Watch Rolling Stones Co-Founder Keith Richards Create Ambient Electronic Music –
Who knew Rolling Stones guitarist and songwriter Keith Richards also played with modular synthesizers?
In a clip unearthed by Far Out Magazine, the legendary musician is seen making experimental electronic music on a modular synthesizer. The footage shows Richards arranging cords and cables to create ambient sounds as a soft, dreamy hum emanates from the machine, most likely a Moog.
The clip comes from an obscure documentary called Umano Non Umano, which was screened at the 30th Venice International Film Festival. The film’s title translates to “Human Not Human.” Mario Schifano, an Italian painter known for exhibiting alongside Andy Warhol, released the doc in 1969, per Far Out.
According to IMDb, “artists and poets meet in a dreamlike space between walks and performances” in the experimental film.
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Believe it or not, this may not have been the first time the Stones tested the waters of electronic music via analog synthesizers. The group is said to have purchased an early synth in the ’70s and kicked the tires on how to use it in their music.
“Apparently at the time, the idea was that Mick [Jagger] was going to use the Moog synthesizer as his instrument in the band,” said Sam Umland, an English professor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, on his 60×50 music blog.
Jagger, however, didn’t ultimately take up the synthesizer. It was eventually sold to a Berlin recording studio, where it was purchased for $15,000 by Christoph Franke of Tangerine Dream.