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The MOOG & the Birth of Electronic Dance Music

The MOOG & the Birth of Electronic Dance Music

By on Aug 12, 2011 in Music, Rock Star Librarian | 5 comments

Robert Moog. In 1965 he spearheaded a radical paradigm shift in music and its creation by inventing the Moog music synthesizer. Others had created computer based syths, but Moog was the first to create a modular keyboard instrument that allowed the musician to adjust timbre, pitch, intensity and fade, and it cost $11,000, a tenth of the price of RCA’s binary code run synthesizer. Then, in 1971, he invented the Minimoog, a portable synthesizer one easily could take on the stage and the road. Here is BBC video footage of the Moog’s 1965 world premiere. Giorigio Moroder & Donna Summer. Leap forward six years to 1977. Giorgio Moroder and Donna Summer craft a hit dance single almost entirely created on Moog synthesizers and what was to become known as the first completely electronic song: “I Feel Love.” Brian Eno is known for infamously bursting into David Bowie’s recording session for his Berlin Trilogy with Summer’s song. Bowie says, “One day in Berlin … Eno came running in and said, ‘I have heard the sound of the future.’ … he puts on ‘I Feel Love’, by Donna Summer … He said, ‘This is it, look no further. This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next fifteen years.’ (From Bowie’s Sound and Vision CD liner notes.) But why bore you with my writing about the significance of the Moroder/Summer collaboration. Here, Alison Goldfrapp narrates an amazing BBC Radio 2 documentary of the birth and significance of this song – Well worth a download and listen. And if you wish to fully immerse yourself in electronic dance music history, download BBC’s four part series, The Great Bleep Forward: Presented by Andrew Collins. In 2004 along with BBC 6 Music, Collins explores the development of electronic music. Though the video isn’t anywhere online, the audio for the entire four part series is available for free from the Internet Archive. Why not download and listen to these truly intriguing intriguing and fun electronica history lessons on your way Home? Then, perhaps you’ll find new appreciation for the epic pilgrimage the genre has made while your sparkly booty shakes to those incredible beats out on the playa. Oh, and,...

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My Inner Music Geek

My Inner Music Geek

By on Aug 3, 2011 in Burning Man, Music, Rock Star Librarian | 0 comments

I have a musical confession to make. I am a choir geek. I sang in high school and in college. (Singing Verdi’s Requiem in it’s entirety was the highlight of my choral ‘career.’) Those moments are entirely too far and few between now. So, I occasionally belt it out at karaoke and regularly sing in the shower or bellow as I drive in my car. I must thank Sister Clarina, my 3rd grade teacher and the all-school music educator, for giving me the love of beats early on in life. But then again, beats and music surround us. And for but a moment I will travel back musically to feed my inner geek just for this one blog post. John Cage was one of the original composers to challenge the idea of what music is. He harnessed everyday tonal sounds into music and predicted the future liberation of musical composition based on electronic instruments and music. Here, as part of his The Future of Music: Credo, written in 1937, he predicts the future sound of electronica. “The special property of electrical instruments will be to provide complete control of the overtone structure of tones (as opposed to noises) and to make these tones available in any frequency, amplitude, and duration. WHICH WILL MAKE AVAILABLE FOR MUSICAL PURPOSES ANY AND ALL SOUNDS THAT CAN BE HEARD. PHOTOELECTRIC, FILM, AND MECHANICAL MEDIUMS FOR THE SYNTHETIC PRODUCTION OF MUSIC It is now possible for composers to make music directly, without the assistance of intermediary performers. Any design repeated often enough on a sound track is audible. 280 circles per second on a sound track will produce one sound, whereas a portrait of Beethoven repeated 50 times per second on a sound track will have not only a different pitch but a different sound quality.” Let’s visit a modern day example which proves Cage’s prediction with haunting exactness, and it happens to be a track that also took the playa by storm in 2009.   And if you so desire, here’s a more in depth podcast with history about and music from Pierre Henry, John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Or perhaps you’d be interested in listening to John Cage’s 4’33” and the story of it’s...

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