20 Aug 2013

I Was Born To Synthesize

From These Hopeful Machines, 8:00 pm on 20 August 2013

Suzanne Ciani at work on the Buchla synthesiser

A recent photo of Suzanne Ciani at work on a Buchla 200e synthesiser. Image courtesy Ryan Carmody.

The early development of analogue synthesizers: the Moog, the Buchla and others – Raymond Scott – Eric Siday – the San Francisco Tape Music Center – Paul Beaver and Bernie Krause, the go-to guys for Moog work in the 60s – Wendy Carlos and Switched On BachMorton Subotnick and Silver Apples of the MoonSuzanne Ciani and her work for advertising – EMS, the Electronic Music Studio in London and its VCS-3 synthesiser: interviews with Peter Zinovieff and David Cockerell – the great debate: should a synthesiser have a keyboard or not? – in the early 70s, bands like Pink Floyd and Emerson, Lake and Palmer really start taking to the instruments – and then in 1976 engineer Robbie Wedel works something out for producer Giorgio Moroder and they quietly revolutionise music with Donna Summer’s I Feel Love.

These Hopeful Machines - Episode 4

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Written and presented by James Gardner, produced by Tim Dodd and James Gardner for Radio New Zealand.

Scroll down for handy links, a bibliography and the playlist for this episode.


Grateful thanks for help in the production of Episode 4 go to:

Matthew Bate (director of the documentary What The Future Sounded Like), for the EMS demonstration disc;
Suzanne Ciani, for the interview and the use of unreleased material from her 1975 concert for Radio WBAI New York; David Cockerell; Ian Helliwell; Brian Hodgson for providing us with a copy of the out-of-print ‘Wavemaker’ LP; Bernie Krause for the interview and for supplying us with the Beaver and Krause rendition of ‘California Dreamin’; Penny Lomax of the ABC’s ‘The Music Show’, for the Tristram Cary interview; National Public Radio (USA), for the interview with Bob Moog; Morton Subotnick; Don Worsham of The Media Preservation Foundation for supplying the Eric Siday recordings; Peter Zinovieff.



David Bernstein (ed.)
The San Francisco Tape Music Center: 1960s Counterculture and the avant-garde
University of California Press 2008

Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco
Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer
Harvard University Press 2002

Mark Vail
Vintage Synthesizers
BackbeatBooks 2000

Mark Vail
The Synthesizer
Oxford University Press 2014

Mark Brend
The Sound Of Tomorrow
Bloomsbury 2012