Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Bells of Atlantis - electronic music for a film

Thanks to a heads up from my colleague Julio D'Escrivan, possibly the first film to have electronic music specifically composed for it: Bells of Atlantis from 1952, directed by Ian Hugo/Hugh Parker Guiler, and featuring also his partner, Anais Nin... I am sure this set the tone for later 1950s science fiction soundscapes of beeps and buzzes of computers, robots, spacecrafts, etc that signalled "high tech", as Jaakko Suominen has argued in his cultural historical studies of computing...


  1. you forgot to mention the soundtrack is by Louis and Bebe Barron ! They worked with John Cage on Williams Mix and also did the music for Forbidden Planet of 1957. They had their own studio and were not affiliated to any institution (like their European contemporaries were to Cologne Radio or RTF Paris)

  2. Cool; indeed, the link with Forbidden planet is there; also, what Doug Kahn flagged on this topic on Facebook was that actually already The Day the Earth Stood Still, from a year earlier than Bells of Atlantis, used Theremin for outer space sounds. Also, a bit of added trivia from Doug; Norbert Wiener was a key influence for the Barrons!