WOMEN IN EARLY ELECTRONIC MUSIC VIDEO-PLAYLIST
Yesterday I had the absolute pleasure of guest DJ-ing for Temple University’s student run WHIP Radio Show on iHeartRadio. It’s okay if you missed it, because here’s the playlist!
WOMEN PIONEERS IN ELECTRONIC MUSIC
Women were largely responsible for establishing the basic foundation of ELECTRONIC MUSIC and SOUND DESIGN. Most of this early electronic experimentation occurred as a result of BBC Radiophonic Workshop, created in 1958 to produce incidental sounds and new music for radio and later, television. It’s primarily known for its experimental and pioneering work in electronic music and music technology, and the popular score for the program a lot of us millennials know and love, Doctor Who.
Let it be known that BBC was highly reluctant to experimentation of this type, taking a more traditional stance on music composition. However, as technology in music rapidly developed throughout the 1950s, the demand for new and interesting sonic landscapes by the general public dramatically increased.
The following pieces are largely examples of electro acoustic tape music. This method allowed musicians to tape sounds and then modify them by changing the tape speed or direction. You can think of it as what we now call audio sampling, however unlike digital-sampling, sounds were often manipulated manually by circuit bending.
In 2016, Daphne Oram’s Mini-Oramics synth was re-built and played for the first time in 40 years by PhD student Tom Richards. Richards researched and built Daphne Oram’s Mini-Oramics Synth based on the original prototype plans.
The idea that a single person could produce and arrange a piece, alone was a brand new concept. I often like to juxtapose this solitary method of music production with that of contemporary electronic artists, largely women artists like myself, who prefer use DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) in order keep men out of the equation all together.
Louder doesn’t maker you better
I often question how electronic music has progressed positively and not so positively in the past decade or so. It’s clear that records produced in the 2000s suffer from way too much compression. The painful “tin-like” characteristic occurs largely as a result of record company’s wanting tracks to be loud enough to sound “good” (that is, be heard) on mobile phones rather than on proper stereo sets. Most genres today (vocally forward hip-hop tracks for example) largely depend on the sparkly 808 drum kit, and understandable so, for abruptness of the sounds themselves allows for a generally pleasant and non-invasive relationship with vocals. However, as the 808 and Autotune effect smothers and dominates the radio and you-tubes waves, desensitizing and damaging our ears in the process, there are a handful contemporary electronic artists who have the courage and skills to create interesting sonic possibilities with the tools of the past as well as today. A blog post regarding that group will occur in the near future, but until then remember, LOUDER DOESN’T MAKE YOU BETTER!