I'm very much enjoying this book, and definitely recommend it:
I've found it very interesting to find the early synth recordings on YouTube and listen as I read
the related text in the book. Very educational to me is the different styles that emerged almost
immediately on the two coasts. To hear the contrasts, I recommeding finding YouTubes of the
West Coast - "The Zodiac - Cosmic Sounds" and "The Nonesuch Guide To Electronic Music." These
feature the work of Paul Beaver and Bernard Krause, the West Coast pioneers of the Moog synthesizer.
Also of interest are Morton Subotnick's works on the Buchla syth, also the Buchla-influenced stuff
that came out of the Tape Recording Lab in San Francisco.
East Coast - Walter Sear was Bob Moog's first distributor and was influential in Moog's development
of the synthesizer. Sear and Walter/Wendy Carlos were the first NYC-based Moog users and
programmers. "Switched On Bach" by Carlos was probably the most famous early synth album Columbia
also made "Switched On Rock" to glom off the success. Walter Sear worked mainly with Command
Records, making one album of his own and programming the Moog for Dick Hyman (2 albums) and Richard
Hayman (1 album). Walter's Moog effects were also used on numerous comemrcials and sound-for-picture
An interesting thing that both Beaver and Krause and Sear say in the book is that, very soon after
certain Moog sounds they had programmed were used on a few successful recordings, those were the
sounds everyone wanted. Paul Beaver got very frustrated that it came down to 30-50 sounds, and no
one wanted to experiment any further. The curious thing, to my ears, is that Beaver and Krause got a
different few dozen sounds that took hold in L.A. and Hollywood, vs the sounds Sear came up with
that took hold in NYC. There's a bit of crossover, but there are distinct differences. I think all
of this went away when program pre-sets and automation came along, then everyone could copy the same
sounds on any device. Nowadays it's almost all "virtual," and the possibilities are actually wider,
but it's the same set of sounds.
-- Tom Fine