Today, as we take a moment to step away from the usual news and reviews, let’s immerse ourselves in the chillout vibes of David Borden’s synth universe. It’s a journey worth taking, a chance to rediscover the quality electronic music of the past that continues to resonate with us today.
Picture this: you’re stepping into a serene, otherworldly landscape, painted not with colors but with the ethereal sounds of synthesizers. This isn’t just any musical journey; it’s an invitation to the heart and soul of David Borden, born on a snowy Christmas Day in 1938. Borden, with his pioneering spirit, has woven soundscapes that resonate deeply with those of us who find solace in the embrace of electronic music.
“Music for Amplified Keyboard Instruments”: A Timeless Treasure
In the realm of electronic music, David Borden is akin to a master alchemist, transforming the potential of the Moog synthesizer into gold long before it became the cornerstone of electronic soundscapes. His 1981 masterpiece (thankfully reissued approximately 10 years ago), “Music for Amplified Keyboard Instruments,” is a hidden gem that has slowly, but surely, captured the hearts of synth enthusiasts. It’s a collection that transcends time, inviting us to explore the depths of synth music’s evolution.
The Spirit of Mother Mallard
Diving into this album, we’re actually stepping into the legacy of Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Company. This ensemble, birthed by Borden in 1969, was a trailblazer, the first to grace stages with the sounds of synthesizers. The spirit of innovation and exploration that defined Mother Mallard breathes life into this album. Borden’s companions, the Minimoog and Moog synthesizer, are not just instruments but storytellers, narrating a tale of musical evolution.
Painting with Sounds
Listening to the album, one is enveloped in a tapestry of sound that slowly unfolds, revealing intricate patterns and textures. Borden, the artist, uses the synthesizer as his brush, painting a landscape that is at once minimalist and complex. This album was a bold step away from the confines of the studio, a declaration that electronic music could captivate audiences in live performances, bringing the energy and spontaneity of creation directly to the listener.
A Unique Voice in Minimalism
While Borden’s minimalist approach might echo the repetitive structures of Philip Glass and Steve Reich, his music carves out its own niche. It’s a radiant exploration of sound, ambitious in its compositional techniques and rich in historical significance. This album is not just a piece of the minimalist puzzle; it’s a cornerstone in the edifice of electronic music, pioneering the exploration of ambient soundscapes.
An Invitation to Chill
For those yet to discover David Borden or the enchanting world of minimalist electronic music, “Music for Amplified Keyboard Instruments” is more than an album—it’s a gateway to a new dimension of sound. It’s an invitation to take a break from the hustle and bustle, to explore the beauty hidden in repetition and variation. This album is a reminder of the legacy left by a man and his synthesizers, a legacy that continues to inspire and captivate those in search of musical horizons yet to be explored.
Album Availability, Reviews and Resources
The album has been reissued some years ago and is now available on Bandcamp. For an in-depth review of the album, visit Pitchfork, Uncut or HHV Mag.
For more on Borden’s life and pioneering work, a detailed biography can be found on Wikipedia.
I would also recommend this inspiring interview from 2013.