Moogfest 2012 Recap, Part 3

Hands-on Moog Exhibit
A key component of Moogfest is the showcasing of its namesake’s electronic innovations. With Moog Music’s headquarters and factory a mere few blocks away, it made perfect sense to offer an interactive setup wherein visitors could fiddle around with Voyagers, Little Phattys, Etherwaves, Moogerfoogers and more. Making it even better, participation in the free hands-on exhibit did not require a Moogfest ticket.

I wandered downtown midday Saturday with a friend, and while he perused some (overpriced) used vinyl autographed by a Moog executive (not the late Bob Moog), I fiddled endlessly with a very sexy Minimoog Voyager. This particular model featured backlit colored controls, making the damn thing even more impressive than it already was. Taking the best of the classic 1970s Minimoogs, the Voyager adds modern capabilities including MIDI and memory(!) and leaves behind the finicky and sometimes temperamental nature of the vintage models. Some people swear by the old ones, but having owned (and eventually sold) a late 70s Moog years ago because of then-irreparable pitch drift, I have to give the clear edge to these new models. Pricey indeed, they’re worth every penny.

It was a little amusing watching a fellow attendee – one clearly with a traditional piano/organ background – approach a Voyager with two hands, and then try to play a piano piece (full of chords and moving left-hand bass lines) on it. I gave him a quick (and, I hope, friendly) explanation of the concept of monophonic synthesis. He frowned and replied, “Oh.”

And how could anyone not love waving arms wildly in front of an Etherwave Theremin? Well, I did, going so far as to spin it around so I could play it left-handed (I own a PaiA Theremax, custom-built as a lefty model.) Kudos to Moog Music for getting their equipment out into the public sphere.

More Moogfest 2012 coverage resumes after a Thanksgiving Day break.

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