Don Buchla, the groundbreaking synthesizer inventor, has died age 79.
He was considered a true iconoclast with an uncompromising vision of what synthesizers could be. Buchla independently invented the first modern synthesizer, at the same time as Robert Moog, in 1963.
Although Moog is often credited with having invented the first modular synthesizer, Moog even admitted during his lifetime that Buchla was the first to have a full concept of how to put all the modules together to add up to an instrument.
“He invented a whole new paradigm for how you interface with electronics – much more human, and a whole new thing,” says Buchla’s close friend Morton Subotnick.
Subotnick commissioned the first Buchla synthesizer in 1963 and had been friends and collaborators with Buchla ever since. You cannot become obsolete if you design a legitimate instrument from the outside in.”
His son, Ezra Buchla, a musician based in Los Angeles, remembered his father as “the most singular person”.
“The word ‘visionary’ doesn’t really do justice,” says Buchla.