I Dream of Bebe Barron

Well I mean I dream about having her life. Her and her husband are credited with being the first electronic music artists in the world. Pretty fucking cool.

Ok so imagine this is totally your life, you’re 22 years old. It’s 1947, two years after the end of the single biggest influential event of the decade, World War II.

There are larger and larger rumblings of  the oncoming Civil Rights movement being felt throughout the country.  Television just became available to the public with 13 channels. The first computer had just been invented. During the last decade, women had experienced greater freedoms because of the war. Rosie the Riveter had become an icon of the working woman, the All American Girls Professional Baseball League (“there’s no crying in baseball!”) was in full swing, and women, now accustomed to a new and changing society, were creating the political and social foundations for gaining greater equalities in the workplace.


Bebe and Louis are from Minneapolis but get married and move to New York City in 1947. As wedding gift they get a tape recorder and begin recording people at their house parties.

Aren’t these people like the cutest couple ever? Recording shit at their house parties? Aren’t house parties the greatest?

Soon Louis starts tinkering with circuit boards, he’s always loved soldering and electronics. He makes circuit boards that emit sound which Bebe records on the tape recorder.

They just fuck around. Making up “plays” where the sounds are actors.  They don’t even think of it as a musical composition, though Bebe does have a musical background. They are just having fun.

Soon Bebe starts spending time listening to noises and picking out what sounds good.  She starts making new noises, using multiple tape recorders. She invents the tape loop.

She fucking invents the tape loop.

Bebe and her husband go on to record the first electronic album “Forbidden Planet” and open the first electronic music recording studio, recording the likes of Tennessee Williams and Henry Miller.

Bebe gives John Cage a boner because she’s so badass and he begins encouraging her artistically, while he himself begins the authoring of a new art form.  The Barron’s get involved in creating the first sound effects in film and begin a royal rein in Hollywood as the Queen and King of film sound.

Bebe’s work ignited a great debate on whether her creations were of artistic or scientific value.  And she continued to work in the field of electronic recording throughout her life.

 I dream of Bebe indeed!
So when you’re dancing to that Hot Chip track tonight, you can dance in honor of Bebe.

RIP
Bebe Barron
June 16, 1925 to April 20, 2008

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