Monday, August 22, 2005


Bob Moog. 1934-2005.

One thing that pisses me off about the Bob Moog movie and the mainstream press is all the shit about how he influenced rock. I relent, Pete Townsend did some good stuff. Not great, but good. But enter down the dark path of progressive rock and, well, let's say that I'm not such an anti-progger like I used to be, but the less I know the better.

Look: Bob Moog didn't invent electronic music. But he made accessible instruments readily available and cleverly marketed and distributed it all. His instruments were great products; beautiful sounding devices.

Synthesizers did a lot of damage to rock. My rock knowledge is in no way comprehensive, but from my perspective synthesizers were one of the things that killed music in the early 70's. Besides Brian Eno, the Krautrockers, and Bowie's Low, of course. And if were talking Kraut, were talking Kraftwerk. Take a few buckets of brilliance from a Mr. Bernie Worrell of Parliament and that gets you to unageable Detroit Techno, Juan Atkins, Derrick May et al. But then comes the sludge techno years--even most of the Warp stuff gets you only so far. Exceptions like Black Dog and Speedy J and other notables. And then the crap that you hear booming on radios out of cars rolling by.

Then enters the sampler.

Public Enemy never needed a synthesizer. Though technically their 808's and other drum machines were synth driven.

Don't get me wrong. I love synthesizers. LOVE them. That's why I HATE their misuse. (Same goes with piano.)

My dad borrowed a Moog (Despite the fun to be had saying Moog rhymes with Rogue, I always say Moog because it's more fun to say,) from a friend and made some very creative music with it. I wanted desperately to use the Moog, and he said I could use it if I took piano lessons. And then the rest of my life happened.

Now all the synths are inside the computer. They don't go out of tune. They are tinny. M83 uses this to great effect. There's some great drum'n'bass out there too. But it certainly is a whole different world of sound. End of an Era. Like the switch to Digital Video.

Rest in Piece, Mr. Moog. Watch out for Bach, he'll probably give you a punch in the lip for inspiring that bitch Wendy Carlos. (Note, Wendy/Walter's soundtrack to Clockwork Orange including his/her rendition of the 9th is perfect for the movie. But s/he has made so much crap that even Jean Michel Jarre and Tomita must blush at the thought of it. Snowflakes are Dancing.)

No comments: