February 23, 2013

Sesame Street and Electronic Music

I've been thinking (and dreaming) a lot lately about Sesame Street. I was obsessed with Sesame Street as a kid and then maybe outgrew it --but only for a very brief time. By the age of ten (when I decided to officially begin my career in puppetry) I was full blown back into it. 

 I just finished reading Caroll Spinney's The Wisdom of Big Bird (and the Dark Genius of Oscar the Grouch) and I'm currently reading Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street. The other day I came across a passage in Street Gang that caught my attention:

Here are a few examples of what they're talking about:

Now, I don't know if we're meant to take that passage literally --that Jim Henson owned his own personal Moog synthesizer. But it is not outside the realm of possibility. Enter Herb Deutsch (stage right)...

Herb served as Director of Marketing and Sales at Moog Music from 1979-83, and also as a marketing and development consultant to the Roland Corporation.

But Deutsch wasn't simply a Marketing Director for Moog, he helped invent the synthesizer as we know it today. He has been credited with the idea of using a keyboard interface with a synthesizer and he composed the first piece of music ever for the Moog synthesizer (Jazz Images - A Worksong and Blues).

So how does this all tie together? What is the proverbial glue used in the book-binding of this most intriguing of all historical, electronic music mysteries? 

Well, it is a little know fact that Herb Deutsch was also a marketing and development consultant to...  Jim Henson's Muppets.

[Grover with the ARP 2600]

So you see, it's all true. There was an electronic music conspiracy behind Sesame Street to brain wash the youth of the 1970's and 80's. I'll leave you with this one final piece of concrete, water tight evidence:

Case closed.

February 22, 2013

Kyoto University Microcomputer Club

Normally I don't repost things from the Matrix Synth blog. They have their own thing going on and I have mine and the two have very little to do with one another. But there is something they posted a few years ago that intrigued me:

Now, I think these photos are pretty interesting on their own, but what is also interesting is that the very same day they were posted with no explanation, an anonymous source provided an explanation in the comments section. It's pretty cryptic, but I think you can extract the essence of what's going on. And I encourage you to read it all because the end is the best part. Here it is:

KMC(Kyoto University microcomputer club) としての activity 
•A November, 1979 festival(1,979.11) 

The third year when this age founds Kyoto University microcomputer club. I did the synthesizer concert that I did from the last year in this year. I borrowed a synthesizer for studios of Roland System 700 on a stage of Kyoto University Yoshida ground and installed it and I made sounds on a stage and played it automatically. However, a girl called it for the time being (and I increase) and played live broadcasting because a handle player did not become live broadcasting if there was not it. As for the program, as for the classical music, the soundtrack, the popular music, I am various. A photograph of this year is left only to these two leaves. In addition, I received photo courtesy from Mr. Nakamura Mitsuru. (LINKS TO PICTURES)
•A November, 1980 festival(1,980.11) [A souvenir picture] 

It is a November festival at the age of a sophomore. I of this year made efforts in a synthesizer concert still more. I added a copy of YMO to a program, but this was popular. Because a lot of photographs stay, I introduce even this partly. (LINKS TO PICTURES HERE)
It was fine, and temperature of System -700 rose by direct rays of the sun, and tuning was out of order to understand it if I looked. After all machinery for studios is not good unless I use it in a studio. Because in this way I did it in the room, the rehearsal did not notice such a thing.

Theme from After the Fall

February 11, 2013

Patch Program Data

I've always thought it was so strange and amazing that you're able to record digital data onto a normal cassette tape. I never do, but it's nice to know I could if I wanted to.

February 8, 2013

Sorry For The "Delay"

I've never been shy about my love for reverb and delay, or for that matter about my disdain for completely dry synthesizer sounds. I feel as though my sentiments are validated by the following excerpt from A Foundation For Electronic Music, from Roland's wonderful book series: The Synthesizer (1979):

You see, no sound was ever meant to be heard in a vacuum! For a synthesizer to be truly alive it must be given it's own space. Yes, a simulated space. A synthesized space if you will. 

Over the years I've collected many delays and reverbs (mostly spring reverbs) and now my studio has been graced with the presence of two new delay units. The Roland RE-501 (which is my first tape delay) and the Deltalab DL-2 Acoustic Computer. I believe the DL-2 may be somewhat rare --there's scarcely any information about it online (if anyone out there has a scan of the manual I'd be much obliged!). I think it's something quite special. It even has a built in voltage controlled oscillator with it's own CV input! I'm still getting aquatinted with it so I can't say much just yet but I will tell you that I'm having a very nice time with it and here are some pictures of it (from left to right):