With The Will Gregory Moog Ensemble coming to Brighton Dome on Wed 7 Nov, we take a look at the life and legacy of vintage synthesisers known as the Moog.
The iconic Moog synths were created by Robert Moog (pronounced ‘mogue’, rhyming with Vogue) in the early 60’s, Bob Moog grew his business selling his brand of synthesisers. Moog left the company in 1977 after a dispute, and by 1986 the company had gone bust. In 2002, he regained the rights to the company and successfully relaunched.
Bob Moog began his career at the age of 14, creating his first theromin. After a meeting with Raymond Scott, a noted studio whizz, Bob carried on creating and inventing, eventually fashioning the first Moog synthesiser in 1964. Although revolutionary, they were also large, fragile and expensive. The product to send his work into the mainstream was the Minimoog. Smaller, cheaper and more reliable, this opened up a new market for his invention, and soon had huge artists like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones interested. Whilst Robert died in 2005, the Moog brand lives on in North Carolina, releasing new instruments to this day.
Moogfest has been held each year since 2004, with Bob speaking at the Festival during its inaugural year. The festival is held annually on the date closest to Robert’s birthday, 23 May. The Festival has hosted a number of Moog devotees over the past few years, including Gary Numan, Brian Eno and Kraftwerk (also taking the Moog on stage this month is Paraorchestra’s kraftwerk re:work Sat 17 Nov).
Although not a household name, the humble Moog is used predominantly in some of the most iconic songs ever recorded, such as New Order’s Blue Monday, Donna Summer’s I Feel Love and perhaps the Moog-iest song ever to exist, Hot Butter’s Popcorn.
Will Gregory, one half of Goldfrapp, is bringing his ensemble of ten vintage synthesisers and musicians (including Portishead’s Adrian Utley) to our Concert Hall to showcase how far the Moog can be pushed in recreating and innovating sounds new and old. The repertoire is set to present an eclectic range of works by Bach, John Carpenter and original compositions.