A sitting with the diva of the diode.
RA readers would most likely know Suzanne Ciani for her pioneering work with modular synthesisers. When analogue synthesis was emerging as a new frontier during the '60s and '70s, Ciani had already mastered modular live performance and quadrophonic sound, performing works of rich sensitivity on Don Buchla's legendary 200 series system. Yet it's just one facet of a career whose significance is only recently become fully understood.
Apart from receiving five Grammy nominations for a slew of so-called new age albums (Ciani doesn't identify with the term), her sound design work is some of the most iconic of the 20th century. She managed to slip advanced synthesis into the advertisements of some of America's largest corporations, and ran a internationally respected sound design hot house in New York called Ciani Musica. But following a campaign of reissues from Finder Keepers, Ciani was discovered by a new generation of electronic music fans. Now placed alongside originators like Delia Derbyshire and Laurie Spiegel, Ciani is respected as a historically crucial figure whose understanding of the fusion of music and technology was years ahead of the curve.
In conversation with Christine Kakaire, we hear of Ciani's surprise at the interest the reissues spiked and how it triggered the latest evolution in a long and winding life in sound and music.