NAMM , the big music equipment show in Los Angeles, featured a remarkable retro trend in synthesizers this year. The legendary synth company Sequential Circuits is back with a Prophet 6! Oberheim is back. Korg is making updated versions of the ultra-cool ARP Odyssey synth from the 70s. In fact, because the ARP designs are effectively public domain, anyone can make an Odyssey, so Behringer is also talking about making their own cheaper version. The really big news though was is that Moog is restarting production of their massive modular synthesizers from the early 70s albeit at matchingly massive prices.
Their hearts are not hearts, but clockwork springs. Their lungs are not lungs, but leather bellows. They are: Jack Donovan's Princely Toys [more inside]
"Gentlemen: I have a story that may be of interest to you. It is not widely known who invented the circuitry concept for the automatic sequential performance of musical pitches - now well known as a sequencer. I, however, do know who the inventor was - for it was I who first conceived and built the sequencer." This is the opening to an undated, unaddressed letter, found in Raymond Scott's personal papers (yes, the same fellow whose kooky soundtracks scored everything from Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies to Ren & Stimpy, The Simpson, and Animaniacs). You can read the rest of Scott's letter, along with Bob Moog's recollections of visiting Raymond's electronics laboratory in the mid-1950s. Or you could jump ahead to the mid-1960s, when Jim Henson was in his late 20s to early 30s, and he was working on a variety of odd projects after a successful run with Sam and Friends, but before he it it big with Sesame Street. It was at this point that he teamed up with Scott on a few short, experimental films. [more inside]
Celebrating the memory of beloved synth pioneer Bob Moog and commemorating his birthday, Google's home page (currently in Australia, live in the US tomorrow) is a fully working, multi-trackable Moog synthesizer. Share your masterpiece!
The Realistic MG-1 Synthesizer with 'polyphony', built by Moog Music in 1981 for the home market and sold through Radio Shack stores for $499. Despite its toy-like appearance, its tones are quite serviceable. Sound demos: Classic Moog filter tones. 1 2. A thorough demonstration of each knob, switch and slider, 1 2 3 4 5, filtering audio, and with a sequencer.
Hear them all...... The most famous version of the early synthesizer hit "Popcorn" was played in 1972 by a studio group called Hot Butter, led by legendary session musician Stan Free. Few people know that the song was actually written by electronic music pioneer Gershon Kingsley. If you'd like to hear excerpts of Kingsley's original version, along with scores of cover versions, here ya go.