Collected released and unreleased vocoder recordings, 1970-1982, from electronic music pioneer Bruce Haack.
Available now at stonesthrow.com / official release date: October 19
Up until now, the legacy of Bruce Haack (1931-1988) has only existed in the quirks, glitches, and audio signals of modern techno-luminaries such as Kraftwerk and Daft Punk, but unlike the aforementioned, Haack has been relegated to a position of relative obscurity. With Stones Throw’s collection Farad: The Electric Voice, the electronic music pioneer can hopefully be lifted into the spotlight of the Electronic music continuum.
J Dilla would be the one to enlighten us that Haack was something more than a just guest on the Mister Rogers Show. “I first heard Haack’s music through Dilla,” says Stones Throw founder and DJ, Peanut Butter Wolf, recalling a road trip he had taken with both J Dilla and Madlib. Haack had released the electronic-based acid-rock album Electric Lucifer in 1970, a conceptual piece that maps out a war between heaven and hell. “It really threw me off. It was this psychedelic, electronic stuff from the late 60s that sounded so futuristic.”
Haack’s music is rooted in the idea that humans and electronic machines share a reciprocal relationship that manifests itself through sounds. In order to further explore this dynamic, Haack dropped out of Juilliard to pursue a more experimental course in, surprisingly, educational children’s music. He later released material off his own label Dimension 5 Records in 1962, which allowed him to mix kinetic energy, infuse psychedelic philosophy, and pluck sounds from various genres across the board. Haack used homemade synthesizers, proto-vocoders, and the skin-touch sensitive Dermatron to expand his music into a realm of technological creativity.
Farad: The Electric Voice specifically focuses on tracks using Haack’s self-made vocoder, which he named “Farad.” This was the one of the first truly musical vocoders, and first to be used on a pop album, pre-dating Kraftwerk’s Autobahn by several years.
The album includes out of print and un-released tracks accessed though negotiations with Haack’s estate. “We are excited by the thought of working with labels such as Stones Throw to see what happens when their selective audiences discover Bruce,” says Bruce Haack Estate director Philip Anagnos, who also designed this album’s artwork. “The estate is also very fond of the art of remixing and is intrigued by the notion that popular artists such as Kanye West and Thom Yorke may very well be on their way to discovering Haack for the first time.”
A collection of remixes has been organized by Peanut Butter Wolf. These will be released as an EP at a later date. Here is 1970’s “Incantation” remixed by Danimals, and a video for 1982’s “Party Machine” remixed by Prince Language.