Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Five questions to John Eaton

Born on March 30, 1935 in Bryn Mawr (Pennsylvania, USA), the composer John Eaton began his musical career watching his older brother play the piano, when he was a child. He began to take piano lessons and when he was only nine years old he made his first concert, playing Beethoven sonatas. In 1957, at age 22, John graduated in Princeton University. In 1959 he moved to Rome (Italy) and lived there in the following years. There he began a long time partnership with clarinetist Bill Smith and formed a band with him. Their band recorded two albums and made several concerts in Europe and in the United States. It was also in Rome that John Eaton met the electronic engineer Paul Ketoff, inventor of the famous and legendary Syn-Ket, in 1964. With the Syn-Ket, John Eaton has performed more than a thousand presentations around the world and was at before one of these presentations, in 1966 at Columbia University, that he met Robert Moog, who fixed the Syn-Ket, damaged during a flight, and also built a Moog synthesizer especially for Eaton! The partnership of John Eaton and Robert Moog also created the Eaton-Moog Multiple-Touch Sensitive Keyboard (which John briefly explained in the interview below).

I knew the music of John Eaton recently, during my researches on the pioneers of electronic music, and I searched for his contact and sent him an email asking about the possibility of an interview. John not only accepted my invitation but also was very quick and gentle replying in me! And here's the interview with the great John Eaton!

ASTRONAUTA - How did your life in music begin? And how did you become interested in electronic music?

JOHN - I began composing when I was very young - before I played an instrument actually. It was the depression.  My older brother was taking piano lessons.  I stood by him as he practiced and learned the notes by looking at his music.  I thus wrote three (probably terrible ) piano sonatas before my parents decided they could afford to give me piano lessons right away! I gave a concert at a local resort, Buck Hill Falls, when I was 9, playing the four best known piano sonatas of Beethoven.  Then, I stopped practicing and started playing jazz.  Yet, all the time, I kept composing.

I first became interested in electronic music while a student at Princeton of Milton Babbitt, Edward Toner Cone, Earl Kim and, mainly, Roger Sessions. But, I was always a klutz in tape studios.

ASTRONAUTA - The jazz musician Bill Smith was a great friend of yours and one of the first persons you met when you moved to Italy in the late '50s/early 60's. Could you tell us a little about the period you played with him? Is there any record/film/photograph of that time?

JOHN - Bill (William O. Smith) was not a pianist, but a magnificent - the best in my opinion! - jazz and classical clarinetist.  We had a group in Rome that toured Europe and the USA doing concerts of contemporary music, jazz, and especially, both on the same program. We met the fall of 1960 and immediately began performing written compositions, jazz and other music together around Italy, and then for Columbia Artists in the USA.  We recorded 2 jazz albums, one for RCA Victor, New Sounds: Old World with Erich Peter and Pierre Favre, and one for Epic, New Dimensions with Richard Davis and Paul Motion.  In addition I had done two earlier ones in the mid 1950's for Columbia, College Jazz: Modern, with a group of Princeton undergraduates, and Epic, Far Out: Near In with Herbie Mann, Bob Prince, and others.

ASTRONAUTA - How did you meet Paul Ketoff and what was your contribution in the development of the Synket? What kind of special features you asked him to do on the Synket to make it a performance instrument and not only a studio instrument? For some time you used both the Synket and the Moog synthesizers on your performances. What were the main differences between the two instruments?

JOHN - I met Paul Ketoff in 1960 (I believe) when the Composer-in-Residence at the American Academy, Otto Luening, and a group of the fellows interested in electronic music, George Balch Wilson, William O. Smith, and myself, asked him to build us a small classical tape studio.  He showed up one afternoon with the Syn-Ket.  I immediately exclaimed, "But, Paul.  This is not just a group of components of a classical tape studio; this is an instrument!"  I immediately began writing short pieces that could be played on it, without any pre-recording and asked him to build me one that could be modified for better use as an instrument.  At my suggestion, he modified the three keyboards so they would respond to velocity, like a piano, and sideways motion, as in a clavichord's bisbigliando.  Over the next few years, he added an overall volume pedal, a white or pink noise generator, alternate basic sonic material, a spring reverberation unit, and other various types of modulation.  (I must quickly add that I have very little technical knowledge of electronics, and all the designs were entirely Paul's inventions.)

