When E&MM was first launched in February 1981, it was structured on composing and performing concepts that are still only just being accepted as major growth areas in music making. I called the new musicians "Electro-Musicians" and their approach to music was based on three attributes: First, a strong desire to create and play music whether through traditional notation used in realtime, or through step-by-step coded input. Second, to have acquired enough skills to use electronics for music projects and interfacing. Third, to learn to use microcomputers as another invaluable link in future music making.
In retrospect, although these new ideas were avidly accepted by readers who were already Electro-Musicians, many music advertisers were not so keen to become part of a magazine that carried electronics ads. As for the computer people, they were too absorbed with Space Invaders to even consider the potential of a music computer for the home or studio (Fairlight's apart!). Mind you, plenty of dealers admitted that one of the biggest draws to their micros was the noises they emitted!
Two years later, the electronics mags continue to publish basic music projects for the electronics hobbyist, the computer mags have glossy pages about wondrous sound chips (not the 76489 again!) inside micros, and Clive Sinclair himself does not seem too bothered about his own computers becoming the total leisure centre for the home, during his pre-occupation with electric cars. Yet, with his new microdrive now available and still promise of a flat TV screen, he could be our great hope for home music education and enjoyment.
Meanwhile, new digital instruments from the major music manufacturers have brought their own seemingly attractive technologies, with algorithms, operators, MIDI, additive synthesis, and so on, and may leave a lot of us wondering whether we should abandon all those wonderful analogue machines that have taken so long to acquire.
Alongside the instrument development, nearly always on the keyboard front (unfortunately for us editors trying to maintain a fair balance between all electro-acoustic instruments — where's that new guitar synth they're whispering about?), there has been the emergence of new multitrack machines. Now you can have a portable multitracker for a few hundred pounds, and even 16-track recorders are accessible (considering how much I paid for my Hammond years back on HP!). And that's where HSR will open up the opportunities for you to record creatively.
At this point in time it is particularly hard for me to divorce HSR from E&MM completely, for the Electro-Musician will always be his own recording engineer as well. But future issues of E&MM will now be able to expand their computer music editorial significantly within its 116 pages, as well as continue its in-depth coverage of the latest instruments, and above all, hopefully inspire its readers to be creative in making music.
Editorial by Mike Beecher
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