LISTEN: Felicitations Bob Moog! An 80th Birthday Moog Mix
, May 23rd, 2014 08:03
Following his piece on the history of the Moog synth, Rober Barry puts together a terrific playlist of Moog music to mark the 80s anniversary of the birth of Robert Moog
Fifty years after the birth of the Moog synthesizer (my article on which can be read here and eighty years after the birth of Bob Moog himself, a little musical journey for you here through perhaps some of the less-often heard back alleys of Moog history. For the most part I've concentrated on the early days of the instrument, kicking off with a sales demo made by Bob with Wendy Carlos at Moog's Trumansburg studio in 1967 to give away to potential customers. That's followed by Herb Deutsch's Jazz Images, the first ever piece of recorded music made with a Moog synthesizer.
By the end of the 60s, the Moog seemed to be everywhere but the things were still so big and expensive and, frankly, daunting to most hippies that there weren't that many people who actually had one and knew how to play it. So Paul Beaver and Bernie Krause were kept busy on sessions for the likes of The Monkees, The Byrds, and legendary Wrecking Crew drummer Hal Blaine, while the production on Childe Harold's 'Brink of Death' was a bit of moonlighting carried out by Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind in the downtime from working on Switched On Bach.
The two newer tracks are included by way of closing the circle. Benge's Twenty Systems album from 2007 was such a perfect combination of musicianship and sonic archeology that it seemed rude not to include what happened, anyway, to be one of my favourite tracks on it. Sometime Sun Araw collaborator M. Geddes Gengras produced one of my favourite albums of last year using nothing but a Moog synth and it sounded a million miles from the Switched On and Way Out stuff covering Bach or the Beatles in the late 60s.
Having said that, if there's one thing I wanted to convey with this mix, it's that lurking behind the often garish covers of those old Moog novelty records in your local charity shop or carboot sale, there lurks sparks of real magic.