Why everyone who loves sound in videogames should mourn Max Matthews

The Times has a lovely obit written by Luke DuBois for Max Matthews, the arch-father of computer music:

When Max died in April at the age of 84 he left a world where the idea that computers make sound is noncontroversial; even banal.  In 2011, musicians make their recordings using digital audio workstations, and perform with synthesizers, drum machines and laptop computers. As listeners, we tune in to digital broadcasts from satellite radio or the Internet, and as consumers, we download small digital files of music and experience them on portable music players that are, in essence, small computers. Sound recording, developed as a practical invention by Edison in the 1870s, was a technological revolution that forever transformed our relationship to music.


The history of music is the history of technology.  Unless you are improvising, a capella outdoors with your own singing voice, you are making music with technology, be it the technology of writing, architecture, instrument design, electric amplification, electronic reproduction, or digital synthesis.  Musicians intuit this, and can easily weather massive shifts in how we relate to new technologies in the human experience because we integrate our future seamlessly with our past.  We understand that every human culture will use the maximum level of technology available to it to make art.  It’s natural, and everything Max gave us flows from that, because he understood.  He was a musician, too.