“… the advent of fast, inexpensive, digital chips made real-time possible, and equally important, made it affordable.”

Electronic & computer musicians, raise your glasses in tribute to a trail-blazer who passed away at the age of 84 yesterday. Max Mathews wasn’t the first to play computer-generated music, but he wrote plenty of programs and built a lot of interfaces and devices like the Radio Baton, a forerunner of the Wii and the Arduino, to get us to this point.

He programmed the accompaniment to the song “Daisy Bell” for the first computer-synthesized human vocal- and inspired Stanley Kubrick to have the HAL 9000 sing the same song during its (his?) shutdown.

So the next time you use Ableton Live, or a Vocoder, or any sequencer- or your Wii, for that matter- be sure to say thanks to Max.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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