A very slight detour

I’m taking a few days to complete another writing project, but its one with an important link to the Mwandishi band. The topic is composer Mort Subotnick’s musical life in New York City during the late 1960s – his studio sponsored by New York University where he composed his seminal electronic work ‘Silver Apples of the Moon’. The article also discusses the life of that studio as a quasi-collective training ground for early minimalist composers, Subotnick’s involvement (with visual artist Tony Martin) in the artistic conception for the psychedelic discoteque The Electric Circus, and the various new music and multimedia venues and programs which these scenes spawned under the leadership of Subotnick, Eric Salzman, Thais Lathem, Rhys Chatham, and others: The Electric Ear, Intermedia at Automation House, New Image of Sound, WBAI Free Music Store, Music Program at The Kitchen…

So, you may ask, what is the connection with Mwandishi? Subotnick and Martin both migrated from San Francisco, where they were seminal figures in the San Francisco Tape Music Center, which commissioned the development of the early (and wonderful – I’ve composed on one) analog electronic instrument designed by Donald Buchla. The Buchla was at the center of the NYU studio and The Electric Circus. Patrick Gleeson, who provided the electronic music elements in the second Mwandishi recording “Crossings” and who subsequently joined the band, did his early work at the San Francisco Tape Music Center, once it moved to Mills College, right around the time of Subotnick’s departure from the West Coast. Gleeson composed music for dancers connected with the Ann Halprin Dance Company, with whom Subotnick collaborated. The Mwandishi band did its recording in San Francisco, at the time home to producer David Rubinson and Patrick Gleeson… I could go on about this, but I think I’ve made my point about how few degrees of separation we are discussing here, even though Herbie Hancock and Mort Subotnick seemed to have no direct contact.

~ by bobgluck on June 1, 2010.

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