Tuesday, May 18, 2010

In 1979, Atlantan Kevin Dunn rewired new wave. But no one remembers

Posted By on Tue, May 18, 2010 at 2:00 PM


When Kevin Dunn tells a story, there's a brainy sense of humor in his voice that gives the impression that he's about to drop a hilarious punch line into the conversation. And sometimes he does. But the jokes always have a way of doubling back on him in ironic twists of fate. Take the time he spent as a student at the CalArts School of Music between 1971 and '72: "The campus was new back then and my roommate and I, an old style Dadaist type, would snicker about how the main classroom building looked like the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek," he says. "We would walk by one particular room where there were always these strange beeps, buzzes and gurgling noises, and say, 'Oh, that must be the engine room (laughs)!'"

As fate would have it, that room was the office of Morton Subotnick, the electronic composer best known for breaking away from the academia of early electronic music by incorporating rhythms where there had only been pitch and timbre before. Subotnick's 1967 piece, Silver Apples of the Moon (Nonesuch), became the first electronic composition to be commissioned by a record company. He was at CalArts teaching a class on electronic music, but Dunn's proximity to greatness didn't sink in. "I thought electronic music was a big, bad joke," he laughs, rolling his eyes in defeat. "That's just one of life's many ironies that I've brought upon myself."

Continue Reading "New waver Kevin Dunn gets last laugh with renewed interest"

(Photo Courtesy Kevin Dunn)

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