Photo Archive I 

(Click any picture for a large view.
Notes by Wendy Carlos.)

LeafStudio Collection

studio 68 Moog Studio just prior to starting "S-OB"

This photo, a rare 2 1/4" B&W shot, was taken during early 1968, before the Switched-On Bach project had begun in earnest (the Invention in F had just been done). At the left is the original, flaky used Ampex 350 stereo tape machine that was soon replaced by a much better Ampex 440 B. The Ampex 8-track had just been assembled from an assortment of used parts and home-built additions. A homemade VCO can be seen, with the tiny meter/control box just below the left speaker, its variable oscillator up above the Ampex electronics, and big kit power amp on the floor.
The custom Moog Synthesizer had just acquired its second tier, which eventually would grow into four stacked tiers. My dad helped me assemble the wooden shutter-screen that we stained to make a handsome back wall for everything, one that could be easily moved for the (many) maintenance tasks. A small Lafayette tube amp kit for monitoring sits on the base of the Ampex electronics. A mike stand juts into the frame on the left, and was used in several projects and demos. My first homemade pullout mixing board sits below the two custom touch-sensitive keyboards, with a "chord generator" (polyphony in 1967--imagine that!) resting just behind it, its long aluminum cover looking rather shiny. Patch cords are all over the place, as usual.
P.S. This is the actual print which we sent to High Fidelity magazine, to accompany the glowing review by Gene Lees that launched "S-OB" some 8 months later. (Thanks, Gene!)

studio 70 Moog Studio as finally set up, on West End Ave & 79th Street, NYC. 1966-71. This picture, taken in late 1970, shows the small "L-shaped" arrangement of, (from the left): 2-tk Ampex, custom 1" 8-Track Ampex (with homemade sel-sync panel just above transport), Dolby A-301 units on top (some also on top of 2-tk) and Klangumwandler unit, and modular Moog Synthesizer, custom assembled over period of five years, containing a custom Vocoder on top, homemade 10-in 2-out mixer below (on pullout glides), flanked by two homemade 8" ducted-port speakers. Two Marantz power amps are visible on the floor, and control pedals for synthesizer. Homemade patch-bay and VFO (vari-speed) are not visible from this angle. Tensor lamps helped visibility, and a big potted palm tree softened the look. This is how the studio looked at about the time of the Beethoven 9th final movement, and "Timesteps".
77 studio The Brownstone Studio on the upper West Side of Manhattan, in March of 1977. This view is what you saw as you approached the top of the stairs, looking down from the upper room into the main mixing/control room. A Kalihm tapestry hangs on the left wall, which is curved around a small circular stairway not visible here. A few awards hang on the right wall. The four Klipsch Cornwall loudspeakers hang on chains around the main mixing location. A two manual Yamaha Electone organ sits behind the console (to this side of it), where it replaced a small listening sofa/bench we'd originally moved there for others to monitor the audio while we worked at the console. (I found the original 2-1/4" slide recently, and carefully scanned and tweaked it, to replace a much poorer version that was posted here some years ago.)

cu studio A closer view in the Brownstone studio in 1977. We are here standing near the right side of the console, foreground, looking towards the Moog Synthesizer. An Ampex 1" 8-track tape recorder is located to the left of the synthesizer, and a 3-M 2" 16-track is located to the right. I generally worked in the left black chair while performing the synth parts onto tape, and moved to the right chair to mix or test out progress on a particular piece of music. During the daytime a large picture window to the upper left (you can see it best in the first view above) gave views of a tiny backyard garden. (Note that the glass was double layered, to reduce sound leakage, and the inner pane was tilted out at the top, to send any reflections way up over our heads. You try to think of these things, but always seem to miss a few... ;^)

rds 70 I've only recently found this late 1970 snapshot of our good friend, R. Dennis Schwarz, when he was wiring one of the Spectra Sonics card holders for the new console seen on this page. Bob (the "R." is for "Robert") worked together on the new console and studio wiring with Don Longmore. Both were credited on all of the earlier LPs and current ESD remasterings, as without them it's unlikely I'd have ever considered trying to build my own studio. Personal studios back then were thought to be weird and were difficult to do well. You especially needed someone like Bobby, who knew what to do, and understood the concepts behind custom console design, studio layout and wiring. That he was so generous with his knowledge, time and effort is a gift I'll always remember. Thank you, Bob, in more ways than I can say. You'll note that he's sniffing a soldering iron tip here, to be sure the temperature was approximately correct (no constant-temp soldering stations back then), and that he usually could be found by following the trail of cigarette smoke...

