Gallery: Vintage Moog Ads, Vintage Bob Moog, from the Bob Moog Foundation Archives

All images courtesy The Bob Moog Foundation. Used by permission. Go visit them, and enjoy many more. Moog made the scene, indeed. In this birthday week for Bob Moog, here’s a gallery looking back at the man and in advertisements, the Minimoog, the keyboard that shaped so much of synthesis to this day. I could say more, but the images already say so much. Indeed, it seems we’re long overdue for a resurrection of this kind of romance with synthesis and electronic music technology. As I’m also editing remembrances of Max Mathews – a digital counterpart to Moog’s analog breakthroughs …


Nine Keyboards in One: Extensive Q+A, Gallery for KORG on Kronos, Son of OASYS

One keyboard, a mind-bending nine engines, lots of tech specs … now that we’ve lived in a world of impressive, technically-intimidating workstation keyboards for a couple of decades, it’s easy to imagine your eyes glazing over when there’s a new one, let alone the general public. So, what might get your attention? This. “Workstation keyboard” is usually a phrase that sends me for the exits; my computer makes a perfectly good workstation, thanks. I’ve understood why people like them; I’ve just never seen one that could personally excite me. But now that the trade show hype has died down, it’s …


Virtual Synths: Modeling Gear, as Imagined by Communities and Engineers

Do Androids Dream of Electric Synths? Imagining an instrument from a clean sheet of paper is an essential part of the design process. It can remind us of the extent of possibilities – and, sometimes, why compromise is necessary. The German site this week unveiled mock-ups of an instrument conceived by their community. The design looks terrific, and the specs (below) do read like the sorts of things synthesists would want. My only concern is that the results could be very cost prohibitive; the obvious remedy it seems would be to use digital oscillators in place of the eight-voice …


Novation Returns to Virtual Analog Hardware Legacy with $699 UltraNova

UK-based Novation are known these days mainly for making MIDI controller keyboards for computers, but the company first made its name in synths. Novation’s virtual analog synths were beloved for their distinctive sound, accessibility – both in price and ease, and compact design. And some of that legacy, frankly, has been missing in recent years, even with the fun Xio keyboard. UltraNova could be the hardware that brings back Novation’s soul. And the timing couldn’t be better, with a rekindled love for hardware synths even among dedicated computer users. As the name implies, the UltraNova recalls Novation’s best-loved synths, the …


Album Art and Design, Alive and Well in the Digital Age

Today’s reflections on the importance of album art: 1. Album art can be beautiful, whatever the recording medium. It can reflect great design, and extend the expression of the album itself (well, and it helps if the album is great). Justin and Colin have created the site Hardformat to celebrate design on everything from tapes and records to new releases. They have a gorgeous gallery of stuff, pictured above. I like what they have to say on their about page: It seems like everybody’s talking about the end of physical music media. Who knows whether they’re right or not, but …


NAMM: Barry Wood’s Legendary NAMM Oddities for ’07

It wouldn’t be a winter NAMM music trade show without the galleries of musical curiosities that are Barry Wood’s NAMM Oddities. Barry’s finds range from the unique and useful to the utterly baffling. Many of the techno geek toys aren’t strictly new, but they are strictly strange and unusual. And there’s plenty of evidence to suggest us digital musicians aren’t nearly as odd as the people who play guitars made to look like women’s anatomy or constructed from hunting trophies. Barry writes to his fans: This was the tenth year that I’ve put myself through the torture that is a …