Kraftwerk: Publikation – Biography by David Buckley

August 31, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Omnibus Press presents a new and major biography of the first-ever all-electronic pop group, Kraftwerk, one of the most influential bands in popular music history. David Buckley examines the cult enigma that is Kraftwerk! The inner workings of this most secretive of bands are revealed through interviews with friends and close associates. The story of their incredible impact on modern music is traced up to the present day using interviews with a host of musicians, from original electro pioneers such as Gary Numan and the Human League to contemporary acts still in awe of the original Man Machines.

3.5 ‘Tomorrow Belongs To Those Who Can Hear It Coming’

It wasn’t just young would-be musicians who were listening either. The old guard were listening too. In 1975, modern music’s most important icon, David Bowie, was listening hard to Kraftwerk. Receiving an endorsement from Bowie, at the time the most innovative and critically lauded rock star on the planet, was a big deal. It’s hard now to imagine how influential David Bowie was in the seventies and early eighties. Far and away the most sought after interviewee by the UK music press, his every move was scrutinised, his every word picked over by an adoring audience.

Not that 1975 was personally a good year for Bowie. Commercially, he had never been more popular. ‘Fame’, an unlikely collaboration with John Lennon, became his first US number one, and a re-released ‘Space Oddity’ from 1969 would top the UK charts later that autumn. But physically and emotionally, Bowie was a man of shellac, ready to shatter into pieces, addicted to cocaine and obsessed with the occult. However, amongst the nonsequiturs and ridiculous assertions in his interviews, Bowie was, once again, picking up on a massive shift within modern music. He felt that rock, as a statement, was over. His music of the time, dubbed by its creator ‘plastic soul’, was his first attempt to break free from rock cliché. His second attempt, more fully realised, and much more artistically successful, would be just around the corner. ‘Rock ’n’ roll certainly hasn’t fulfilled its original promise,’ he told Anthony O’Grady in August of that year. ‘The original aim of rock ’n’ roll when it first came out was to establish an alternative media speak voice for people who had neither the power nor advantage to infiltrate any other media or carry any weight, and cornily enough, people really needed rock ’n’ roll. And what we said was that we were only using rock ’n’ roll to express our vehement arguments against the conditions we find ourselves in, and we promise that we will do something to change the world from how it was. We will use rock ’n’ roll as a springboard.’ Bowie continues: ‘But it’s just become one more whirling deity, right? Going round that never-decreasing circle. And rock ’n’ roll is dead … It’s a toothless old woman. It’s really embarrassing.’

More info here >>

3-minute Preview: Official DEVO Documentary

August 22, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

This 3-minute preview is the perfect bite-sized length to de-evolve the uninitiated. Produced in cooperation with DEVO, this authorized feature-length documentary has been in development for 3 years. Although the band has been notoriously secretive for nearly 4 decades, they granted us unprecedented full-access to their personal inner-workings and daily lives while on the road, backstage, and at home. Featuring new interviews with contemporaries (Iggy Pop), and fans (Dave Grohl, Tony Hawk), the official film reveals the truth about this important and misunderstood band. From their mysterious origins during the 1970 Kent State shootings to their latest album and tours, this film tells the funny and fascinating story of de-evolution.

Contribute to the world’s first DEVO documentary

July 4, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Produced in cooperation with DEVO, this feature-length documentary has been in development for 3 years. Although the band has been notoriously secretive for nearly 4 decades, they have granted us unprecedented full-access to their personal inner-workings and daily lives while on the road, backstage, and at home. The film is now in post-production, and we need your help to meet our September 2012 goal for Sundance and other festivals.

The ARE WE NOT MEN? film delves into the brains — and the souls — behind the concept, music, and spectacle of Devo. Sculpting its music, lyrics and visuals are two men whose personalities seem different but whose worldviews are the same: introspective Mark Mothersbaugh and outspoken Gerald Casale. It is Mark and Jerry’s cataclysmic, sometimes contentious, collaboration that birthed what we know as Devo. Rounding out the group are two more members whose position cements the group as a literal band of brothers — Bob Mothersbaugh and Bob Casale. Yes, behind the curtain of this art-school façade are two fascinating and sometimes fractious families, led by Akron, Ohio’s twisted version of Lennon & McCartney — with all the genius and precariousness that would imply. It is the stories of these men — together and apart — that drive the engine that is ARE WE NOT MEN?

