Monday, August 22, 2005

RIP bob moog

time to bust out some old wendy carlos records, or maybe watch a clockwork orange. or hey, i never got to see that moog documentary that came out last year... i need to check that out.

Dr. Robert Moog, known for the synthesizer that beared his name, died at his home in Asheville, North Carolina on Sunday. He was 71. The inventor of the Moog synthesizer — whose variants have been used by everyone from Pink Floyd to Kraftwerk, Duran Duran, the Black Eyed Peas and the Neptunes — was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer in April and had received radiation therapy and chemotherapy to combat the disease, according to a post on his official Web site.

Born on May 23, 1934 in New York, Moog began tinkering with early versions of electronic instruments as a teenager. After writing an article about them in 1954, he opened a business building and selling theremins, machines in which pitch and volume could be controlled by the wave of a musicians' hand. Moog earned degrees in physics, electrical engineering and engineering physics before staring out on a path that would turn him into an icon for generations of modern musicians.

By 1963, Moog developed the first widely used electronic instrument, a synthesizer, whose first popular appearance was on the Monkees album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.. The instrument had its breakthrough, though, in 1969 when musician Walter (now known as Wendy) Carlos had a Grammy-winning smash with Switched on Bach, an album of electronic versions of Johann Sebastian Bach pieces.

Moog's synthesizers, which came with a piano-style keyboard, quickly became popular with rock musicians, who appreciated the wide range of unique sounds they could create by adjusting the various controls. Moog synthesizers appeared on the Beatles' Abbey Road and the soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange."


dj empirical said...

that moog doc is great, i think. i've heard some say there's too much of band performances and not enough bob moog, but i like it just the same.

dj empirical said...

oh, and did you notice it says "... beared his name"?

nice grammar, mtv.

syntax said...

the bad grammar doesn't surprise me (wherever kurt loder is now, i'm sure he'd be rolling his eyes if he even cares); the use of a dubious claim as to the first popular recording using a moog modular does. depends on who you talk to, i guess, but from what i've heard it was "sounds of the zodiac"... but if one really wants to start splitting hairs, one could say that subotnick beat them both to the record stores... but then you start getting into gray areas such as what the definition of "popular" is... and the fact that he used a buchla modular and not a moog... feh.