Thursday, April 21, 2011
Max Matthews 1926-2011
Sad news. One of the titans of electronic music passed away today. Max Matthew's influence can not be understated. Anyone who makes music with a computer owes him a deep debt. He pioneered the idea of using a computer and a digital analog convertor to generate sound. I had the good fortune of spending some time with Max on a number of occasions. He was a gifted speaker and spirited performer.
The music that lives within the spoken word fascinates me. There is the melody of the phrase, the natural rhythmic cadences and the pleasing harmonics of the individual sounds that form the basis of all music today. Natural selection has determined that verbal communication is pretty darn important to the survival of our species. As such, our ears are most sensitive, and centered around the frequencies dominated by human speech. We're hardwired to enjoy this stuff.
It isn't a fitting tribute, but I'll repost a track I made for Max called 'One of the most interesting kinds of sounds' It is a remix in the purest sense of the word. The composition is constructed entirely from digital audio culled from Max Matthew's 'Numerology' (1960), 'The Second Law' (1961) and 'Bicycle Built for Two' (1961) as well as Max's spoken lecture at Talcott. No other audio sources (synthesizers, microphones, other samples) were used.