June 08, 2010

Farfisa FAST Series (1968 - 1971)

The FAST (Farfisa All Silicon Transistor) Series models had a metal cabinet covered with a washable skin plate and plastic edges, chrome folding legs, retractable carrying handles, and a removable music rack. This model of Farfisa was used by Philip Glass on some of his early recordings. This series had the combo organs (FAST 2,3,4,5,Console), and the Professional (Original, Duo, and Pianos)

Farfisa Fast 3
Features: Keyboard 49 notes, Manual Bass: 12 notes, Voice Stops: Bass, Clarinet, Flute, Oboe, Trumpet, Strings, Vibrato Stops: On/off, Fast/slow, Manual Bass Selector: Bass/treble, Piano/forte, Swell pedal: Optional

June 06, 2010

Throbbing Gristle - 20 Jazz Funk Greats (1979)

20 Jazz Funk Greats is the third studio album by the british Industrial Music pioneers Throbbing Gristle. It was released in December 1979, through record label Industrial. It is the band's first fully studio album, as prior albums contained both live and studio recordings. The production is credited to "Sinclair/Brooks". The album's cover photograph was taken at Beachy Head, a chalk headland on the south coast of England, close to the town of Eastbourne in the county of East Sussex, and one of the world's most notorious suicide spots. On the 1981 Fetish Records issue of the release an apparently dead and naked male body lay in front of the band on the album cover. Someone described the album's style as such: "In a smash and grab that testifies to both increased musical ambition and a relentless urge to wrongfoot audience expectations, 20 Jazz Funk Greats finds the band waking up from D.O.A.'s dark night of the soul and feeling curiously frisky. Snacking on not only the titular funk and jazz, the band also takes touristic zig zags through exotica, rock and disco", ultimately describing it as a "kitsch detour toward mutant disco".

June 03, 2010

Pierre Schaeffer - Father of Musique concrète

Born in Nancy, France, 1910, Pierre Schaeffer († 1995) is told to be the Father of musique concrète and one of the pioneers in the use of electronic technologies.
Being a technician who had studies at the Polytechnic School in Paris, he was not originally a musician and he used to work as an engineer and broadcaster at the Radiodiffusion Television Francaises (RTF). In 1942, Pierre Schaeffer started a studio for the science of musical acoustics at the RTF, experimenting with phonograph turntables and a large library of sound effect records. During his experiments with turntables, Schaeffer discovered a technique to create loops, making the needle go back to the same position. At the same time, he started working with the isolation of naturally produced sounds, which was the beginning of musique concrete which was working with natural sounds recorded and played back in a musical context.
In 1948, Pierre Schaeffer started a series of experiments on the timbre, attack and decay of percussive instruments by recording bell tones and using a volume control between the mike and cutter to eliminate the attack. Interested in the creation of banks of pre-recorded sounds that could be manipulated from an instrument, he created the Phonogene, a keyboard that could transpose a loop in 12 distinct steps , which was an predecesor of Mellotron. Schaeffer used this device in his composition “Concert for Locomotives”, playing samples of trains. Later he began to play records at different speeds, affecting the amplitude envelopes of the sounds.
In 1949, Schaeffer worked on the “Symphonie pour un Homme Seul” in which all of the sounds were created by the human body, along with the composer Pierre Henry, who was asigned by the RTF to help in Schaeffer’s investigations. This was one of the most important works in early musique concrète, which was performed in 1950 in Paris using a PA system, several turntables, and mixers.

In 1951, RTF provided Pierre Schaeffer with a new studio and he began his first experiments in spacial sound, using several speakers and also co- founded the Groupe de Recherche de Musique Concrete where other composers where involved such as Pierre Henry, Olivier Messiaen and his pupils Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and George Barraque.
Pierre Schaeffer’s legacy to the music was also his study of classification and definition of the musical syntax, classifying aspects of the sound and creating definitions like length, complexity, extracts, manipulation, transmission, modulation, etc. These characteristics were published in his book “The Search for a Concrete Music” in 1952.
Pierre Schaeffer died in 1995 at the age of 85. His work has been highly influencial in some of the most brilliant composers from the 20th Century. He has also influenced several generations of electronic musicians, including Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre or Steve Reich.