In about 1970 composer Douglas Lilburn had to make something he didn’t have – the sound of the huia. You can imagine him, moaning to his colleagues over morning tea at Victoria University – you’ll never guess what the boss wanted – bring the dead back to life … kind of thing. Luckily, he had a room full of kit at Victoria University to help him out. And as you’ll hear, the result was no frankensound, but something fascinating and believeable.
You can listen to him describe how he did it, with analog signal and a razor blade. These days it sounds retro and futuristic all at once. The piece was recorded for a performance at Expo 1970 in Osaka. Expo is a world trade fair which also had a large rock from the moon, a spherical concert hall which played three dimensional music from multi-track tape, plus early examples of mobile phones, local area networking, and hover train technology. Read more about Expo 1970.