Jun 23, 2010

Chosen Words: M is for Moog

a.k.a. World Cup Distraction Exercise: Fat Roland's A-Z guide to the most important words or phrases in electronica and their associated "facts"

Bob Moog is the most famous synthesizer manufacturer ever.

The likes of Korg and Roland made hugely popular keyboards, especially Roland's accidental foray into the acid sound. But it is Moog's analogue machines that are respected above all.

If you want to lie to impress techie music geeks, just tell them you've got a Moog. The most famous of the Moog synths was the influential Minimoog, which was like Mini-Me but less bald and more, um, synthesizery.

Many people argue about the benefits of analogue versus digital. Do you want old, fuzzy warmth or clean, crisp shallowness? Ale or Alcopops? Morecambe and Wise or Ant and Dec? David Bellamy or Chris Packham?

It's a facile debate: this "digital" thing is just a fad and we'll all have forgotten that word by 2015.

When raving about Bob Moog and his synths, it is important you pronounce his name correctly. It is right, and only right, to use the Anglo-German pronunciation: "Bobe".

"Moog" should be articulated as if it has fifteen letter Os.

Moog constructed his own theremin as early as 1949. His wife Shirleigh bet him he wouldn't finish it by 8pm. She was clearly wrong.

Top five Moog-users:

- The Beatles
- Clockwork Orange soundtrack
- Gary Numan
- Kraftwerk
- Bob Moog. Obviously. DUH.

For more Chosen Words, click the tag at the bottom of this post.


JPM said...

by 'clockwork orange soundtrack' I think you mean Wendy Carlos - who famously produced 'The Well-Tempered Synthesiser' - and, interestingly, was born Walter Carlos.

so lots of hidden interest there.

And of course it's wrong to confuse the theremin (source of much interesting Youtube 'cat and theremin' videos) with the electronically very different electro-theremin (famously the woo-ooh-oooooh-ooh in Good Vibrations and also used by Radiohead).

That would be a very bad thing.

Nibs said...

Apparently J.S.Bach was a big fan of the minimoog. Apparently.

Fat Roland said...

JP - what the hell is a Well-Tempered Synthesiser? Not the kind the Prodigy would use, methinks.

Nibs - Yes, he took up the Minimoog after his TB-303 broke.

Nibs said...

There are loads of really sweet vids on youtube of Bob Moog demonstrating their products. He was a very beautiful man and had good laboratory hair. I think the hair was entirely necessary to his work.

Also, the demos of the Moog guitar make me do little excited wees. Have a look if you haven't already, put a nappy on first though if you haven't already.