Matt Jones

Early Pioneers of Electronic Music: Laurie Spiegel

“_Societal attitudes toward computers have changed greatly since our early days of trying for the first time to use computers to make various kinds of art (images, music, etc) a mere couple of decades ago. Whereas back then we were most commonly accused of attempting to completely dehumanize the arts, at this point there has become such widespread acceptance of these machines in the arts that there is now a good bit of interest in how this came to be._”

Wednesday’s Late Junction featured a piece of electronic music made by Laurie Spiegel while she was at Bell Labs in the early 70s. Our changing attitude to the use of computers in the arts may not be surprising considering the access to technology we now have, but what amazes me about Spiegel’s piece is how it sonically transcends both the period in which it was made and the mass of chunky 70s hardware for which it was composed. The piece, called Appalachian Grove, is about 22:30 minutes into this RealPlayer stream, which will be available until the 17th of March 2004.

Spiegel’s home page is well worth checking out (as long as your browser supports tables :). It appears that she was making music with Apple computers almost as soon as they’d left Wozniak’s garage.