Telekom Electronic Beats

The East Versus West Coast Synthesis Rivalry Explained

Morton Subotnick versus Wendy Carlos. Buchla versus Moog. It’s hardly a Tupac/Notorious B.I.G. rivalry, but since the 1960s a battle has been waged between the West and East Coasts of the USA with diodes, resistors, low pass gates and filter cutoffs. It centers around two approaches to synthesis (and two different types of synthesizer format) emerging roughly around the same time in music colleges in San Francisco and New York. Both envisioned different futures for music, technology and their symbiosis.

The guys over at Reverb have a useful primer on what are the stakes and cultural origins of these different approaches to music making—and more importantly, what kinds of crazy tones you can expect to get when you get one of these babies up and running.

For more on the history leading up to the first Buchla’s development, read our interview with Morton Subotnick here.