In 1969, Jim Morrison Predicted This About ‘Machine’ Music

…from the pages of Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend, as well as the freshly-released Skrillex track, ‘Breakn’ a Sweat,’ comes this.

These comments were made by the Doors frontman in 1969, roughly ten years before rap and twenty-five years before techno hit the scene.

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20 Responses

  1. improviser

    More Morrison hagiography. To be fair, it’s hardly a big stretch for anyone involved in music at the time, and especially someone who, like Morrison, had affinities with the avant-garde. Musique concrète, Pierre Schaefer and others in the European avant garde had been around for 25 years at this point. Morrison’s words would have been more prescient had he predicted that there would be a musical uprising on the part of underprivileged African American, Puerot Rican, and Jamaican immigrant youth, and that their innovations would someday change the face of popular music. And seriously, there were multi-turntable DJs working in New York within only a few years, not to mention in the gay club-scene at the time. While Morrison’s comments certainly reveal that he may have been tuned in to the avant-garde (but apparantly only slightly, since he wouldn’t have had to ‘envision’ but rather just go to a concert), they certainly don’t warrant the implication that he was so in touch as to predict the future. And they certainly reveal that he was considerably out of touch when it came to the class origins and gendered origins of hip hop and house music.

  2. LouisXIV

    I view this more about the hip-hop revolution than the electronica revolution. Who’s the man singing with different machines?

    Melle Mel, Grandmaster Flash, Rakim… 10 – 15 years later. Not the Detroit clubbers.

    • tonio

      I think it applies to both. In a way, DJs are more machine-dependent, since they don’t sing live and depend wholey on machines. Rappers use machines but still retain human live/vocals…

    • sosay

      thanks for bringing this dude up. i’d never heard of him, checked him out, and is clearly someone you gotta know about. i like this quote i found on the wiki machine.

      “Perhaps within the next hundred years, science will perfect a process of thought transference from composer to listener. The composer will sit alone on the concert stage and merely ‘think’ his idealized conception of his music. Instead of recordings of actual music sound, recordings will carry the brainwaves of the composer directly to the mind of the listener.” —Raymond Scott, 1949

  3. Artist

    Yep, As a Artist/Producer I would say Jim nailed it.

    Of course there were man acts like Kraftwerk et all who spurred from the 70s moovement as well as Mr. Moog Himself. I love my Moog.

    This year, 2012, while I gear up for tour…I’m breaking out the old Vinyl. Yep. Classic House and rare house pressings that very few have. I will have “Dub Plates’ created of my own music, so I can do a all “Vinyl” tour. No Mac, or keyboards, APCcontroller …just pure 2010s or 1200s and vinyl.

    I do not not think Vinyl is coming back…. and I sell a Ton of music on Itunes. (the only store I now allow to carry my new cataloge.)

    But, getting back two basic’s in 2012 will be fun.

  4. Vail, CO

    Yes, Jim Morrison is like some sage to the 20 something, but there was actually technology back then too.

  5. Ken McAllister

    Well isn’t that nice your adding another snippet to the lore of the 20th century Shamans’ mystique all the way here in 2011. I think there is a you tube video interview that houses the aforementioned
    quotation. Well, hopefully wherever Admiral Morrison’s son is today he is getting a kick out of all of this posthumanous prophesizing talk. I bet Jim is drinking lemonade and collecting spotify royalty pennies for bantering and crooning false-starts now released on the “perception” box-set Another guy also said, “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”, clearly that’s what Jim was doing. Electronic music was by no means new in 1969, just play the tape backwards and it makes a groovy sound, dig? that’s the experience. Happy New Year.

  6. summittechnology

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  7. ctmartin

    I love Jim Morrison and The Doors, but jeeze… Switched-On Bach was released in 1968! Ok, no singing, but LOTS OF MACHINES!!! :-)))))

  8. Gordon Kaswell

    Not much prescience in Morrison’s comment. The Beatles’ St. Pepper album was released in 1967. Plenty of overdubbing there. And Laura Nyro’s Eli and the 13th Confession, released shortly after, had her voice repeatedly overdubbed in multi-part harmonies. Maybe the best example of this sort of thing from the popular stuff of the time is the debut album of Crosby Stills & Nash. Stills played nearly all the instruments, except for the drums.

    So Morrison was paying attention to the trends that were already in motion around him. That’s all.

  9. ahermann

    25 years later? Really? If Davis and his editors had bothered to fact-check, they might have noticed that the first Detroit techno tracks started coming out in the early ’80s, less than 15 years after Morrison’s statement. And as the other commenters have noted, it didn’t take a psychic in 1969 to look at existing synthesizer technology and predict its emergence.

  10. Oracle?

    … so what if he’d said the complete opposite: “I can envision one person with one single machine – singing and speaking and using one machine”?

    Would we now be crediting him with inventing the MacBook Pro?

  11. Cringe

    As much as I loved Jim he was out of his head most of the time and unlikely to see the future of music or indeed his own end.

    George Orwell was a real visionary.

  12. sosay

    yeah, steve reichs its gonna rain came out in 65, moog was rolling, cool to try to imagine the actual visions he had. its interesting thinking about music in the future. wonder if we’ll have fools creating music on the fly with their brains and nonotech. i remember back in the day when i was like 16 and on acid i envisioned a 3d piano that you stand inside with like thousands of notes and whatever……… anyways