How that giant homemade modular synth wound up at MIT

By Lauren W. Dillard

Like electronic music pioneers Robert Moog and Don Buchla, who came before him, Joseph Paradiso seemed destined to become a synth wizard. As a child, he was fascinated with music; soldering his own creations and experimenting with tape looping.

A teenage interest in prog rock switched him on to synthesizers and after moving to Zurich in the mid-1970s to study at ETH, Paradiso built his own very epic modular synth from scratch.

Paradiso said, “I was obsessed with building modules. By the end of my stay, I had built over 70 modules. It just grew and grew and grew, a little like that Stephen King book Rose Red, the house that kept on growing.”

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