Life is a thorny coil. Rumination on PSH.
David First Electronic Works 1976-1977 ( Buchla insanity!)
from Dais Records
“When people associate composer David First with his musical resume, anyone goes straight to his late 70′s avant punk band, The Notekillers and their influential 1980 single The Zipper. Prior to his time in the basements of Philadelphia, he had already played in Cecil Taylor’s ensemble and after the Notekillers broke up he moved to New York City in the early 80′s, taking root in the downtown NYC avant garde scene. It was there that First honed his craft for experimental composition and ambient drone which still continues to the present day.
Though this narrative made sense, there was a piece missing in the puzzle of First’s musical background. In 1976, two years after playing with Taylor and the year before starting the Notekillers, he enrolled in a class in electronic music at Princeton in the department headed at the time by legendary electronic composer Milton Babbitt.
During his time at Princeton, First was introduced to the classical electronic music studio there, a lonely outpost of the famed Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center which housed one of the very first Buchla 100 series systems acquired by Vladimir Ussachevsky & Otto Luening.
Unfortunately, due to the introduction of digital technology within the music world, this system was left to languish in the studio unattended and nearly forgotten. First fell in love with this equipment and seized the opportunity to compose using the Buchla 100 synthesizer, at first experimenting only with electronic synthesis but later adding in his signature guitar stylings to make these compositions unique to the academic output typical of university music.
Thankfully, these compositions were recorded by First at Princeton on various reel to reel tapes and stored away for over 35 years. It wasn’t until the summer of 2012, when David First and Ryan Martin (of Dais Records) decided to revisit and transfer these reels to compile an album presented here as a selection of genuine, uninhibited exploration into modular electronic synthesis. Limited to an edition of 500 copies with liner notes by David First.”
Marc Masters Pitchfork review here.
Mute records Daniel Miller discusses modular synthesizers.
No disrespect but “One of the most important people in electronic music” isn’t that great at modular synthesizers. I still enjoyed the video though, you should too.
Jim O’Rourke, Otomo Yoshihide, Sachiko M and Tatsuya Yoshida. Performing at The Lounge Axe, Chicago, Ill in 1998.
This was a huge show for me. Visiting Chicago in the late 90’s watching bands that you’d never get the chance to see perform in Saint Louis was a real treat. This also marked the first time I ever saw a modular synthesizer played live. It took me about a year to find out what system (Doepfer A-100) Jim O’Rourke was using and about another two years to save up and buy one. This gig really changed my life and I was so pleased to find the negatives. Thank you Chad for scanning them for me.
“A musical documentary and tribute to Hugh Le Caine.
The story of early electronic instruments, and the nearly forgotten Canadian music pioneer who created the first synthesizers. As told through interviews with three modern-day modular synth musicians.
Shot and edited by me. Produced by Ryan Gibson. Funded entirely out of our pockets, so consider the Tip Jar button!
Listen to the CBC radio version produced by Ryan Gibson:
Arturo Brisindi (AKA Hard Science)
Mike McGrath (AKA Muff Wiggler)
Thanks to the CBC, Soshal, The Library and Archives Canada, The Science and Technology Museum, Artengine, CHUO, Weird Canada.
“Conrad Schnitzler’s official video #6, approved by CON to put into the internet! The title means “Wednesday’s activity III”. Music part is taken from LP “Gelb”, “Grün”. You can also listen to some unreleased works in this video.”
Experimental ½ Hour - Episode XXXVIII: Live with Brown Recluse Alpha & Three Legged Race and Matt Carlson & Ilan Manouach
Teaser video for Charles Cohen’s new release on Morphine Records.