The Temple University Electronic Studio



Merlin's Room, composed in October 1978, is one of my favorite pieces from this time. It uses a combination of synthesized and recoded sounds (such as a strumming guitar from a mariachi band), along with double deck tape delay.

Music For April was composed April 1978. This piece is unusual for the time because it uses very few tape delay techniques (such as double-deck delay), but relies entirely on a complicated patch on the Moog that I gradually move through to create the repeating patterns.

Music of The Spheres (September 1978) was composed as part of my final Thesis in my Masters program at the (now) Esther Boyer College of Music at Temple University. Inspired in part by Brian Eno's "Discreet Music", it's an early example of what is now called "Ambient Music".

As I mentioned on the home page of this web site, I asked the question, what would music sound like if functional harmony was removed from the equation? What's left? Timbre and rhythm. For the timbre, I used (ironically) a D dominant 9 chord realized on the Moog, filtered a few different ways.

Focusing on rhythm, the piece relies on the building and release of tension as two occurences of this chord came closer and closer together in time. The release was when the two occurences merged into one, and then drifted apart.

To do this, I made a tape loop of the chord and recorded it on channel 1 of an 8 track recorder. Then I physically cut the loop to shorten it, and recorded that on channel 2, constantly shortening it 8 times to record 8 tracks. Then I made a map that showed when any 2 channels merged together. Following that map, I performed this piece on the mixing board, gradually bringing up any two tracks as they came together, and fading out any two that had already merged and were drifting apart.

Autumn (September 1977) is a moody, beautiful melancholy piece. I used both double deck delay and single tape delays. From 1:40 - 3:30 I am turning the reels of the tape deck by hand, gradually slowing them to a stop. That's my voice at about 5:00 and also starting at 10:00!


John in Studio 1978