The Beginner DJ Blog

Bruce Haack: The Obscure Genius Of Electronic Music

Muxx February 11, 2010 General No Comments

I know what you’re thinking: “Who the hell is Bruce Haack?“.

Many consider Bruce Haack as one of the pioneers of Electronic Music. Haack’s experimentation with synthesisers gave us a unique sound unheard of at its time. Haack invented his own synthesisers, produced many albums and was a genius.

So, why has Bruce Haack’s contributions been lost in history?

Let’s take this opportunity to explore the obscure, genius and pioneer of Electronic Music: Bruce Haack.

A Short History Lesson About Bruce Haack

Bruce HaackBruce Haack, born on May 4th, 1931 in the great white north (Canada), had a remarkable talent in playing pianos by the age of four.

Haack would eventually begin to give piano lessons at the age of 12. At a young age, Haack also had the opportunity to take Peyote with Native Americans – this would explain the future direction of Haack’s music.

Before long, as he grew into age, Bruce would seek a college degree at NYC’s Juilliard School – a music school. It didn’t take long for Bruce to become agitated with the programs offered at school so he left only after a few months.

Bruce began to write and compose music for dance and theater productions.

By the time Electronic Music was beginning to make an appearance in the 60s, Bruce fell in love with the limitless potential of the genre and began to being his first productions of this new sound.

Seeing this potential for Electronic Music, Haack and friend Esther Nelson created Dimension 5 records. Dimension 5 brought children dance and sing-a-long tunes, the first step towards Haack’s darker sound in his later years.

The sounds Haack wanted were hard to produce, they weren’t even invented yet! So, like any great musician (and pioneer) he created his own instruments to create these sounds.

Bruce took full advantage of the sounds of Moog synthesisers, drum machines, vocoders and the instruments he built himself. Haack’s unique sound would gain him acclaim from many music enthusiasts citing Haack created a unique sound of his own.

During Bruce’s early career, he sees success through production for Parker Brothers Games, appearances on shows such as The Tonight Show and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and begins to sell records through his Dimension 5 label.

When Psych Rock became the norm in the late 60′s, Haack released his most well known album: Electric Lucifer.

Bruce used his genius ability to invent instruments with his skillful playing to create both Psych Rock albums while continuing to create children’s sing-a-long songs.

The 70′s were hard for Haack, his failing health and increase in drug use compelled him to create much darker albums such as Haackula and Death Machine. These albums were cynical and depressing but Haack’s sound continued to improve with each release.

Eventually Haack’s health turned for the worst but before passing away he collaborated with Russel Simon’s to create one last song: Party Machine.

On September 26th, 1988 Bruce Haack passed away, leaving a legacy of experimental music and influencing thousands of artists.

Bruce Haack: The King Of Techno

Bruce Haack has been honored by a short but very informative documentary called Bruce Haack: The King of Techno.

This documentary takes you from his early childhood in Canada, his school days, creating Dimension 5 records, major releases and finally to his ultimate end.

Throughout the documentary are interviews with musicians who have been influenced by Haack. Joining the interviews are people that personally worked with Haack on Dimension 5 releases.

The documentary only runs a total of 48 minutes but any longer would be too much. Just like many of Haack’s releases, this film is rather hard to find but can be tracked down online.

A Legend Not Forgotten

I only learned about Bruce Haack a few years ago as I was exploring the roots of Electronic Music.

I find that it’s an amazing thing to know the history of the music you love, it gives you a deeper appreciation.

It’s very interesting to see how obscure Bruce Haack has become and how he’s often skipped over within the history books. Bruce Haack deserves to be mentioned, he helped create the music we love today.

There are probably countless others in the world that do not receive the credit they deserve, I will continue to search for them.

Here’s to Bruce, cheers.

Do you know of any other obscure Electronic Music musicians that don’t receive the credit they deserve? Leave a comment below and help shed some light on these people.

Tags: Pioneers


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