Thursday, March 21, 2013

Open Thread: What Was the First Electronic Sound That Caught Your Ears?

Since you're reading this blog, it's safe to assume you're probably pretty into electronic music.  In talking to a lot of other electronic musicians over the years, I've discovered that for many of us, there was a specific sound on a song that lit that spark of interest in synths.  For me, it was the eerie Vox Humana preset from the Moog Polymoog on Gary Numan's famous "Cars".  Both that, and the white noise "claps" on that song blew my little 8-year-old mind the first time I heard that song on the radio and a lifelong obsession began.  Was there a similar sound in a song that did it for you?  Most of us have certain types of sounds you gravitate to... what are yours?

(By the way, if you want some free samples of the Polymoog Vox Humana preset as used by Gary Numan, Hollowsun has some great ones in their free sample selection.

22 comments:

Devin said...

im assuming it was 80s new wave given my parents taste in music

Paul said...

This may sound rather strange, all things considered, but the first electronic sound to catch my attention was OMD. I remember that my dad had a cd of theirs floating around the house which I 'borrowed' when I was bored. To be honest, it absolutely blew me away and I still enjoy listening to them today. There's something special about it when your ipod shuffles from a powerful VNV Nation into something like Enola Gay.

Adam Dubbleu said...

Bassline in Sweet Dreams and Head Like a Hole.

gaswerk-music said...

It is long ago, but I´m sure it was Emerson´s synth solo in Lucky Man (1970), when I was 13.

Unknown said...

The lead synth in Soft Cells "Tainted Love" cover. Still awesome.

fractured said...

I have no idea what I'd point to. There was so much around in the early 80s, but the seed was sown in the 70s. My mum was a huge Beatles fan, so I was already hearing some stuff on record and 8 track tape, and I like Jeff Lynne's work in ELO. By the time the 80s came around, I was deeply in love. The Human League and Gary Numan caught my attention. In 1981, a schoolmate let me program his Korg PolySix. When I heard Depeche Mode on the radio in England in 1982, I knew I wanted synthesizers of my own.

Unknown said...

For me it was all the Moog insanity on Brain Salad Surgery by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, although Rick Wakeman from Yes also caught my attention. I guess I had a thing for Moogs as a pre-schooler.

Jeff Knapp said...

It was Wendy Carlos's "Switched on Bach." I was 7 years old when my mom brought that record home and put it on the old consul stereo and Sinfonia To Cantata #29 filled the house with those amazing, electronic sounds. Been hooked ever since.

Joe McMahon said...

First note of the Clockwork Orange soundtrack. Had heard Switched-On Bach before but this was a whole new level of wow.

Paul Baumgartner said...

I'd heard lots of electronics and some techno before but the sound that made me sit and take notice was the intro synth to Underworld's Cowgirl. Then the digital-sounding running lead synth sound that kicks in after the first hallelujah break had me completely hooked.

Anonymous said...

When I was 7, I heard Blondie's "Heart of Glass" and those damned filters towards the end... yikes! I became obsessed.

Paul Seegers. said...

Early Tangerine dream.

Shawn said...

+1 "Switched on Bach" over a PSA on KTVU, Oakland CA... And I gotta give a shout out to R2-D2

joel bisson said...

hello tom, my awesome is long being born in 1981 and the thing is my mom was into the 1970s and my dad was into country and classical music which when i was young i found the works of bach, pachelbel and beethoven to be influencial but the early 1980s music is what played on the radio and for me it would be a lot of bands because i loved the cars and soft cell, omd, eurhythmics and other early 1980s acts but i remember my life changed in 1985 when i first heard depeche mode's black celebration full album on the radio as a promotion for the band and then i was obsessed with electronic music but back then it was early industrial noise music that peaked my interest as well when they used found sounds in songs but gary numan was also influencial on me

line of control said...

Are Friends Electric?
by Gary Numan

My life was never the same again...

Keith Handy said...

Probably the lead Minimoog horn-like sound on Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". I knew about synthesizers before that, but didn't know they could make that type of sound.

Stephen said...

When I was a kid I ended up with a Remco sound FX machine. I never could get a great sound out of it, and thought it was broken. It did make noise, just not pretty noise. I took it apart some time ago planning to circuit bend it. Probably totally unnecessary because it already made glitchy noises. Hard to pin that down as the source of my interest in electronic sound. I really can't recall if it was any specific sound in any specific song. 1999 was the year I took heavy doses of various genres of electronic music. KMFDM and Richard D. James were a couple of my favorites. Since then I've been able to amass a nice collection of synths and spend most days noodling through pieces of songs I know and programming my own sounds.

Henry Miller said...

Soundtrack to Halloween. So simple but effective. But in the world of pop music, "Don't You Want Me" by Human League. I just marvelled at how full and rich it sounded without a guitar anywhere.

belial216 said...

I'm not sure if it technically counts as a synth because my knowledge of them is vastly limited, but the Mellotron in Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles always piqued my interest.

joel bisson said...

i loved the cars for their use of a prophet-5 and madonna, regina, brenda k-star, the jets, michael jackson and the human league, because the bass synth or bass guitar running thru a bass synth pedal sounds so nostalgic to me, but i loved don't you want me by the human league also and they used a guitar synth at some point, yamaha cs-60, jupiter-4 i believe i but its brass and bass sounds i look for when i go to youtube to look up old bands from the late 1970's and 1980's and ealry 90s, i love latin freestyle, funk, eurohouse, anhalt ebm, italo-disco, and many other styles by finding them on the net, i will now look to buy vinyl records. most of the music i have found since 2011, is mostly released on records with some tape cassette releases but i found discogs and they seem good with finding old releases for sell

Reinier Kahle said...

It must have been 1972, I guess, when I was on holiday in Mallorca with my parents. We were at the local Lunapark. I heard this wonderful and uplifting song. At least, to my 3-year old ears. The song was called 'Popcorn'! Since then, I wanted to play synths... :-D

Meta Sektion said...

Kraftwerk's "Autobahn", in particular the "middle 8" section, all electronic drums and a kind of syncopated bass warble.