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Six Great Moments In Sound History

Article from One Two Testing, July 1985

as told by them what were there

18 September 1956

Launch Of The Invisible Drum Stand

We tracked down Frank Visible (right) nearly 30 years after his great discovery and asked him to explain the venture that brought him and partner Ted In (left) complete and utter silence from the world of music. "It was Ted's idea, totally. The photo session? Well, the shot you've found (right) was the most successful. It was when we walked away to leave the drum in mid-air that the trouble began. The snare sort of fell down and hit the floor, really. It broke, I think it was in 17 pieces? Anyway, Ted kept saying it'd be all right on the night, and then someone from the ad agency, he played in a band or something, said that drummers never used snares at that height anyway. I think that would have been the moment when Ted impaled himself on a very real hi-hat stand. No, they didn't get it on film. No, it never really caught on."

4 May 1924

The First Coloured Drum Stick

Max Clacton was in the audience at the King's Lynn Roxy at the fateful gig, as he explained to an astonished One Two reporter: "I'd had a few pints with Sheila before, like, and came out to see the big group who came on to a tumultu, er, really big cheer. I was out of it so I thought I'd concentrate on what the drummer was doing. He was bashing away at those drums and all that, and then he did it." Max looked at our unique picture (left) of the event to refresh his memory. "Yeah, that's it! He stuck the drum stick in his eye — it must have been rehearsed. All this blood came gushing out and the stick looked great, sort of graduated coloured bars, from bright crimson at the top to a pale pink at the grip. Ooh, it were lovely. But it never really caught on."

16 February 1956

The Amazing Cerebral Cutting Head

Tea-woman Betty Windsor remembers stumbling on history: "I came into the cutting room with the trolley with the tea and cakes and Studio Sound on it for young master Collins and I nearly fell over when I saw him. It was just like in your picture — yes, that's how it was. Ooh-er. See, I nearly fell over again. Anyway, see, he was crouching like that and I walked round the front to see better, when I'd recovered a bit, and he had a big metal spike coming out of his forehead, as you might say, all bright and glistening in the powerful studio lights it was. Then he rams it into this, what did they call them? Acetate, yes dear. Acetate. Down it went, wallop! The he stuck his right hand in the audio socket on the right, out comes the music, and his head went up and down, up and down, it was right queer. He was never the same again, was our master Collins, and he had an awfully traumatic time recently when that Compact Disc nonsense came around. He wears this sort of great big miner's lamp these days. Always keeps himself to himself, though."

22 March 1955

The First Use of Sampling

"It was Decca studios in West Hampstead, I s'pose," said retired psychedelic musician-turned-window-cleaner Lee Surgic when we called him down from his ladder last Thursday and showed him the grubby pic (above). "That's me in the middle with me hands in me pockets — I'd just paid for the sessions by cleaning the windows for them and was still a bit cold. Any road up, Simon — he's the one kneeling down — had brought along his dog Nicky because the engineer had got some time-machine or something, I can't remember the exact details, and had come back from one of his 'trips', as he called them, with a box called an 'Emulator To...' something or other. 'Emulator To Bed', was it? It was a long time ago. So Nicky barks into this microphone and we played it back on this thing, like, well, like a piano with a dog in it, you know? Nicky ran and hid in the corner, and the next we know the engineer's run off with the box and said he was going to America to copy it and make lots of money. We never heard of him again. But we used Nicky as a piano very successfully for some years after."

26 January 1954

The Raising Of The Vox Telecaster

Some years after deep-sea divers first spotted the remains of a 14th-century Vox Telecaster copy in perfect condition at the bottom of the English Channel (or the "English Channel" as the perverse Danish call it), the long job of hauling it intact to the surface was completed as a direct result of the devoted work of Skip Lusitania (below, left), Ron Lusitania, Eric Titanic, and Hashimoto Kyoto (right). Eric Titanic, now in his 130s, remembers: "This shot was taken just after we'd pulled the blighter out of the water. Amazing — it was still in perfect Open-E tuning, which implies that the 14th-century electric guitarists were heavily into bottleneck. That was amazing to us, and I remember Hashi pointing out that he couldn't even get Japanese guitars to stay in tune after three weeks across a few continents, let alone 500 years and thousands of fathoms. Makes you think, don't it?"

29 August 1972

The First Single-String Electric Violin

Freddie "Hoss" Kenley came into the One Two office the other day with this remarkable photo (below) of the prototype Singleviolotron in action at tests in Advision studio, London, in the early 1970s. Freddie is on the extreme right of the picture, and takes up the story: "We were at the session and Tony Tron brought the gadget in. We were sceptical at first, but here you can see him playing it. It looks much like a normal mike stand and the string uncannily like a normal mike lead — cunning in the extreme as a thief faced with a whole line of mikes on stands wouldn't know which was the £6000 Singleviolotron. And it's bowed with an ordinary drum stick — we tried coloured ones but found no discernible sound change — as Tony demonstrates so well in the picture that my son Clint took when electronic flashes were still only a twinkle in, er... the sound? Hard to describe, but very cutting. Tony said it was much like the DX7's harmonica preset, but none of us had heard of a DX because it was still a good ten years away. It never really caught on."

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Publisher: One Two Testing - IPC Magazines Ltd, Northern & Shell Ltd.

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One Two Testing - Jul 1985

Donated by: Colin Potter


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