The Hammond Organ was the first electronic musical instrument to become commercially successful. Just two years after it went on sale in 1935, major radio stations and Hollywood studios, hundreds of individuals, and over 2,500 churches had purchased a Hammond. The instrument had a major impact on the soundscape of both popular and religious musical life in the U.S., but it has been largely ignored by electronic music historians. Like the Telharmonium and theremin, whose own popular pasts are not widely known, the Hammond’s early history has much to teach us about how American audiences first encountered and understood electronic musical sound.
In podcast Manifesto's sixth episode, "Jake and Phil side with the madmen, hermits, heretics, dreamers, rebels and skeptics on this episode, discussing Yevgeny Zamyatin's “On Literature, Revolution, Entropy, and Other Matters,” alongside the paintings Composition VI and Composition VII, by Vasily Kandinsky."
Is Weather Report your best musical experience so far?
[Pause] Improvisationally, yeah, no question about it. Show-wise, on stage, I've done a lot heavier things. But this will be that heavy pretty soon, too. This is a brand new band, we never even had any rehearsals. Improvisation, though, is really high. This band is really throwing the music out there, it's like the music is really breathing. It's never the same from night to night—every night is completely different.
Even though we're using tunes as motifs, that's all they're being used for. The basic thing we're doing is improvising, but we're making it sound like we're not improvising. That sounds sort of like a contradiction, but there's something to that. In other words, you play, and you just try to make it sound clean enough so that people don't get drug out [laughs] and you can still work and have fun. There's a fine line. You can't even talk about it, really, but essentially that's what we're doing, we're making improvised music sound written.
"So the paradox is, that it's much easier to imagine the end of all life on earth than a much more modest radical change in capitalism." - Žižek
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