Buchla USA announces Music Easel + 50th Anniversary Music Easel

Buchla USA has announced the Music Easel and the 50th Anniversary Music Easel.

Both are new releases of the classic 1973 Buchla Music Easel design, but with slightly different styling and features.

What they say about it:

Fifty years ago, in 1973, only a few dozen were made. Unlike many iconic technologies, the influence was not grown through force of scale, but rather the force of the ideas. The Music Easel made available virtually every musical dimension: timbre, melody, rhythm, and time; how these dimensions intersected was no longer the court of acoustics and material, but signals and voltage. The 208 Stored Program Sound Source engendered “a new functional organization [with a] particularly rapid system of patching and program storage via plug-in cards.”

Taking cues from the then-recent discipline of cybernetics, the 218 touch plate was for “real-time communication” to help realize the “potential vocabulary” of the Easel, rather than exploiting existing modes of musical virtuosity. The Stored Program Cards ensured rapid repeatability and repertoire on its own terms. The battery terminals made sure the music was as portable as any acoustic instrument. And the name let you know it was designed for art rather than science.

Buchla is ecstatic to revive the Music Easel for its third run in 50 years. We first released the updated 208 Stored Program Sound Source, dubbed the Easel Command, with expanded MIDI and USB capability. Next came the update of the Easel Program Manager – a complete kit for storing and recalling sounds sources, even more rapidly than imagined in 1973. Our new 218 Touch Activated Voltage Source provides the optimal input facility, as originally envisioned. We can now bring it all together in a rugged case and the advanced EMBIO module that unifies all the audio and control inputs and outputs for integration with the rest of your musical world.

More than a retro novelty, the Music Easel still speaks to a future we strive for. A technology that invites conversation, not chats, and controls that engage expression, not work. There are many new worlds to explore in this instrument created at the crossroads of the jazz and computer ages. Designed as “an integrated assemblage of functions“, rather than a collection of modules, the Music Easel’s color coding, comfortable access to controls, and solid patch connections allow for satisfying sessions of sonic discovery.

The Music Easel will available for pre-order starting in June at Buchla.com and your Buchla Dealer, priced at $4,999. Delivery of the Music Easel is expected early October 2023.

The 50th Anniversary Easel is built into a powder blue aluminium case, with gold keys on the 218 touch surface and Rogan knobs.

Buchla will be taking orders from June 1 to June 30, and build to order. Pricing is to be announced.

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