Somewhat Ahead Of Their Time...
In 1952, Philips Industries, those zany Dutchfolk that bring us fancy new TVs and lightbulbs every now and again, saw fit to make an electronic music studio in their main R&D facility in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. This studio, which was moved to the University Of Utrecht in 1960 as part of their new Sonology Studio, and again in 1972 to the Royal Conservatory Of Music (as pictured above), still exists today as Studio BEA-5 at the Institute Of Sonology, with most of the gear in that top image still in daily use.
(Click that image to go to a Flickr set taken in 2007. Note that it is the same room, and more or less the same angle, as the top photo.)
This is, for some reason, one of the lesser known of the old electronic music studios. Obviously, we're all familiar with the BBC's efforts in that department, and the famous electronic music studios in Paris and Cologne, but BEA-5 and its parents had a reasonably profound effect on the history of electronic music, and it also has the distinction of being the Last Man Standing of bespoke electronic studios from the '40s and '50s.
An interesting sidebar: it is where Var?se created Po?me ?lectronique while working with Le Corbusier on the Philips Pavilion at the 1958 World's Fair, and as such is the pivot point for the acceptance of electronic music as a valid form of musical expression, in my humble opinion.
This video is a trip. Although it's in Dutch, you get the general idea. This is the original studio at the Phillips labs before it was moved the first time, and gives a good overview of the techniques used to make music at this studio (and, indeed, the techniques in general use at the time in all the electronic music studios). The next time someone sends me a litany of "can you make Plugin X do task Y so I can spend more time with my vaporizer?" I'm just going to send them this video and say "now you have a vague inkling of an idea of how easy you have it."
Here's an interesting piece of music by Tom Dissevelt & Kid Baltan (the two dudes in the previous video), called Vibration that was also recorded at the Philips labs iteration of Sonology. That intro bit, well, slap a nice Machinedrum kick under it, and you've got yourself some minimal techno, plain and simple. Given the chronology of things, you can safely assume that the methods in the first video directly resulted in the music of the second video. Speaking of chronology, to put the age in perspective, the above track was recorded the year that Buddy Holly released Rave On. Either that, or it's on the new Autechre album. You be the judge.
Anyhow, I imagine at least one, if not several, of the daily readers of AI have visited BEA-5, and may have an anecdote or two to relate in that regard. If you'd like an excellent compilation of music recorded at the first locations of this studio, you could do far worse than to pick up Popular Electronics, which has virtually all the highlights.