According to Exclaim! Jean-Claude Risset has died. He breathed his last in Marseille at the age of 78 on November 21st. Known as a pioneer in Computer music, he experimented with psychoacoustics and synthesis of electronic sound at New Jersey’s Bell Labs along with Max Matthews. Risset is also well known for having made a Shepard Scale version, which is basically an auditory illusion that to the ear seems as if the tone is descending or on the rise. He even managed to replicate the same effect for tempo and rhythm.

His compositions mostly contained piano, vocal, chamber, orchestral and electroacoustic works. While he studied piano and composition early on in his life, what many aren’t aware of is that he also earned a doctorate in physics and mathematics in 1967. It was around the same time that he began working at Bell Labs and during the period 1967 to 1969, he experimented with timbre and brass synthesis. He also worked on sound processing, pitch development and the likes. It was here that he went on to finalize his studies and papers that he presented on computer sound systems at several notable university seminars. He even held the chair at IRCAM for the computer department from 1975 to 1979.

Tom Baines, author behind VacuumSealerLand, and huge Jean-Claude Risset fan said, “As for his albums, he composed several that include Mutations, Invisible, Sud, Elementa, Songes-Passages-Computer Suite, Mego and more. In fact, in 2014, Music From Computer reached the top 50 charts of Wire.”