This story is over 5 years old.

Subotnick Shows His Synth

We paid a visit to Subotnick at his Lower East Side studio to chat about the past and future of electronic music.
May 30, 2012, 4:00am

What kind of music would robots make? Blips and bloops, most likely, with a whole lot of abstract tones and soundwave manipulation. You know, droning stuff that sounds like auditory binary. I mean, come on. How musical could a robot be?

Such were the early days of electronic music, whose early proponents put much more emphasis on the “electronic” than the “music.” That’s not to denigrate the incredible complexity of wave generators or tiny bits of tape spliced together on splicing blocks. It’s just to point out that what we see as electronic music today was once well and truly the sound of electronics themselves.

So who’s responsible for turning the electro tide towards real music? Why, Morton Subotnick of course.

As is often the case in music, it was a bicoastal thing: Subotnick, Ramon Sender, and Don Buchla spent the 60s in San Francisco developing what may be the world’s first analog synthesizer, the ‘electronic music easel’ BUCHLA 100, while Robert Moog was putting together his incredible keyboard on the East Coast.

Read the rest over at Motherboard