rds+aggie Sunnuvagun, for many years I've been hoping to see and visit with Bob Schwarz again, somehow. But I didn't know how to find him, had no forwarding address or phone number, didn't even know where he currently called home. Well, thanx to this website, Bobby found ME in late 2006, and sent a cheerful note to say as much, and how he had been pleasantly surprised to discover the above photo and description of him here on my website. We nearly got together in early 2007, but wires got crossed and it fell through. One year later we tried again. Bob and Aggie, his "sig-O" and engineering partner in a versatile traveling sound reinforcement, design and audio consultant firm, were going to be in NYC for a week to handle all the sound for a major annual convention. And at the end of one not quite so hectic day, they stopped by here for a visit. The photo to the left shows them sitting in front of the venerable mixing console that Bob helped me design and build in the early 70s (I've kept updating it, of course, to keep up with the newest demands, but it's still mostly the same one he put together.)
What a treat that evening was for the three of us! It was great fun to showoff my homemade Wurly II pipe organ emulation for them with a mini-concert, and show how the rest of the studio had grown and changed. For Bob and me it was one of those stories of the clock and calendar seeming to stand still, as if not much time had passed since we'd last seen each other (before I moved into the loft, in fact). His dry, offbeat sense of humor is still intact -- he had us in stitches! The audio stories he's accumulated over the decades is astonishing, and great fun to hear about. Also evident is Bob's deep, infectious laughter and narrative skills as a professional radio announcer, in a former life... Same friend in my good memories, and although we've both aged as expected, we recognized each other at once. Aggie and I also hit it off preposterously well. Gee, I like her! Nice when friends find that the other has connected with someone they feel immediately at ease with, same bright, warm kind of person, same wit and easy going, yet fully aware, views on life.

rds+wc Here you see two old friends reunited at last. I wish a dopey snapshot like this could convey the warmth and good cheer of that chilly, wet winter's evening. (Trust me, we didn't need much help from the furnace.) We've been trading regular e-mails and phone chats for two years now, and it's lovely to be connected again. Bob still is the proverbial "good samaritan", and offered to help me out with a few technical problems I've been having in the studio. While I'm comfortable around recording studios (you HAVE to be in order to survive as an "electro-acoustic-mechanician" [= synthesist and recording artist/engineer], after all). But Bob's knowledge and breadth of a lifetime in audio is magnitudes better than mine, and he has connections in the audio world I only know vicariously about.
Well, we certainly now plan to remain in close touch for the rest of our years. And I've added Aggie to my short list of people I'd most prefer to spend an evening or week or three with. This short description may sound rather gushy (sorry), but it's sincere -- I can barely contain my sense of delight that one of those funny ways friends lose contact with one another has been put into good repair for another decade or two. Still, enough time now has gone by that we are both on the other side of the generation working in these fields. We USED to be among the youngest kids on the block; now we're among the "fossils" pulling up the rear end of the brigade with stories and experiences that now are seen as "legendary" and "historical" by the new newest kids on the block. So be it... time to pass the torch.

