Stephen Beck (b. 1950)
Illuminated Music 2 & 3 (1973)
Director: Stephen Beck
Year: 1973
Time: 28 mins
Music: Warner Jepson

A classic in audiovisual experimentation, Illuminated Music was a series of live performances by Stephen Beck (visuals) and Warner Jepson (music) in which the artists reworked pre-made compositions directly before an audience. While electronic video adventures were still a novelty, live experiments, both in the visual and musical arenas, were even rarer. Beck used the Direct Video Synthesizer, designed by himself, which - so the narrator claims - allowed him to "control precisely" the visual output in the performance (the myth of control in electronic media) and, still noteworthy at the time, to create pictures without a camera. Jepson used the now famous Buchla audio synthesizer, first explored by Subotnick in his 1963 piece Silver Apples on the Moon. Though I'd that say that Jepson's music is far richer and more engaging than the visuals (perhaps as a result of the greater possibilities of the Buchla synth and the deeper theoretical and practical range of electronic music at the time) Illuminated Music is unsurpassable in its historical significance as an early experiment in live electronics. I never could get hands on Part I, nor do I know if there are further installments in the series. -- Eye of Sound