email about Martin Bartlett's custom built synthesizer 502w

From Sun Mar 17 20:59 PST 1996 To: Jim Horton Subject: Re: bartlett's black box (fwd)

hi jim,

here's what matt rogalsky sent when i asked for info about martin's black box. i've included his 'horror story' about temporarily loosing his gear just for vicarious thrills!


---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Sat, 16 Mar 1996 14:39:49 -0500 From: To: Subject: Re: bartlett's black box

Hi John

I had a good trip except that United Airlines has misplaced my flight case, which if I don't get it back soon is a major disaster. I had a bad feeling that something like this might happen. They took me out of the check-in line to a special x-ray machine, certified my 2 bags, the flight case and a large suitcase, then sent them off ALONE down a conveyor belt -- and in Vancouver I only received the suitcase. It's a real nightmare because I have to do a show in 8 days.

As for Martin's Black Box, it was mouldering in the Western Front basement for many years (even before Martin's death) and when I was around it doing work on Martin's archive in the summer of 1994 (we pulled it out of the damp and took it up to Simon Fraser U.) it reeked of mildew. I didn't even try to fire it up.

There are a number of recordings of Martin's Black Box performances, notably one made at the Western Front where Martin sings an introduction to the audience which includes anecdotes about the Black Box and the building of another synthesizer, the "Apogee Motor", which included a visit to some Bay Area surplus store with David Tudor. Tudor was Bartlett's thesis supervisor at Mills -- I never knew that till I looked at his thesis composition in the Mills library.

So recordings exist and I am not sure how to get copies of them, but I can ask who's in charge of his archive now. It is meant to be part of SFU special collections but in all probability nothing has been done since the work I did on it in '94. \ GOOD NEWS -- United just called and they will deliver my missing case pronto. Now I just hope it is in one piece.

take care, matt

& r To: Subject: Re: bartlett's black box (fwd)

what interesting email! i thought the apogee motor was a version of the black box. "apogee motor" was stenciled on the side of a flight case originally used to transport rocket parts. bill hearn worked on the design and martin had built his synth into this case that he bought at Quinn's near the Oakland airport. Canadian customs seized this highly suspicious item. it took much special behind the scenes negotiations to get it back. sounds like mat almost had a similar problem. i would like to hear those bartlett tapes.

yr pal jim