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Published on Jun 29, 2007

Sound, the infinite frontier! Science had chopped the world into atoms, components from which to build. Modern art deconstructed reality, reconstructing our perceptions of it. And the first Electronic Music likewise took apart sound and turned it inside out for new compositions. Vladimir Ussachevsky founded the first Electronic Music Center jointly with Columbian and Princeton universities in 1952. He brought in avant composers from countries worldwide with new perspectives and radical expirementation. This included women like Daria Semegen, Pril Smiley, Wendy Carlos, and Alice Shields. In the 50's, Electronic Music was distortions of recordings. Sounds on a tape recorder would be manipulated by feedback, repeated spliced loops, overlapping tracks with multiple recorders, and using oscillators and reverb to sculpt the tempo, tone, or texture. This prevailed in continually advancing ways well through the 1960s. Alice used these techniques in creating this composition. A gifted mezzesoprano, she first sang a poem she'd written. She accompanied this with the first analog Buchla synthesizer, a rare and recent device only beginning to draw the attention of the hippest pop musicians. She then manipulated pitch and speed in textural patterns to supplement the freeform song. This was the cutting edge music of the future, usually heard only in academic circles. But it made its way into film soundtracks (from FORBIDDEN PLANET to Wendy Carlos' A CLOCKWORK ORANGE), Fusion Jazz (Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock), Progressive Rock (from George Harrison's 1969 ELECTRONIC SOUND to Krautrock and Kraftwerk), Funk (Stevie Wonder's T.O.N.T.O., Bernie Worrell), on to the synthesizer explosion of New Wave, then Hip Hop (from Bambaataa's ElectroFunk to Public Enemy's radical sculptures of noise), Industrial (synthetic abrasion), and the Electronica music of today; as such, Alice Shields is a godmother of Le Tigre, Peaches, Chicks On Speed, Lesbians On Ecstasy, and Ladytron, to name a few.

Learn more about Alice and her recent work here:

From the 1950s' to the 1970's was the Space Age. The gleaming future was predicted in every corner of life, from music to clothes, fabrics, furniture, architecture, technology, cars, movies, television, comic books and illustrated strips, and of course science fiction. Every take on the future was a promise of a better tomorrow, or a warning. This video pays homage to much of the pop culture from the early 60's to the mid 70's, focusing on the women and their emerging new roles and styles: THE JETSONS; BARBARELLA; the Silver Surfer's purpose, Shalla Bal; Nick Fury's better half, the contessa Val, courtesy of visionary Jim Steranko; Lt. Uhura and the varied women of STAR TREK; 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY; the EXPO '70 future city in Japan; Big Barda from Jack Kirby's New Gods comics; Lt. Ellis and the purple squad from UFO (U.K., 1970-73); decked out in Dave Cockrum's radical costumes, Saturn Girl and sisters from the Legion of Super-Heroes (1974); and Labelle kicking Funk to the future like Parliament.

See also:
DELIA DERBYSHIRE- "The Wizards Laboratory" (1972)

MALARIA! -"Your Turn To Run" (1982)

(All rights reserved. Fan-made nonprofit video to promote awareness of the artist, and the surrounding pop culture of the times.)
Tym Stevens

  • Category

  • Song

  • Artist

    • Alice Shields
  • Album

    • Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center 1961-1973
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • The Orchard Music (on behalf of New World Records), and 1 Music Rights Societies


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