New Album, ‘Live Wires’, Celebrates 50 Years Of The Buchla Music Easel

Composer and synthesist Steve Horelick

Composer and synthesist Steve Horelick, the Emmy-nominated composer of the Reading Rainbow theme and numerous TV and film scores – has released a new album, Live Wires, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Buchla Music Easel.

It’s Horelick’s first solo album release.

Live Wires commemorates the 50th anniversary of Donald Buchla’s pioneering electronic musical instrument, the Music Easel. The album also honors Horelick’s grandfather and father’s contributions to power transformer design. Their patents, along with Buchla’s instrument, are prominently featured on the album cover.

Here’s what Horelick shared about his new album:

“Throughout these 15 performances, recorded live in his upstate New York studio, Steve enriches his tracks with asymmetrical, Fibonacci-inspired loops and echoes. He melds the concept of a transformer’s spiral windings with his distinctive melodic patterns. Processed and panned through Apple’s Logic Pro, these loops intertwine into a symphony of sounds, paying tribute to his family’s electrifying legacy that fuels his musical journey.

Steve’s electronic music has deep roots, dating back to the early 20th century. His grandfather, Sam Horelick, patented key components for power transformers and founded the Pennsylvania Transformer Company. His father, Arnold, as Chief Engineer, significantly influenced the global landscape of electricity distribution. These historical transformer designs, showcased alongside Steve’s modern Buchla Easel synthesizer, are a highlight on the cover of “Live Wires.”

Transformers, crucial for modulating electrical voltages, utilize windings – spiraling loops of copper. This engineering concept profoundly shapes Steve’s musical approach. In “Live Wires,” he creatively applies the Fibonacci sequence, a mathematical pattern that describes natural spirals, to create echoing spirals in his compositions. Utilizing his updated Buchla Easel, Steve forges asymmetrical musical patterns that mirror the Fibonacci spiral, dynamically processed in Apple’s Logic Pro into a vibrant electronic soundscape.

Reflecting on his inspiration, Steve says, “It occurred to me, right in the middle of a live Buchla Easel performance in Berlin, that without transformers, there wouldn’t be synthesizers, laptops, or any means to amplify them! I might have been on stage playing an oboe or cello, which would have been a completely different sonic experience. That’s why I decided to embark on this album project.”

“Live Wires” is more than a collection of performances; it’s a nuanced homage to Steve’s family legacy and Donald Buchla’s innovative instruments, merging the worlds of electrical engineering and electronic music. The album celebrates their transformative work in electricity, which has subsequently enabled the evolution of electronic music. It stands as a poignant tribute to the past, resonating with the spiraling rhythms of the present.”

Live Wires is available now via Bandcamp. You can preview the album below:

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