Jun 212010

Kim Flint was an inventor, musician, internet community organizer, scientist, avid cyclist, single-malt Scotch enthusiast, teacher, and tireless provider of encouragement to so many creative people (some quite famous, others relatively unknown).

He died Saturday, 19 June.  He was killed in a cycling accident in California where he lived.

Kim Flint

Kim Flint

The Red Sun Soundroom would be nothing like it is—and perhaps it might be nothing at all—without Kim Flint.

Kim co-invented the Oberheim Echoplex Digital Pro, later to become the Gibson Echoplex DP.  He continued refining this amazing tool with his partners at Aurisis Research over the years, and made himself available to anyone who requested his help, anyone who wished to unleash their own musical possibilities with this extremely well-crafted and inspired tool.

The Echoplex to the Red Sun Soundroom is like the favorite paring knife in any kitchen.  It’s used to prepare ingredients great and small, and be at the ready when any new discovery is about to occur.

But this machine, the Echoplex, is not why we in the Red Sun Soundroom mourn the loss of its creator.  Kim Flint knew that musical expression made the technology relevant, not the other way around.  Kim shattered people’s preconceived notions of what it meant to use any particular tool in music, let alone a highly stylized delay line dedicated to looping sound in ways that became a dream come true for thousands of musicians around the globe.

Kim was a teacher.  In 1996 he created a place for musicians to discuss this whole topic going around called “looping”.  He started Looper’s Delight: the e-mail list, the website.  I’ve been on this list since a couple months after it began.  Kim created an online culture unlike any i’ve ever seen before or since.  It didn’t just facilitate tech chatter.  Instantly philosophy, psychology, cross-culturual analysis, open imagination and idea sharing became common discourse in this new community.  I learned more there in the first few months it existed than i did in any university course.  The Red Sun Soundroom is where it is today because of the curiosity and rigor and sense of play and value of responsibility that all flowed from this online community, created by and maintained—but so intentionally not led—by Kim Flint.

It’s been noted by direct observation in the last day or so, time and time again, that Kim Flint’s influence reached the creativity of thousands of musicians all around the world.  Some of my favorite music in the world was created using the tools he created.  I have other favorites that were created through collaborative efforts—some international—that never would have occurred if it weren’t for Kim’s commitment to the LD community.

We don’t want him to be gone, but he is.

Some folks wonder what’s going to happen to this community now, without him to take care of it all.

Get on with it. That’s what i hear him saying.  It was never mine, it was always yours.  So get to work already.

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