studio 71 You may enjoy comparing our later views with this close-up of the main floor right after the studio experienced what Astronomer's charmingly call a new telescope's "First Light" (ought we call it "First Sound"?) The photo is from early 1971, when I still used my trusty (G-dad itzah) WurliTzer electric piano, which stood me through college, and composing in the West End Avenue studio above (last work written on it: "Geodesic Dance".) That's it far left. When we leased the big Steinway I gave it to Steve Bone, the fine lead guitarist for Michaelangelo, a light rock group Rachel Elkind produced and I recorded in '71-'72. He deserved it, and used it later for years.
Note that the rack space above the 2-tk Ampex has two openings in it (my VCO panel plus the Martin Audio unit went in there soon), as most of the racks were "filled with empty space" for some time. The 3-M 4-tk had plenty of room in between it and the Ampex 8-tk (my current place is not so wasteful.) The 8 was beside the Moog at 90 degrees, as it had been in the first room, something "familiar"... The 3-M 16-tk was further right. No swivel studio chairs yet, I see. Tensor lamps still used, as the ceiling down spots were incomplete. And the blue & white box on the 4-tk meter bridge contains the extra 3-M 2-tk head assembly that I used recently in remastering the 1/4" tapes of the full Clockwork Orange score. Read more about that in the Recent News on ESD.

stu view In this view we are behind the console, in front of a two-track Ampex, and are looking to the right of the previous view. The console's layout is visible, as are two of the hanging speakers. The 16-track is to the left of the console, which was convenient while mixing. In the background you can see the half-flight of curved stairs which lead to the upper room, used for live instruments and vocalists.
Actually, that upper studio room sat at the original floor height of the building. The lower one was given an 11' ceiling height by having the floor here dropped by about 3-1/2'. That turned the rear part of the building's basement into a crawl space, for storage, while the front portion kept its normal basement height. Both rooms still exist, somewhat modified, as a very comfortable "floor-through" apartment. The studio itself has been relocated to my downtown loft since January of 1981.
The inside of the custom-built console featured in this photo is really GOR-geous! Reason being: the wiring was crafted by Donald Longmore (thank you so much, Don!), one of the good equipment engineers at Gotham Recording, Inc., where we met (there's some more background about Gotham on the new Eltro page HERE). He collaborated on my studio with Bob Schwarz (who we met above). Don was trained by Bell System professionals, assembling military-grade electronics, complex communications patching systems, and Western Electric style audio circuits. It showed: his wiring was meticulous, easy to trace, and dependably sturdy. Look, this now antique console has operated trouble-free for nearly 40 years! Try that with any of today's mass merchandised audio gear and studio wiring, I dare you. I learned a great deal by watching Don at work, (he was patient enough to answer all my questions) and have since tried to imitate his skill, technique and care as I've gradually made modifications and upgrades to the console over the years. 'Nuff said.

up stu The upper room of the browstone studio contained a large Steinway grand piano to the left, and a set of drums over on the right. As with the main downstairs room all walls were acoustically treated, then covered with a porous fabric. This room even had a fireplace, with a decorative antique oil painting above. The windows to the street at this time had been blocked off with soundproofing to reduce street sounds. When I moved all of the sound panels got mutilated in attempting to wrest them off the plaster -- they'd been cemented(!) to the structural walls and so we were unable to remove them without utterly destroying them. This is why all sound panels in the current studio are simply hung in place, and can be moved with ease (for the next time I move...!)

up wide Here you can see a much wider angle view of the same room (two photo-scans stitched together -- you may have to scroll it on your monitor) in its earliest configuration, for comparison with the shot just above. The walls were then still natural brick, and the windows were yet to be covered. That's Phunkalaro, my first Siamese cat friend (he sure made an impression...!), who's amblin' towards us to the right center.
Although my current studio is a very comfortable workspace, as you can see below (also as we get more current images of it up here), this was a special place, thanks particularly to Rachel's sense of design and theater. Many visitors to New York City insisted that we understand how seeing the brownstone and its studio had been "one of the real highlights" of their visit here. Of course today private-use "home" studios have become much more common, and much more democratized, all good news for music-making and music literacy. Viva MIDI! Yet the nostalgia of fading memories occasionally conjures up images of simpler music-making times back then...

