I’ve seen dozens of Warner Brothers cartoons that involve factories. Bugs Bunny chasing Daffy Duck through a manufacturing plant, Daffy Duck narrowly avoiding having his head chopped off by an automatic chopping machine. The exact same music is played every time, a jaunty, rhythmic song that is in my mind synonymous with automation. I hear it quoted every time I listen to Soul Coughing’s “Bus to Beelzebub, or They Might Be Giants’ “Rhythm Section Want Ad.” It’s used on “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.” I’ve even seen it on The Simpsons.
The song, it turns out, is “Powerhouse” (
Scott was a pioneer in electronic music — he worked with Bob Moog, who cites Scott as a major influence. He created the Clavivox and the Electronium before moving on to the polyphonic sequencer. Though he gradually became more and more reclusive, working on his inventions in his lab, but that didn’t prevent him from befriending a young experimental filmmaker, Jim Henson, for whom Scott created electronic soundtracks. He fell into obscurity after that, but circumstances conspired to make him briefly popular again in the 90s before his 1994 death.