This is your chance to be a part of the definitive Devo documentary:

 • WHY KICKSTARTER? We’re in the process of making the film, but need your help to complete it. That’s why we’re reaching out to all DEVO fans to lend a hand. In return for your support, we’ve created some really cool rewards that we think reflects your help in breathing life into this film.

 • STATUS - 95% shot and currently editing. Estimated release date Spring 2013. Help us get this film edited, mixed, and to the festivals!

More info here about the film and how you can contribute >>

Wired magazine goes all wired

June 17, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Here’s Wired’s own words about the I Dream of Wires documentary:

I Dream of Wires, an upcoming documentary about modular synthesizers, celebrates analog hardware in all its wild, messy glory. More than 100 prominent musicians, including Trent Reznor, cEvin Key, Gary Numan, Carl Craig and Morton Subotnick are in the process of being interviewed for the ambitious feature-length film, which is set to be finished in the fall.

Colorful masses of patch cables, rows of knobs and faders, and electronic sounds abound in the exclusive clip above, shot this month at the legendary MUTEK Festival in Montreal. In addition to interviews with several musicians, including Keith Fullerton Whitman, Container and Clark, the 15-minute clip shows intriguing glimpses of the synths in action, in a massive multimedia dome housing 157 speakers called the Satosphere.

The “dedicated and obsessive subculture” of modular synth fanatics across the world formed the inspiration for I Dream of Wires, said director Robert Fantinatto in an email exchange with Wired. “Years ago, I made a small documentary film about the urban-exploration subculture called Echoes of Forgotten Places…. I felt that this whole world of modular synths could make an interesting little film.”

The project soon grew massively in size and ambition. Fantinatto joined forces with Jason Amm, better known as the electronic musician Solvent. With Amm as producer of the film, Fantinatto was able to reach a large number of well-known musicians.

 

“The trip to see Trent Reznor was probably the most nerve-wracking,” said Fantinatto. “He lives way up on the top of a mountain in Beverly Hills and it [was] quite intimidating leading up to the interview, but Trent was supercool and had us all at ease very quickly.”

But the most jaw-dropping array of modular synth gear that Fantinatto and Amm uncovered didn’t belong to Reznor or any of the other stars they profiled. The best collection, hands down, belonged to a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles.

“He had the most extensive collection of gear I’ve ever seen,” said Fantinatto. “A huge studio with every modular synth ever made, literally every single one ever!”

Fantinatto said he met many modular synth collectors who have “devoted a significant chunk of their lives [to] buying, building and collecting these machines that sometimes take over their homes and their lives.”

“The mystery behind what motivates this irrational obsession is at the heart of the film,” Fantinatto said. “In the end, it is a longing for something authentic — something that has been lost in a virtualized world.”

New series – Legends of electronic music

June 7, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Created in 1963, Tod Dockstader’s Water Music appears on Starkland’s first CD (Quatermass ST-201). Sound sources include: water, toy gong-rattles, finger bells, sheet metal, test generators, water glasses, Coke bottle, metal garbage can, a nail.

Wired Magazine has started a new series on their online website called “Legends of Electronic Music”, well worth checking out, here’s how they describe it:

Wired’s new series Legends of Electronic Music explores the history of electronic music through in-depth interviews with some of the field’s pioneers. The series kicks off with a rare interview with trailblazing American electronic composer Tod Dockstader.

In the 1940s, before magnetic tape was widely available in the United States, electronic music pioneer Tod Dockstader made low-fi recordings on steel wire.

“I loved the idea of the wire singing,” Dockstader said in a recent interview with Wired. As a high school student in the ’40s, he used the end of a lit cigarette to make splices in the thin wire, in a painstaking and risky process.

