Monday, February 7, 2011
ECCENTRIC CURRENTS: A New Buchla 200e Module
A prototype 272e weighed in at last month's NAMM and seemingly caused a bit of a stir with the Buchla faithful, as it's not an oscillator or a processing module, but a "Polyphonic Tuner". Unfortunately there is no info about its price or availability at the moment, a sad statement of fact as I'll be lining up to grab one at its release. One Buchla user bemoaned its existence as an elitist, experimentalist's tool with very little to offer beyond noise. Well, I'm perfectly at home with between station static, as well as the transitory detritus often referred to as "radio". To me, this seems like a chance to process those messages from the ether, or merely allow bits of reality into electronic music, much like Picasso and Braque collaged found pieces of street refuse on to their canvases. It's also an opportunity to promote chance or randomness in experimental music, an idea first heard in works by John Cage ("Imaginary Landscape #4" from 1951 for twelve radio receivers) and Karlheinz Stockhausen (some versions of Hymnen from 1966). I've heard rumblings that this 200e module had its genesis in a voltage-controlled radio Don Buchla made for David Tudor in the Sixties, and later found form in a one-off made for Ezra Buchla. Who knows the truth about this eccentric module? I'll stay tuned.