Photographer William Eggleston is now a synth maestro

Peter Townsend

08/31/17

At 78 years old, legendary photographer William Eggleston is making a career pivot. He's about to drop his debut album, Musik.

And yes, we mean the William Eggleston, who 40 years ago lit up the photography scene with an exhibition of dye-transfer color prints at the New York Museum of Modern Art at a time when black-and-white photos were the art world norm. As it turns out, photography wasn't the only art form that piqued his interest.

Musik was originally created in the 1980s on the Korg OW/1 FD Pro synthesizer and stored on 49 floppy discs, storing 60 hours of music. After paring it down to the essentials, Musik is a 13-track composition of piano-forward melodies that has gone unheard by the public—until now.

It's already being heaped with praise, with Twin Peaks auteur David Lynch calling it "Music of wild joy with freedom and bright, vivid colors."

Eggleston's nearly four decade delay in dropping potentially the most fire floppy discs of the early aughts is oddly prescient considering the resurgence of synth use currently pervading the music world (see: Jewel, Johnny; Oneohtrix Point Never; the Stranger Things theme). But most of the songs are undoubtedly unhip.

"On The Street Where You Live," one of two tracks given a title, has the workings of a movie score.  The album is underpinned by a medieval vibe—Johann Sebastian Bach meets Tycho—tinged with the flavor of a church organ.

Still, it's laudable that Eggleston is taking his chances with a different medium, perhaps one day joining the ranks of talented visual artists better known for their music—John Lennon, Cat Stevens and Joni Mitchell, among them.

Musik will be released on October 20. Listen to the first track, "UNTITLED IMPROVISATION FD 1.10" below.

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