6 October 2012

Ralph Lundsten

A look at the home and studio of legendary Swedish electronic music composer Ralph Lundsten. (It's of course in Swedish, but worth a look for the studio pictures anyway.) Lundsten is a bit of an eccentric and pretty full of himself sometimes, but undoubtedly one of the pioneers of synthesizer music. His Andromeda studio holds a couple of unique pieces, like the "Andromatic" synth, that Lundsten claims to be the worlds first polyphonic synth with a built in sequencer, which might be true (but the less well read presenter who introduces the interview of course gets it wrong and claims that it's the oldest synthesizer in the world...). Apart from the studio, Lundstens pink house Frankenburg also houses the "official" embassy of the Andromeda galaxy, and he issues visa for travel there ...

Lundsten has composed a few theme tunes in his days as well as his less commercial output. His opening theme for the 70's talk show "Kvällsöppet" was baldly going were few Swedish television themes had gone at the time, but less impressive compared to, say the output of the Radiophonic Workshop in the 70's. In this particual instance it's used to introduce an interview with Shirley MacLaine and then leader of the Swedish shadow cabinet, later prime minister Olof Palme.

Most of Lundstens later works fall somewhere between new age and kosmische, but his early works are actually quite good and definitely feels related to what other pioneering composers were doing in the 60's and 70's. The 4 cd box set "Electronic Music from the 60's and 70's by Ralph Lundsten" (whose cover also modestly claims "The king of synthesizer") is a good place to start if you want to investigate his oeuvre. The first two discs actually hold material that is surprisingly good. It's available to buy as download from Plugged records. It is also available on Spotify.

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