[acid-jazz] Mr. Moog R.I.P.

From: Mundovibes.net - (mundovibes_at_hotmail.com)
Date: 2005-08-24 05:06:22

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    RALEIGH, N.C. - Robert A. Moog, whose self-named synthesizers turned
    electric currents into sound, revolutionizing music in the 1960s and opening
    the wave that became electronica, has died. He was 71.

    Mr. Moog died Sunday at his home in Asheville, N.C., according to his
    company's Web site. He had suffered from an inoperable brain tumor, detected
    in April.

    A childhood interest in the theremin, one of the first electronic musical
    instruments, would lead Mr. Moog to create a career and business that tied
    the name Moog as tightly to synthesizers as the name Les Paul is to electric

    Despite traveling in circles that included jet-setting rockers, he always
    considered himself a technician.

    "I'm an engineer. I see myself as a toolmaker and the musicians are my
    customers," he said in 2000. "They use the tools."

    As a doctoral student in engineering physics at Cornell University, Mr. Moog
    (rhymes with "vogue") in 1964 developed his first voltage-controlled
    synthesizer modules with composer Herb Deutsch. By the end of that year,
    R.-A. Moog Co. marketed the first commercial modular synthesizer.

    The instrument allowed musicians, first in a studio and later on stage, to
    generate a range of sounds that could mimic nature or seem otherworldly by
    flipping a switch, twisting a dial or sliding a knob. Other synthesizers
    were already on the market in 1964, but Mr. Moog's stood out for being
    small, light and versatile.

    The arrival of the synthesizer came just as the Beatles and other musicians
    started seeking ways to fuse psychedelic-drug experiences with their art.
    The Beatles used a Moog synthesizer on their 1969 album, "Abbey Road"; a
    Moog was used to create an eerie sound on the soundtrack to the 1971 film "A
    Clockwork Orange."

    Keyboardist Walter (later Wendy) Carlos demonstrated the range of Mr. Moog's
    synthesizer by recording the hit album "Switched-On Bach" in 1968 using only
    the new instrument instead of an orchestra.

    Among the other classics using a Moog: The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again"
    and Stevie Wonder's urban epic, "Livin' for the City."

    The popularity of the synthesizer and the success of the company named for
    Mr. Moog took off in rock as extended keyboard solos in songs by Manfred
    Mann, Yes and Pink Floyd became part of the progressive sound of the 1970s.

    "The sound defined progressive music as we know it," said Keith Emerson,
    keyboardist for the rock band Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

    Along with rock, synthesizers developed since Mr. Moog's breakthrough helped
    inspire elements of 1970s funk, hip-hop and techno.

    Born in 1934 in New York City, Mr. Moog paid for his studies at Queens
    College and Columbia University by building and marketing theremins, which
    are played by passing the hand through and around vibrating radio tubes.
    Theremins were used to create the spooky sounds on the soundtracks of
    science fiction films such as "The Day the Earth Stood Still."

    He spent the early 1990s as a research professor of music at the University
    of North Carolina at Asheville before turning full time to running his new
    instrument business, which was renamed Moog Music in 2002.

    The roster of customers includes Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam, Beck, Phish,
    Sonic Youth and Widespread Panic.

    "Musical Vibrations Worldwide"