Raymond Scott Manhattan ResearchInc

What we’re gonna do right here is go back. Way back. Back into time. In anticipation of the ?uestlove curated event Electronium: The Future Was Then coming up next week at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, we shine a little Throwback Thursday light(works) on famed electronic instrument inventor, Raymond Scott.

In the 1920’s Raymond Scott attended Brooklyn Technical High School in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. It was there where he began to hone his technical skills in the art of sound recording and sound creation/manipulation while taking full advantage of the school’s access to all the latest equipment and technology. After high school, Scott went on to graduate from Juilliard School of Music in 1931, where he studied piano, theory and composition. In 1946, Scott established Manhattan Research, which he announced would “design and manufacture electronic music devices and systems.” (wikipedia).

One such system was the Electronium, “a synthesizer/generative music system based on the concept of artistic collaboration between man and machine.” (BAM Website). It seems that during this period of his life is where both Scott’s genius (far ahead of his time) and strangeness truly comes out as he was said to be highly secretive and could not get his mind to accept his Electronium as fully realized. A prototype was sold to Motown (by way of Berry Gordy) in 1968 and after 11 years and close to 1 million dollars later, the project ceased with only that one prototype in existence (it’s not in working order today).

Listen to Raymond Scott “Cindy Electronium” / “Art Monad 144″ (1959)

Scott’s composition work is widely celebrated but he became most famous (unintentionally) after his works were licensed and adapted by Warner Bros Looney Tunes classics such as Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck and more. Later, original recordings by Scott appeared in twelve Ren & Stimpy episodes while also making cameos in The Simpsons, Duckman, Animaniacs, The Oblongs, and Batfink.

At Okayplayer, many of us know Scott for his song “Lightworks” which J. Dilla famously sampled on his Donuts project. “Lightworks” was taken from Raymond Scott’s Manhattan Research Inc., a two-CD compilation of electronic music he created that was posthumously released in 2000 by Basta Music of Holland. All synthesizers, sequencers, and drum-machines used were designed and constructed by Raymond Scott.

Sadly, after the Electronium project, Scott pent a period of long unemployment where he still continued to invent and experiment with sound and sound equipment. Bob Moog, creator of the Moog Synthesizer, who met Scott in the 1950s, designed circuits for him in the 1960s, and acknowledged him as an important influence. Raymond Scott passed in 1987 after suffering a stroke.

Next week at the Brooklyn Academy of Music‎, Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson follows up last year’s Shuffle Culture event (watch the video) with two nights of Electronium: The Future Was Then.

Electronium: The Future Was Then will be Questo’s revisionist homage to some of the pioneering works of electronic music created between 1948 and 1979. Informed by everything from Busoni’s “…New Esthetic in Music” and Pierre Schaffer’s Cinq Etudes to the technological innovations of EMS Studios (Zinovieff, Tristram ,Cockerel), Raymond Scott, Bob Moog, Stevie Wonder and George Clinton.

The event features R&B singer-producer Tom Krell (How to Dress Well), avant-R&B outfit Sonnymoon, beatboxer Rahzel, guitarist Kirk Douglas (The Roots), DJ-composer Jeremy Ellis, and conductor Andrew Cyr & Metropolis Ensemble join Grammy Award winner Questlove to sample and deconstruct seminal recordings into a feverishly modern new playlist. Old-school blips and beeps, sine waves, and analog synth solos mix with live vocals and contemporary electronics in this ecstatic riff on the analog revolution that paved the way for our music today.

Electronium: The Future Was Then >>> BUY TICKETS
Oct 25—Oct 26, 2013
LOCATION:Peter Jay Sharp Building, BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
Kirk Douglas
Jeremy Ellis—Live Drum Machine
How To Dress Well
Metropolis Ensemble conducted by Andrew Cyr

RUN TIME: Approx 2 hrs with intermission


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