previously), to detroit, acid house, rave (previously), tresor, and more. Plus one news report an the early days of Chicago house that's a documentary in and of itself.
If David Lynch had made Twin Peaks back in 1984 instead of Dune, this might have been what the soundtrack would have sounded like.
Over the past several months, Dave Noyze (né Dave Burraston) has been interviewing Aphex Twin. He's finally put the exchanges together as a "SYROBONKERS" interview. Part 1 was published on November 3, and Part 2 was published today. Both interviews were accompanied by a number of previously unreleased pieces of music, including a 21-track playlist of unheard songs made using Buchla and Serge modular synthesizers.
808 State is an English electronic group that formed in 1987, and take their name from the Roland TR-808 drum machine and their shared state of mind. As a trio, they produced their iconic track, Pacific, which fused influences of house music, jazz fusion and exotica. The group changed membership a bit over the years, but one way or another 808 State have released six albums* to date, and a number of singles, EPs, and promotional discs. 808state.com has a ton of information, including an extensive visual discography, a list of other productions and remixes, and over a gig of demos, live tracks, and other non-album audio to download. Given the group's 27 year-long history, there's a lot more to see and hear. [more inside]
DIY Audio, DIY Electronics, DIY Guitar, DIY Synthesizers, DIY Recording. Fundamentals of audio. Optimize your Mac for audio. Build a music server. How vacuum tubes work. Tour a brass instrument factory. How to maintain your clarinet, trumpet, flute, saxophone, guitar. All this and much, much more at THE ELECTRIC WEB MATRIX.
It's like a synthesizer control interface made out of molded jello. "Noisy jelly is a game where the player has to cook and shape his own musical material, based on coloured jelly."
EMS electronic music pioneer Dr. Peter Zinovieff discusses the story of computers and early electronic music. Transcript here. [more inside]
Do you like musical instruments with lots of keyboards? And lots and lots of dials? Then you may like 36 15 MOOG: Stuff with Moog and/or 60's and 70's vintage synths in it. (related Ask MeFi) [more inside]
Not all groups with synthesizers in the 1970s and 1980s were lame Top 40 acts with keytars. Some groups of the era used synths for spastic keyboard bleeps, herky-jerky tempos, and angst-ridden aggression in a style now classified by record collector geeks as synthpunk, minimal synth, or minimal wave. Several famous New Wave acts dabbled in the style before providing soundtracks for Molly Ringwald movies (OMD, Electricty) or singing about waitresses in cocktail bars (the Human League, Being Boiled), but vintage videos from synth punk acts all over the world can be found all over YouTube. [more inside]
John "Paia" Simonton died late last week. His company, PAiA is one of the grandfathers of the DIY synth scene. I have one of his modular synths half-constructed in my garage. He helped create an American buzz for electronic music and DIY music gear in the 70s, and was highly influential till his passing away.
Nanoloop - a synthesizer / sequencer for the Game Boy, which lets you compose and sequence sound loops (samples), entirely on your Game Boy. There's also a soon-to-be-released compilation of songs written entirely with Nanoloop, featuring Merzbow, Hrvatski, Pita and more.