Buchla USA, together with San Francisco Tape Music Center founders Morton Subotnick and Ramon Sender and Buchla Instrument expert and artist consultant Todd Barton, will be bringing the historic and groundbreaking San Francisco Tape Music Center 100 Series back in its original form and format.
San Francisco Tape Music Center 100 Series
The San Francisco Tape Music Center was founded as a “nonprofit cultural and educational corporation” in 1962 by composers Pauline Oliveros, Morton Subotnick and Ramon Sender, SFTMC’s purpose was to explore tape as a creative medium, and propagate the knowledge to those interested in working with it. SFTMC was also, by way of Don Buchla and his modular system, instrumental in the development of the modern synthesizer.
In 1965 Don Buchla began working with Morton Subotnick at the San Francisco Tape Music Center on an electronic instrument that Morton could use to generate sounds and music in the studio. He likened it to being a machine that would enable him to work like a painter working on a canvas with vinyl records being the end result. That machine became the 100 series modular synthesizer.
It usually consisted of up to 25 modules arranged in a rather beautiful wooden case at the sort of upright angle you’d expect with test equipment. The modules were the building blocks of synthesis with voltage controller oscillators, filters, modulators and so on. You’d also find more unusual things like microphone and instrument input modules, harmonic generators, EQ, reverb and random generators. They had pressure plate keyboards which could be individually tuned and generate CV when you leant on them for some nice aftertouch style interaction. Sequencing was provided by 8 or 16 step modules.
What would once have been mystifying to anyone other than engineers now looks familiar and approachable and it’s absolutely the right time for this sort of thing to return.
Here’s Morton Subotnick talking about the origins of the 100 series.
Buchla USA says it will be built in its original form and format and will also be available as a kit for the adventurous. Pricing and delivery to be announced.