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Various Artists

Music from Mathematics: Played by an IBM 7090 Computer and Digital to Sound

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A landmark recording in the history of electronic composition, Music from Mathematics assembles melodies programmed by Bell Labs technicians for the then-new IBM 7090, the company's first commercial solid-state computer. These eerie, remote songs (many authored by the pioneering visual/acoustical researcher Dr. Max Mathews) are in effect the 7090's magnetic impressions of mathematical equations imprinted on punch cards. Converted via digital-to-sound transducer into something resembling melodies, the end result is a crazy-quilt of otherworldly beeps, bleeps, and blips that anticipates the sterile soundscapes of IDM by more than a generation. This is music without emotion or humanity -- a bold step forward, no doubt, but also a disquieting concept to this day.

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