The Oscillator is a walk in modular analog synthesizer circa 1970. Based on the Moog synthesiser, this musical installation provides an opportunity to step back into the formative years of the electronica revolution and create artisan ephemeral soundscapes.
Presented as part of St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival
The use of electronic instruments to create soundscapes was first explored in electronic test labs in the 1950’s. The ability of such electronic instruments (analog synthesisers) to provide an almost infinite amount of sound possibilities in a spectrum ranging from the unstructured sound (noise) to musical notes was revelatory. Avant-garde composers and groups such as the BBC Radiophonic workshop employing pioneering composers such as Daphne Oram and Delia Derbyshire explored the sound creation of such instruments and famously realised the Dr Who theme which is considered an innovative piece of electronic music.
It wasn’t until the late 1950’s that these modular analog synthesisers became commercially available with the Moog synthesiser considered the most influential in bringing about a revolution in music (1968’s Switched on Bach by Wendy Carlos played on a Moog is considered a milestone in this revolution) that would lead to the many variations of modern day electronica and techno. Tangerine dream (founded in 1967) and other German bands of the 1970’s were big exponents of the analog synthesisers and their use of synthesisers would pave the way for groups such as Kraftwerk whom are considered the pioneers of popular Techno/Electronic music composition.
The oscillator has no modern day computer memory to allow for a particular sound to be heard again, it exists purely in the moment thereby taking the audience back to a time when analog synthesis ruled the musical landscape.