Raymond Scott's Musical and Technical Legacy

Raymond Scott's work in electronic music was virtually unknown at the time of his death in 1994, but the ensuing years have brought widespread recognition of his accomplishments. Many have been inspired by his work to pursue their own creative projects.

By The Raymond Scott Archives

"Manhattan Research Inc." Brought Raymond Scott's Electronic Music to the World

MRI Album Cover, From the collection of: The Raymond Scott Archives
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MANHATTAN RESEARCH INC is the 2-CD set that re-introduced Scott's electronic music to the general public. It contains two hours of Scott’s unreleased electronic recordings from the 1950s and ’60s, and features Scott's music machines like the Electronium, Clavivox, Circle Machine, and more. And there is a full-color, 144-page illustrated booklet that features interviews with those who knew and worked with Scott, along with photos, lab notes, US patents, and artifacts. Produced by Gert-Jan Blom and Jeff Winner.


The collection was followed in 2017 by the release of "Three Willow Park," a new album including more of Scott's Electronium, including some Motown Electronium tracks. See a Raymond Scott discography here.

Raymond Scott was a true genius, deserving to be classified among the great pioneers of electronic music. He recorded with his own instruments and did his own composing. I am amazed by the versatility of his talent, creativity, originality, and imagination. Manhattan Research Inc. is a work of art.
—Jean-Jacques Perrey—6/13/2016

Everyone Loves Raymond

Many musicians and filmmakers have been inspired by the Manhattan Research Inc. album to either sample Scott's electronic music, use it in visual media, or even create their own instruments. Some uses are detailed below:

Gorillaz Virtual Group by Jamie HewlettThe Raymond Scott Archives

Gorillaz Samples Raymond Scott

Gorillaz are an internationally acclaimed and Grammy winning British virtual band created in 1998 by musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett. In their eponymous debut studio album, the track "Man Research (Clapper)" is based on a sample from Scott's Electronium track "Hall of the Mountain Queen" from the Manhattan Research album.

Gorillaz, Gorillaz Central, From the collection of: The Raymond Scott Archives
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An animation by Gorillaz Central using "Man Research (Clapper)"

J Dilla ProfileThe Raymond Scott Archives

J Dilla and Raymond Scott

The late and legendary producer was one of the most successful rap and hip hop producers ever, and had a string of singles and remix projects for an extensive list of major artists. But he also loved Scott's music, and sampled several of his tunes, most notably "Lightworks."

J Dilla Lighworks Animation, J. Dilla, Animation by James McMillan,, 2011, From the collection of: The Raymond Scott Archives
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"Lightworks" was originally created by Scott for a 1960s cosmetic commercial, but after Dilla heard it on the Manhattan Research album, he gave it a new life in his own version of the song. It was one of his last produced tracks before his untimely death from a rare blood disease.  

Fatboy SlimThe Raymond Scott Archives

IBM Paperwork Explosion—Sampled by Fatboy Slim with Hervé

Fatboy Slim (Norman Cook), is a multiple Grammy and MTV award-winning English musician, DJ, and record producer. In 2010 he sampled "IBM Paperwork Explosion" for a track called "Machines Can Do the Work" (which is a refrain from the original Manhattan Research track).

Fatboy Machines Can Do The Work, From the collection of: The Raymond Scott Archives
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Fatboy Slim's music video for "Machines Can Do the Work"

Yuri and his Virtual ElectroniumThe Raymond Scott Archives

Yuri Suzuki Reimagines the Electronium

Despite being decades apart, the paths of Raymond Scott and 21st century London-based sound artist Yuri Suzuki have converged on Scott’s mystical Electronium. In 2019, Suzuki picked his way through notes, diagrams and instructions begun 60 years earlier to reimagine Scott’s Electronium.

Yuri working with the right panel on his Virtual Electronium, From the collection of: The Raymond Scott Archives
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Yuri working with the center panel on his Virtual Electronium, From the collection of: The Raymond Scott Archives
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Suzuki, who has a lifetime interest in the inventions, music and unorthodox methods of Scott, sought to recreate the Electronium as software, and bring to life its counterpoint function through the use of modern AI. Suzuki's team was able to acquire recently unearthed schematics, notes and signal flows to help them understand Scott's methods. After extensive research, they were able to piece together a general picture of how this complex machine worked, implement the software, and crucially, the AI function. Suzuki’s reimagined Electronium was part of the Barbican Museum’s 2019 exhibition “AI: More Than Human.”

