Listen to a recording of a work by composer Harrison Birtwistle using early synth designer Peter Zinovieff's studio
Peter Zinovieff is a composer and early electronic music instrument designer, who started out as a mathematician but soon became involved with designing synthesizers. It was Delia Derbyshire who introduced him to the idea of making music through tape splicing, before she went on to work at the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop. Left to his own devices, Zinovieff converted his garden shed in Putney, London, into an electronic music studio. In the years to come, it would be visited by musicians and composers including David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Kraftwerk, King Crimson, Stockhausen and many others.
In 1969 he formed Electronic Music Studios Ltd (EMS) with Tristram Cary and David Cockerell. The company created and manufactured the EMS VCS3, a portable analogue synthesizer, which they followed with their Synthi series. Electronic Calendar: The EMS Tapes is a compilation of works involving Zinovieff that were made between 1965–79, the year EMS folded. Chronometer 71 is a 1971 piece that comprises recordings of clocks in London's Big Ben and Wells Cathedral in Somerset. These were sequenced to a graphical score by Birtwistle using Zinovieff's studio system to control several tape machines, much like an early sampler. The piece was created in Zinovieff’s second Putney studio, Musys, set up in the basement of 49 Deodar Road.
Peter Zinovieff's Electronic Calendar: The EMS Tapes will be released on 22 June by Space Age Recordings