Paul Beaver & Bernard L Krause

The Nonesuch Guide To Electronic Music

PPANHC73018
Release Notes
  • 50th Anniversary Edition
  • Double 180gm LP
  • Now mastered at the correct pitch
  • Insert includes with liner notes by Richie Unterberger

Among the very first to master and popularize the sounds of the Moog synthesizer were Paul Beaver and Bernie Krause. Their debut album, The Nonesuch Guide to Electronic Music, was something of a primer for the sounds the instrument could make. Though largely devoted to demonstrations of specific sounds, it ended up making far more of an impact than the usual instructional record did, enjoying healthy sales and helping to spread the use of the synthesizer within the music industry.

Beaver and Krause were introduced to each other by Elektra records founder and president Jac Holzman, who was looking to use the synthesizer in an astrological concept album the company was producing, The Zodiac — Cosmic Sounds. They were in some respects an unlikely pair. It was while sitting together with Krause on a plane ride to the Monterey Pop Festival, in fact, that Holzman conceived of the idea for The Nonesuch Guide to Electronic Music.

Most of the two-disc set’s four sides were brief, less-than-a-minute tracks sonically illustrating numerous examples of electronic sound, subdivided into sections documenting “signal generators,” "control generators, “frequency modulation,” “amplitude modulation,” “ring modulation,” “amplitude modulation,” “ring modulation,” “filtering,” and “tape delay.” Even with the numerous individual tracks, and the many bands of silence separating them, the album’s running time is on the short side for a double LP. Krause confirms this was done to help ensure that the sonic range of the sound was as full as possible, as longer vinyl LP sides tended to cut down on that quality when they were mastered. “We and the mastering folks were not sure how the more robust signals of the synthesizer would affect the limits of track width and depth, so we purposely kept it on the short side,” he elaborates. “Also, this was the first release to use Dolby noise reduction during the recording process. And finally, it wasn’t a ‘listening’ type of album.”