Paul Vosper: Technical Artist

Buchla Nights (July 2020)

A short snippet of an infinitely long generative piece created on the Teletype from The chords are from Erik Satie’s first Gymnopédie.

During the 80's I was enrolled in Allen Strange’s Electronic Music class at SJSU three times. The secret was to sign up for the last studio session of the day, so that you weren't limited to an hour - you could stay until hunger or fatigue drove you out.

At the time, personal computers were very new and the lab had an 8086 running Forth to control the big Buchla system. You could write pitch and timing information in code, but the instructions - especially picking random values - might take a long second or two, so the processing became a noticeable part of the musical timing.

The Teleype has all of the joys I found in Forth - creating music by writing a mathematical poem/puzzle - without the intrusion of the cringe-worthy machine delays.