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Back in 1979 I bought my first synth: a monophonic Korg MS-20 which I still own. The cause of it were a British post-punk band from Sheffield: Cabaret Voltaire, which I saw at the Effenaar venue in Eindhoven in the same year.

They are included in the BBC-4 documentary Synth Britannia, which focuses on the rise of synth pop in the post-punk era. Although the focus is on “”pop” bands like The Human League, OMD, Depeche Mode and individuals like Gary Numan, the influence of more “industrial” outfits like Cabaret Voltaire,  Throbbing Gristle and The Normal is also mentioned.

The BBC 4 documentary links the rise of synth pop to the bleak landscape, economics and politics of ’70 s Britain. So a very interesting video to check out if you are into electronic music (history).

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Reblogged from Binary Heap:

Binary Heap

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“Our ambition, with this Guide to Sound Objects, has always been to give researchers, musicians, music-lovers and all who are directly or indirectly interested in the sound-universe an unbiased, clear and dependable tool (if this can be done) for a better knowledge and understanding of Pierre Schaeffer’s considerable contribution to this field, by means of an inventory of the ideas and concepts developed in his most important work, the Traité des Objets Musicaux.”

Download PDF : Guide To Sound Objects

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From the album  Commercial Mouth of Jar Moff released by Pan records in 2013:

This is the Pan promo text belonging to the record:

Commercial Mouth’ is the debut LP from Jar Moff, an Athens based artist working in collage forms. This is his first full-length LP. Both his visual and aural oeuvre take the form of cut up and reformations in the manner of previous PAN stablemates like Joseph Hammer and Ghedalia Tazartes, remodeling the past in order to create something new out of the modern detritus, and nestles in nicely alongside the recent ‘Diversions 1994-1996’ release from Lee Gamble. The result is a baffling yet functioning head-on collision between early plunderphonics and an abstracted futuristic hip hop aesthetic.

BTW: play the video full screen and turn the volume loud!

 

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Found through the Feminatronic blog: some articles, videos etc. on  Louis and Bebe Barron, two American electronic music composers  who made the score for the classic sci-fi movie Forbidden Planet in the 1950’s:

The Barrons didn’t get the credits as music composers of the score of this classic movie, however. This article on the NPR Music website from 2005 explains why and how they became “forgotten pioneers” of electronic music. But all was not lost: Louis and Bebe Barron continued to compose electronic music up until the turn of the century and thus were not completely forgotten. They now even have their own Wikipedia article, which saves their work for future generations…

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I first became interested in synthesizers and electronic music in the late ’70’s through the music of Pere Ubu (US) and Cabaret Voltaire (UK).  Somewhere around 79- ’80 I decided I wanted to have my own synthesizer, inspired by albums like “Dub Housing” (Pere Ubu) and “Mix Up” (Cabaret Voltaire). Especially the weird sounds created by Allen Ravenstine on Pere Ubu records motivated me to start playing synthesizer (besides guitar) . These sounds were made by a modular EML synthesizer. I couldn’t afford an EML however, so I went for the Japanese budget alternative: a semi modular Korg MS-20, which I still own and play today.

Allen Ravenstine was part of Pere Ubu until the end of the ’80s. The modular EML synthesizer remained a basic ingredient of the Pere Ubu sound up until today, played by Robert Wheeler and others. I recently stumbled upon this video of a EML synthesizer jam session by Allen Ravenstine and Robert Wheeler, apparently the first time these Pere Ubu players ever played together. The video contains some interesting  interview fragments in which Allen Ravenstine explains how the EML synthesizer became part of the unique Pere Ubu sound:

Allen Ravenstine and Robert Wheeler EML synth session.

The video fragment seems to be part of an upcoming  film about modular synthesizers and their players. This is the text accompanying the video:

In late February, 2012, former Pere Ubu synthesist Allen Ravenstine and current Pere Ubu synthesist Robert Wheeler, two legendary figures of Cleveland’s punk rock scene met at Grant Avenue Studio to discuss and demonstrate the EML modular synthesizers that have been an integral part of the Pere Ubu sound for almost 40 years. The interviews are part of the upcoming film: “I Dream of Wires: The Modular Synthesizer Documentary”.  I DREAM OF WIRES interview segments are sponsored by MATRIXSYNTH (matrixsynth.com/).

Today I stumbled upon http://www.holgerhiller.com, the site of (you guessed it..) Holger Hiller.
I have followed Holger Hiller’s work from his days with the ground breaking “‘Neue Welle” band Palais Schaumburg in the early ’80s:

His debut solo album “Ein Bündel Fäulnis in der Grube” and especially his second album “Oben im Eck” belong to my favorite albums of all time.
They too were ground breaking, this time in the creative use of sampling to create whirling idiosyncratic songs and compositions.

In these Biography of A Song video’s some of the magic behind the  “Oben im Eck” album is explained by Holger Hiller :

 

 

 

However, after the self entitled “”Holger Hiller” album in 2000, nothing was heard anymore of Holger Hiller. According to the bio on his site, he was “going through (a) financial and personal crisis” from 2001 to 2009 and had a long creative break.

Now he seems to be composing again, this time in a collaboration with well known German painter Albert Oehlen, another survivor from the ’80s.
See the page “Joint works with Albert Oehlen” in the News section of his site. The works consist of nine single-edition prints by Albert Oehlen, each juxtaposed and framed with a vinyl record of material specially composed by Hiller. This material is instantly recognizable as Holger Hiller “samplism” if you play the excerpts on the page. A complete recording of the 9 compositions doesn’t seem to be available online or offline. Maybe Hiller’s old record company Mute can release this new stuff, please?

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