The group name for the pioneering electronic music duo of Paul Beaver (1926-1975) and Bernie Krause (1938-). The two first met in a session for Electra Records in 1967. Beaver at that point was already a sound effects veteran, specializing in adding atmospheric noises to Hollywood movies. The two formed a collaboration and purchased a modular synthesizer from Moog Music, reasoning that they could make money doing session work with the synth to finance their own recordings. Electra signed the duo to a subsidiary label, Nonesuch Records, and the duo released their first album, The Nonesuch Guide to Electronic Music, that year.
The album wound up being Nonesuch's all time best selling record at the time. It instantly made the duo first-call session musicians in California, getting calls for session work for artists as diverse as The Rolling Stones, Simon & Garfunkel, and The Monkees. This allowed them the luxury of working on more experimental material under their own names. Krause took to field recording ambient and environmental sounds to combine with the synth sounds, a move that constituted both a flashback to tape studio techniques, and anticipated some of the things that would be done with samplers many years later.
The duo were working on their fifth album when Beaver died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1975. Krause subsequently chose to focus mainly on his field-recording activities. He has since traveled the world to record and sample environmental sounds of all types, and he owns an extensive sound-effects library which he licenses for movie and television productions.