Happy Birthday Philicorda, Rest In Peace Kid Baltan
In 1963 the Gloeilampen-fabrieken Philips in Eindhoven designed one of the first electronic organs for the masses: the Philicorda. An important element in the development of the Philicorda were the experiments of Dick Raaijmakers (1930-2013), a Dutch pioneer in the field of electronic music and tape music, who used the name Kid Baltan as a musical alter
ego. In the next 30 years the Philicorda was further developed and built at the Philips plant in Hasselt, Belgium and became one of the most popular organs in the
world. The Philicorda turned 50 in 2015. TOUR and Brom Tok, both experimental musicians based in Hasselt, work together on a music album, using the Philicorda as the only sound source and Kid Baltan as a spiritual guide. In the summer of 2015 they set up a musical laboratory at the former Philips plant in Kiewit, Hasselt and in september 2015 they presented the test results to an audience.
In 1963 the Gloeilampen-fabrieken Philips in Eindhoven designed one of the first electronic organs for the masses: the Philicorda. The instrument has a built in spring reverb, vibrato and 5 switchable stops. There is also an extra voxchord setting, which splits the lower half of the keyboard into single-key chords, for left hand accompaniment. The Philicorda organs are considered nowadays as the forefathers of the catching chord mechanism, from which its name was finally derived and which was taken over internationally with nearly all small key boards.
An important element in the development of the Philicorda was the borderless experimentation
of Dick Raaijmakers (1930-2013), a Dutch pioneer in the field of electronic music and tape music. From 1954 to 1960 he worked in the field of electro-acoustic research at Royal Philips Electronics Ltd. in Eindhoven. In their Philips Natuurkundig Laboratorium
(short Natlab) they layed out the basic ideas for the new instrument. There, using the alias Kid Baltan
, he and Tom Dissevelt also produced works of popular music by electronic means under the name Electrosoniks
, which later on turned out to be the first attempts
of their kind in the world.
In the next 30 years the Philicorda was further developed and built at the Philips plant in Hasselt
, Belgium and became one of the most popular organs in the world. Several models were built. The Hasselt plant played an important role in the release of the compact cassette and the compact disc, two revolutionary sound carriers. The factory was shut down in 2004. In the seventies the Philicorda was pushed aside by the more popular synthesizers from Roland, KORG and Moog. But the little organ stayed in the heart of a lot of musicans. Even today artists still love the sound
and use the instrument
in their music.
In 2014, on the 50th birthday of the Philicorda and the 100th birthday of Natlab, it was time for a celebration of this special instrument and for a tribute to a true musical pioneer. Musicians TOUR
and Brom Tok
worked together on a music
album, using the Philicorda as the only sound source and the spirit of Dick Raaijmakers as a guide. They try to recapture the experiment and enthusiasm of the era the machine was built in using classic and modern audio tools: tape, analogue effects and software. In the summer of 2015, TOUR and Brom Tok set up a musical laboratory at the former Philips plant in Kiewit to conduct their audio experiments. The site has been transformed to Corda Campus and the hall where they once assembled Philips speakers is named Philicorda Hall. The perfect location for the lab! On September 12th 2015, a public and live presentation of the material was held. This live set was recorded and will serves as the basis for further experiments. The event was part of SPOTS Festival