The Other Side: Raymond Scott ‘radio music of the future’

Written by on April 2, 2021

On the next edition of The Other Side
Tuesday April 6, 8-10PM

Sequestered episode #53: Raymond Scott ‘radio music of the future’

This week’s Other Side features the music of Raymond Scott, a visionary inventor, composer and all around cool dude. Born Harry Warnow in 1908, he changed his name in 1934 so as not to be in conflict with his older brother who was already a notable radio music personality. Apparently he just randomly picked the name out of the New York phone book.  He was a 1931 graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, and In 1937 his first major studio date produced “Powerhouse,” “The Toy Trumpet,” “Minuet in Jazz,” and “Twilight in Turkey.”  In 1942 he breaks the color barrier by forming the first racially-mixed network radio orchestra. In 1948 he began a decade of development on a mostrous sound-effect generator known as “Karloff“, as a nod to actor Boris Karloff who turned Dr. Frankenstein’d monster into a cinematic icon.  In 1952 he starts development on an electronic music device, the Clavivox, which later evolved into an early keyboard synthesizer. The same year he also builds two of the world’s first multi-track tape recorders.  Between 1956/1961 he invents no less than six electronic music devices, including the “Circle Machine“, the “Electronium“, the “Automatic Tape Transporting and Position Selecting Device”, the “Rhythm Synthesizer”, the “Pitch Sequencer”, and an electronic music device called the “Juxtaposition Matrix.”  Besides scoring numerous motion pictures for directors such as Alfred Hitchcok, he meets a young Bob Moog in 1955 establishing a lifelong friendship. In 1963 he records three all-electronic proto-“ambient” LPs, “Soothing Sounds for Baby“, and invents yet another electronic music device called “Bandito the Bongo Artist” (an early drum machine).  In 1970 he meets Barry Gordy, president of Motown Records, and later in 1971, takes on a full-time position as Director of Electronic Music Research and Development at Motown.  And folks trust me when I tell you this is just barely scratching the surface of how Raymond Scott’s fascinating life produced such an amazing legacy. Sure to be a trippy fun evening of sounds and music by one of the world’s more obscure legends.  That’s Tuesday April 6, 8-10PM, and only on KVMR.

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