Allegation (12/96)

"The 1996 Anderton Awards--Extended Dance Remix Version"-Craig Anderton, Pro Sound News December 1996:

The "Order of the Tesla Coil/Mad Scientist" award goes to the KYMA synthesis system from Symbolic Sound. Imagine Digidesign's Turbosynth falling into the hands of a race of super-intelligent alien beings, and you'll get some idea of what this system is all about.

Results of the Investigation (11/97)

We have completed our investigation of the allegations made by a Mr. Craig Anderton that some of the staff or management of Symbolic Sound Corporation may be of extraterrestrial origin and have found these allegations to be groundless. Our investigations have uncovered a possible explanation for these rumors, however: namely that witnesses may have seen some of the Kyma users and Kyma programmers entering or leaving the building late at night and could have easily mistaken them for alien beings. To illustrate, we juxtapose some of the witness' descriptions with a photograph of a heavy Kyma-user:

Alien or Kyma User?


Eyewitness: "His eyes was open, staring blankly."

Explanation: This is a common after-effect of staring at a CRT display for 18 or more hours a day.


Eyewitness: "No visible ears...just a rise there and then a hole."

Explanation: In order to maximize the effectiveness of surround sound, a growing number of sound designers are having their pinnae surgically removed in order to avoid conflicting perceptual cues introduced by the ridges and folds of the outer ear.


Eyewitness: "Their skin coloration...a bluish-tinted milky white."

Explanation: Known in the industry as a "CRT tan", this is a common side-effect of holing oneself up for hours at a time in a windowless room with a computer display as the primary light source.


Eyewitness:"They didn't have a little finger", "They had four fingers"

Explanation: This one was a little puzzling, but perhaps the hunt-and-peck typing style of some of our programmers may give the illusion that the programmer has fewer fingers than normal.


Eyewitness: "They looked like they had some sort of bandages on 'em...over his arm," "around his midsection and partially over his shoulder"

Explanation: To the untrained eye of a layman, patch cords draped across the body or extra pieces of duct tape temporarily tacked on to the legs while taping wires down on stage could easily resemble bandages.

Unusual Head Hardware

One distinguishing characteristic of the heavy Kyma user which was not mentioned by any of the eyewitnesses was the unusual headpiece seen clearly here in this photograph. However this, too, has a down-to-earth explanation: Kyma users were so pleased when Kyma won the Order of the Tesla Coil Mad Scientist Award last year that some of the more sartorially trendy have begun sporting actual Tesla coils as hats, hair pieces, and among the truly avant garde, actual surgical implants (not recommended for outdoor use in heavy weather).