“You had to tie the wire, which was very fine, in a perfect square knot,” he explained. He would hold the wire up to his nose, with the cigarette perched in his mouth. A single wrong move and the edit could be destroyed.

“I became very adept at editing,” he said. “I really liked editing; I understood it. To me, it was really basic stuff. You could make decisions — take things out, put things in. I liked that you were building something.”

Born in 1932, Dockstader was part of the first wave of electronic musicians, who, before the advent of synthesizers in the early 1960s, worked with whatever hardware they could find: reel-to-reel tape machines, sine wave generators and a wild array of homemade circuits and military surplus gear. In the process, they created a universe of electronic music that still sounds unique and prescient today.

The wire recorder Dockstader used to create electronic music was a piece of used military equipment. “A lot of this [electronic music] happened because, after the war, a lot of the stuff was available,” Dockstader said. “Normally a person, a civilian … wouldn’t be able to get that tube, this device or that device. That fascinated me.”

In the late 1950s, Dockstader worked as a sound engineer at Gotham Recording Studios in New York. At night, he worked on his own music, which eventually led to a series of impressive albums of electronic music, including Apocalypse (1961), Quatermass (1963) and Omniphony (1966).

“I was always working at night — deep night,” Dockstader said. “And I’d be very careful. If they found me in a studio — just me — I would have lost my job.”

Full story here >>

Electronic music history: BBC Radiophonic Workshop music composer Delia Derbyshire

June 7, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

The remarkable story of pioneering BBC Radiophonic Workshop music composer Delia Derbyshire. Starring Sophie Thompson.

Listen here >>

In the 1960s, Delia Derbyshire was one of the pioneering electronic musicians of the iconic BBC Radiophonic Workshop. She’s best known for her absolutely exquisite 1963 electronic version of Ron Grainer’s Doctor Who theme, which you can hear at left. Her masterful musical experimentation continued with electronic scores for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the films Work Is A Four-Letter Word, The Legend of Hell House, and, just before her 2001 death, a project with Spacemen 3′s Peter “Sonic Boom” Kember. BBC Radio 4 produced a dramatization of her life story, starring Sophie Thompson, with music by another Radiophonic Workshop veteran, Elizabeth Parker.

From “Doctor Who – The Beginning Collection (1963)” Disc 1

The original full-length theme music, with original 1963 title sequence visual elements.

Composed by Ron Grainer, realized by Delia Derbyshire of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Solvent – Modular Encounters

May 24, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Canadian electronic artist Solvent was commissioned to create an all-modular synthesizer based soundtrack for the forthcoming documentary I Dream of Wires; The challenge allowed him the opportunity to work with a vast array of modular synthesizers, both new and vintage.

Solvent, born Jason Amm in Zimbabwe, and currently residing in Toronto, Canada, has been releasing his unique brand of analogue synthesizer music since 1997, encompassing crunchy IDM, melodic electro, and vocoder synthpop. Best known for his releases on Morr Music and Ghostly International, Solvent is also co-founder of the obscure, yet influential electro(nica) label, Suction Records. All of the music heard in this video segment was created by Solvent during several on-camera album recording sessions. No drum machines, samples, or hardwired synthesizers were used; each and every sound was created from scratch on the following selection of modular synthesizer systems: Eurorack, Modcan, Synthesizers.com, and Moog 15.

In addition to creating the film’s soundtrack, Amm has recently been serving as writer and producer for “I Dream Of Wires”.

Solvent was scheduled to perform live on June 2nd, 10pm at the Satosphere as part of I Dream Of Wires’ 2012 MUTEK showcase, but unfortunately his performance at the event has been cancelled.

For more info on Solvent:

solventcity.com
facebook.com/solvent
soundcloud.com/solvent

I DREAM OF WIRES is a forthcoming documentary film about the history and resurgence of modular synthesizers. The film is currently in production. This is the 6th in a series of extended interviews, which will be produced and released in various formats throughout the production, and following the release, of the film. I DREAM OF WIRES extended interview segments are sponsored by MATRIXSYNTH (m.matrixsynth.com).