To my knowledge, after a few solo Syn-Ket essays of mine, the first piece written involving live performance - without pre-recording or tape studio manipulations - for a modern electronic sound synthesizer, by which I mean one that involved voltage control, was my Songs for R.P.B.  It was at the Villa Aurelia of the American Academy, and involved the remarkable singer, Miciko Hirayama, the pianists Jane Schoonover Smith and myself.  The two performers on the Syn-Ket were Paul Ketoff and Otto Luening on that occasion.  
Here is a photo of Paul and myself presenting yhe Syn-Ket to a group of mainly Italian musical illuminati  in, I believe, 1963 or 1964:

Between this and 1970, I made my living primarily as an electronic troubadour, giving approximately 1,000 concerts on the Syn-Ket and a special Moog Synthesizer Bob put together for me (see below) in most European and American countries, and under such auspices as the Venice Festival, the Hamburg Opera and Nord Deutscher Rundfunk, Tanglewood, the Los Angeles Philarmonic, many major colleges in the USA, USIS, and a Russian tour sponsered by the Soviet Composers Society.  I recorded two albums for American Decca which involved the two synthesizers: Microtonal Fantasy and Electro-Vibrations.  Some of the material recorded is available on a CD released by the Electronic Music Foundation called First Performances.  This also includes two short improvisations on the Syn-Ket with a rock rhythm section: Blues Machine and Bone Dry.  Someone told me this was to his knowledge the first use of a modern synthesizer in Rock. There is a picture of me with the Syn-Ket which appeared in Time Magazine in 1968, in the booklet with this CD.

ASTRONAUTA - How did you meet Robert Moog and how do you see Bob's legacy to the world of music? 

JOHN - I first met Bob Moog on a 1966 concert tour in the USA involving the Syn-Ket.  I had a concert at Columbia University.  During the flight over, something juggled loose.  I could usually fix most routine problems; but, this was more serious.  I called a good friend from Rome who had settled in the US and was teaching at Albany, Joel Chadabe.  He said the only person he know who could fix it was Bob Moog, who at that time lived in Trumansburg in Central New York State.  I loaded the Syn-Ket into my 1956 yellow Cadillac, and took off for Appalachia!  

Bob, one of the most generous people I've ever known, met me around noon, became fascinated with the Syn-Ket, and worked on it all night.  At the end, it was in perfect condition again!

During the evening, we entered a conversation which changed my life.  In earlier electronic music, the one element I almost always found missing was human nuance.  I believed that would only enter if composers had more control in performance over the various aspects of electronic music.  I asked Bob if he could design a keyboard that would allow much more control over all aspects of the musical continuity.  I suggested that each key have four different sensitivities, derived from keyboard and string instruments: 1) the amount a key is depressed; 2) the front-to-back position on the surface of the key; 3) the side -to side position on the surface of the key; 4) the amount of pressure added to a completely depressed key.  (Later, Bob was to add the amount of area a finger covered on the surface of a key.) These sensitivities should be able to be applied to any aspect (parameter) of the music made available by a dedicated computer.  A larger touch-sensitive plate on the side of the keyboard could make the x, y and z axes of each key applicable to general control of the musical continuity.  Banks of dual-action pedals applied to each keyboard could also control more general aspects of the music.  You, of course, wouldn't have to use all of the sensitivities at once.  And you should be able to change how the system works instantaneously.  That very night, the Eaton-Moog Multiple Touch Sensitive Keyboard was born. 

But with all the changes in miniaturization, mostly coming from the space program, it took some 25 years until a performable instrument was produced.  We were aided by a grant from Indiana University, shortly after I joined the faculty there in 1970, which was later picked up by the University of Chicago, where I went in 1991.  Bob built many versions of a key, then an octave keyboard.  I performed on it in 1991 at Mandel Hall of the Universiyt of Chicago, and again for the Music Critics National Conference where my piece Genesis was televised.  A part of this performance and concert was shown as a news item on CNN in 1992.

In the meantime, to enhance my musical activities, he gave me a two box unit consisting of a couple of sequencers and a number of sound producing and modifying units.  These can be heard on the CD "First Performances", particularly in Duet and Blind Man's Cry.   

