Music As Living Matter: Suzanne Ciani inaugurates Moog’s new Subharmonicon

par Rupert Bottenberg

The number-one name in modular synths, Moog, has just announced a new addition to its family of semi-modular analog synthesizers, the Subharmonicon, boasting oscillator-generated undertones and polyrhythmic possibilities. There’s a lot of deep and interesting avant-electro history built into this funny little box of knobs. The folks at Moog have diligently documented it here – find out more about Joseph Schillinger’s mathematical mania, Leon Theremin’s Rhythmicon, and a device called the Mixtur-Trautonium (which created the avian cacophonies in Hitchcock’s The Birds).

That’s all very nice, of course, but what does it sound like? A demonstration is in order, and who better to make first use of the Subharmonicon than electronic audio pioneer Suzanne Ciani, America’s “Diva of the Diode”? Her biography is a jawdropping litany of breakthroughs and innovations, and her piece for the Subharmonicon, accompanied by Scott Kiernan’s trippy lo-fi visuals, is a delight. Discover their work, and the sounds of Moog’s new sonic plaything, in the short film Music As Living Matter, below.

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