Catch I DREAM OF WIRES’ showcase at Mutek Montreal 2012: Saturday June 2 @ Satosphere, with live performances, all incorporating modular synthesizers, by Sealey/Greenspan/Lanza (Orphx/Junior Boys), Keith Fullerton Whitman (Kranky/Editions Mego), Clark (Warp Records), and Container (Spectrum Spools).

For info on the film: facebook.com/idreamofwiresdocumentary

In the early days of sampling – radio exploration

May 22, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

This programme is an experiment. An exploration. It’s been put together with enormous enthusiasm and equipment designed for other purposes. The basis of it is an unlimited supply of magnetic tape, recording machine, razor blade, and some thing to stick the bits together with. And a group of technicians who think that nothing is too much trouble – provided that it works.

“You take a sound. Any sound. Record it and then change its nature by a multiplicity of operations. Record it at different speeds. Play it backwards. Add it to itself over and over again. You adjust filters, echos, acoustic qualities. You combine segments of magnetic tape. By these means and many others you can create sounds which no one has ever heard before. Sounds which have indefinable and unique qualities of their own. A vast and subtle symphony can be composed from the noise of a pin dropping. In fact one of the most vibrant and elemental sounding noises in tonight’s programme started life as an extremely tinny cowbell.

“It’s a sort of modern magic. Many of you may be familiar with it. They’ve been exploiting it on the continent for years. But strangely enough we’ve held aloof. Partly from distrust. Is it simply a new toy? Partly through complacency. Ignorance too. We’re saying at last that we think there’s some thing in it. But we aren’t calling it ‘musique concrète’. In fact we’ve decided not to use the word music at all. Some musicians believe that it can become an art form itself. Others are sceptical. That’s not our immediate concern. We’re interested in its application to radio writing – dramatic or poetic – adding a new dimension. A form that is essentially radio.

“Properly used, radiophonic effects have no relationship with any existing sound. They’re free of irrelevent associations. They have an emotional life of their own. And they could be a new and invaluable strand in the texture of radio and theatre and cinema and television.”E

 

I Dream of Wires 3: Orphx & Modulars – The Physical Element

May 17, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Canadian duo Orphx have been releasing electronic music since 1993, and while they were best known in experimental/industrial music circles for many years, today they are regarded as pioneers in the fusion of techno and industrial music. Orphx’s recent output on Sonic Groove has met with critical acclaim from many of techno’s leading DJs. Having performed live with laptops for several years, Orphx’s Christina Sealey made the decision to delve in modular synthesizers, hoping it would bring some spontaneity and excitement to Orphx’s music, both on stage and in the studio.

Orphx’s Christina Sealey will be performing live, as part of Sealey/Greenspan/Lanza, at I Dream Of Wires’ 2012 MUTEK showcase.

For more info on Orphx: orphx.com

I DREAM OF WIRES is a forthcoming documentary film about the history and resurgence of modular synthesizers. The film is currently in production. This is the 6th in a series of extended interviews, which will be produced and released in various formats throughout the production, and following the release, of the film. I DREAM OF WIRES extended interview segments are sponsored by MATRIXSYNTH (m.matrixsynth.com).

Catch I DREAM OF WIRES’ showcase at Mutek Montreal 2012: Saturday June 2 @ Satosphere, with live performances, all incorporating modular synthesizers, by Sealey/Greenspan/Lanza (Orphx/Junior Boys), Keith Fullerton Whitman (Kranky/Editions Mego), Solvent (Ghostly International/Suction Records), Clark (Warp Records), and Container (Spectrum Spools).

For info on the film: facebook.com/idreamofwiresdocumentary

From The Vaults : Depeche Mode: A Conversation with Mr. Gambaccini from 1993

May 16, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Radio DJ Paul Gambaccini interviews the members of Depeche Mode at home and in the studio in this exclusive documentary footage from 1993 for From The Vaults on The Warner Sound.

From The Vaults is the weekly unveiling of the documentaries, interviews, and performances unearthed from the Warner library.

Subscribe to The Warner Sound:
http://goo.gl/8LzoM

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