It is that time of the year again when the small town of Asheville morphs into a Woodstock camp for Moog-fans across the world. Although the format of Moogfest has somewhat grown too big and that recent years’ line ups has not been that impressive it now looks like the 2016 edition will be a much needed revival of the synth party. One really interesting edition to this year’s event is the The Global Synthesizer Project, an modular audio installation that will debut at Moogfest 2016. The installation will feature a modular synthesizer in the shape of a world map, featuring modules loaded with crowd-sourced sounds from around the world.
For us this is truly in the spirit of Moog but also deeply linked with all social media trends that are based on the collective and uniting, regardless of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The project promises to let users create new sonic environments, based on the manipulation of a global collection of source materials. Apparently Moog is also contributing by introducing a new module – the Moog/Yuri Suzuki World Sound Sampler. No details on the Sampler module, or whether there are plans to release it commercially, have been announced. Yuri Suzuki is a sound artist, designer, and electronic musician who produces work that explores the realms of sound through exquisitely designed pieces.
After working with Japanese art unit Maywa Denki–where he developed a strong interest in music and technology–he moved to London to study at the Royal College of Art. While in school, Yuri did some work for Yamaha, and after graduating in 2008, he opened his own studio in London.
So Moogfest is around the corner and apart from the The Global Synthesizer Project we can also see that the lineup includes artists like Gary Numan, GZA ,Odesza, Laurie Anderson, Oneohtrix Point Never, Suzanne Ciani, Blood Orange, and Sun Ra Arkestra, with keynote presentations by “transhumanist pharma tycoon” Dr. Martine Rothblatt and virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier. The party explores the future of technology and creativity with a ‘mind-expanding conference’, featuring panels, workshops and installations. At night, Moogfest celebrates the future of sound, with performances by early pioneers in electronic music, alongside pop and avant garde experimentalists.
The Modular Marketplace is another of the many highlights of Moogfest 2016, which celebrates the legacy of Bob Moog, the visionary engineer who pioneered the analog synthesizer and other technology tools used by artists like Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, and Kraftwerk.
Artiphon INSTRUMENT 1: Developed at The New Museum’s NEW INC incubator and funded through a Kickstarter campaign that raised $1.3 million, the Artiphon INSTRUMENT 1 will make its public debut at Moogfest 2016. The groundbreaking instrument allows users of any skill or style to strum a guitar, tap a piano, bow a violin, or loop a drum beat — all on a single interface. By connecting to iOS devices, Macs and PCs, this portable and durable musical tool can make any sound imaginable.
Audulus: Audulus is a virtual modular synthesizer environment for iOS, Mac, and Windows platforms. Throughout the festival, Audulus will be giving away copies of the deep and beautifully designed software to curious sonic voyagers. Simply come by the booth and get signed up.
Bastl Instruments: Based in the Czech Republic, Bastl Instruments in a community-driven company focused on producing handmade electronic musical instruments. Bastl Instruments will be displaying an eclectic robotic percussion set controlled by their Eurorack format synthesizer modules. Additionally Bastl Instruments will be offering 10% off discounts on their tabletop granular synthesizer – The Micro Granny.
Bleep Labs: Bleep Labs will launch the Thingamagoop 3 at Moogfest 2016, a light controlled synthesizer, effect and noise friend. Simple controls give musicians access to rich and diverse sounds, from simple square and triangle waves to FM laser battles.
Neuronics: Neuronics is an exciting new adventure in synthesis helmed by Leon Dewan and producer Josh Humphrey. Dewan is best known for the unique and visually striking analog synthesizers available with his company Dewanatron, whose flagship device, the Swarmatron creates the effect of a swarming hive of bees. Neuronics makes its debut at the Modular Marketplace.
Electric Objects: Electric Objects is the creator of E01, an Internet-connected screen designed specifically for art, capable of playing more than 10,000 works of digital art including video, animations, GIFs, high definition images, or web-based work. Electric Objects will be featuring works by performing artists and speakers at Moogfest 2016.
