This 1988 Apple Documentary About Their MIDI and Recording Gear Is Incredible

What’s the expression, “the more things change…”?


In the midst of a blackout content binge the other night, I found, and was pretty blown away, by this mini-documentary/propaganda piece, “The Open Door: Macintosh, Midi, and Music” produced by Apple in 1988 to spotlight its music composing and recording computing technology. It features a number of serious musicians like Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, and Chick Corea, alongside assorted engineers and artists, talking about the new possibilities and conveniences that modern music technology (made by Apple) affords.

There’s so much that’s interesting about this film. But mainly, to me it’s funny how in essence, music technology hasn’t changed all that much since 1988. Clunky interfaces, cool-looking giant machines, and hilarious fashion/hair choices aside, this could have been produced in 2015. The sentiments and concerns are the same, the weird experiments that people care about for five minutes and then are forgotten forever are the same (E.G. in this doc, the dude who programmed each guitar string to be a different MIDI instrument – cool and “forward-thinking” in a technological fever-moment, useless and dumb in the long run), and even the fact that Apple self-produced this is the same – every music company under the sun now produces high-quality video content to promote their products!

The highlight though, is probably the hip synth lines.

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Max is managing editor of Gear Gods.

Latest comments
  • Thank you for posting this video… it brought up some old memories. In the mid 90’s someone actually gave me one of these computers and I used it to control my keyboard. I remember how amazing it was to not have to step sequence using the keyboards built in sequencer, it really was a break through. I think I was using Cakewalk as the program. Those old Mac’s worked really solid, I remember seeing an industrial band tour with one way after they were obsolete just to use it to control half dozen or so midi devises.

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