Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Moog is Dead

Robert Moog with his synthesizers

The Man Who Democratized Music Has Died

New York Times:
Robert Moog, the creator of the electronic music synthesizer that bears his name and that became ubiquitous among experimental composers as well as rock musicians in the 1960's and 70's, died on Sunday at his home in Asheville, N.C. He was 71.

Who hasn't heard of a Moog Synthesizer? And how many of those correctly pronounce it "mogue" as in "vogue" or "rogue"? Fact is, everyone has heard of a Moog Synthesizer, even if they call it a "mood simplifier", a subset that would include me, mainly because I happen to think it does simplify the mood. Not, of course, because I am a buffoon, like the others who call it that. I taught my precocious nephew how to play when he was but six or seven. And I taught myself on the minimoog and then on the maximoog, the granddaddy...which was housed at the university in Greensboro, along with a monster ARP. Wires and levers were the fashion in those earlier days.

The first one though was the Minimoog, which was made available for public use at Reliable Music, back when it was in the backroom of a pawn shop in downtown Charlotte. Early 70s.
While most people there were hogging the guitars, I was hogging the Moog. Several years would pass before I got the opportunity to goof with the classic Moog, which resembled a telephone switchboard with all the patchcords. A friend of mine was studying electronic music at UNC-Greensboro, and she let me come to the lab and goof around on it.

A few more years would pass, when my old friend, Ken Phillips (who had come for one of his always interesting visits) and I were walking down Mass. Ave in Cambridge, and on a pole outside the MIT campus was a flyer that said Moog and Ray Kurzweil were going to be presenting their latest creation.

My God. My jaw dropped open, and nothing seemed to make it close...as Ken and I sat and listened to what I believe was the first public display of the amazing Kurzweil keyboard, of which Bob Moog had a hand. Another decade would pass before I had my own...which I've never regretted, since it allowed me to create 20 or 30 tapes of music before passing it on to my dear musical wizard and friend, Woody, who is still having a blast with it, and probably has as many CDs.

Once upon a time classical music was reserved for a small coterie of society somebodies, but then symphony orchestras were created and now you can have many violins, many oboes, many contrabassoons, and you can invite in more people. Classical music was being democratized.

But with Moog, and because of Moog, a single person could create symphonies, and actually hear the final product. Before Moog, many may write symphonies, but finding one to play it was a different matter. This de facto gatekeeper has been removed, and it is largely because of Robert Moog. And now he is gone.

There isn't a musician or composer today that doesn't owe him a debt of gratitude.

Long live his legacy!

Play one for Mister Moog!

And speaking of which... I'd love to see folks like ELP, Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull, PDQ Bach, Tomita, Kitaro, Radiohead, Faust, Morton Subotnick, Pauline Oliveros, Einsturzende Neubauten, The Beach Boys and so on, converge on Asheville to do a benefit concert, with their Moogs, to raise money for one of Moog's favorite charities.

Who can get that done?

Reprinted on Blogcritics

Monday, August 22, 2005

Rush Limbaugh inciting violence in Texas, and should be removed from the radio.

1:15 PM, Aug 22, 2005

I cannot believe how desparate Mister Limbaugh has become of late.
While listening to his hyperventilations, just minutes ago, he worked himself into a frenzy, thinking about liberals I suppose, and started exhorting Texas hunters to take on the Sheehan protesters. Of course he cloaked the message, but only slightly. Anyone listening would know that he meant for Texas hunters to arm themselves and do whatever they wanted, as regards the protesters. (Media Matters will pick up on this, one would assume.)

He may as well be Osama Bin Laden. These are Americans he is trying to have killed...of course by proxy. He will try to wiggle out and say he was just speaking words, and it meant nothing. Just an entertainer.

Rush. Go watch "Fisher King" then learn some manners. Your vitriol and suggestions are only spreading violence. You are not a gentleman. Gentlemen and women should shut you off. Grace, wit, taste, class, humor, love, friendship, brotherhood, community, tolerance, beauty, sweetness and light. Not monobloviation. Not even masterbloviation.

You cannot stand to lose. You got sucked into the Sports frame. Life is not like Sports. You only lose when you play a win-lose game. So you think you are losing, and therefore you want to drag others down with you. May as well be the princes and princesses of peace.

You need to clarify your remarks. You need to make clear that you do not want "Texas Justice" inflicted upon Americans. We have had enough, thank you very much.

Time for Sheriff Andy Taylor to show us the higher path.

New York's CBGB Outlived Ramones, May Fall to Real Estate Boom

Here's a piece by my old friend, Rob Urban, on New York's changing landscape...

Aug. 19 (Bloomberg) -- CBGB, the birthplace of punk rock on New York's Lower East Side, outlived Sid Vicious and all but one of the Ramones. It may not survive the city's real estate boom.

The club faces eviction Aug. 31 when its 12-year lease expires unless it can settle a dispute with the landlord, a homeless agency that runs a shelter upstairs. Owner Hilly Kristal, 74, has drawn support from Tommy Ramone, Blondie's Debbie Harry, the Talking Heads' David Byrne and E Street Band guitarist Steven van Zandt, who is trying to mediate.

Read the full article at Bloomberg.