When do you first recall hearing a synthesiser?

Discussion in 'music, bands, clubs & festies' started by Stanley Edwards, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. Lurdan

    Lurdan old wave

    First thing I was aware of as a "synthesised sound" ? no idea really and I guess it depends what counts. I'd certainly have heard theremin's and claviolines etc. in the 50s, but for that matter the hammond organ is clearly a synthesised sound. (Very obviously so in some of it's 50s and 60s mainstream uses). The Dr Who theme and the other Radiophonic Workshop stuff for the BBC. The Joe Meek sound of course, but actually a whole lot of early 60s instrumental pop hits, obviously including electric guitar hits from people like The Shadows.

    First actual synthesiser music - again not sure. I heard Wendy Carlos' Switched On Bach in the late 60s although for me it didn't really stand out from it's 'novelty' instrumental predecessors.

    I think the first things I bought conscious that they used synthesisers were White Noise (the first album obviously but I'd heard the session they did for Peel first and I had the 'John Peel Presents Top Gear' LP it appeared on), that Pierre Henry/Spooky Tooth LP Ceremony and Tonto's Exploding Head Band.
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  2. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    My cousin Mike's copies of "Autobahn" by Kraftwerk, and "Phaedra" by Tangerine Dream, about 1975.
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  3. elbows

    elbows WoeTimer

    Kind of. By the end of the 1960's there were a small bunch of synths that had proper sequencing modules available for them, that would actually trigger notes, could consist of multiple different steps, etc.

    The technique used by the Who there was rather different, since an organ was still required to play the notes. The synth was really being used to rhythmically modulate a couple of effects. So I guess you can say it is being used an effects/audio processing sequencer, although even then could probably have some nerdy discussion as to whether a low frequency oscillator really counts as a sequencer. I dont think it really matters, its a slow rhythmic wave controlling other stuff in a way that can appeal to our minds.

    Whatever it counts as, it was a bloody good and memorable use of tech to make music. Certainly occupies a nice place in my mind, along with very slightly younger relatives like the synth bit of On The Run by Pink Floyd.
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  4. elbows

    elbows WoeTimer

    Yeah the more I think about it, the more I realise there are no synth milestones and history that means anything to me now meant anything at all to me growing up. So many synth sounds are buried deep in various memories, but they were always there, always part of the world of sound for me as far as I knew. I know that by the time the 70's was ending and the 80's arriving, I loved pulling apart radios and messing with one of those electronics kits for young kids, but its not like I knew anybody with a synth, I dont think I even knew anybody with an organ. And then home computers arrived and some years later I finally noticed a kind of music arrive that didnt always seem to have been around, the rather more obviously electronic rave stuff and the other stuff that quickly followed. Blah blah etc.

    Anyway never mind how long its taken, in recent years I finally got to indulge in various synths and would like to indulge in more in future. I love them, and the sounds they make are a sort of comforting home for me. And I've barely done anything with them, I just end up in awe :D
  5. Yuwipi Woman

    Yuwipi Woman Whack-A-Mole Queen

    Switched on Bach -- maybe late 60s. My favorite is probably The Planets, by Tomita, though. I drove my parents crazy with that, but they couldn't complain because it's "classical" music.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
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  6. TheHoodedClaw

    TheHoodedClaw acknowledging ur soup leg

    This came on two floppy discs that you had to send away for (or copy obvs). Less than 2 megs.

  7. elbows

    elbows WoeTimer

    Mod Tracker music and the demoscene (Atari ST and later PC) were my 'rock and roll' during the GCSE + post-school period of my life. Not that I made any myself, I'm saving that for this mid-40's period of my life :D
  8. JuanTwoThree

    JuanTwoThree Unintended gear-stick action

    Switched on Bach for me too, but also Pictures at an Exhibition (Emerson, Lake, and Palmer) in the early 70s:

    Keith Emerson starts (footling around) with his synth at about 5 minutes in.

    A few years later (?) Brian Eno with Roxy Music but I got into weird music with "No Pussyfooting" ; Eno with Robert Fripp. I think that there was synthesiser on that in amongst the tape loops and delays.

    ETA Though thinking about it 'Silver Machine' by Hawkwind and stuff by Gong is all around the same time (1972) and there was a synth sound to them.

    Switched on Bach was not a synth being a synth, but trying to be lots of other instruments. My friend James "Mousse" Newton was into it a lot.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  9. seeformiles

    seeformiles Lost in the wood

    This is from 1969 (although I wasn’t personally aware of it until the early 80s) - Delia Derbyshire and David Vorhaus so a nice Dr Who connection

  10. TheHoodedClaw

    TheHoodedClaw acknowledging ur soup leg

    Heh, just remembered Daft Punk's ancestors Space

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  11. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    Get your eyes and ears around this and wish you were there then with all you know today ;)

  12. UrbaneFox

    UrbaneFox cream crackered

    Probably Jean Michel Jarre
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  13. campanula

    campanula plant a seed

    Caravan - Land of Grey and Pink
  14. Sea Star

    Sea Star FUCK OFF

  15. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Yep for me probably Jean Michel Jarre - or Gary Numan though he was probably a lot later.
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  16. UrbaneFox

    UrbaneFox cream crackered

    I used to think 'hey, wow, I'm in the groove lane', as I laced up my Dunlop Green Flash, aged 13 or so. :cool:
  17. Wilf

    Wilf Meeting few of his KPIs

    Maybe one of these, or more likely Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come, 'Journey':

    Had a mellotron for good measure. :cool:
  18. Wilf

    Wilf Meeting few of his KPIs

    ... or this. Still love that first track:

    Edit: aha, Lurdan !
  19. Magnus McGinty

    Magnus McGinty Wh♂️

  20. Magnus McGinty

    Magnus McGinty Wh♂️

    Although this if it contains synth - and I suspect it does

  21. Hulot

    Hulot Ooh, me parts!

    Electronic and electro-mechanical instruments go back a long way, but this was the first time I heard the word "synthesiser", or knowingly heard one. Tomorrow's World, 1969.
    elbows likes this.
  22. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    Has anyone found the Kraftwerk (circa 1976) clip that was undoubtedly the birth of Techno, but the entire audience were just WTF? didn't know how to dance to it?

    In the meantime...

  23. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    Oh! My mistake. 1970!

    Kaka Tim likes this.
  24. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

  25. Tankus

    Tankus living someone else's dream.

    Seemed over produced. ...this is the one I remember

    A later date though ?... Dunno

    Still do my five pint dance though ?..just like that..... A penguin with piles
  26. elbows

    elbows WoeTimer

    It's a shame they didnt at least mention the filter section when giving a brief overview of how this kind of synthesis works. Its a vital part of subtractive synthesis.

    Also lol when it was claimed that you dont need to be an electronics expert to work the synth, just a musical ear. Thats not exactly true especially when it comes to fully modular synths, you dont need electronics knowledge per se but you do need synth knowledge / lots of time to learn/experiment.

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