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This film by Bernard Wilets was originally produced around 1969-70, but this reel that I present is the updated version from 1983 which includes new added Fairlight sequences with Rory Kaplan. The original sections are VERY 1969 and the color of this print is still remarkable. Great footage of Moog modular synths right in their heyday and lots of screenshots of waveforms and such. Is it coincidental that so much Bach is being played on the Moog? Calling Wendy Carlos! The film features several people who went on to make their names in electronic music, including Rory Kaplan, Douglas Leedy, and Jean-Claude Risset. This reel was transferred from my own 16mm archive print using my Eiki Telecine. The Eiki has a 5 Blade Shutter that projects a 24fps print at 30 frames per second for a flickerless NTSC transfer. A special diffusion plate eliminates the 'hot spot' of the projector, and the sound is pulled right from the optical track. Enjoy! Join Team FranLab!!!! Become a patron and help support my YouTube Channel on Patreon: #Moog #Music #film - Intro music by Fran Blanche - Frantone on Facebook - Fran on Twitter - Fran's Science Blog - FranArt Website -

By Fran

18 thoughts on “Discovering electronic music (1969-1983)”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars R Reese says:

    Reminds me when Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange came out in 1971 and I was just a kid back then. Wendy Carlos created several pieces used in the soundtrack with her synthesizer which really completed the movie's overall look and feel. Of course, audiences back then totally freaked. Kubrick was, as always, ahead of his time. Thanks again, Fran. 🙂

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars MarksGoneWicked says:

    Love this original MOOG music. I listen to Isao Tomita. A shame he wasn't included in this. I also have 2 boxes of films. Can I borrow your Eiki? Just kidding 😂

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars prokesuk says:

    Expecting to see old synths and the first thing shown is a Fairlight. Then, I realized the Fairlight is old. As am I.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars erinbluetee says:

    I actually had an electronic music class in 1980. The teacher would always say, "It's not noise. It's sound man.". He was awesome!

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Rob Fowler says:

    Wow Fran, thanks for sharing that. In Full Sail back in '91, I got some training on a Synclavier, an early keyboard/sequencer & sampler. It was state of the art for it's day. But the equipment you've just shown predates that by many years. VERY COOL to see the roots of early electronic music. I love films like this, the early Bell Labs films are great. Thanks so much for sharing this! BTW, I have to ask if you know a friend of mine named Bill O'Brien. He's from south Jersey but has played synth all over south Phila for the last 30 years. Never been very famous but he knows everybody because of a long running cable access program. He's given more bands their first shot at regional exposure than anyone, except maybe Al Albert's Showcase!

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars The 4th wall says:

    People spoke differently back then. If you yanked them out of their time and stuck them here, they’d think we were foreigners.

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars David Walters says:

    Some of these sounds in the first part of this film sound like sounds from the 1950's. From a sci-fi film called. Forbidden Planet. Which was all electronically created.

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Axeman3D says:

    ooh, a Fairlight. Those things were not cheap, $70-80 thousand in todays money.

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars 1954shadow says:

    I remember the first time I heard, “Switched on Bach,” in the late 60’s, blew me away, then, “Emerson, Lake & Palmer,” took it to a new level.

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Whemenoc Alarms says:

    I make my own electronic music only as a hobby.

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Fred Patton says:

    Well, old or not, that was the clearest explanation I’ve seen yet of the basics of analog synths, including the manipulation of waveforms and envelopes. Very cool!

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars lordmuntague says:

    Wow! I've adored synth music ever since my older brothers started playing Isao Tomita and Jean Michel Jarre at home in the 70s. Hope this gets listed Fran, I'd love to forward the link to my friend Jose at the DX5 channel, this will be right up his street.

    PS: How's the move going?

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars D. Stuart says:

    Another way cool and informative transfer! Switched on Bach was my intro into synth music, what a great work that is. As a rabid techie and music nut, this is great. And still can't get over how nicely your telecine works. Great pic, smooth and detailed. What would have happened had Bach been able to get his paws on a Fairlight… The mind boggles… Thanks again, Fran! Lovin' these 16mm converts. You have a cool collection of film. (The days of arguing with a cranky old Bell & Howell at school coming back to mind…)
    Thanks again for sharing… Stay safe! Stu

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars tapewolf says:

    How bizarre. On one hand they did an amazing job keeping the look and feel consistent, but at the end of the day, it comes across like the Fairlight was somehow transported to 1969.

  15. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars noakeswalker says:

    Great stuff Fran. Nice to see a Moog analogue synth in its original kind of setting here.
    In about 1970 (?) BBC dj Kenny Everett used to play chunks of Wendy Carlos' versions of Bach on his radio prog., on a Saturday lunchtime, as I remember.

  16. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Keri Szafir says:

    What a lovely movie! It's mere basics, doesn't cover all these VCOs, VCAs, compressors, limiters, whatnot, but still… I'll recommend it to anyone interested.
    I was keen on building my own modular synth for many years, but the costs and complication put me off; now it's possible that I'll work on a synth project together with the local hackerspace.

  17. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Dr. Zarkhov says:

    Not a minute in and I'm having a flashback….no, not that kind, my friends and I used to borrow the County library rental projector and a selection of films that were available. Anything from "Hemo The Magnificent" about hemoglobin as I remember it, and that great episode of Twilight Zone, "An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge". If you've never seen it, search it out. It's gotta be up here somewhere. Thanks for sharing the film archive Fran. It is a genuine pleasure! I have some old 16 and 8mm things myself. Nothing of the caliber you've been showing us though.😀

  18. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Warren Harrison says:

    This is right in my wheel house. Thanks for sharing, Fran! 💙🌟🎶

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