French composer Pierre Henry, who is considered a pioneer in the musique concrète genre of electronic music, has died at the age of 89.
This “father of modern music” and “grandaddy of techno”, as he is called, was born in Paris in 1927, and Henry began experimenting with producing sounds from various objects at the age of 15, later looking at the incorporation of noise into music production.
After collaborating with musicologist Pierre Schaeffer, he opened with Jean Baronnet in 1958 the first electronic music studio in France – Apsone-Cabasse Studio, in which his most famous works were created, including the famous collaboration with the band Spooky Tooth in the song Psyche Rock whose riffs were used in the Oscar-winning film Z by Costa Gavras. This Henry’s work became known globally, when it was used as an inspiration for the musical theme of Futurama by Matt Groening, an American animated science fiction sitcom set in the 31st century.
According to Wire magazine, Henry said in an interview in 2009 that he felt less inspired by today. “We’re living at a time where everything is controlled, planned and codified and even popular anymore, it’s imposed upon us. I think it’s a big mistake to call today’s music electronic music,” he continued. “People do things with computers and samples but it’s not the same approach as the way I work, or how Karlheinz Stockhausen worked in his electronic pieces. There is not the same craft, and it’s not progress.” Henry thought.
Watch the documentary The Art of Sound about the work of this prominent artist.