console This will give you a better view of the "Tempi Mark II" console, as it looked in the mid-'70's (I'm not kidding, that name is engraved in Old English in the upper right corner of the main plate, since this was a custom design and construction project, not a whit of catalog or standard anything about it!). Here's a pretty decent slide I recently rediscovered that shows the console as it was then better than any other photo I've been able to locate thus far. I've balanced some uneven lighting within Photoshop, from this new scan with the new Minolta Dimage Dual (an excellent new addition I purchased for the Beauty in the Beast and Digital Moonscapes remasterings).
The original slide is very sharp and detailed, and I like the way it shows the Yamaha Electone E-5 organ just behind the console. That was the only place it would fit. Caused no end of problems with all those oscillators being located so close to the console's busses and first stage preamplification (had to slide it as far away as there was room). We've since made many changes and improvements to the old "Mark II", which I still use somewhat from nostalgia. So the sensitivity to external signal contamination has been greatly reduced, the signal to noise is WAY better (needed that with digital), and the master sliders were replaced with marvelous ganged conductive plastic units. These exactly matched the other Penny & Gilles faders that had just been replaced in the individual inputs, shortly before this photo was taken.
Oh, yes, those are the remote controls for the various tape machines that you see on the far left, and just above, on the meter housing for the console, is a pair of Phase Linear Autocorrelators. These were a pretty decent single ended noise reduction devices that we had to use during the late 70's due to power buzzes that came from the light dimmers in the brownstone next door (not amusing). I'd nearly forgotten about that nightmare, since (as I just mentioned) the console is now immune to such things, and the new studio, in being a genuine Faraday Cage (conductive walls, ceiling and floor, tied to common ground) is truly free from essentially all external signal contaminants.

big moog The Moog Synthesizer in its prime, March of 1977. This is about the largest it ever got to be, with four tiers of walnut cabinets stacked one above another. The base is a rolling cabinet support that we custom built. Four heavy duty casters allowed easy access to the rear wiring. It would have looked this way during the production of the full Switched-On Brandenburgs, and the Kubrick film score, The Shining. The Synthesizer still looks much the same today as it sits at the far end of my present studio in The Village. But nowadays it serves for auxiliary functions, and is no longer my main , to say nothing of only instrument (as the saying goes, "Things change"...)
For those who have asked for a listing of my custom Moog Synth's modules, here's a list made by Dominic Milano just a couple of years after the above photo was taken (no visible major changes were made after about 1976.)
Wendy's Moog Synthesizer in 1979

Top tier, from the left: 907 fixed filter bank with modified output section, acts as spectrum encoder for vocoder; 10 pairs of 912 envelope followers and 902 VCAs for vocoding each of ten channels.
Second-from-top tier: Polyphonic oscillator bank; 960 sequencer; 914 fixed filter bank, acts as spectrum decoder for vocoder; 967 interface, 962 sequential switch; coincidence trigger switch (footswitch-box for it is on floor) outputs; 912 envelope follower; A-440 reference tuning oscillator; generic filter and attenuator module.
Third-from-top tier: Control center for polyphonic oscillator bank; 912A oscillator driver for five main 921 oscillators; 904-B highpass filter; 904-C filter coupler; 904-A lowpass filter; control voltage panel; three 911 envelope generators; two touch-sensitive envelope generators; 904-A lowpass filter; 902 VCA.
Bottom, sloping front tier: 901-A oscillator driver panel; three 901-B panels with Minimoog oscillators; 921 single oscillator; five 921-B oscillators; generic filter and mult module; filter and attenuator module; 904-A lowpass filter; 911 envelope generator; 911-A dual trigger delay; two 911 envelope generators; 911 switching panel; three 902 VCAs; filter and attenuator module.
Lower section of bottom tier: Three control voltage and audio mixer modules; output trunk lines and aux jacks and power supply miscellany.
Left of keyboards: Stereo master volume control and booster sine-level box, with a VU meter and a portamento momentary push on/off switch. On right side of keyboards is the secondary power supply control panel.
On floor: Coincidence switches; X-Y pedal; volume pedal used for vibrato amplitude; sustain pedal for polyphonic oscillator bank.

