Pop quiz: what instrument by pioneering “father of digital audio” (or, if you’d rather, “great-grandfather of Techno”) Max Mathews was featured on the cover of Playboy Magazine?
If you guessed the IBM 704 mainframe, the computer on which Mathews generated the first computer music the world ever heard, you’d be — wrong! Would that we were so lucky. I’m sure you hard-core geeks can imagine your favorite woman or man sprawled over those . . . crisp lines . . . cold, slab surfaces . . . humming away . . . see the 704 photos here and here.
The correct answer is, as shown, Mathews’ Electronic Violin, from the April 1998 Playboy. The player is a serious violinist named Linda Brava who, apparently, has an affinity for posing for soft-core violinist porn. Then again, if I were a blonde bombshell Finnish violinist, my publicity shots would probably involve me in lace-up boots, too. Brava has a hard-core violinist resume, but she really does play digital violins — not just for photo shoots.
But, in all seriousness, I don’t enjoy looking at Finnish violinist nearly as much as looking at IBM mainframes, especially as operated by serious-looking businesspeople in suits. So, for posterity, check out the real first digital musical instrument after the break (hit ‘read more’). Oh, sure, it was too slow for real-time digital audio and IBM discontinued it in 1960, but that hardly matters. 704 forever. Rock and roll!
My kind of porn below: never trust a computer you can lift.