Fifty years in electro music : 1950 – 2000

Technological advances at the end of the 19th century have altered our relationship to sound. The invention of the telephone enabled sound to be transcoded into an electrical signal and to hear that signal from one end of the world to the other. In a similar way, sound recording technology has decontextualised the musical performance from its original listening environment. In former times, to hear music meant playing an instrument or going to a concert whereas today music is available everywhere, wherever you are.

In the 18th century, engineers adopted analogue and then electronic techniques to make instruments. Jean-Baptiste Delaborde, for example, developed an electrical harpsichord in 1759, whereas the first eletromechanical instrument, the Telharmonium (an electronic organ) was made by Thaddeus Cahill in 1897. In 1919, Leon Termen invented the first no-contact instrument, the Theremin, which is still sold today, and in 1957, Max Mathews at the Bell Laboratories made the first digital recording and the first digital sound synthesis. In the 1970s, information and communication technology became standard tools of artistic creation.

The Discovery Corner gives an overview of the evolution in sound in the second half of the 20th century and traces the various ramifications of electronic music in all its diversity.

THE AVANT-GARDE

1950 – Pierre Schaeffer / Pierre HenrySymphonie pour un homme seul

1952 – John CageWilliams Mix

1952 – Otto LueningFantasy in Space

1954 – RCA produces the first synthesiser.

1954 – Tape recorders are launched onto the market.

1956 – Lejaren A. Hiller and Leonard IsaacsonIlliac Suite String Quartet

1956 – Karlheinz StockhausenGesang der Jünglige

1957 – Working at Bell Labs, Max Mathews wrote MUSIC, the first widely used programme for the digital sound synthesis (the birth of digital audio).

1957 – Newman Guttman – The Silver Scale

1957-58 – Edgar VarèsePoème électronique

1958 – Vinyl records become stereo.

1958 – Pierre SchaefferÉtude aux allures

1958 – Bruno MadernaMusica su due dimensioni

1958 – Luciano BerioThema Omaggio a Joyce

1958 – Iannis XenakisConcert PH

1960 – Brion GysinI AM THAT I AM

1960 – Bell LabsMusic From Mathematics [Full Album]

1961 – Max Mathews & Joan Miller – Bicycle Built for Two

1961 – James TenneyAnalog #1(Noise Study)

1961-63 – Milton BabbittEnsembles for Synthesizer

1963 – Luc FerrariHétérozygote

1963 – Pierre HenryVariations pour une porte et un soupir

1963 – Henri ChopinVibrespace

1964 – First voltage-controlled synthesisers (Moog, ARP, Buchla).

1965 – Steve ReichIt´s Gonna Rain

1966 – François DufrêneTriptycrirythme

1966 – The Beach BoysPet Sounds

1967 – Pink FloydThe Piper at the Gates of Dawn

1967 – The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced

1967 – Jefferson AirplaneSurrealistic Pillow

1967 – The DoorsStrange Days

1967 – The BeatlesSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

1967 – Morton SubotnickSilver Apples Of The Moon

1967 – Karlheinz StockhausenMixtur

1967-68 – Bernard ParmegianiCapture éphémère

1968 – Wendy CarlosSwitched-On Bach

1968 – Bob CobbingChamber Music

1968 – Frank ZappaWe´re Only in It for the Money

1968 – Ivo MalecLumina

1968 – Silver ApplesSilver Apples

1969 – Jean-Claude RissetMutation

1969 – Alvin LucierI Am Sitting in a Room

1969 – The WhoTommy

1969 – Led ZeppelinLed Zeppelin II

1969 – Gershon KingsleyPopcorn

1969 – Amon Düül IIPhallus Dei

1969 – Charles WuorinenTime’s Encomium

1969 – White NoiseAn Electric Storm

1969 – KlusterKlopfzeichen

1969 – James BrownFunky Drummer

1969 – Sly and the Family StoneStand!

PUSHING THE BOUNDERIES OF ELECTROACOUSTIC MUSIC

1970 – Karlheinz StockhausenMantra

1970 – FunkadelicFree Your Mind… and Your Ass Will Follow

1971 – Tangerine DreamSunrise in the third system

1971 – Alain Savouret – L´arbre et coetera

1971 – CanTago Mago

1971 – FaustFaust

1972 – Manu DibangoSoul Makossa

1972 – Barrabás – Woman

1972 – John ChowningTurenas

1972 – Miles DavisOn The Corner

1973 – Barry White´s Love Unlimited Orchestra – Love´s Theme

1973 – François BayleVibrations composées

1973 – Lee Scratch Perry & King TubbyBlackboard Jungle Dub

1973 – Stevie WonderInnervisions

1973 – Klaus SchulzeCyborg

1973 – Neu!Neu! 2

1973 – Michel ChionRequiem

1973 – Herbie HancockHead Hunters

1974 – Jon Appleton and Sydney Alonso develop the Synclavier, the first digital synthesiser.

1974 – Bernard HeidsieckVaduz

1974 – ClusterZuckerzeit

1974 – George McCraeRock you Baby

1974 – KraftwerkAutobahn

1975 – Jean-Claude RissetDialogues

1975 – Brian EnoDiscreet Music

1975 – KC and the Sunshine BandGet Down Tonight

1975 – Joel ChadabeFlowers

1976 – Francis BebeyDivorce pygmée

1976 – Ash Ra TempelNew Age Of Earth

1976 – Augustus Pablo and King TubbyKing Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown

1976 – Jean-Michel JarreOxygène

1976 – Guy ReibelGranulations Sillages

1977 – UPIC, a computerised musical composition tool that generates sounds according to waveforms and volume envelopes drawn by the user is invented by the composer Iannis Xenakis. Go to see the modern abstraction Iannix.

