Don Slepian

Sounds like: Jean Michel Jarre, Wendy Carlos, Yanni


Computer music was born back in 1958 in Max Mathew’s sound lab, at what was then the Bell Telephone Labs research center in Murray Hill, New Jersey. From 1979 through 1981, I was “Artist In Residence” at the Labs. Most of my time then was spent working with the Bell Labs Digital Synthesizer, also known as the Alles Machine (pronounced “Alice”), named after its designer Hal Alles. The Alles Machine was disassembled in 1981, with Sea of Bliss the only full length piece of music ever realized on it. Using that machine, the three pieces that make up Sea of Bliss were composed, performed and recorded February 3–4, 1980 and released on cassette. I revised these tracks in the year 2000 for the first CD release, adding a few touches of acoustic piano. Often featured on the popular syndicated radio show Music From The Hearts Of Space, Sea of Bliss became the influential archetype of an emerging new genre, Ambient Electronica.

If you close your eyes the first time you listen to Don Slepian’s work you can’t help but to think you’ve just embarked on your first space journey. With melodic synthesizers, it’s easy to get lost in a journey in your own head. “Sea of Bliss” is a refreshing listen, that allows one to relax and mask in the peaceful sound.

However, it’s all very high-pitched. Adding some lower tones could have helped the dynamics and improved the song making it a perfect play.

There is more than potential for Don Slepian. He is an enjoyable artist to listen to, and I would definitely show him around to peers. If he tweaks a few technical things here and there, he will be on top of his game. I believe we will see him in the near future.


– Michelle Lopez