Bebe Barron

The 1956 sci-fi thriller Forbidden Planet was the first major motion picture to feature an all- electronic film score a soundtrack that predated synthesizers and samplers. It was like nothing the audience had seen or heard. The composers were two little-known and little-appreciated pioneers in the field of electronic music, Louis and Bebe Barron.

Married in 1947, the Barrons received a tape recorder as a wedding gift. They used it to record friends and parties, and later opened one of the first private sound studios in America. The 1948 book “Cybernetics: Or, Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine”, by MIT mathematician Norbert Wiener, inspired Louis Barron to build electronic circuits, which he manipulated to generate sounds. Bebe's job was to sort through hours and hours of tape. Together they manipulated the sounds to create an otherworldly auditory experience.

The Barrons' music caught the ear of the avant-garde scene: In the early 1950s, they worked on a year- long project with composer John Cage. They also scored several short experimental films.

The Manhattan-based couple having completed several short experimental film scores, utilizing electronics but had never employed their apartment electronic music studio for a full-length soundtrack. The Barrons described their compositions in an early article as not functioning in a traditionally musical way but instead as non-linear constructions designed to describe a cast of characters engaged in a dramatic plot.

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