Saturday, December 31, 2011

RIP Richard Lainhart & Mel Morley (midimel)


Duet in C - YouTube Uploaded by azimuthvisuals on May 20, 2010

"Music by Mel Morley and Richard Lainhart. Recorded at Pocono Skies electro-music festival, May 15, 2010. This improvised piece is part of a larger collaboration including Howard Moscovitz, Jeannie Allen, and Charles Shriner. Mel Morley plays keyboards and software synthesizers. Richard Lainhart plays Haken Continuum and Buchla modular synthesizer. Camera by Greg Waltzer and visuals by Hong Waltzer of Azimuth Visuals."

It is with tremendously sad news that I post the passing of both Richard Lainhart & Mel Morley this holiday season. My condolences go out to their families.

I recently met Richard Lainhart and his lovely wife in Bellingham for the Electronic Arts Festival. You can find a slideshow and video of his lecture with a performance of Oraisen on the Haken Continuum and Buchla 200e here. I believe my first post on Richard went up back in 2007. His work has been featured numerous times on the site. Just do a search on Lainhart on the right search box.  Google brings up 8900 results, but I'm guessing some are repeats.  Regardless, his presence on the site was massive.

Richard had a passion for not only music but for teaching as well. Many of his performances such as that at the Bellingham Electronic Arts Festival was a combination of performance and lecture. I only briefly communicated with him at Bellingham and via email, but felt akin to him.  He said he loved performing and travelling.  He was always grateful for his coverage on the site and once told me a story about how he ended up on a trip to Italy because of a post here on MATRIXSYNTH.  It was one of the biggest compliments I ever received on the site.  I will never forget that and I will never forget him.  Rest in peace Richard, you were one cool cat.  See his Facebook Page for messages. You can find his website at http://www.otownmedia.com/. Update: you can find a recent performance of Richard in New York on CatSynth here. I'm not sure if this was his last. via CatSynth in the comments below: "What a sad day! I knew Richard Lainhart from performing in New York over the past couple of years. It was only a couple of days ago that I posted the show we did where we did an improvised score to his film "History of the Future." His music and films were beautiful and he was a great person, and will be missed. :("

Update: I went up to Bellingham for the afternoon. It was a planned trip, but having briefly met Richard and his wife Caroline there gave it special meaning this time. A bit more reflective on the life of those I thought I'd eventually get to know better. In the Fairhaven district there is a little garden shop with artisan products. There is an outside section with a little rock gravel path that you can walk through. At one point in the walk something captured my attention. It took me a second and I realized it was a bunch of birds chirping away as if having a massive conversation. It made me think of Richard. On Twitter and Facebook he used to post about listening to birds outside his home. It always reminded me to slow down a little and just take the time to listen to the birds.    

Update: via I Dream of Wires: Extended Interview Series: Richard Lainhart


Mel Morley aka midimel was well known to many in the electronic music scene. You can find his website here: http://midimel.com. He once played keys for Flock of Seagulls, and was one of the few owners of the Performance Music Systems Syntar. George Mattson of Mattson Mini Modular and Performance Music Systems knew him well. Mel, actually dropped by the NAMM booth in the early 80s when the Syntar was shown. He dropped by George's booth and gave the Syntar a spin. According to George he was quite proficient at it and someone walking by came up to talk to him. That person ended up being the contact that led him to playing for Flock of Seagulls.  George said he is really going to miss him.  He had some great conversations with him. I have only briefly communicated with Mel myself, but he like Richard was one cool cat. I wish I could have gotten to know him better.  You can find his Facebook Page with condolences here.


7 comments:

  1. Terrible news, my condolences to the families. 2 legends RIP :(

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  2. What a sad day! I knew Richard Lainhart from performing in New York over the past couple of years. It was only a couple of days ago that I posted the show we did where we did an improvised score to his film "History of the Future." His music and films were beautiful and he was a great person, and will be missed. :(

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  3. Wonderful music and it is 30mins before new years festivities here in UK and all celebrations shall have added importance.... beautiful end to a good year and intro to a better year.... Thank you for posting this. X

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  4. Loved Richard's work. I continually watch his performance videos. RIP

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  5. Verbos & I saw Lainhart play at Experimental Intermedia in New York last year. He was probably the only person in the world to set his 281's to fully clockwise and get away with it, and, clearly, one of the few people in the world to have produced actual music on the Buchla.

    One of the most inspiring Youtube videos is the one where he hooks a Continuum up to an Arp Axxe.

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  6. 'one of the few people in the world to have produced actual music on the Buchla'

    Exactly!

    Great person ,very sad..

    My condolences to the families.

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  7. Very sad indeed. I love Richard's music. And yes, the Buchla truly was a musical instrument in his hands. RIP

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