Musical genius

Just try not to turn all those knobs.

When Don Buchla designed his first instruments in the 1960s for avante garde musicians David Tudor and Mort Subotnick, he named it ‘The Electronic Music System.’ The forerunner of modern synthesis, the Buchla’s ability to interface its voltage-controlled analog circuitry with digital devices heralded a new era of synth-laden music.

California-based instrument designers Buchla & Associates has remained an independently owned and operated company since its formation, which has resulted in a company free of outside influences. While most companies have changed their standards to fit current trends, Buchla’s instruments have used the same form factors and interconnections for decades. From knob placement to the touch plates, each system is a reflection of Buchla’s own ideas about user interaction and functional theory. Over 30 years after its invention, the Buchla 200 is incredibly rare and highly sought-after by musicians, remaining one of the most interesting and dynamic instruments ever created.

This week’s Frandoms are by David Smith at Engine Digital.