Friday, January 21, 2011

Deconstructing Dad

If there is an upside to this sick day, it's finally being able to watch the Raymond Scott documentary all the way through.

Raymond Scott, readers will recollect, composed some of the most memorable music heard in Warner brother cartoons -- but he was also an unbergeek, brilliantly creative; he invented the sequencer and was turning out stunning realtime polyphonic electronic music at a time when everyone else playing synth was pounding out a note at a time onto tape, editing and overdubbing to end up with some approximation of music.

...And it is typical of the man that at the same time, he'd invented perhaps the very first dial-up (acoustically-coupled!) home FAX machine; it did him no good, since nobody else had one.*

Personal, moving and filled with odd turns (Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh is the current owner of Scott's self-composing synthesizer, the "Electronium"), I recommend the documentary to anyone with an interest in technology, music and the kinds of people who blossom where they intersect.

* Some wit is going to ask, "How did he know it worked?" Well, gee, if I was a mad genius with a building full of microphones and tape recorders, how would I go about checking something that turned pictures into patterns of sound and back from sound into pictures again? ;)


Guffaw in AZ said...

THANK YOU! I could never remember this cat's name! I looked up his official page on the 'net and FB!
WONDERFUL. We always called it 'the Warner Bros. Industrial Theme'.

Oakenheart said...

That is awesome.