Note: the vocoder modules have not been used much since purchasing a Synton SPX 216 unit in 1985. The 216 is one of Felix Visser's finest designs, and made the original Moog modular version sound dated and none too clear. Read Wendy's Vocoding comments. BTW: the word is spelled and pronounced as a Vocal Coder, which CODES speech information, not the often heard incorrect "vocorder" (with an extra "R",) obviously from someone hung-up on the vocal chords of the larynx...

86 studio Current Lower Broadway Studio, late 1986. Wendy Carlos poses in the studio for publicity photos for Beauty in the Beast, about to be released. This is just as computers and MIDI were about to alter this spacious look, adding extra racks and work stations to the area. The Moog Synthesizer and Ampex 8-track have both just been moved past the far left, and two Synergy synthesizers dominate the working space.
On a small stool (the same one shown in the '71 photo, in fact) near the 3M 4-track, were a few control devices, like a one octave mini keyboard for changing the tuning home key on the Synergies, a Moog 904 Lo-pass filter, and a VU meter box with volume control. The Mac Plus to the right was accelerated a year later with a Levco board, and the HP computer equipment and Roland SBX sync box were relocated. Behind to the right, note the GDS master synth & computer terminal, used for building sound cartridges played on the Synergies. The island photo on the wall is of Bora Bora.
(For a small QuickTime movie of this studio in late April 1996, click here. You might also wish to study several of its single frames for details.)
workspace The Broadway Studio, beginning to get filled-up. This B&W image is a good view of where I do most of the work on my music, audio, and computer projects (like maintaining our web site.) The original was taken for promotion of the S-O Bach 2000 album released on Telarc in 1992, and is therefore slightly dated. The only really noticeable changes you would seen here tonight are: the Mac monitors are different: a 20" Sony Trinitron where the Z21 Grayscale monitor (the big one on the far right) sat, and to its right, a 17" version.
On the pedestal just left of the Z21 currently I have placed a Sony NTSC/PAL/SECAM 12" monitor, for viewing films to be scored in sync. The keyboards are still the same, as are the controller devices. A few module additions were made in the racks, nothing you'd spot in this shot. Most of the newer synths since '92 sit at the other end of the room, where I can more easily do voice/program editing and construction than this dense location would permit. That's why it hasn't changed as much as it might.
quad deckWell before any of the above equipment was assembled into an organized studio, I realized that more than two channel stereo would be very useful. Of course I had read that Varese's Poem Electronique, among other early electronic works, had been played over many channel surround systems. The challenge was to build some kind of reasonable tape machine with several tracks, four of them at first, for what became known as "quad" a dozen years later. In the late '50's, there were not many choices if you had little money. I built my own. This is what it looked like, in a recent shot.
The components were made by Viking, a then popular Minneapolis company for ambitious audiophiles on a small budget. They made both assembled tape recorders, and the individual devices from which you could make your own custom machine. A few years earlier I had put together a simpler two-track recorder from one of the first Viking tape decks. This time I ordered one with two sets of quarter-track heads, as there were no readily available four-track heads at the time, and four of their newest (tube) electronics. One head set was in the normal position, the second was mounted higher up, to follow the second pair of tracks. This "staggered" arrangement was unique to this particular machine. But since it played back mostly its own tapes, the staggering didn't really matter, and it worked fine. It took a few tricks to make it record well, like the synchronizing of the four bias oscillators.
I found the old machine some years ago in my parent's basement, and brought it here to clean and restore. You can see that the homemade vinyl-covered wooden case still looks fine after a few repairs. The handle broke off at some point, and I would need a new one to move it around easily (did I say, "easily"? -- it weights just over 45 lbs.!). For the moment its main use is only for copying old master tapes to digital, and for that it works surprisingly well. I've got several "surround sound" recordings I made with it while in college. These still sound pretty amazing: a glee-club or small orchestra all around you. But surround sound (at long last it now looks like it may become popular) is a different topic for another time.
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Studio 1984 -- in Virtual Cinerama!
(Click for a huge view)

