Moog 2020.

Monday, February 17th, 2020

Spent some quality time this afternoon with nephew the elder, who is taking an undergrad course in Music Synthesis and Recording. This means he’s using technology to capture performances, to edit and quantize audio tracks, to layer beats and rhythms into something we’d call music.

He said today that the course started with early electronic music recording and his dad said “ah, like the gramophone?” And he got a blank look in return.

No, the early history of electronic music starts, well, in the late sixties early seventies, with those Wendy Carlos-operated cobbled-together systems (like the Moog synth), laden with patch panels and dangling cords and lots and lots of knobs, all to emit very very rudimentary tones. Sine waves and sawtooths at play in the garden of Mozart’s delight.

And, appropriately, the plug-in-rich music creation software our nephew’s learning on has some modules that actually emulate that functionality, right down to the simulated rack mounts and patch cords.

VCV Rack’s VST Bridge, explained by Patches!

He’s learning a jargon and techniques rich with allusions to the past old ways, and I sure find it entertaining to see him start to pull past tech and present tech together to create his future.