More Artists Inspired by Raymond Scott's Music

Below: Top row—left to right: Gotye ("Wally" De Backer), 2013 Grammy Record of the Year winner for "Somebody I Used to Know." has sampled Raymond Scott's music, and is a major participant in the planned Electronium restoration.

Jack Hertzartist/programmer/synthesist; producer of the Biography: Raymond Scott collective compilation; curator of the Encyclotronic electronic music archive. Hertz has also created his own Electronium software emulation based on the Nord G2 synthesizer.

Lizzo sampled "Nescafé by Raymond Scott (from the album Manhattan Research, Inc.) for the track "Tempo" (with Missy Elliott) on her Grammy-winning album Cuz I Love You. Scott is credited as a co-writer.

Gotye. ("Wally" De Backer), From the collection of: The Raymond Scott Archives
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Jack-Hertz, From the collection of: The Raymond Scott Archives
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Lizzo, From the collection of: The Raymond Scott Archives
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Morgan Neville, From the collection of: The Raymond Scott Archives
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T-Bone Burnett, From the collection of: The Raymond Scott Archives
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Travis Stewart (Machinedrum), From the collection of: The Raymond Scott Archives
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Bottom row—left to right: Morgan Neville, Best Documentary Academy Award winner, has used Raymond Scott's music in his last three films., including Scott's "Lullaby" (from Soothing Sounds for Baby) for his documentary about Def Jam Records founder Rick Rubin.

T-Bone Burnett, the legendary multiple Grammy-winning musician and producer, usually works in a rock/Americana-oriented context, but sampled Scott's electronic "Pygmy Taxi Corporation" on his recent track "Anti Cyclone."


Travis Stewart, better known as Machinedrum is an American electronic music producer and performer. His recent album, A View of U, includes a cover of Scott's electronic work "Idea 36" in a track co-produced by Chrome Sparks.

"Raymond Scott is an absolute boss. While on tour, we were blasting Scott’s early modular synth experimentations in the van. We loved them, so we had to try sampling. We ended up with what blossomed into our version of 'Idea 36.'" — Chrome Sparks, Co-Producer "Idea 36," interviewed in Magnetic Mag, 11/02/2020.

SCOTTWORKS: The Man—The Music—The Machines

Scottworks, The Raymond Scott Festival Website HeaderThe Raymond Scott Archives

On September 12, 2018, ScottWorks: The Raymond Scott Festival,” celebrated his groundbreaking impact on music, culture, and technology. The event was presented by Reckless Night Music/The Raymond Scott Archives, the Scott family entities that manage his estate and cultural legacy.

An array of musicians, historians, animators, engineers, and filmmakers—some of whom worked alongside Scott, others who were inspired by him—offered a multi-media spectacle covering countless facets of his long career. The audience, comprising old friends and young fans, converged to celebrate the story of Raymond Scott’s music and machines on what would have been his 110th birthday weekend.

Below—Pictures and Video, Top Row—Left to Right: Raymond Scott Vintage Equipment Display; Fascination Machine Scottworks Video; Scottworks Lobby View—Attendees getting to know one another during the festival.

Raymond Scott Vintage Equipment Display, Debra Zarne, 2018-09-08, From the collection of: The Raymond Scott Archives
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Fascination Machine Scottworks Promotional Video, From the collection of: The Raymond Scott Archives
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Scottworks Lobby View, Debra Zarne, 2018-09-08, From the collection of: The Raymond Scott Archives
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Ego Plum and John Nabor Performing, Jeff Winner, 2018-09-08, From the collection of: The Raymond Scott Archives
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Ego Plum Hall of the Mountain Queen, Reckless Night Music, 2018-09-08, From the collection of: The Raymond Scott Archives
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Ego and Herb Performance, Debra Zarne, 2018-09-08, From the collection of: The Raymond Scott Archives
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Above, Lower Row—Left to RightEgo Plum and John Nobori onstage; center — video of them performing "Hall of the Mountain Queen," Ego Plum and the legendary Herb Deutsch, co-inventor of the Moog Synthesizer, performing together.

"My interest is not in yesterday, it is not in today, it is only in tomorrow." — Raymond Scott. The Raymond Scott Archives continues to look towards tomorrow...

Credits: Story

The Raymond Scott Archives channel — created & curated by Stan WarnowDeborah Scott Studebaker, and Jeff Winner.

Additional content from Corey Goldberg, Irwin Chusid, and Henry Studebaker.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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