Bob's legacy to the world of music is incredibly deep and profound.  He gave the world of music, truly viable instruments for the live performance of electronic music.  He, and Paul, both were eager to give musicians of all sorts, what they needed - not what would simply make a buck.  They remain noble lights in the oft-times sordid world of music.

ASTRONAUTA - Please, tell us about your opera works and the Pocket Opera Players project. Do
you still perform live concerts? Do you have plans to release (or re-release) your recorded material?

JOHN - The Pocket Opera Players were founded in 1991 with the performance by the New York New Music Ensemble, which constituted the instrumentalists of the group, for about 15 years.  There is a lot of information about it on my somewhat out-of-date web site, www.pocketoperaplayers.org  
Basically, instrumentalists are always involved in our performances as characters in my operas - they act, speak, sing in non-operatic fashion, even perform gymnastic feats while playing their instruments.  We use projections and props, nit expensive sets; costume elements, not costumes.  Our Pocket Operas proper usually have a small group of singers in the major rolls.  But, we also do Romps for Instrumentalists, another form of Pocket Opera in which the players perform all the characters parts.
I have written over a dozen of these Pocket Operas. A commercial DVD of "The curious case of Benjamin Button" will soon be commercially available from Albany Records.
As soon as the project is finished under the guidance of Bob Moog's first professor at Columbia, I intend to concertize again, using the Eaton-Moog Multiple Touch Sensitive Keyboard.  I would like to re-release my earlier recordings in a CD format.

Cinco perguntas para John Eaton

Nascido no dia 30 de março de 1935 em Bryn Mawr (Pennsylvania, EUA), o compositor John Eaton iniciou sua trajetória na música assistindo ao irmão mais velho praticar ao piano, quando ainda era criança. Passou a ter aulas de piano e com apenas nove anos de idade realizou seu primeiro concerto, tocando sonatas de Beethoven. Em 1957, aos 22 anos de idade, se formou em música pela Princeton University. Em 1959 mudou-se para Roma (Italia), cidade onde morou nos anos seguintes e também onde começou uma duradora parceria com o clarinetista Bill Smith, com quem montou uma banda, gravou dois discos e fez várias apresentações pela Europa e Estados Unidos. Foi em Roma também que John conheceu o engenheiro eletrônico Paul Ketoff, inventor do famoso e lendário Syn-Ket, em 1964. Com o Syn-Ket, John Eaton realizou mais de mil apresentações pelo mundo todo e foi justamente antes de uma destas apresentações, em 1966 na Columbia University, que ele conheceu Robert Moog, que além de consertar seu Syn-Ket avariado durante um vôo construiu um sintetizador Moog especialmente para Eaton! A parceria de John Eaton e Robert Moog ainda rendeu o Eaton-Moog Multiple Touch-sensitive Keyboard (que John explica de forma resumida na entrevista abaixo).

Conheci o trabalho de John Eaton recentemente, durante minhas pesquisas sobre os pioneiros da música eletrônica, e então procurei por seu contato e enviei-lhe um email perguntando sobre a possibilidade de uma entrevista. Ele não só aceitou meu convite como também foi muito rápido e simpático ao me responder! Segue abaixo a entrevista com o grande John Eaton!

ASTRONAUTA - Como surgiu a música na sua vida? E quando você passou a ter interesse pela música eletrônica?

JOHN - Comecei a compor quando eu era muito jovem - antes de tocar qualquer instrumento, na verdade. Foi durante a depressão. Meu irmão mais velho estava tendo aulas de piano. Eu ficava vendo ele praticar e aprendi as notas observando ele tocar sua música. Eu escrevi três (provavelmente terríveis) sonatas para piano e então meus pais decidiram que poderiam me proporcionar aulas de piano em seguida! Eu toquei em um concerto, num resort em Buck Hill Falls quando eu tinha 9 anos, tocando as quatro sonatas para piano de Beethoven mais conhecidas. Então, eu decidi parar de estudar e começei a tocar jazz. Mas o tempo todo eu continuei compondo.

A primeira vez que me interessei pela música eletrônica foi quando eu era estudante na Universidade de Princeton e tive aulas com Milton Babbitt, Edward Toner Cone, Kim Earl e, principalmente, Roger Sessions. Mas, eu sempre fui desajeitado para lidar com as fitas no estúdio.

