Since I’ve been on the subject of Thomas Edison, I figured I should link him up to my latest listen…. so here we go.
Thanks to all of the fancy new tape machines and microphones being developed in the post-Edison world, the people of the early 2oth century, seem to have been clamoring to record anything and everything ad nauseam… from symphonies to speech to the sounds of nature and industry. With only a few decades of material to pull from, two Frenchmen named Pierre decided to take some of these relatively “new” audio recordings, dice them up and use the primitive samples that resulted, to create an entirely new type of music (or musical movement rather). Here’s an example…
Pierre Schaeffer & Pierre Henry
“Symphonie Pour Un Homme Seul, Waltz” (1950)
Ok, so its not pop music, but since the music I’m working on right now is really rooted in the looping of human speech and sounds, I owe a great deal to Schaeffer & Henry for pioneering the art of composing with samples. They treated each segment of recorded sound as an instrument, seamlessly arranging them in a systematically musical yet disjunct sounding way. According to Schaeffer (per some French website that’s better at restating the obvious than I am), he intended to “challenge the primary opposition between sound and noise to discover the musical potential of sound usually regarded as noise.” Bravo Pierre.
Anyway, if you have a chance, clear your mind, take a listen, and let yourself time travel to a world without protools.
PS. I originally wrote this with the added perspective of my music history interests… but decided that I ramble too much, so its shorter now.