Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co.

The world's first synthesizer ensemble was formed by David Borden in 1969, initially as a live band to perform their own versions of classics from the classical/minimalist repertoire of Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Robert Ashley, and Philip Glass. Borden had been working as composer-in-residence for the Ithaca, New York school district when he became aware of developments in synthesizer technology by Bob Moog. After being invited to Moog's nearby company, Borden became one of the first to test-drive the revolutionary Moog synthesizer. (His ignorance of module synthesizers helped along many design changes that made Moogs much more user-friendly than their predecessors.) Intrigued with the idea of live synthesizer performance in a band setting, Borden joined with Steve Drews and (later) Linda Fisher. After several performances associated with Cornell University (where Borden also worked) as well as a few in-store demonstrations for Moog, Mother Mallard began recording in 1970. They continued to perform in various live settings, but weren't able to release material until 1973, when Judy Borsher agreed to found Earthquack Records to release material by the group (she also replaced Fisher). The group's self-titled debut album appeared that year, followed by Like a Duck to Water in 1976. Though Mother Mallard gradually disintegrated as a recording concern, Borden continued to record as a solo artist; in the early '90s, Mother Mallard reunited to perform several live shows and returned again later in the decade. In 1999, Cuneiform released the retrospective 1970-1973. ~ John Bush

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