Kilpatrick Audio: Using both new and vintage circuits and cutting edge software, Kilpatrick Audio creates unique and interesting musical equipment designed to sound great, be fun to use, and to inspire musical ideas in the exploration of new sounds.
Luisa Perera & The Counterpointer: The Modular Marketplace will feature an auto-composing musical installation by coder and instrument designer Luisa Pereira. The counterpoint method Bach will be expressed through her instrument the Counterpointer and 3 Moog Mother-32 modular synths. This alludes to the work of the composer who made the Moog Modular famous, Wendy Carlos.
Make Noise: Based in Asheville, North Carolina, the home of Moog Music, Make Noise designs and builds Eurorack format modular synthesizers that incorporate “West Coast” design philosophies associated with synth pioneers Don Buchla and Serge Tscherpnin. Make Noise is presenting a demonstration of their new 0-Coast device during daytime programming.
To view the full list of Modular Marketplace exhibitors visit:
Speaking of the Moog legacy we also saw another interesting Kickstarter campaign that deputed yesterday titled – Electronic Voyager. A project brought to you by the team behind ‘I Dream of Wires’ and the project aims to produce a full length video on the legacy of Bob Moog – all through his pioneering work guided by his daughter Michelle Moog-Koussa. So it will be a special personal journey for Bob Moog’s daughter, Michelle Moog-Koussa, to trace her father’s iconic story – visiting the places and meeting the people who were a part of Moog’s history. Electronic Voyager also celebrates the influence Bob Moog has had on so many artists, inventors and musicians – not only through his inventions, but through his spirit and generosity.
So, from Robert Fantinatto and Jason Amm, the Director/Producer team behind the acclaimed modular synthesizer documentary, “I Dream Of Wires,” comes a new documentary feature, “Electronic Voyager.” Electronic Voyager promises to take us on a sonic journey into the often unpredictable life and stunning brilliance of Bob Moog, a man who ‘fell backwards on a banana peel’ into the music instrument business, as well as the psychedelic world of the 1960s music scene. Bob unwittingly revolutionized the face of music, and birthed an enduring industry.
In association with The Bob Moog Foundation (moogfoundation.org), we aim to create a definitive and personal documentary about the life of iconic synthesizer pioneer, Bob Moog (1934 – 2005). Through the eyes of Moog’s own daughter, Michelle Moog-Koussa – also a dedicated Moog archivist and historian – we want to give viewers an insight into the man behind the iconic Moog brand.
We’ve been working closely with Michelle Moog-Koussa for several months to develop Electronic Voyager‘s concept, and to compile a definitive list of people we want to speak to, places that we want to visit, and archival footage that we hope to unearth and license. The list is long, and our plans are ambitious – we are passionate about bringing this film to life and doing justice to Bob Moog’s seminal and fascinating story.
Our first documentary, “I Dream Of Wires” was a resolutely DIY affair, made by two guys from Canada, on a shoestring budget. But we want Electronic Voyager to be so much more – the rich and complex story of Bob Moog needs to be told right, and we want to make sure we secure the budget to cover all of the travel costs, hire the best crew, and license all of the crucial archival images, footage and music we need to do this story justice.
At Moogfest we will meet up with many of the artists that will be featured in the documentary. Gary Numan will perform his first three albums (Replicas, The Pleasure Principle, and Telekon) over three consecutive nights in three different venues. Musical experimentalist Laurie Anderson weaves stories and song in her solo performance, “The Language of the Future” and then returns to the stage the next day to host a daytime conversation. Fans of ambient music will also be treated with performances from Daniel Lanois, Suzanne Ciani, and the UK’s originators of ambient house The Orb.
Then there are the Durationals – Durationals are three to four-hour-long experimental sessions with immersive visuals. Liturgy drummer Greg Fox kicks off the series, followed by hip hop producer Mike Dean, innovative electronic composer Suzanne Ciani, and others. Robert Rich will perform the ultimate durational performance with a 10-hour sleep concert.