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Manhattan Research Inc.

Raymond Scott

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Album Review

Subtitled "New Plastic Sounds and Electronic Abstractions," Manhattan Research, Inc. is an excellent compilation of electronic pioneer Raymond Scott's works from the '50s and '60s. Nothing that has been recorded since within the field of electronic music has obscured the originality and genius of these works. Even the amusing tracks of corporate advertisements for the likes of cough drops, fragrances, and Twinkies demand repeated listening for their fascinating use of electronics. Tracks like "Bandito the Bongo Artist," "Cindy Electronium," and "The Pygmy Taxi Corporation" are just as intriguing as their titles. And the packaging — from the compilation of tracks to the exhaustive liner notes, photographs, and interviews (including a fascinating one with Scott associate Robert Moog) — is a clinic in reissue presentation. Not only detailing some of the instruments he developed for use in his compositions (the Clavivox, Circle Machine, etc.), it also documents other inventions and aids, like the Videola, which enabled him to score films conveniently as he watched them. Absolutely essential for any electronic music fan, and completely out of this world, regardless of century. Every library should own a copy of this as well — Scott's name should be just as well-known as Beethoven.

Biography

Born: 10 September 1908 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Composer, bandleader, and inventor Raymond Scott was among the unheralded pioneers of contemporary experimental music, a figure whose genius and influence have seeped almost subliminally into the mass cultural consciousness. As a visionary whose name is largely unknown but whose music is immediately recognizable, Scott's was a career stuffed with contradictions: though his early work anticipated the breathless invention of bebop, his obsession with perfectionism and memorization was the very antithesis...
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