Here are three views of the newest studio as it appeared in 1984, all derived from the same medium format 6 x 4.5 camera negative, taken with a Mamiya Full-frame Fisheye lens. (Note: You'll need a generous sized monitor to see the entire image at one time of these rather large jpegs. Scroll if you need to.) With a medium format high res scanner we obtained to produce the new artwork for our Digital Moonscapes remastering, many negatives that have been sitting here for some years can now be developed on the computer with little compromise. That's the case with this photo, which Vernon Smith captured as part of the publicity for DM when it was originally released.
Although most of that photo session was portraiture, I asked him to expose one roll with the fisheye lens, just for curiosity's sake. In this shot I was sitting informally in the middle of the room, back when there was room to spare (we'll add a current image of the near-clutter here shortly). None of these negatives got further than a contact sheet -- until now. Thanks to a perfectly amazing set of freeware (yes!) image tools developed for Panoramic manipulation by Helmut Dersch (der@fh-furtwangen.de), any decently fast computer can be used to explore the fascinating interplay of perspective and geometry as seen by the eye and captured on film and CCD. Kewl -- thank you, Helmut!
It's been an engrossing experience to use his Photoshop plug-in versions of PanoTools on my new Power Mac, and test out concepts I've tinkered with for many years. To get started, I made a high res scan of this original negative. The full frame fisheye format fits a 180 degree wide angle such that the film's diagonals subtend a full 180, leaving a horizontal angle capture of about 130 degrees. That was more than enough to see most of the studio's south wall and equipment all around, from the console at extreme left (see the old Moog synth way behind it), over and around the room to the 16 track 3-M tape recorder at the extreme right. There is only about six feet between the console and 3-M, where Vernon located the camera and tripod. You can see some of the wires leading to the umbrella strobe lights, two of which are included in these very wide views (the completely white shapes up high, left and right).


Let's look at the original fisheye image, just above (click on it for a bigger view, as usual). This is what the camera recorded, with no geometric manipulation. You'll see that the side portions look somewhat squeezed compared with what's straight ahead. Also, and more unsatisfactory, the outer portions of image are very curved in what's usually called "barrel spherical distortion." In reality, the curving is not so much distortion as the accurate depiction of each element in a spherical mathematical projection not unlike map projections. In fact, it very closely resembles an Orthographic Polar Projection (trimmed by the frame on four sides). If the film had not been flat, but hemispherical, there would be no such compromise, just as an Earth Globe has none. (Too bad it's so difficult to manufacture, load, advance, process, and enlarge "half sphere frames" of film...! ;^)
With Dersch's Remap functions I next converted the circular fisheye image into a modified rectangular projection, where it was trimmed and tweaked. Then this was remapped from a cylindrical PhotoSphere projection into a final rectangular version, and what you see above, a near duplication of an honestly unforgettable wonder of the early 1950's - 60's motion pictures, Deja Views of: CINERAMA! I've placed it within a dark theater-like frame, which gives a pretty fair impression of what these amazing films looked like in a good theater. I didn't try to duplicate the major flaw of Cinerama: there are no vertical seams between three projected image sections or panels! Read all about Cinerama at Martin Hart's wonderfully encyclopedic American Widescreen Museum website (gratuitously P.I. here and there perhaps, but also witty, chatty and well crafted).


And finally, here's another ultra wide version from that same fisheye negative (it's jumbo sized -- make that: "giant economy sized" -- click it and see). This is a novel ultra wide remapping, done in three stages, which shows the room very much as you'd see it if you were here, your naked eye's field of view. Neat, yes? The distortions have been juggled so that there is a minimum of the usual stretching out at the sides that most ultra wide angle lenses produce, while vertical lines are rendered straight, without a fisheye's curvature. The final projection is cylindrical, like that from a swing-lens camera, such as a Widelux, Horizon, or Noblex.
Long horizontal lines naturally appear to curve slightly towards then away from the camera, going from side to side, just as we see them in nature. I just picked up one of the Russian made Horizon cameras on eBay at an amazingly low price, and am experimenting with it now. Using Dersch's Panoramic Tools one can convert images from such a camera, add in views taken with a normal camera, a standard or wide lens, a fisheye lens, whatever works best for each occasion, then meld them together seamlessly. Stay tuned, there's much more to come on this topic, including QuickTime VR...!

