Moogfest 2014 Intrigues and Inspires

Observing the news from this year’s Moogfest, held once again in Asheville, NC, headquarters of Moog Music, it is obvious that the modular synthesizer revival is coming full circle. At the festival, Moog announced they are reintroducing Keith Emerson’s classic modular unit, used in pretty much every ELP tour since the early 70s. I Dream of Wires, indeed. (Speaking of which, the theatrical version of this excellent modular synthesizer documentary saw its debut at Moogfest.)

Moog says “contact us” for New Modular System Price

It appears Moog’s new Emerson modular system is a very limited edition. The company says to contact them for the price; one rumor I saw placed the behemoth’s cost at a stunning $90,000. Whoa!

Emerson Moog Modular

The new Emerson Moog Modular synthesizer in all its glory. Photo copyright Moog Music.

Hopefully, Moog decides to offer the individual modules on a separate basis. While, Moog’s modular format isn’t necessarily as popular as Eurorack, enough synth freaks want that classic filter sound to make it worth their while – MoogerFoogers notwithstanding.

The Moog Engineering Workshop a Success

One of the events at Moogfest inspiring a lot of jealousy in me was an engineering workshop where participants built their own analog synthesizer — the Werkstatt. Bob Moog’s Theremin kits were his first product way back when, and the Werkstatt pays tribute — more or less — to that part of Bob’s legacy. Very cool!

Check out the details behind the synth in this video from Sonic State which features an interview with Moog engineer, Steve Dunnington. (Note the Korg MS-20 on the rack behind Steve. Hmmm…)

Moogfest is also an Electronic Music Festival

Moogfest also plays host to one of the larger electronic music festivals in the US, which is many festival goers’ prime reason for attending. Kraftwerk, Chic, RJD2, Giorgio Moroder, Mix Master Mike, Bernie Worrell, and Keith Emerson were some of the musical highlights.

Seminars, Workshops, and More

Moogfest featured a number of seminars, panels, and workshops of interest to anyone enthralled by the art of analog synthesis. The workshops covered practical topics, including sampling analog instruments as well as a variety of modular synthesis advice and tutorials. Alternative musical interfaces were featured in a seminar, and the folks from the DIY bible, Make Magazine, even hosted their own five hour panel/workshop.

Non-Moog industry legends like Don Buchla, Tom Oberheim, Roger Linn, and Dave Smith each were featured in panels, providing that Moogfest goes beyond the brand name to cover analog synthesis in general. Also: Moog Yoga, anyone?

Needless to say, I need to find a way to actually attend next year’s Moogfest. This is a festival that showcases both the analog synthesizer industry and the beauty of Asheville, NC and its surrounding region. For the time being, I’ll just have to wait for my Moog Sub 37 to arrive in about three weeks.

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