R.I.P. Walter Sear, American Synth Pioneer and All-Around Musical Virtuoso

R.I.P. Walter Sear, American Synth Pioneer and All-Around Musical Virtuoso
American musical guru Walter Sear reportedly passed away Thursday (April 29) at the age of 79. The man was, at varying times in his storied life, a tuba player/designer, inventor, composer, recording engineer, analog equipment guru and synthesizer pioneer.

Sear will perhaps be best remembered for owning and operating the Sear Sound recording studio, which he opened in New York in 1964. Sear was known for working primarily with analog equipment, with which he recorded the likes of David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Wynton Marsalis, Sonic Youth, Muse, the Killers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ryan Adams, Steely Dan and Wilco, who featured Sear prominently in their The Wilco Book.

In his younger years, Sear was a classical tuba player for both the Philadelphia Orchestra and then the Radio City Music Hall pit band. In the early '50s, he began crafting and selling his own tubas, and by the latter half of the decade, he had become friendly with fellow synth pioneer Robert Moog while constructing a homemade theremin.

Sear's involvement with Moog synthesizers, which included selling them and recording soundtracks with them, stretched well into the 1970s. Sear helped provide the score to John Schlesinger's 1969 classic Midnight Cowboy, as well as lesser known films Disco Beaver from Outer Space and Zombi Holocaust.

Sear's cause of death is still unknown.