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leafSome Wendy Photos

Portrait This Portrait is a good candidate for the best photo of me. Photographer Vernon L. Smith is also a first-rate jazz trumpeter, and we got along famously from the first time we met, discussing music, performances and recordings especially -- such fun, and a fine way to relax a nervous subject, too. He was my preferred photographer from the late '70's until he retired in the mid-90s. (Most of the good photos of me on this page and elsewhere are are thanks to Vernon's handiwork.)
This one was taken sometime in the Fall of 1980, for promotional and magazine use (Keyboard used it several times). Shortly afterwards we packed up the studio in the brownstone for the move here to the Village. The Moog was still the highlight of the older room, and so Vernon posed me on a small bench in front of it. He usually can get me to laugh, and this shot was taken at the very end of one, when the crinkle/smile lines had not yet vanished completely. Vernon, I miss your artistry and warmth!

friends 86 Typical Broadway Studio scene, with my first dog, Heather, and (cheeky) Blue Point Siamese, Subi, hanging out with me. We were taking a few informal poses of the studio in this early 1986 shot, and during the course of it several curious "visitors" come in to see what was going on, and to "get into the action".
Inasmuch as some of you have requested photos featuring the fuzzy critters who live here, this is less a tacky oversight to put up a mess of "... and here is my cat, and here is my dog..." photographs, than an attempt to present some images that several of you would like to see. Not just Subi and Heather are curious, it would appear...
I miss the extra space the studio had back then. Over the years MIDI and Macs have encroached with their collective space needs. The two Synergy synthesizers are still in roughly this same location, but most of the area here has been filled with extra racks and custom tables and such. This is the place that I'm most likely to be seen working in nowadays, even as I type this description in html for you to read.
attack! For several months I was going through The Mystery of the Falling Filter here in the studio. Every day when I'd start to work I'd discover that the small round filter on the rear of the old HP computer had fallen to the floor. Veddy odd, as it fit in really neatly, and had never fallen out before in the ten years I'd had it.
But during a photo shoot Vernon captured this sequence which explained the mystery completely. We didn't even notice what was happening while taking the pictures, but certainly noticed it later when the evidence on the contact sheets was examined. Note that a certain small pushy critter jumps up onto the computer, looks to its rear, quietly reaches down and plucks off the foam filter, and finally looks down to examine her "handiwork". We had the culprit "with the goods", and the mystery was solved!
You'll have to look carefully to see that in the third shot the plastic grid that supports the filter shows visibly, while in the two earlier shots all you see is the flat gray foam surface. I cropped images 2 and 3 to focus in on the perpetrator more clearly. (Her name is the female form of the Italian word for small, Piccola, so we all properly pronounce it "Peek", explaining the slight pun caption on the photos.) This evidence is being made public here for the first time!
wi cats There's a similar shot as this in the S-O Bach 2000 booklet, which you may have seen. Both were taken in 1992, for that project (note the other B&W partner shot above in the Studio Views.) Notable is that all the cats here at the time posed for me. That's Nago in my lap, and Pica is on the Apple RGB monitor, while you can just see Subi up on the big Z21 monitor. I was relaxed and in a good mood this day, and all the pix came out well. Wish we'd done the shoot in color, but for reproduction B&W is often preferred, and a reduction from a color neg or slide is never quite so warm with good continuous tones as is this. Everyone I trusted told me to go with the other shot for the album, but I also thought this one was worth having someplace, too...
orig b&w This is the original B&W portrait of me that I colorized for the masthead image of an earlier version of the website's index page. It's a photo that you may also have seen published in several interviews and promotional materials. A friend who's a very good photographer offered to handle the photoshoot using my own cameras and photofloods, also for the experience of doing portrait photography right here, when a deadline for a magazine article was quickly approaching.
I'm surprised that the session came out as well as it did, without a knowledgeable portrait photographer presiding over everything, setting up some really professional lighting. I asked Vernon Smith to do the session originally, but this time he had to decline the offer. Vernon explained that he's officially retired from all photography gigging, portrait and otherwise, and has gone back to his first love: playing superb jazz trumpet. Way to go, Vernon!

