Tabs Out | Indiegogo For Subotnick Film Offers “Silver Apples” Cassette Reissue

Indiegogo For Subotnick Film Offers “Silver Apples” Cassette Reissue
7.7.17 by Scott Scholz


If you’re a regular reader/listener of Tabs Out, chances are excellent that you’re down with the sublime electronic compositions of Morton Subotnick. One of the true pioneers in modular synthesizers, Subotnick’s music has hardly aged a day over the decades. “Silver Apples of the Moon,” for example, would sound perfectly at home among a new batch of tapes released tomorrow, an incredible feat for a composition released 50 years ago. And we owe a debt of gratitude to Subotnick for more than just his music: he was there at the beginning of modular synth design, providing advisement and funding for the first Buchla machines. His insights helped to put musical sound-tailoring options at the fingertips of composers, and also transcended the limitations of the keyboard as an input device.

Subotnick started his musical career generating those odd-harmonic square waves the old-fashioned way (with a clarinet), and he’s been an active participant in all kinds of evolving sound technology up to the present day. Frankly, every detail along the timeline of his work is fascinating if you’re into electronic music, but we don’t need to dig deep into his biography here. That’s because there is an Indigogo campaign running right now to produce a feature-length film about his life and work. “Subotnick: Portrait of an Electronic Music Pioneer” is being produced by Waveshaper Media, the same folks who brought us “I Dream of Wires” a few years ago, so you know it’s going to be good. Featuring extensive interviews with Subotnick as well as collaborators throughout his career, this film is likely to be a great contribution to our collective understanding of his work. Personally, I’ve always found Subotnick to be a particularly interesting figure in music history as a bridge between the early academic trappings of electronic music and various popular scenes, from krautrock to techno to modern modular mayhem. As this film follows Morton around the globe, putting on regular performances and making new music in his eighth decade, we’re sure to see how his work continues to inspire folks across many musical disciplines.

The fundraising campaign for this film offers some great rewards, too, including reissues of Subotnick’s essential recordings in multiple formats. Remember when I said that “Silver Apples” would, and I quote, “sound perfectly at home among a new batch of tapes released tomorrow?” Well, that is basically happening… For only $15 plus shipping you can snag yourself an autographed copy of “Silver Apples of the Moon” on cassette, a format the piece hasn’t been found on commercially since its original release in 1967. You know you want it, and you know your dad lost the original under the passenger seat three cars before you were born. If you’re feeling more vinyl-inclined, there are several color variations of the LP version up for grabs as well. I’d also recommend taking a hard look at the CD 4-pack, as it includes some of Subotnick’s later works, which are not as well-known but certainly should be. And no matter your format of preference, you’ll be supporting the final stages in making this important film. As of this writing, you have a couple of weeks left to get on board, and they still need your help at 95 percent funding. Head on over to the Indiegogo page and pitch in!

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