Raymond Scott
Guy Lochhead, 07/09/10
American composer, bandleader and electronic music pioneer. Scott started out playing a tight style of revitalised swing music in a number of groups. This music was used by Carl Stalling in Looney Tunes cartoons, and he is often misidentified as a cartoon composer. He would always spend a long time in the studio, and this interest in sonic properties led him to invent some of the first electronic instruments – the clavivox and electronium, for example. His early work in electronic music bridged the gap between entertainment, pop music, practical use and elitist nerdiness in a way that was completely new, and still sounds fresh today. He was overlooked in his time, and died impoverished after a stroke left him unable to talk or compose. Scott was amazing, and I’d like to include his 1964 album ‘Soothing Sounds For Baby’. This was a collaboration with the Gesell Institute of Child Development, and was intended to help infants sleep, and its ambient electronic tracks pre-date similar work by Eno, Tangerine Dream and Aphex Twin by many years. I think these recordings are a great example of his belief in a practical application of electronic music, and a testament to his ability as a visionary inventor and composer. I’ll include the vinyl version with the original booklet from the Gesell Institute rather than the retrospective appreciation of the CD re-issues.

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