Electronic music genius Morton Subotnick
When Morton Subotnick started his career in electronic music at the dawn of the 1960s, the genre barely existed. The primary "instrument" was the reel-to-reel tape machine, and although there were oscillators, they were part of laboratories, not synthesizers. Subotnick, who'd grown up as a clarinet prodigy and was by this point a member of San Francisco's avant-garde, seemed to have a near-psychic understanding of what advancements in electronics could mean for music, and he set about building the instrument of the future. He found a collaborator in Don Buchla, and with their Buchla Series 100 synthesizer, Subotnick composed the 1968 classic Silver Apples Of The Moon. The piece is notable both for being the first electronic composition commissioned by a record label, but more importantly, it was a piece that could only be electronic music. Subotnick has remained active as a composer, performer and educator ever since, and he's amassed innumerable stories over his half-century-long career. Jordan Rothlein met him in New York to commit an hour's worth of them to tape.