Morton Subotnick on funding the Buchla

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sempervirent
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Morton Subotnick on funding the Buchla

Post by sempervirent » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:11 pm

[video][/video]

Video from 1998 (which resurfaced on Synthtopia recently) with Subotnick talking about the challenges of getting the initial funding for what turned into the Buchla 100.

For the guy writing the checks it was probably just another day at the office – "OK Mort, here's $500, go for it" – but incidentally this changed the course of music for all time.

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Re: Morton Subotnick on funding the Buchla

Post by dubonaire » Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:51 am

sempervirent wrote:[video][/video]

Video from 1998 (which resurfaced on Synthtopia recently) with Subotnick talking about the challenges of getting the initial funding for what turned into the Buchla 100.

For the guy writing the checks it was probably just another day at the office – "OK Mort, here's $500, go for it" – but incidentally this changed the course of music for all time.
I'm going to sound negative here but I like the "it was all me" tone of this less than I like the wallpaper and the chair, and I really dislike the wallpaper and the chair.

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Re: Morton Subotnick on funding the Buchla

Post by vanadl138 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:17 pm

dubonaire wrote:
sempervirent wrote:[video][/video]

Video from 1998 (which resurfaced on Synthtopia recently) with Subotnick talking about the challenges of getting the initial funding for what turned into the Buchla 100.

For the guy writing the checks it was probably just another day at the office – "OK Mort, here's $500, go for it" – but incidentally this changed the course of music for all time.
I'm going to sound negative here but I like the "it was all me" tone of this less than I like the wallpaper and the chair, and I really dislike the wallpaper and the chair.
I get it, but I also get that most artists need an ego to survive. Otherwise they would continue to make music in their basement and never release it to the public to enjoy.

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Re: Morton Subotnick on funding the Buchla

Post by dubonaire » Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:07 pm

vanadl138 wrote:
I get it, but I also get that most artists need an ego to survive. Otherwise they would continue to make music in their basement and never release it to the public to enjoy.
Good point.

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Re: Morton Subotnick on funding the Buchla

Post by legionhwp » Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:41 pm

That does sound negative. I took away something very different. He wasn’t humble bragging that people knew him, they did. He also pointed out he wasn’t famous, he simply was known in the small academic circle the people who hand out the grants live in. That how he was able to even talk to them.

And he also pointed out the small pond he and the SF gang were building wasn’t even on the radar of the money folk. They refused to fund *another* electronic music studio because they flat out said no one really thought it was in demand and the music (that subotnik , etc) were doing wasn’t worth it. Hardly seems like he’s patting himself on the back here.

So he tried a few times and states it was only when they got Don Buchla on board that we was successful in getting a measly $500. He’s even laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.

I’d dunno, to me he does sound like a great guy who made a difference by working hard to help the tape center and those who believed in this stuff. I guess you could say he was cocky for not jumping on the Moog/keyboard wagon of electronic music and insisting on going in a different direction but I’m guessing most members on this Buchla forum see that as a pretty big positive too :guinness:


dubonaire wrote: I'm going to sound negative here but I like the "it was all me" tone of this less than I like the wallpaper and the chair, and I really dislike the wallpaper and the chair.
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Post by dubonaire » Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:26 pm

I'll have to accept I was being grumpy. Still don't like the wallpaper though :woah:

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Post by sempervirent » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:26 pm

IMO the interesting thing is the sense that the fabled $500 grant almost didn't materialize. Maybe other funding sources would have been pursued, just interesting to consider as a "what if" scenario.

Seems like Waveshaper Media's "Subotnick" documentary is on the back burner for now as they finish up their Moog doc, but the latest update on the long-awaited Clarity Films doc is that it's in the final stages of editing. Hopefully we'll be seeing more historical anecdotes like this coming out.

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Post by dubonaire » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:59 am

sempervirent wrote:IMO the interesting thing is the sense that the fabled $500 grant almost didn't materialize. Maybe other funding sources would have been pursued, just interesting to consider as a "what if" scenario.
Yeah that's true. Imagine how many million times that plays out all over the world every day, and cascades and branches out to infinity, from a woman applying for a micro loan in Bangladesh to a research grant applicant in Australia to a company trying to avoid insolvency in Denmark, or swiping left or right, ad infinitum.

Image

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Post by sempervirent » Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:47 pm

Exactly. That's what I was getting at. The mythos presumes that the invention of the Buchla (or any other instrument) was a fait accompli but that's only because we are downstream from a certain version of history.

Great diagram too. Even without knowing exactly what phenomenon it represents the pattern is clear and as you say this pattern plays out in myriad ways every day.

Not to get too far off the topic but there's a concept called constructal theory or constructal law (most heavily researched by Adrian Bejan) that goes into this idea from a mathematical perspective. It maps out flows (of virtually any type: water, electricity, capital, people, ideas) as branching structures that tend towards greater efficiency over time. This approach makes it all seem a bit less mysterious but no less fascinating.

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Post by dubonaire » Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:52 pm

sempervirent wrote:Exactly. That's what I was getting at. The mythos presumes that the invention of the Buchla (or any other instrument) was a fait accompli but that's only because we are downstream from a certain version of history.

Great diagram too. Even without knowing exactly what phenomenon it represents the pattern is clear and as you say this pattern plays out in myriad ways every day.

Not to get too far off the topic but there's a concept called constructal theory or constructal law (most heavily researched by Adrian Bejan) that goes into this idea from a mathematical perspective. It maps out flows (of virtually any type: water, electricity, capital, people, ideas) as branching structures that tend towards greater efficiency over time. This approach makes it all seem a bit less mysterious but no less fascinating.
Interesting you mention that because the image is a bifurcation fractal and constructal theory is said to replace the belief that nature is fractal.

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