Robert Moog, the eccentric electronic pioneer whose name is practically synonymous with the synthesizer – and hence with rock music’s psychedelic era – is back in vogue.
In this decidedly digital age, more and more contemporary musicians and rockers are rediscovering the space-age, analog sounds of the Moog synthesizer.
Techno enthusiasts, who generally like to experiment with sounds and manufacture original noises, have reignited interest in the Moog (rhymes with rogue), which can synthesize any sound imaginable. A growing number of hip-hop musicians and producers have also fueled the phenomenon, trying to recapture the rich grooves of Stevie Wonder, Parliament-Funkadelic and other soul and funk masters. Some of today’s critically lauded rock bands, like Wilco, are also part of this Moog revival.
“The instrument crosses all kinds of music,” said Money Mark, a turntablist who tours with the Beastie Boys. “There’s no color boundary or genre boundary with the Moog.”
So it is timely that a new documentary, “Moog,” opened Friday in New York (at the Cinema Village, 22 East 12th Street, Greenwich Village) and Seattle. A wider release for the documentary, which is distributed by Plexifilm, is scheduled for later this fall, and a soundtrack featuring new songs by Stereolab and They Might Be Giants, among other artists, was issued Sept. 14 by Hollywood Records.
Hans Fjellestad, 36, the film’s director, said Mr. Moog helped start a musical revolution. “I’d put him right up there with Les Paul and Leo Fender, definitely,” Mr. Fjellestad said, referring to the founding fathers of the electric guitar. “He embodies that sort of visionary, maverick spirit and that inventor mythology.”