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>I’ve had the most spiritual experience. My colleague, Jurgen Simpson, loaned me the DVD “MOOG”, a documentary by Hans Fjellestad. I probably can’t describe it in a short piece of text, but even the first few seconds of the film made me realise that I’m part of it. Thanks!
Just so you know it…
Back in late 60’s and early 70’s, I was a musician on technical education moving towards becoming a fighter pilot. In 1972 I met my (now) wife. Over the first couple of years I taught her how to solder, carry heavy equipment, etc. In 1973 I completed my final year project, which wasn’t really due until 1975 but due to that I wanted both a music and engineering part of my degree transcript, I had to do it that way. Anyhow, in the 60’s and 70’s, I could not afford (and neither could/would my parents) to by a Moog synthesizer. I built something that worked at least as well myself. I composed a piece of music for it, Radiata Mortificata. For my music part of my degree, this was it. For my engineering part, that was it.
I’ve just realised, watching the Moog Movie, what makes the difference. It’s all the digital crap. A Theremin is probably the most direct instrument, apart from a violin. When digital electronics were introduced, they’ve slowed down the responsiveness of the instruments. Bloody MIDI, etc (sorry!). The Prophet V was OK, as it was a beautiful hybrid solving the problem of indeterminable tuning fixed by bits and bytes and the beauty of analogue audio and expression. After that, it’s been downhill.
Also,, watching the movie it dawned on me what my role has been. I’m a modder – the guy to makes modifications. In the early days of my own business, I used to get a lot of Moogs to be fixed or tuned. After a couple of years, the nightmare of all synths turned up – the PolyMoog. After many late nights in the lab, one day Greg Fitzpatrick called and asked if I’d like to work with him on Sequential Circuits (Prohpet, hey!). I said yes. After that, very few Moogs turned up. On the other hand, I did design and build probably the first pitch wheel ever on a Hammond B3 (for Bernt in Totta’s Blues Band). All throughout this time, musicians walked into my lab, begging to have this or that fixed, but more common this or that functionality added. To quote Dan Helgesen “I’d like a control THERE that makes it go WHOOOEEEE!”
It’s a long time ago now. Still, watching Bob Moog, makes me think that it’s time to come back to the essentials, and, to consider how we can connect the human spirit to sound and music in novel ways. There’s still time….


  1. >I know exactly what you mean. If you read Future Music, Sound on Sound (not as bad), and so on, so many of the so-called musicians are so deeply ensnared in the technical capabilities (or otherwise) of some new piece of hardware or software that no music seems to get written. It’s all fiddling around, and never actually mastering anything enough to move on to the next step of using it to actually create something. I have found that a basic recording setup you can use properly (something akin to learning how to play an instrument properly) is much more useful and productive than some over-featured piece of kit that you spend 90% of your time buried in the manual just to work out how to add compression to an input channel. Perhaps “playing” your recording and sound generating kit should be regarded as a parallel with technical ability on the sax, guitar, whatever. I can see it now, going in to the School of Music for my Grade 6 hard-disc-recorder exam. First, scales: Set gain on channels 1 – 4 correctly. Studies: Balance tracks 1 – 8 across the stereo image, keeping bass and drums back of centre stage. And so on! Ah, sometimes a miniDisc recorder, a mic, and a few acoustic instruments are all you need, it certainly sorts out the musicians from the pretenders…

  2. >Ian, I totally agree! Some software people are more interested in the beauty of their code than functionality for people; some engineers agr more interested in the nuts and bolts rather than the thing they’re building; some medics are more interested in teh drugs than the patients.We need to ask oursleves teh question: Is the universe binary? Can reality be quantised?

  3. >I read over your blog, and i found it inquisitive, you may find My Blog interesting. So please Click Here To Read My Blog

  4. >enjoyed the scene where he talks about the similarities between growing his organic vegtables and creating music machines – great film!

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