Jump to content

Topic: Subotnick: Portrait of an Electronic Music Pioneer

Recommended Posts

A feature-length documentary about seminal avant-garde electronic music composer, Morton Subotnick.

Waveshaper Media, the makers of 2014's acclaimed modular synthesizer documentary "I Dream Of Wires," is excited to announce that production is now underway for a new, official bio-documentary about revered avant-garde music composer, and electronic music pioneer, Morton Subotnick. Through a series of candid interviews and illuminating conversations with key figures from his past and present, "Subotnick" will provide an overview of this fascinating composer’s rich life and uncompromising career.

In Subotnick, we follow 84-year-old Morton Subotnick as he travels to perform at music festivals where, much to his puzzlement, he finds himself celebrated by young audiences as the “father of techno." Through personal recollections, and archival films and images, the film traces a career that spans nearly six decades. From his early years as a pioneer of the American avant-garde, to his newly acquired status as a renowned electronic music icon, Subotnick paints an intimate portrait of one of America’s most influential composers - a man more sharp, driven and charismatic than most people half his age. Subotnick explores both the recent explosion of interest in his work, including a busy touring schedule, and the ongoing creation of a new work, to be filmed for the documentary at its Lincoln Center premiere performance in July. Through a series of candid interviews and illuminating conversations with key figures from his past and present, Subotnick will provide an overview of the composer’s rich life and uncompromising career - from his military service during the Korean War, to playing clarinet for the San Francisco Symphony, to co-founding the seminal San Francisco Tape Music Center in the heart of the West Coast psychedelic underground, up to his lifelong dedication to alternative music education through software innovation. In profiling Subotnick’s entire life and career, we reveal a man of uncompromising vision, devoted to breaking new musical ground and still shattering the rules of music as we know it.

Working with engineer Don Buchla in the early 1960s, Subotnick commissioned one of the world’s first electronic music synthesizers, which he first put to use on his 1967 album “Silver Apples of the Moon” - a breakthrough recording that became a landmark of the psychedelic era, and was recently inducted into the National Registry of Recorded Works at the US Library of Congress. As modern day music critics and listeners have started charting the evolution of music genres like techno and electronica, many branches of the family tree point to Morton Subotnick.

Morton Subotnick's legacy and impact on electronic music are undeniable, and so it came as a surprise when we asked Mort if anyone had ever approached him before about making a documentary about his life and career; he replied that nobody had. We were extremely honored when he agreed to our proposal, in early 2016, to document his life and career, and we've been periodically meeting with Mort to film, as time and funds have permitted, ever since.

In September 2016, legendary synthesizer designer Don Buchla passed away. Buchla had been a crucial collaborator in Mort's life, the man who brought his vision of an "Electronic Music Easel" - an instrument that would transform Subotnick's career - to life. We had been in discussions with Mort to visit San Francisco to film a meeting between the two old friends, and despite the fact that Don Buchla was in the final stages of a long battle with cancer, he was very enthusiastic about being a part of "Subotnick." Regretfully, we missed our opportunity to include Don Buchla when he passed away. Shortly after Buchla's passing, two more crucial figures from Mort's story, fellow San Francisco Tape Music Center alumni Pauline Oliveros and William Maginnis, also passed away.

It's become clear that we don't have all of the time in world to complete filming - the time to document Mort's story is now, while those who were a part of it are still alive to tell it. It's been a familiar story in our ongoing quest to document electronic music history, through our previous work on "I Dream Of Wires," and particularly with our upcoming Bob Moog doc, "Electronic Voyager." We've self-funded as much filming for "Subotnick" as we could afford to, investing nearly $15,000 of our own money into production to date, but we're now turning to fellow electronic music enthusiasts and historians, our followers, and Morton Subotnick's fans, to help us fund the final production costs to complete filming for "Subotnick."

View full movie

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...