As many would probably agree it is high time for this new documentary to arrive. The documentary is titled Subotnick: Portrait Of An Electronic Music Pioneer and will highlight the life and career of Morton Subotnick, a composer and early innovator of electronic music. Stereoklang had the pleasure to watch his live performance in Sweden last fall, you can watch the video below (please scroll to 4:21 into the video to watch Subotnick’s perfromance):
The film, which is produced by Waveshaper Media, the team behind 2014’s modular synth documentary I Dream Of Wires, coincides with the 50th anniversary of his iconic debut album ‘Silver Apples Of The Moon’. The album from 1967 was one of the first works to feature a modular synthesizer developed by Don Buchla and was the first electronic music released by Nonesuch.
Subotnick: Portrait Of An Electronic Music Pioneer features interviews with Subotnick and follows his career from his debut album to present day. To help with the release, an Indiegogo campaign has been launched, support here.
You can watch the trailer here:
Subotnick also has a new performance commissioned by Lincoln Center coinciding with the anniversary this year. Titled Crowds And Power, the multi-media performance runs July 20-22 and includes voice, electronic sound, visuals and more. Subotnick will also perform Silver Apples Of The Moon in its entirety at the shows.
“2017 is a milestone year for revered avant-garde music composer, and electronic music pioneer, Morton Subotnick. It not only marks the 50th anniversary of his iconic 1967 album “Silver Apples of the Moon,” but also sees the premiere of “Crowds and Power,” a new multi-media tone poem for voice, electronic sound, and live imagery, commissioned by NYC’s Lincoln Center, and premiering there in July.
In celebration of Morton Subotnick’s pioneering vision and illustrious career, Waveshaper Media is excited to announce that production is now underway for a new, official bio-documentary, “Subotnick.” Waveshaper Media is an independent production company from Toronto, Canada – the same team behind 2014’s acclaimed modular synthesizer documentary, “I Dream Of Wires,” seen widely on Netflix, and ‘Electronic Voyager,’ an upcoming bio-doc on legendary synthesizer inventor Bob Moog, also now in production.
To date, filming for Subotnick has been entirely self-financed, but we’ve launched this IndieGoGo campaign to raise enough funds to complete filming. We are pleased to offer a very special reward for our IndieGoGo campaign: a 50th anniversary edition repress of Subotnick’s breakthrough 1967 LP, “Silver Apples of the Moon.” The reissue comes on both vinyl – including several limited-edition color-vinyl options – and for the 1st time available since 1967, on cassette tape. This deluxe repress will include new liner notes by Morton Subotnick, and all copies secured through IndieGoGo will be signed by the man himself.
In Subotnick, we follow 84-year-old Morton Subotnick as he travels to perform at music festivals where, much to his puzzlement, he finds himself celebrated by young audiences as the “father of techno.” Through personal recollections, and archival films and images, the film traces a career that spans nearly six decades. From his early years as a pioneer of the American avant-garde, to his newly acquired status as a renowned electronic music icon, Subotnick paints an intimate portrait of one of America’s most influential composers – a man more sharp, driven and charismatic than most people half his age. Subotnick explores both the recent explosion of interest in his work, including a busy touring schedule, and the ongoing creation of a new work, to be filmed for the documentary at its Lincoln Center premiere performance in July. Through a series of candid interviews and illuminating conversations with key figures from his past and present, Subotnick will provide an overview of the composer’s rich life and uncompromising career – from his military service during the Korean War, to playing clarinet for the San Francisco Symphony, to co-founding the seminal San Francisco Tape Music Center in the heart of the West Coast psychedelic underground, up to his lifelong dedication to alternative music education through software innovation. In profiling Subotnick’s entire life and career, we reveal a man of uncompromising vision, devoted to breaking new musical ground and still shattering the rules of music as we know it.
Working with engineer Don Buchla in the early 1960s, Subotnick commissioned one of the world’s first electronic music synthesizers, which he first put to use on his 1967 album “Silver Apples of the Moon” – a breakthrough recording that became a landmark of the psychedelic era, and was recently inducted into the National Registry of Recorded Works at the US Library of Congress. As modern day music critics and listeners have started charting the evolution of music genres like techno and electronica, many branches of the family tree point to Morton Subotnick.
Morton Subotnick’s legacy and impact on electronic music are undeniable, and so it came as a surprise when we asked Mort if anyone had ever approached him before about making a documentary about his life and career; he replied that nobody had. We were extremely honored when he agreed to our proposal, in early 2016, to document his life and career, and we’ve been periodically meeting with Mort to film, as time and funds have permitted, ever since.
In September 2016, legendary synthesizer designer Don Buchla passed away. Buchla had been a crucial collaborator in Mort’s life, the man who brought his vision of an “Electronic Music Easel” – an instrument that would transform Subotnick’s career – to life. We had been in discussions with Mort to visit San Francisco to film a meeting between the two old friends, and despite the fact that Don Buchla was in the final stages of a long battle with cancer, he was very enthusiastic about being a part of “Subotnick.” Regretfully, we missed our opportunity to include Don Buchla when he passed away. Shortly after Buchla’s passing, two more crucial figures from Mort’s story, fellow San Francisco Tape Music Center alumni Pauline Oliveros and William Maginnis, also passed away.”
Details on the planned documentary and the campaign are available at IndieGoGo.