Bruce Haack: New Compilation Out October 19 on Stones Throw
Juilliard dropout Bruce Haack began making experimental, electronic country-pop for children in the early ’60s. To call him ahead of his time is an understatement. Farad: The Electric Voice, a new compilation featuring Haack’s work from 1970 to 1983, drops October 19 on Stones Throw.
More creative tinkerer than electronic engineer, Haack often made his own instruments including a vocoder called “Farad.” Predating Kraftwerk, Haack’s electro-pop music and melodic vocoder singing brought him to the public eye with features on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, where he demonstrated his unique invention the Peopleodian, which one plays by touching another human being to produce sound.
Farad: The Electric Voice features released and unreleased tracks, dating from 1970 to 1983, that demonstrate the range of Haack’s music and highlight the “Farad” vocoder. Songs like “Electric Turn to Me” and “National Anthem to the Moon,” from his only major label release, The Electric Lucifer (Columbia, 1970), illustrate his psychedelic trips into computer circuitry. Other tracks, like “Rain of Earth” and “Rita,” for instance, speak to Haack’s penchant for catchy melodies and fun lyrics that sound like a mix of They Might Be Giants and MGMT; it’s clear that Haack was an influence on both acts. The compilation contains surprises even to the last song: the 1982 Russell Simmons collaboration “Party Machine” shows Haack flexing his b-boy muscles with a hip-hop/electronica/robot-funk jam.