Morton Subotnick

Morton Subotnick’s Silver Apples Of The Moon, written in 1967, was the first piece of fully electronic music ever written specifically for commercial record release. Today it sounds quaint and a little dated, understandable when you realise it was performed on the primitive Bulcha which, along with the Moog, was one of the earliest synthesisers. Silver Apples is utterly fascinating nonetheless.

artist:
Morton Subotnick

country of origin:
USA

style(s):
Classical avant garde, electronic, ambient

decades active:
60's - 90's

essential releases:

  • Silver Apples Of The Moon + The Wild Bull (1968, Wergo)
  • The Key To Songs (1985, New Albion)
  • Return: A Triumph Of Reason (1986, New Albion)

Reviewed by Mike G

Students of electronic music will be interested to know that Morton Subotnick’s pioneering Silver Apples Of The Moon, written in 1967, was the first piece of fully electronic music ever written specifically for commercial record release. Today it sounds quaint and a little dated, understandable when you realise it was performed on the primitive Bulcha which, along with the Moog, was one of the earliest synthesisers. Silver Apples is utterly fascinating nonetheless. It's typical of his earliest recorded works and it remains among his most challenging, with elements of Stockhausen and other classical avant-garde noise terrorists giving his colourful, energetic electronics a giddy, unpredictable bent. The particular album release listed above is from 1968 and pairs his best known work with "The Wild Bull", another piece written during the same period.

In contrast, his two superb albums for the New Albion label from the 1980’s - The Key to Songs (1985) and Return: A Triumph Of Reason (1986) - offer a more generous compromise between demanding experimentation and melodic accessibility. These are his best latter-day albums; since the late 90's relatively little new music has appeared from him. He does, however, remain popular on the lecture circuit, enjoying his role as one of the grandfathers of electronica imparting ideas and insights to younger generations of e-musicians and theorists.

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