David Behrman: Slides and Whooshes

Tom Johnson: “Most of the electronic music we hear is produced on the many brands of no-fuss-no-muss music synthesizers. They are available now for as little as $1000 or $1500, so composers everywhere have access to them and, in many cases, own their own units. With such wide availability, one might expect the synthesizers to be the lingua franca of new music, but instead, they seem to me to have become the bane of new music. It’s getting hard to tell one synthesizer composer from another, because they all tend to make use of the same convenient automatic devices supplied by the manufacturers. I’m not suggesting that the synthesizers are bad. They are excellent for teaching purposes, and they often work extremely well in combination with voices or instruments, particularly when the synthesizer itself is played live, rather than recorded on tape. What I am suggesting is that, as far as pure electronic music is concerned, much of the most interesting and original work is coming not from the fancy synthesizers but from homemade gadgets designed by specific composers for specific purposes. David Behrman is one of the best examples of these do-it-yourself electronic music composers. A while back he did a piece called ‘Runthrough,’ which is actually just a complicated set of cheap circuitry. Several participants are allowed to improvise by activating photo cells with flashlights and manipulating a few switches. It must be great fun to play this musical game, and judging from the Mainstream recording of the piece, the raucous music which results is remarkably interesting just to listen to at the same time. Now Behrman has designed a more sophisticated set of electronic equipment and written a score to go with it. The equipment is rather limited in many ways, but it is much better suited to his current concerns than any ready-made synthesizer would be. …”
Tom Johnson (February 1973)
David Behrman – Wave Train (Audio)
Disogs (Video)

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