ASTRONAUTA - O músico de jazz Bill Smith foi um grande amigo seu e também uma das primeiras pessoas que você conheceu quando você mudou para a Itália no final dos anos 50/início dos anos 60. Você poderia nos contar um pouco sobre o período que jogou com ele? Existe alguma gravação, filme ou fotografia deste período?

JOHN - Bill (William O. Smith) era um magnífico clarinetista de jazz e música clássica - o melhor na minha opinião! Tínhamos um conjunto em Roma, que excursionou pela Europa e pelos EUA fazendo concertos de música contemporânea, jazz e, especialmente, ambos no mesmo programa. Nos conhecemos no outono de 1960 e imediatamente começamos a nos apresentar, tocando composições próprias, jazz e outras músicas pela Itália e em seguida para a Columbia Artists, nos EUA. Gravamos 2 álbuns de jazz, um para a RCA Victor, "New Sounds: Old World", com Erich Peter e Pierre Favre, e um para a Epic, "New dimensions", com Richard Davis e Paul Motion. Além disso, eu tinha feito dois outros anteriores, em meados da década de 1950 para a Columbia, "College Jazz: Modern", com um grupo de alunos da graduação de Princeton, e outro para a Epic, "Far Out: Near In", com Herbie Mann, Prince 
Bob, e outros.

ASTRONAUTA - Como você conheceu Paul Ketoff e qual foi sua contribuição no desenvolvimento do Syn-ket? Que tipo de características especiais você pediu para Ketoff fazer no Synket, para torná-lo um instrumento para palco e não apennas para estúdio? Por algum tempo você usou tanto o Synket quanto o sintetizador Moog em suas apresentações. Quais eram as principais diferenças entre os dois instrumentos?

JOHN - Eu conheci Paul Ketoff em 1960 (creio eu), quando o compositor residente da American Academy - Otto Luening - e um grupo de amigos interessados ​​em música eletrônica, George Wilson Balch, William O. Smith e eu, pedimos a ele que construisse para nós um pequeno e tradicional estúdio de fita. E ele apareceu numa tarde com o Syn-Ket. Eu imediatamente exclamei: "Mas Paul, isto não é apenas um aglomerado de componentes de um estúdio de fita tradicional, isto é um instrumento!". Então eu imediatamente começei a escrever peças curtas que poderiam ser tocadas naquilo, sem qualquer coisa pré-gravada e pedi a ele que construisse um outro Synket para mim, modificando algumas coisas para uma melhor utilização como instrumento. Por sugestão minha ele modificou os três teclados para que eles respondessem à velocidade - como um piano - e movimentassem lateralmente também, como o "bisbigliando" de um clavicórdio. Ao longo dos próximos anos ele acrescentou um pedal de volume geral, um gerador de ruído branco ou rosa, alguns recursos alternativos, uma unidade de reverber de mola e várias outras possibilidades de modulação. (Devo acrescentar rapidamente que eu tenho pouquissimo conhecimento técnico de eletrônica e todos os projetos eram inteiramente invenções de Paul).

Até onde eu sei, após alguns poucos ensaios meus com o Syn-Ket, fiz a primeira apresentação ao vivo de uma peça - sem manipulações de estúdio de gravação ou fita pré-gravada - para um sintetizador de som eletrônico moderno, quero dizer, com voltagem controlada: minha música "Songs for RPB". A apresentação foi na Villa Aurelia, da Academia Americana, e teve participação do notável cantor Miciko Hirayama, além da pianista Jane Schoonover Smith e eu. Os dois artistas que se apresentaram com o Syn-Ket foram Paul Ketoff e Otto Luening naquela ocasião.
Aqui está uma foto de Paul e eu apresentando o Syn-Ket para um grupo de "illuminati" musical italianos, acredito que em 1963 ou 1964:

