Moog Modular Synthesizers Return
I had the opportunity to purchase a used Moog System 55 modular synth for $5,000. I always regretted not getting it. It was manufactured in 1973. Forty two years later Moog is resurrecting the System 55 for $35,000. The sound, of course, is priceless.
The video introducing the return of the Moog modular analog synthesizer features electronic music pioneers Suzanne Ciani, Malcolm Cecil, David Borden, Dick Hyman and Herb Deutsch. It's quite a quirky video, too!
According to Moog Music:
"Working from the 1970s schematics, each instrument will be meticulously handcrafted, as a true recreation of the original. The modules are built from the original circuit board films - just as they were in 1973- by hand-stuffing and hand-soldering components to circuit boards, and using traditional wiring methods. The front panels are photo-etched aluminum, a classic process rarely used in today’s synthesizer manufacturing, to maintain the classic and durable look of vintage Moog modules.
"Upon their first release in 1973, the System 55, the System 35 and the Model 15 represented a high watermark for modular synthesis, and their inimitable tones can be heard shaping many much-loved albums. They were fundamental in the development of contemporary soul, RnB, and disco, from giving Stevie Wonder’s classic run of 70s LPs their questing, innovative edge, to providing Giorgio Moroder with the pulsating machine melodies that ushered in electronic dance. At the same time, these were the instruments that inspired Brian Eno to push further out into seas of layered tranquillity on his pioneering ambient albums, and provoked bands like Yes and Tangerine Dream to blast their sonic freak outs into the cosmos.
"However, the reintroduction of these instruments is not about reliving the past – while much incredible work has been done with the Moog Modular, there is so much yet to be explored in this relatively young instrument. Artists had only begun to grasp the vast possibilities of these large format modular synthesizers when they went out of production over thirty years ago. Decades of electronic experimentation have enabled musicians to move on from viewing the Moog Modular as a replacement for traditional instrumentation. Now, a new generation of artists, with a greater understanding and more complex tools, will have the opportunity to explore the power of these singular sonic machines. Today, the modular synthesizer is viewed in the manner Bob Moog originally intended: to “discover endless offbeat, unconventional, and even irrational ways of working.”
I'm glad to see the Moog modular is back. Made by hand at it's best.