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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

RIP

Bob Moog passed away two days ago. Never before has such a true engineer been a greater influence on the world of art. I had the opportunity to seen him twice. The first time was in 1995 at a Theremin workshop at RPI. A few buddies and I went to a viewing of Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey one evening. The next day we skipped classes and attended Circuits for Space Music: How to Design a Theremin. It was all beat-frequency osciallator circuit jargon and we weren't able to absorb any of it even though one of my compadres was soon to go to engineering school himself and the other was to attend school for math. But it was fun. At the end of the session we moved to the front of the classroom and asked Dr. Moog to autograph a Rentals cd jacket. He responded "They look like Kraftwerk."

The second time was in 2000 when I and a friend visiting me at college decided to track the man down. We spent an entire day searching for the good Dr throughout Asheville's River District. Near the end of the day we found his shop Big Briar in a non-descript metal building. We entered the door and just stood in the lobby. No one was there, no one came out. Afraid to snoop we decided to leave. While sitting in the car disgusted with ourselves we saw the white haired Dr. Moog leave the building and walk to his car. His vehicle was a crazily painted 4wd Toyota Tercel Wagon that had rainbows and clouds and other far out images all over it. In amazement we just sat not knowing what to do.

So I haven't really known him much, but from the ground breaking Switched On Bach to the hit making Good Vibrations to all that followed (Emerson Lake and Palmer, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, The Monkees, Yes, Devo, Stereolab, Stevie Wonder, Moog Cookbook, etc) the man that was 100% engineer revolutionized the world of music. For that I am grateful.

BONUS INFO: Have you ever wondered what's up with the Switched On Bach credit to Wendy (Walter) Carlos? Well it's just what you think. She transitioned in the early seventies (or you could say that she switched). Now that's the power of the Moog! W. Carlos is also credited with the music on Tron, The Shining, and A Clockwork Orange.

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