Computer World: Why Cybernetic Serendipity Music is the most important and neglected compilation in electronic music

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On the influence of the record:


Yuri pattison

Yuri Pattison: The influence is staggering, of course you have big names like John Cage on the record, but Peter Zinovieff, his influence is consistent through electronic music. The machines and synthesizers he built were used by Kraftwerk, were used by multiple electronic musicians through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and through making those machines he has influenced the sound and the sound aesthetics music and of electronic music, and electronic music is now also popular music, so those things are really important. So hearing his creations on the record is a really nice starting point to reassess and figure out the origins of these things.


Russell Haswell

Russell Haswell: Right now we’ve got the reality that we can work in real time with computer generated or computer processed or analogue generated audio sources that are still triggered by a computer or not, it’s a perfect time. There’s a true homogenisation where everything is available, all the things that people wanted to do in 1968 are now achievable, so there’s areas of exploration that were considered conceptual, but which are no longer conceptual because they’re achievable.

So it’s not just about an idea anymore it’s about an achievable reality, and I guess in a way that’s why personally I’ve maintained an interested in these issues, because they almost reached a full stop point where they couldn’t really go any further because of technological restriction or the reality that you had to have quite some serious funds to do something that would seem simple or mundane now.

I guess it’s just like trying to ascend a mountain and these guys only got to there, so can we go to the next plateau, and that’s where I want to go, I want to go where we couldn’t go.


Juliette Desorgues

Juliette Desorgues: I think it really did capture peopleʼs imagination because it felt very new and very current at that time and it brought out a lot of themes that I think are still relevant today and increasingly so. Maybe in a less utopian way perhaps but you see a lot of artists engaging with technology. Now weʼre looking at a whole different aspect to it, and I think we see that excitement – an excitement but also a sense of distrust – towards technology and digital technology particularly.

It is really exciting to be presenting this archive in the reading room. A lot of it has rarely been see by the public. At that time there was no such thing as the internet, and the book is also out of print, so itʼs quite difficult to see some of the material. You know, it didnʼt make sense to try and recreate Cybernetic Serendipity as a show, because I think the atmosphere and the energy of the original show would have been impossible to re-stage. So we decided to do something that was more of an archive and a representation of what it was at that time with material and films that have never been shown before and of course the vinyl but also the print material and the behind the scenes documentation.


Cybernetic Serendipity Music is available to order now from The Vinyl Factory online shop. Cybernetic Serendipity: A Documentation is now open at the ICA’s Fox Reading Room until 30th November. Click here for more info.