Entre esta época e 1970, vivi basicamente como como um trovador eletrônico, fazendo cerca de 1.000 concertos com o Syn-Ket e um sintetizador Moog especial que Bob fez para mim (leia mais sobre isso abaixo) na maioria dos países europeus e do continente americano, e em eventos como Festival de Veneza, a Ópera de Hamburgo e o Nord Deutscher Rundfunk, Tanglewood, o Los Angeles Philarmonic e em muitas faculdades principais nos EUA e também fiz uma turnê russa, financiada pela Sociedade dos Compositores Soviéticos. Eu gravei dois álbuns para a gravadora Decca norte-americana, onde utilizei os dois sintetizadores: "Microtonal Fantasy" e "Electro-Vibrations". Parte do material gravado está disponível em um CD lançado pela Electronic Music Foundation, chamado "First Performances". No CD também foram inlcuidas duas improvisações curtas com o Syn-Ket e uma base de banda de rock: "Blues Machine" e "Bone Dry". Alguém me disse que estas duas músicas foram as primeiras utilizações de um synthesiaer moderno no Rock.
Há uma foto minha com a Syn-Ket, que apareceu na revista Time em 1968, no livro que acompanha este CD.

ASTRONAUTA - Como você conheceu Robert Moog e como você vê o legado de Bob para o mundo da música? 

JOHN - Eu conheci Bob Moog em 1966, numa tour pelos EUA com o Syn-Ket. Eu tinha um show na Universidade de Columbia. Durante o vôo, alguma peça do Syn-Ket soltou. Eu normalmente conseguia resolver os problemas mais rotineiros mas este era mais grave. Liguei para um amigo meu de Roma, que se tinha se estabelecido nos EUA e estava ensinando em Albany, Joel Chadabe. Ele me disse que a única pessoa que ele sabia que poderia consertar o Syn-Ket era Bob Moog, que na época morava em Trumansburg, no centro do estado de Nova York. Carreguei o Syn-Ket no meu Cadillac amarelo de 1956, e parti para Appalachia!

Bob, uma das pessoas mais generosas que já conheci. Encontrei-me com ele ao meio-dia e ele ficou fascinado com a Syn-Ket e trabalhou nele durante toda a noite. No final, ele estava em perfeito, em estado de novo!

Durante a noite, começamos uma conversa que mudou a minha vida. No início da música eletrônica, o elemento que eu mais sentia falta era o aspecto humano. Eu acreditava que só existiria se os compositores tivessem mais controle sobre os vários aspectos da música eletrônica. Perguntei a Bob se ele poderia projetar um teclado que permitesse um maior controle sobre todos os aspectos musicais. Então sugeri que cada tecla tivesse quatro tipos de sensibilidades diferentes, derivados de instrumentos de teclas e instrumentos de cordas: 1) a quantidade relativa à força quando uma tecla é tocada; 2) a sensibilidade ao mover a superficie da tecla para frente e para trás; 3) a sensibilidade ao mover uma tecla para os lados; 4) a quantidade de pressão adicionada à uma tecla completamente acionada. (Mais tarde, Bob adicionou a sensibilidade à quantidade de área de um dedo sobre a superfície de uma tecla). Estas sensibilidades deveriam ser aplicadas à qualquer aspecto (parâmetro) da música disponibilizada por um computador dedicado. Uma placa sensível ao toque maior, ao lado do teclado, poderia tornar os eixos X, Y e Z de cada tecla aplicáveis ​​ao controle geral da continuidade musical. Bancos de pedais de dupla ação aplicados a cada teclado também poderiam controlar mais os aspectos da música. É evidente que você não teria que utilizar todas as sensibilidades de uma só vez. E você deveria ser capaz de mudar a forma como o sistema funciona instantaneamente. Naquela mesma noite naceu o teclado Eaton-Moog de toque múltiplo sensível.

Mas com todas as mudanças na miniaturização - na sua maioria provenientes do programa espacial - levou cerca de 25 anos até que um instrumento assim fosse produzido. Tivemos a ajuda de uma doação da Universidade de Indiana, logo depois que eu entrei para aquela faculdade, em 1970, que mais tarde foi recebida pela Universidade de Chicago, para onde fui em 1991. Bob construiu muitas versões de uma tecla com estas características e, em seguida, um teclado de uma oitava. Eu utilizei este teclado em 1991, na Mandel Hall da Universidade de Chicago, e também na Conferência Nacional de Críticos de Música, onde o minha peça "Genesis" foi televisionada. Uma parte deste concerto foi mostrada como em um noticiário da CNN em 1992.

