Walter Sear

Resident archivist Jack Dangers arrives at the Moogsploitation records of Walter Sear by way of the avant-garde electronics of William S Fischer

About 30 years ago, I bought an LP from 1970 titled ‘Circles’ by a guy called William S Fischer, who I didn’t know. I picked it up because of the cover, which had an interesting die-cut sleeve. It turned out to be a kind of dark, jazzy funk rock – a bit like Sly Stone, maybe. A few years back, I went on Discogs to see if it was worth anything and found that Fischer made three albums, and the second one – ‘Omen’ from 1972 – was a pure Moog recording.

I had to find a copy, and I did just recently. There were only 200 pressed, so it’s very scarce and has sold for as much as £250. It’s beatless electronic improvisation, similar to George Harrison’s ‘Electronic Sound’ LP, and it’s really good. The credits say, “Moog Synthesizer Realizations: Walter Sear, Electronic Music Studio, New York”.

Walter Sear is an interesting figure in the development of electronic music, but he’s not talked about that much. In the late 1960s, he had a Moog lab with an extensive collection on the 12th floor of a hotel in New York City, as part of Fine Recording Studios. He had been friends with Bob Moog since the 1950s, and became the first sales agent for R A Moog Co, which is the reason his studio was so packed with the company gear.

In the golden era of cash-in Moog albums at the end of the 1960s, Sear was involved in several of them, such as Dick Hyman’s ‘The Age Of Electronicus’ and ‘Moog – The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman’. Under the pseudonym The Copper Plated Integrated Circuit, he released ‘Plugged In Pop’ in 1969, which was a typical mix of weird electronic originals and cover versions of contemporary hits. They must have flooded the market with this because you can pick up copies for a few dollars.

Walter Sear was also an analogue technology evangelist, and the studio had a huge collection of vintage microphones and tape machines bought from Abbey Road, which had been used in Beatles recordings. He died in 2010 aged 80 after a fall.

William S Fischer worked as a session musician and arranger in the 1970s, but didn’t release any more records. ‘Circles’ was re-released on vinyl in 2022 by Real Gone Music.

You May Also Like