By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
By Steve Weinstein
Which reminds me: Did I mention yet that all of these artists were completely insane? More than one of them based their compositional theories on ancient religion or metaphysical philosophy. Most had grandiose ideas of some perfect forum for their music to be heard, preferably with hundreds of loudspeakers involved. A 31-year-old Karlheinz Stockhausen, speaking in 1960, envisioned a time when every major city would have an auditorium specifically designed for the appreciation of "space music." If he had only known then what time and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer would bring!
And somehow, someway, every one of these egghead eccentrics managed to create (despite their often convoluted quantum mechanics fixations, crude yet mind-boggling inventions, and reliance on tin cans) a spontaneous-sounding and vibrant form of music, all but bypassing the always fashionable and almost always boring world of George Crumb wannabes and academic/atonal/serial/Schoenbergian federally funded "modern" classical music that exists to this very day. Perhaps when you're playing something called an "electronic sackbut" it's harder to get into a stylistic rut.
Or perhaps the answer lies in the warning that fad exploiter and '60s electronica icon Richard Hayman (who rearranged the hits of the day for sci-fi fans by adding synth burps and farts to "The Windmills of Your Mind" and "The Look of Love") includes in the liner notes to his Vietnam-era Genuine Electric Latin Love Machine LP: "Beware the Ides of Moog." Even in those dark samplerless, modemless days of yore, electronic gadgets and boxes provided the user with limitless possibilities to create unheard and unheard-of sound. Thus the greatest influences on today's music that no one has ever heard ofguys like La Monte Young in 1969, giving their masterpieces bizarre names like "31/69 c.12:17:33-12:25:33 pm NYC"could screw with time and space via piercing sine waves that can still back up your sinuses for a week. So pin back your ears, mate. Piss off your dog!