Experimental & Avant-Garde

Morton Subotnick

When: Sat., Feb. 7, 8-10:30 p.m. 2015

Morton Subotnick has an impressive academic pedigree. He’s a pioneer, after all — in interactive computer music systems and analog synthesizer composition, the wheelhouse of the music department at Mills College (5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland) where Subotnick is slated to lecture and perform on Saturday. Given that cachet, Subotnick’s disciples might scoff at a description of him as a doodad maestro marshaling gadgetry into the service of wild sounds, but that’s what his best-known recordings are like. Crucially, he issued some of the earliest and best commercial recordings created on Donald Buchla’s groundbreaking synthesizer. 1967’s Silver Apples of the Moon, and especially 1968’s The Wild Bull, are landmarks to any scholar of electronic music — but they’re also tremendous listens, with sidelong pieces of chilling, unnerving atmosphere snapping into alien clamor. Subotnick’s instincts as a composer and sound designer warrant the attendance of learned academics and autodidactic aesthetes alike.

Sam Lefebvre

Price: $15 general, $10 seniors and students

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