The Rutt-Etra modular video synthesizer may be an early-1970s relic. But it’s an expressive visual instrument that seems even more contemporary and timeless today than when it first appeared. So it’s fitting that a new music video makes its intricate generated analog eye candy the star. Set to Nalepa’s track “Daytime,” the work – by noted visualists Benton-C Bainbridge and V Owen Bush – is an abstract visual poem. Clouds and planets drift out of the lacy, electronic tendrils. It’s a quick ticket to another world. (Watch it above; definitely watch it in “HD.”)

LA-based artist Steve Nalepa tells us:

We made this using a Rutt/Etra — actually [creator] Bill Etra’s personal Rutt/Etra. Benton and Owen are friends with him. There’s less than a dozen physical units left in the world, they only made 2 dozen originally.

Benton and Owen go by Glowing Pictures. Bunch of details of their history and stuff on their website. They just did One Step Beyond last week, VJing for Dirty Projectors. [One Step Beyond is the terrific New York party held on Central Park West at the American Museum of Natural History Rose Planetarium. It’s one of those few places where you can always count on top-notch live visuals.]

Here’s the official description:

Daytime’s sinuous imagery was hand-crafted with the Rutt/Etra Video Synthesizer, an analog video instrument built in the early 70s. Like a TV from another dimension, the Rutt/Etra gives artists total control of the screen with knobs, oscillators and sound-responsive circuitry. It is a modular analog computer, programmed with patch chords.

The artists dedicate Daytime to the memory of Steve Rutt, co-inventor of the Rutt/Etra. Steve’s pioneering work as an engineer and entrepreneur helped create the media culture we now live in.

Music by Steve Nalepa.
Video co-created by Benton-C Bainbridge, V Owen Bush and Steve Nalepa.
Video produced at dvlabs in New York.

More information:

In case you happen to be in the LA area this Wednesday, Nalepa is playing the legendary downtown party Low End Theory. Alongside him is a 12-year-old child prodigy, Nalepa’s student Frankie, aka Subjection. It looks like a don’t-miss installment – lineup (and listening for all of us in the rest of the world, via SoundCloud):


Subjection (Frankie, 12 years old)

Wednesday 2/1: NALEPA, SUBJECTION, and special guest plus residents
Daddy Kev, Nobody, Gaslamp Killer, Nocando and D-Styles

2419 N Broadway
Los Angeles, California

18+ / $10 cover

More Rutt-Etra Action

Benton also used the same Rutt-Etra synth on the video for “Staring At The Sun” by indie darlings TV on The Radio. Here it is:

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  • dev

    baby's on fire.