at pianoat equip Two candidates for "The World's Ugliest Photos". These were taken for the interview with me in Keyboard magazine in August 1994. I was leery of using slide film "souped" as a negative and then enlarged, as I'd tried the very same stunt myself in the early 70s. The results then looked disappointing, like someone had blundered the Photoshop Levels to produce all highs and lows, with not much left in between. My test shots of abstract subjects looked okay in an abstracted way, perhaps, but the pix of Rachel were essentially for those who think gross is great. Ick!
That cautioned me that we'd probably end up with pretty horrific "people shots" for the Keyboard article (could color film have changed that much?), and as you can see, that pessimism was justified. I guess I look okay, but you can barely make out anything much here. I won't mention the photographer's name, as he was a nice, bright fellow, even as he set to "do me in" (I think his reputation at the time was then built upon this old trick, and not much else -- alas, "The Emperor's New Clothes"). It's a shame, as the left photo is a rare one of me up in front playing the grand piano with a synth on top, a first. The one to its right has a lotta illegible rack gear in close-up, while I sit on the floor and was asked to "look sternly at the camera, no smiles"... That's what you want, that's what you got ... next?
good b&w 86 Here's one of Vernon Smith's excellent photos, to compare with those just above. Ansel Adams would have been proud of the gorgeous gray scale, the careful lighting with all densities well exposed, a professional look & feel. It will lose something in this smaller JPEG (the original is exceedingly sharp!), but you can still get a memory-jog of what a high quality photo can look like. Much harder to do, too, with the current depressing trend ("let's see, how few gray steps can we get away with... 10? ...6? ...less that that...?") May explain why "trendiness" is so popular everywhere -- so much less skill is needed, yeay! Progres... (oops, sorry dear people; I slipped into curmudgeon mode there... Where was I...?) This photo was taken at the same time the one used in the Beauty in the Beast booklet was taken (which was color), on 2 1/4" low grain film and a good camera and lights, and a real expert at the controls.
I don't know now what happened to the original color negs and contacts for the other color shot, which was a somewhat better pose. Never got it back from Audion/Jem is my only logical conclusion, as all the other materials are still in the large manilla envelopes right here. We were too busy at the time to remember to track it down - the usual when new albums are being released. Then Jem went bankrupt, and tracking anything became impossible. For the discography page top photo I had to scan the BitB booklet, and do all manner of Photoshop trickery and hand retouching to get an okay look out of it. Perhaps I'll just colorize the above shot and replace the one that's there. But not now.
w+p 07 The photo to the left is the most recent (April '07) portrait of me, taken mainly as a current index page masthead photo for the site, where you've probably seen it already. The previous one had been there for several years, and was getting pretty stale, the way some book authors indifferently (or out of vanity?) use decades old photos of themselves on the flyleaf, I guess. As usual on the photos pages, click any thumbnail to get a larger, clearer view, and select "go back" to continue on with a current text.
(Just for the record, you can see the earliest index page photo of me HERE, and then the photo used for about six years until early this year HERE.) Anyway, during the informal photo shoot, who should come into the studio to investigate, but Pandy (who appears in many of the pix on the second photos page starting HERE). There was no stopping her, she saw what was going on, and wanted to be in the middle of it. So up on my shoulders she hopped, with such grace and skill I barely felt her (she's a pretty teensy cat, anyway). There were already a good many solo shots in the camera that evening, so why not take a few with a feline "budinski" included? Turned out to be quite cute, and something different from the other poses that have appeared online and in print.
Yes, the shot is in front of the Wurly II setup of five Kurzweil synths, which I assembled a few years ago. There's a full dedicated website page all about it HERE, for those interested. Anyway, yes there are four keyboards (manuals), plus there's a pedalboard (not in this view), and innumerable other pipe-organ like controls on it. And it sounds big and fat and hyper real (and I do plan to add some audio examples to the site, so you can get an idea). Fun!

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