Between Two Worlds

The Open Door: Macintosh, MIDI, and Music [1988]

“The synthesizer and computer are going to become the folk instrument of the 80’s”

Happy New Year Everybody! Here’s a great promotional short video from Apple Inc. circa 1988 showcasing the midi sequencing and sampling capabilities of the Macintosh Plus computer. It features many top music celebrities and musical pioneers of the time – endorsees include Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Tony Williams, Laurie Anderson, Santana and more. Lots of kool keyboards and synthesizers to see in action. The video kinda speaks for itself and it is a very fun view.  Enjoy!!

Oscar Peterson on the Synclavier [1983]

Happy New Year everybody, and here we have a marvelous video clip of the illustrious Canadian jazz pianist and composer Oscar Peterson in full-blown electronic home-studio mode! Oscar speaks candidly of the limitations he and his friends encounter on the piano. All-in-all he seems quite comfortable with (and excited by!) the new possibilities available within the latest sequencing and sound technologies, and especially the Synclavier II workstation. There are many beautiful synthesizers cameos herein, including a giant Roland System 100m, Roland System 700, Roland Jupiter 8, ARP 2500, ARP Chroma, and more. We understand Oscar was sponsored by Roland at around the time this video was produced. We would be thrilled to hear more of his electronic recordings.


Mike Brigida and Friends [1980?]

“…Mike Brigida welcome to the show and Season’s Greetings to you”

And Season’s Greetings to all our lovely readers out there. Today we have an all-ARP synthesizer combo performing live a wicked rendition of Duke Ellington’s Take The A Train on WCVB-TV Boston’s The Good Day Show sometime about 1980.  Mr. Brigida we understand was a product specialist for ARP Instruments Inc (located in nearby Newton, MA) at the time, and currently he teaches Electronic Production & Design at Berklee School of Music. THANK YOU, MIKE!

POLYMOOG 16mm Promotional Film [1975]

“I’m a studio player and I like the poly because it’s fast to program and thus it saves me studio costs. But because it is easy to program it lends itself beautifully to live performance”

“So with the polymoog I can see that it’s very easy to find just the settings I need for the compositions that I’m gonna do and have them there at a touch of a finger”

“So here we have a dynamic keyboard and a polyphonic synthesizer that I can play with… BOTH HANDS

Moog System 55 featured on “Tomorrow’s World” [1969]

For the Moog System 55, here’s a short introductory segment featured as part of the long-running BBC technology program “Tomorrow’s World”. This segment was first broadcast on September 30th 1969. The player/programmer is Mike Vickers onetime member of the renowned UK pop group Manfred Mann, and whose 1972 solo album for KPM A Moog For All Reasons is a special favourite around here. Note also that Mike is recording to a Scully 280 4 track 1/2″ tape machine, then a popular machine. Enjoy!

PS: A pleasant surprise (after some 40 years) Moog Music has recently re-issued their trusty System 55! Has anyone out there had a chance to play one?


Here’s a fun (if basic) overview of electronic music production as it was seen in 1983, just before digital synthesis took over in the form of the Yamaha DX-7, and MIDI became standardized. This short film features many fine pieces of hardware, from the time-tested Moog 3P modular system to the then-new Fairlight CMI series II. Noted synthesist and composer Douglas Leedy (r.i.p.) is one of the featured performers, which is a special treat. Does anyone have any further information regarding the (Bell Labs?) computer synthesizer also within?

“Electronic Communications Processor” – A Demonstration of The Bell Labs Digital Synthesizer feat. Roger Powell & Laurie Spiegel [1977]

Here’s a newly-uploaded demonstration video of the Bell Labs Digital Synthesizer, a important instrument. Secondly, please also enjoy the magnificent performance video by one of our favorite electronic music composers Laurie Spiegel, on that same instrument. Thank you!

Secrets of Analog and Digital Synthesis [1985]

Here we have a well-made (& thorough!) introductory lesson on the nature of synthesized sound, in two parts. Hosted by noted synthesis expert and author Steve DiFuria and produced by Syntharts in 1985, this video features many wonderful “peak-period” synthesizer tools, and the lessons are supplemented by some cool, easy-to-absorb graphic representations.  We highly recommended this as a gateway into the wild world of synthesizer sound creation & understanding. Enjoy!

Synclavier: “Word Processor For The Composer” [1986]

Here, we are treated to a few moments in studio with popular jazz guitarist Pat Matheny, as he demonstrates several uses of his Synclavier II in 1986. Mr. Matheny was instrumental in helping New England Digital to develop the digital guitar interface for this magnificent workstation. Does anyone out there know from what program this clip comes? Or who the interviewer might be? Enjoy this video!

“Pinball Symphony” Suzanne Ciani In Studio [1980]

Here is wonderful documentary piece from the short-lived U.S. television program Omni: The New FrontierIn this episode, we explore the world of early 1980’s chip-based sound design for pinball machines w/ the one and only Suzanne Ciani!  Inside her NY studio, she is working hard on the sound for XENON pinball. We are treated to glimpses of some wonderful period instruments & processors in action, including  Synclavier II, Buchla 200, Bode Vocoder, Eventide 949, Roland MC-8, Polyfusion FF-1 Frequency Follower & more.

It’s a special treat to see Suzanne working to develop different voices for the machine (what was to become the very first “speaking” pinball machine), and also to see how she presented her unique input to game designers Greg Kmiec & Paul Faris.  “Try a Tube Shot!”  For more information on Suzanne’s involvement w/ Xenon project and/or to download sound sets, you can visit her webpage on the subject. Does anyone out there remember XENON?

Fantastic Synthesizer Television Logos Part.07 VHS Ed. [1986]

A very nice logo from Columbian programadora PROMEC TELEVISION! Maybe what makes this logo so special is its unique form?  As the graphic builds, the audio track abruptly transitions from synthesized SFX to synthesized music (funky music).  The music “hangs” after the graphic completes & there is a spoken announcement while the music lowers & livens, before closing quickly at full volume. See for yourself above – very progressive! Do you connect with this logo? Why?

Elaine Radigue, in studio [2006]

I am pleased to have just yesterday come across this very nice 2006 video interview w/ French composer Elaine Radigue. It was taken in her home studio (in France somewhere?). What can I say? Before yesterday, I had no idea who Elaine was! Immediately I came to appreciate the spirited delivery of her many unique perspectives on music & sound. Most importantly (perhaps), she has remained true to the ARP 2500 & used it as her primary composition tool for over 30 years!! Thanks Elaine, please call me! 😉


This clip is what I might describe as a “excellent video tour” of the legend Isao Tomita’s synthesizer studio, taken sometime in the late 1970s. This video is entirely in Japanese, and features some magnificent period machines like the then-new ROLAND MC-8, the MOOG SYSTEM 55, and what appears to be an early version of the OTARI MTR-90 16 track recorder – among many, many other fine machines! It seems so crammed up in there! There is also a portion of this video that is most touching. At approx 5:33, you are transported to a classroom where there’s a Junior High synthesizer ensemble rehearsing Dvorák’s “New World Symphony” (4th movement) (thx Josh!) on their Yamaha CS machines .  Anybody have any translated insight or information to share regarding this video? View another btw Tomita post here!