Feeling Shit Getting Multiple with MOOG

Yesterday I Watched MOOG, a recent documentary focusing on the spiritual side of Robert Moog, the man the movie would have you believe invented the whole world’s ability to digest the idea of a synthesizer. That would be beautiful if it were true. I wonder if it is. The good people at the Keio Organ Company, also known as KORG, might have something to say about that. At least it never comes out and asserts that he actually invented the synthesizer, an insane proposition that almost everyone is fond of getting behind. Some early synthesizers were actually developed in conjunction with the technology for reproducing the human voice over telephone wires. You think that stuff just happens? That is synthesis, pink one. That’s like a vocoder whose distortion we have been taught is simply a signifier of the real, technical anamnesis of the authentic human voice. It’s synthesis we’ve been taught to ignore.
In any event, the movie was good. It focuses on Moog’s thoughts on energy and the interconnectedness of all things. He describes his work with the design of synthesizers as a communion between a timeless realm of pure energy and human memory. It is his ingenuity and patience that puts MOOG-branded, oscillator-equipped hash marks on reality, inserts him into the flow of history, into everyone else’s history. In naming these machines, as he puts it, it was not his wish to insinuate that the music they made was “synthetic,” but that the music was real, that it exists, that it is whole and continuous- every bit as much as the music from conventional instruments. The music was not synthetic, but synthesized- made, irrefutable.
A short conversation excerpted in the movie between Bob Moog and European University professor DJ Spooky explores this same theme of the humanity of synthesized music, the compassion and emotion and the natural flavor it embodies. The Subliminal Kid spoke about his notions on sampling, on the idea that you can take sounds that exists in your memory and as a physical artifact recorded or encoded in something, a sound that remains forever in the time it was recorded (1922, 1950, 2003) and splice all these parts together into a new composition. Memory loses its time-locked sequence, its imprisonment in the past and in its context, its servitude to the limited multi-tasking opportunities provided by THE MOMENT. Notions and concepts remain whole but excerpted, recombined, real and whole and new in a whole new context. Bob saw his own act of bearing witness to the link between concept, URGE, and creation, a process that produced the synthesizers he built and thus enabled musicians to expand their performative capabilities, as a sign of the continuousness of the mental, conceptual realm and the world of the works of hands and days. DJ Spooky saw this same continousness played out in a perceptually adjusted vector, not in the audible expression of the simplest waveforms, but in the recombination through sampling of concepts and energy across time, across format, across the borders between life and death.