Max Vernon Matthews, one of the first musicians to extract coherent sounds from a computer, has died in San Francisco, aged 84. Matthews was important less for original compositions as for the path that he lit for others to work with the infernal machine. He was a significant influence and facilitator for Pierre Boulez in the early years of IRCAM.
“The IBM 704 and its siblings were strictly studio machines–they were far too slow to synthesize music in real-time. Chowning’s FM algorithms and the advent of fast, inexpensive, digital chips made real-time possible, and equally important, made it affordable.