Search This Blog

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Hunger Games - Link's to Modern Music's Past

There aren't a lot of female electronic music composers from the 1970's (Walter/Wendy Carlos of "Switched on Bach" fame comes to mind, but that was originally recorded in the 1960's).  One I had not heard of previous was Laurie Spiegel who composed the track "Sediment" in the 1970's.

"Sediment" is part of the sound scape in the popular movie Hunger Games.

The sounds of "Sediment" were produced with an ElectroComp 200 and reel-to-reel tape decks. 

During the early 1970's I amassed a collection of synthesizer brochures from the likes of Moog, ElectroComp, and many others.  You could write letters to companies you found the addresses of in magazine articles requesting this.  Sadly the cost of actually purchasing this equipment was beyond my means, much less the reel-to-reel tape recorders required to do serious work.

Ms. Spiegel worked in a five-room tenement with a single 15A fuse.  The energy required by the refrigerator detuned the oscillators so she had to unplug it while working on her music.

"Sediment" can be heard in the YouTube clip below:

Here is an interview with Laurie from 1984.

Speaking of the 1960's we have Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame attempting to resurrect rocket boosters and F-1 rocket motors from the Apollo moon launches (see his Bezos Expiditions website).

Like me Bezos was apparently inspired by the 1960's efforts of man to do more with himself than sit around watching reruns of Gilligan's Island.  In the 1960's there was, at least in my mind, an effort by human's in general to look beyond themselves, i.e., reaching the moon.

I remember in the early 1970's looking at the writings of Bob Moog (of synthesizer fame) in the Electrical Engineering Library at the University of Wisconsin Madison (I was probably about 14 or 15 at the time).  In those days his synthesizers were a novelty and he published their schematics in various EE journals of the day (such as ElectroNotes which began publishing in 1972).

I still remember finding the old, green leather bound journal archives and his articles.

His electronic music circuits are remarkably simple - so simple that you could Xerox the pages out of the journal, take them home, and breadboard them on your own - which I attempted to do.

I did not live in Madison at the time but I was fortunate enough to be there for other reasons over the summer.  During my spare time I sought out the library on my own and spent many happy hours digging through its electronic music archives.

Today it seems we only look inward and we tend de-inspire ourselves to focus on "group thinking."

For me this is a tragic shift away from a time when everyone was inspired to literally be all they could be.  I suppose this was still the pre-Orwellian 1984 state of the world.

The interview's with Laurie Spiegel above are almost thirty years old (and date from around 1984) but clearly they show the way to today's iPad/iPhone and computer-based software synthesis and audio recording.

They show how pioneering her efforts were in electronic music and music in general.

Finally a performance by Laurie Spiegel.


No comments:

Post a Comment