1977 – Bee GeesSaturday Night Fever

1977 – David BowieLow

1977 – SuicideSuicide

1977 – Weather ReportHeavy Weather

1977 – Karlheinz StockhausenSirius

1978 – Denis DufourBocalise

1978 – DevoQ: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!

1978 – The NormalT.V.O.D.

1978 – Throbbing GristleD.o.A: The Third and Final Report

1979 – Donna SummerOn the Radio

1979 – ChicGood Times

1979 – Joy DivisionUnknown Pleasures

1979 – Tubeway ArmyReplicas

1979 – Public Image LtdMetal Box

1979 – The Sugarhill GangRapper´s delight

1979 – Joel ChadabeSolo

1979 – At IRCAM, researcher Giuseppe di Giugno develops the 4X system, the first real-time digital workstation.

DEMOCRATISATION OF DIGITAL MUSIC

1980 – Fad GadgetFireside Favourites

1980 ~ The Bendaly family – Do you love me

1980 – John FoxxMetamatic

1980 – Talking HeadsRemain in Light

1981 – The Human LeagueDare

1981 – Yellow Magic Orchestra1000 Knives

1981 – Daf – Alles ist Gut

1981 – Depeche ModeSpeak & Spell

1981 – Klaus NomiKlaus Nomi

1981 – Patrick CowleyMenergy

1981 – SPKInformation Overload Unit

1981 – Pierre BoulezRépons

1982 – Philips and Sony launch the compact disc (CD).

1982-84 – Marco StroppaTraiettoria

1982 – Grandmaster FlashThe Message

1982 – Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic ForcePlanet Rock

1983 – The MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) communication protocol becomes standardised.

1983 – Yamaha launches the DX7, the first FM digital synthesiser to achieve widespread success.

1983 – EurythmicsSweet Dreams

1984 – Jesse SaundersFunk You Up

1985 – Jamie PrincipleWaiting On My Angel

1985 – Juan AtkinsNo UFO´s

1985 – Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin SaundersonThe Belleville Three

1986 – Tristan MurailVision de la cité interdite

1986 – AdonisNo Way Back

1986 – EuropeThe Final Countdown

1986 – Farley Jackmaster FunkLove Can´t Turn Around

1986 – Run–DMCRaising Hell

1986 – Art Of NoiseIn Visible Silence

1986 – Steve « Silk » HurleyJack Your Body

1987 – Derrick MayNude Photo

1987 – LaibachOpus Dei

1987 – New OrderSubstance

1987 – PhutureAcid Tracks

1988 – Fingers IncAnother Side

1988 – Front 242Headhunter

1988 – Maurice – This Is Acid

1988 – Philippe ManouryPluton

1988 – Horacio VaggioneSCIR

1989 – Nine Inch NailsTerrible lie

1990 – First commercial version of the Max software (Opcode-Ircam). During the 1990s, Miller Puckette developed Pure Data, a free software similar to Max. Both programmes were very popular with those working in the interactive arts.

1990 – Kasper T. ToeplitzAlmantés

1990 – Gérard GriseyLe noir des étoiles

1990 – Public EnemyFear of a Black Planet

1991 – De La SoulDe La Soul Is Dead

1991 – Frankie KnucklesBeyond The Mix

1991 – Jeff MillsPunisher

1992 – DrexciyaDeep Sea Dweller

1992 – The ProdigyExperience

1992 – Dr. DreThe Chronic

1992 – MinistryPsalm 69 : The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs

1992-94 – Antoine Bonnet – Epitaphe

1993 – John OswaldPlexure

1993 – BjörkDebut

1993 – Snoop Doggy DoggDoggystyle

1993 – Wu-Tang ClanEnter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

1994 – Development of the MP3 standard (Mpeg1 Audio Layer 3) by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and the introduction of DVD.

1994 – Robert HoodMinimal Nation

1994 – The Notorious B.I.G.Ready to Die

1994 – NasIllmatic

1994 – AutechreAmber

1994 – Michael JarrellCassandre

1994 – Tristan MurailL´esprit des dunes

1995 – Yan Maresz (fr)Metallics

1995 – Martin MatalonMetropolis

1995 – The Chemical BrothersExit Planet Dust

1995 – PortisheadDummy

1995 – TrickyMaxinquaye

1995-96 – Marco StroppaUpon a Blade of Grass

1996 – Release of SuperCollider by James McCartney, an environmental and programming language for real-time audio synthesis and algorithmic composition. It was granted GNU status (General Public License) in 2002.

1996 – Steinberg develops the VST (Virtual Studio Technology) standard, the most widespread protocol today for audio plug-in applications.

1996 – Thierry De MeyTippeke

1996 – DJ ShadowThe Number Song

1996 – Carl CraigThe Secret Tapes Of Dr. Eich

1997 – Amon TobinBricolage

1997 – Da HoolMeet her at the love parade

1997 – Aphex TwinCome to Daddy

1997 – Daft PunkHomework

1998 – Richie HawtinConsumed

1998 – Luc FerrariSymphonie dechirée

1998 – Massive AttackMezzanine

1998 – Ryoji Ikeda0°C

1998-2000 – Fausto RomitelliProfessor Bad Trip I-III

2000 – RadioheadKid A

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