You’ve seen a musician or two, no doubt, jamming away on a Moog synthesizer. But German band KARAT’s keyboardist Thomas Kurzhals really tears into it. Chris Stack, formerly of Moog and now producing the Experimental Synth series we cover with some regularity, shot this video interview / performance set, and tells us:

I don’t think it shows in the video, but at one point I looked down from filming and saw that he was playing so hard he was bleeding on the keys of the Voyager Old School.

With the fall of the Iron Curtain – and the accessibility of the Internet – a generation of artists can become better known to a wider audience. Chris was inspired by the reflections of Czech inventor Standa Filip to send this in. The tip is timely — today here in Berlin, it’s Tag der Deutschen Einheit, the celebration of German reunification. (I’m literally typing this from a balcony overlooking Frankfurter Tor and the gleaming disco ball-on-a-smokestack that is the Fernsehturm, in the former East Berlin.)

At Frankfurt’s Musikmesse, Kurzhals talked to Moog about what it was like being synthesist in the former GDR – including smuggling a Minimoog keyboard through Hungary in pieces, and hiding the synth from the intelligence service when loading into gigs.

To me, though, it’s just watching the guy play that’s really humbling – and a reminder of how gifted we are with the accelerating exchange of musicians around the world. That growing access to culture may make you feel less good about your own chops, but it’ll make you feel really good about music.

Also, I’m glad synths – hardware and software alike – are now cheap. And clearly, a Minimoog is cooler than a Trabant.

  • Human Plague

    A bit of a curve ball, but a few years ago I was really into this blog:

    http://www.eastern-crates.com/

    It's an ex east german "30 something" who collects and DJs jazz/funk records from former communist european countries.

    He stopped maintaining the site in 2007, but the records, stories, and sound streams are still there.