October 23, 2012

The New Sound Of Music – A View Of Electronic Music From 1979

Ever wonder how electronic music got its start?  You’ll be surprised to find that its roots originated, nearly the same time the first “rap” songs were ever pressed onto vinyl, 1979.  An old BBC documentary show known as “The New Sound of Music” aired in 1979 introduced the development of new instruments such as barrel organs, pianolas, the phonograph – and recording devices such as the magnetic tape recorder.  These instruments were considered state of the art, and without any type of digital crutch, were manipulated into producing new sounds.


Some of the later videos in the series focus on the development of peripheral equipment and other synthesizers, such as the EMS Synthesizer.  Michael Rodd demonstrates the uses of the EMS VCS3 synthesizer along with the AKS and the EMS Vocoder.  Effect Units like the KP3 derive their function from old techniques such as tape splicing, which was originally used to create the well known “delay” effect.  Other compositions are created on the show using naturally occurring sounds, such as bubbles, which are then recorded and manipulated to create sound effects for popular TV shows and academic films.

Finally, David Vorhaus unveils his invention: the MANIAC or Multiphasic Analog Inter-Active Chromataphonic) which is in a sense, the first real polysynth out there.