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Baker's Dozen

While His Synth Gently Beeps: Benge's Favourite Electronic LPs
Luke Turner , February 15th, 2017 10:50

We know you all love a bit of synth porn so here's Benge's Baker's Dozen - a sort of synth erotica reading, if you will, as he guides you through 13 electronic favourites from Morton Subotnick to Else Marie Pade and George Harrison's Moog explorations to Air and Autechre. Benge photo by Ed Fielding

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Morton Subotnick - Touch
When considering the next phase of electronic music, namely that produced on Voltage Controlled devices, a good place to start is with one of Morton Subotnick’s all-Buchla synthesiser albums from the 1960s. Sadly Don Buchla passed away last year, but he was still running his synth business and designing interesting modules pretty much right up to the end. I met him a few years ago when I was putting a modular system together, and he has inspired me in many ways in doing what I do.

By 1969 Subotnick had already released two albums of music made on the Buchla 100 Electronic Music Box (Silver Apples Of The Moon and The Wild Bull) but I think this is his best one in the series, it just sounds more developed and even more strangely futuristic, despite being from the first generation of modular synth technology.

This album perfectly demonstrates the uncompromising and totally unique approach to instrument building that was the result of Don Buchla’s collaboration with Morton Subotnick in the 1960s. The story goes that Morton wanted a new instrument to replace the laborious tape splicing process that he had to make do with to with to get his music sequenced, and also something he could use in live performance rather than just hitting 'play' on a tape machine. So he approached Don Buchla to invent and build something. What he came up with was the very first voltage controlled modular sequencer and sound synthesiser. Listen to this album on headphones and you are hearing Don’s brain, via Morton’s hands.


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