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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Great Scott

By Robert Wood

Warm birthday wishes are in order for composer and inventor Raymond Scott, who would have been 105 today. Best known as the go-to man for musical zaniness in the 50s and 60s—Looney Tunes purchased his entire back catalog for use in their cartoons—the Brooklyn-born Scott might be better remembered as one of the fathers of electronic music, responsible for such instruments as the Clavivox (co-designed by a young Bob Moog), the Videola (a film music recording tool), and, perhaps most impressively, the Electronium.

Designed to be an “electronic composing machine" and described by Scott as a “cockpit of dreams,” the hulking Electronium—bedecked with more buttons and switches than the dashboard of the Space Shuttle—is a partial inspiration for Questlove’s upcoming show at BAM, which will celebrate the history of electronic music as only the indelibly plugged-in drummer can.

We’ll have more to say about Scott later, but for now we say happy birthday, sir, wherever your current cockpit. Here's a video:

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