max is dead: long live max

“Many exciting pieces are now performed digitally.” – Max Mathews, 1997.

Max, I suspect you never knew that half of it. Max Mathews literally invented computer music: He wrote a program called Music I which played 17 seconds of a composition of his own devising, in 1957. Where were you in 1957? Probably not changing the world, I bet. (He also made the rightful iconic verison of “Daisy Bell” that HAL sings in 2001. Legend. )

More importantly, he created a world in which the idea of making music with digital devices was possible. Think about the scope of that statement: everything from the CD to Ableton Live owes its creation to him. Every adult job I have had, bar one, has depended on his work, to say nothing of how I spend my leisure time. We’ll miss you, Max.