LOUIS & BEBE BARRON: EXPLORING THE SOUNDS OF FORBIDDEN PLANET
Louis and Bebe Barron are widely credited with composing the first all electronic film score in 1956. Considering the meager machinery at their disposal, the soundtrack for "Forbidden Planet" is otherworldly, dreamlike, and richly psychological in its summoning up of internal demons and their destructive possibilities. Armed with only a few reel to reel tape recorders and some circuits built by electronics wiz Louis, the couple slowly and laboriously used cut and paste tape editing to create their masterpiece. Bebe, the composer used looping to create rhythms, reversed and speeded up tapes during the mixdown to further modulate the original sounds, and added delay for spatial effects. The result was a blurring of the line between music and sound effects. The film's producer had originally wanted Harry Partch to do the score, but I believe that the Barron's use of pure electronics was more appropriate to the movie and brought what were once thought arcane sounds to a much wider audience. Sound and vision, indeed.