March 27 – Sun Records, Terry Riley, Laser Harp

1952
  70 years ago 
 

Sam Phillips begins operation of Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee.
 
Previously a DJ on Alabama’s WLAY and Tennessee’s WREC, Sam opened a studio in the space — previously an auto upholstery shop — in January 1950.
 
Presley, Cash, Perkins, Lewis and Orbison cut their teeth there. Phillips also recorded B.B. King, Howlin Wolf, Ike Turner, Rufus Thomas, Carl Perkins, Charlie Rich ‘and many more’.
 
On July 31, 2003 — the day after Sam dies — the 706 Union Avenue studio is declared National Historic Landmark #03001031.
 
 ( Sun site ▷Sun Blog▹ ▷1998 detailed Phillips interview▹

1968

First recording of Californian Terry Riley‘s influential composition In C.
 
Riley started as a solo pianist, then studied composition in the Bay Area; among his classmates was La Monte Young. In 1962 he joined the experimental gang at the San Francisco Tape Music Center (they moved to Mills College in 1966).
 
Written in 1964, In C is often cited as the first minimalist music composition. Caution: some performances will drill holes in your skull.
 Score
▷History of experimental music in N. California▹  Joe Anderson on STFM

See also: Tape music

1981


Szajner, harp

Bernard Szajner(*)(*) receives a French patent (FR2502823) for an electronic musical instrument called the Laser harp.
 
Apparently the instrument, popularized by Jean Michel Jarre, directs laser light vertically; when interrupted by a player’s hands, the light is reflected onto photoresistor floor sensors.
 
In 1979 Szajner as Zed releases his first LP, ‘Visions of Dune’. (*) (*) Harkonnen  He had produced ten more by the late 90s.(*)
 
 ( Website ▷Hobley interview▹