The Story of the First Electronic Pop Record Ever Made

Wednesday 17th November, 2021 - Bruce Sterling

*I don’t believe that collection is the first such record ever made, but this is nevertheless an epic tale.

*Dick Raajmakers was a protean research-and-development expert who was up to all kinds of odd stuff — with the industrial backing of the mighty Philips corporation.

When most people think of “electronic music” in the 1950s, they’re usually thinking about one of two things: cutting-edge electroacoustic experiments—Karlheinz Stockhausen’s “elektronische musik” or France’s musique concrète—or the novelties found in theremin-scored sci-fi movies and cartoons. The Fascinating World of Electronic Music—a compilation of early electronic works by Dutch composers Tom Dissevelt and Kid Baltan—giddily straddles this dichotomy. Initially marketed as a way for consumers to show off their hi-fi sound systems, it now stands as one of the earliest examples of what could be called “electronic pop,” and its fusion of electroacoustic processing, big-band style, and jazz arrangements still resonates today. Released in 1963 (though some of the recordings date back to 1957), their work is a baffling and beautiful thing to experience….