28 January, 2013

Altair IV

Louis and Bebe Barron - Forbidden Planet (1956)

Predating the invention of the Moog by almost a decade, Louis and Bebe Barron constructed unique instruments to compose first completely electronic soundtrack.
From the liner notes:
"We design and construct electronic circuits which function electronically in a manner remarkably similar to the way that lower life-forms function psychologically. There is a comprehensive mathematical science explaining it, called 'Cybernetics', which is concerned with the Control and Communication in the Animal and Machines. It was first propounded by Prof. Norbert Wiener of M.I.T. who found that there are certain natural laws of behavior applicable alike to animals (including humans) and electronic machines. In scoring Forbidden Planet - as in all our work - we created individual cybernetics circuits for particular themes and leit motifs, rather than using standard sound generators. Actually, each circuit has a characteristic activity pattern as well as a 'voice'.
"Most remarkable is that the sounds which emanate from those electronic nervous systems seem to convey strong emotional meaning to listeners. We were delighted to hear people tell us that the tonalities in Forbidden Planet remind them of what their dreams sound like. There were no synthesizers or traditions of electronic music when we scored this film, and therefore we were free to explore 'terra incognito' with all its surprises and adventures."

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