Thursday, January 5, 2012

Richard Lainhart, 1953 - 2011

Richard Lainhart died a week or so ago.

I didn’t really know him personally, but we did correspond a number of times. I wish I could have called him a friend, but it was more of a modern age electronic acquaintance rather than a true friendship. He used a photo I took at one of his shows (above) as a publicity shot, which made me pretty happy. 

In some ways I just have no idea what to write. I met him, I saw him play, his music is amazing (although nothing at all like I would play). He had a long a varied career, doing all sort of things that were surprising to me once I read about them.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that although I didn’t really know him, he somehow touched my life, and that I’ll miss him now that he’s gone. Not just his wild musical journeys with “non-traditional” synths played using “non-traditional” interfaces that he somehow managed to combine together into coherent and compelling musical pieces, but also things like his his famous bird cam, for instance.

When I saw him play live he had an incredible psychedelic background projected on the wall behind him. It was beautiful, mesmerizing, amazing. At the time I was very much interested in video projection, and searched for weeks for the clip he used. It was frustrating to not be able to find it, so finally I asked him where he got it. His answer? A very casual, “oh, I programmed that myself in After Effects.” 

Zing! Blew me away again.

That was Richard. I wish I’d gotten the chance to know him better.