When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

23 August 2005

compositeur: R.I.P. Bob Moog

Musician and composer Perry Townsend writes a learned appreciation of the late Robert Moog, inventor of the electronic synthesizer.
Here’s something you might not be aware of. Aside from the well-known influence his machines had on groups like Kraftwerk, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Tangerine Dream, etc., his work profoundly changed the face of classical music. Starting with the pioneering work of Edgar Varese, Leon Theremin & others in the 30s-40s, and continuing with people like Moog, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Vladimir Ussachevsky in the 50s, and later with Walter Carlos, Otto Luening, Charles Dodge and Morton Sobotnik, etc., a radical new kind of music-making happened, long before the Beach Boys made these sounds popular. The analog-based works of these and others (plus a simultaneous little burgeoning movement called minimalism) freed classical music from a rigid, mathematical approach to composition that was dominant mid-century. This led to “sound sculpture” pieces that were just as advanced but not confined to the paper games many composers were playing – the directions this music could develop into were only limited by composers’ imaginations, in spite of what we in today’s shiny new digital age might regard as “ancient” techniques like tape splicing.

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