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More on the train wreck that is Moog, the film. Wendy Carlos must be interview-shy. Switched-on Bach is mentioned in the movie but not her, by name. She deserves more credit (A Clockwork Orange? "Country Lane"? Tron soundtrack? C'mon!). Too much footage makes Moog's instrument look ridiculous. There's an admittedly over the top and laugh out loud funny Schaefer Beer commercial with some knucklehead doing a real ice-arena show stopper on a giant, early, multi-module Moog, climaxing with him quaffing a brew and the tag line "Schaefer: the beer to have when you're having more than one." Keith Emerson still has his two-ton Moog, and you get to see him playing it during a recent "Moog tribute night" at the BB King Theater. But it just sounds like the "Aquatarkus Variations"--nothing particularly new there. Vintage footage of Gershon Kingsley's First Moog Quartet looks as silly as that group was. Rick Wakeman makes the point, during his long-winded, bloke-down-the-pub spiel, that before the Moog, rock keyboardists weren't sexy, but were seen as behind the scenes accompanists for guitar players. But because the Moog was so loud and flashy, suddenly they could hold their own on the stage. Some of the background transition sequence music is nice. It's interesting to watch Moogs being assembled and to hear the inventor talk about them--he's quite the spiritualist, and says he intuitively knows what sounds the circuits will make. He emphasizes the importance of playing live before an audience, and seems to distrust "music made alone to be listened to by people alone," which may be why Spooky's analytical discourse on the sampler leaves him cold. A couple of other notable points: the electronic composer Vladimir Ussachevsky gave much input on the design of the mini-Moog, we learn: specifically, putting the sound generating dials (oscillators) in one rectangular group and the sound-shaping dials (envelope, filter) in another. Herb Deutsch recalls that Ussachevsky recommended not adding a keyboard, because he felt that would encourage playing the instrument in a traditional way, as opposed to discovering new sounds it was capable of, an observation that turned out to be prescient, since most people just used the Moog as a spacy organ.

- tom moody 9-30-2004 7:20 am [link] [2 comments]