Monday, May 10, 2010

Moog Me

I've always liked synthesizers, and when PAiA first came out with their line of DIY kits long ago, I was one of those people that lined up, soldering iron in hand. Naturally, I had to get Gakken's Otona no Kagaku SX-150 as well. But I've never been all that musically inclined, meaning that after I built the kits, I wasn't so good at playing them consistently afterward.

But I've always liked the music. Problem is that back in the bad old days prior to the internet, it wasn't so easy to learn about the people that showed up on the radio, or the history behind specific songs. I remember hearing Hot Butter's version of "Popcorn", thinking that a) it was their original composition, and b) it was done on wooden box drums. It wasn't until just recently that I discovered that "Popcorn" was composed by Gershon Kingsley in 1969 on a Moog. His version's more cool.

The reason all of this came up is that in March, the Japan Times wrote about the (at the time) upcoming first-time-ever-in-Japan concert by Klaus Schulze (a sample of his work here), formerly of Tangerine Dream (a sample of their work) and Ash Ra Tempel (a sample here). Not remembering who Klaus is, I ran to wikipedia and followed this with about 2 hours on youtube.

Eventually I got distracted from Klaus and started re-exploring Walter/Wendy Carlos (sample), Kraftwerk (sample), Robert Fripp (sample), Brian Eno (sample), Jean Michel Jarre (sample) and King Crimson.

Along the way I learned that Kingsley partnered with Jean-Jacques Perrey (sample) to create the synth duo Perrey and Kingsley.

On a parallel, if not adjacent, note, Matt Howarth, in his "Those Annoying Post Bros." comic (one of the greatest comics of all time, incidentally) loved dropping references to experimental and off the wall artists, which is how I learned about Conrad Schnitzler (sample).


In short, I had fun. I found songs I'd forgotten about, learned about people I'd never heard of, and listened to music I didn't have to pay for. The internet is evil that way.


If you are interested in this kind of stuff, you may also want to check out:
kraut rock
progressive rock
experimental music
ambient music
Moog players
synth pop
synth pop artists

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