FLASHBACK: Moog Instruments
Synthesizer pioneer and inventor BOB MOOG was probably the coolest nerd on the planet. Thanks to Mr. Moog, the deliverance of the synthesizer and its funny, quirky sounds, which is now heavily used in our music world, was created.
In remembrance of the late Bob Moog, Moog Music Inc has released a documentary excelling just over an hour’s worth of footage of Bob and the evolution of Moog instruments for what would have been the man’s 79th birthday. Not only is it extremely interesting, it’s simultaneously quite educational.
His construction of the analog synth was something that took a little while to warm up to, as he contextually explains its strange initiation and acceptance due to the scepticism of electronic instruments, as they were seen as dangerous and phony in comparison to the wood, brass and string families and their traditional usage.
He shows us the building of analog synths and how they operate differently from digital instruments. This is through his detailing of the connectivity of an analog board and its electrical circuit. To put this into practice, every scene welcomes us with the composition of a Moog instrument, and features live performance and discussion from artists such as Money Mark, Edd Kalehoff, DJ Logic, Keith Emerson and Stereolab.
We also learn that New York first utilised Moog products in music houses for commercials at their first release, due to the huge price tags of the instruments. Aside from being a new, innovative product, this was primarily because of the amount of time and work that went into one single synthesizer, as they were all handmade instruments. If you want an idea of the value of an original Moog now, some dude is selling a vintage minimoog model for US $5495 on eBay..
Throughout the doco, watch him travel, brushing heads with musicians, DJs and composers as they share Moog memories and discuss the craft of music. We learn about how the synthesizer got its name, the simplicity and elegance of the theremin (the first instrument he ever made for money back in 1954) and Moog instruments’ relevance to design and engineering as well as music and the importance of their evolution. One particular conversation in the doco is between Bob Moog and Rick Wakeman. After Wakeman explains his first minimoog purchase experience, he illustrates the impact Moog synths have made, as they “changed the face of music”. These relationships really highlight the importance of Moog‘s special existence.
After a brief visit to Tokyo, the documentary wraps up with Bob Moog‘s philosophy of reality. He links this with the connectivity of an instrument that he’s built and how that piece of machinery beholds a memory of him. This talk of connection is apparent earlier in the film where he is strolling through his vegetable garden.
It then closes with Moog completely in his element, as he plays his theremin in a leafy, green environment. This is how he’ll be remembered as his legacy will live on forever in what he’s given to music.
A very determined and happy old man, take note of the passion that drove Bob’s life in regards to the things that he loved which is translated cleverly through the compilation of this documentary.
Words by Hannah Galvin.