Neste meio tempo, para aprimorar minhas atividades musicais, ele me deu uma unidade que consistia em um par de sequenciadores e algumas unidades para produzir e modificar o som. Isto pode ser ouvido no CD "First Performances", particularmente mas faixas "Duet" e "Blind Man's Cry".
O legado de Bob para o mundo da música é incrivelmente forte e profundo. Ele deu ao mundo da música instrumentos verdadeiramente viáveis ​​para a execução ao vivo de música eletrônica. Ele - e Paul Ketoff - queriam dar aos músicos de todos os tipos o que eles precisavam - e não simplesmente ganhar dinheiro. Eles são luzes nobres no mundo muitas vezes vezes sórdido da música.

ASTRONAUTA - Por favor, conte-nos sobre as seu trabalho com óperas e sobre o projeto Pocket Opera Players. Você ainda se apresenta ao vivo? Você tem planos para lançar (ou re-release) seu material gravado?

JOHN - O projeto Pocket Opera Players foi fundado em 1991 com uma apresentação do New York New Music Ensemble, que manteve os mesmos músicos por cerca de 15 anos. Mesmo com meu site um pouco desatualizado, há muita informação sobre isso lá: www.pocketoperaplayers.org
Basicamente, os instrumentistas estão sempre envolvidos nas nossas performances como personagens de minhas óperas - eles agem, falam, cantam de modo não-operístico, e até mesmo fazem acrobacias enquanto tocam seus instrumentos. Nós usamos projeções e adereços, cenários baratos; peças de fantasias e não fantasias completas. Nossas pocket-operas costumam ter um pequeno grupo de cantores nos papéis principais. Mas nós também fazemos "Brincadeiras para instrumentistas", outra forma de ópera de bolso na qual os músicos representam todos os personagens.
Eu escrevi mais de uma dúzia destas óperas de bolso. Em breve um DVD de "O Curioso caso de Benjamin Button", nossa mais recente apresentação, estará disponível comercialmente pela Albany Records.
Assim que o projeto estiver concluído, sob a orientação do primeiro professor de Bob Moog em Columbia, pretendo realizar apresentações minhas novamente, usando o teclado Eaton-Moog de múltiplo toque sensível. Eu gostaria de relançar minhas primeiras gravações em CD.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Moog "The Source" (text in english)

In the late '70s and in the early '80s Moog Music began to lose space on the market to new companies or companies that were begining to invest in the newest technological trend: the digital synthesizers (of course, in my opinion, time would prove that the digital synthesis could never replace the analog synthesis but, anyway, the world of music was begining to become digital). In those days the big deal was to make cheaper synthesizers since almost every band and artist in the world had incorporated the figure of the keyboard player (and its synthesizers) to their records and live performances. The first two years of the '80s were also the last two years of Music Moog until 2002, when Robert Moog got back the rights to use the name Moog instead of Brig Briar as his brand name and to control Moog Music again (the company that he had sold in the second half of the seventies).

However, as a "swan song" worthy of the name that the company had constructed and honored for more than a decade, the last two years saw the release of two products that, over the years, became so legendary for lovers of analog synthesizers and all equipment developed and manufactured by Moog Music: the Moog Memorymoog and "The Source".

The Moog "The Source" was the first (and only) Moog synthesizer that use membrane panel instead of the traditional knobs, sliders, switches and buttons typical of analog synthesizers. Over the years this membrane panel proved to be a bad choice because it is not unusual that the Moog "The Source" owners has problems with this panel (my case, at least now. But soon I want to resolve this problem). Like everything that is bad can have a good side, the good side here is that the choice of colors used in this panel makes the Moog "The Source" a very very very beautiful instrument!

The process of sound synthesis of the Moog "The Source" is very similar to the Moog Prodigy: two oscillators (each with selector for three waveforms in three different octaves) and the traditional 24 dB per octave Moog filter Moog. In the envelope sections for the VCA and for the filter, things start to differ slightly, with "The Source" adding separate buttons to control Decay and Release (Prodigy has just one knob to control both Decay and Release). The rest of the controls of "The Source" differs completely from Moog Prodigy, "The Source" a more complete machine: it has a full keyboard 3/8 (37 notes - Moog Prodigy has only two and a half octaves) plus sequencer, arpeggiator, sample and hold and internal memory to 16 fully programmable patches (which could be saved on cassette).

The front panel controls of "The Source" are very simple to access, all through the membrane panel and a large dial, which has a numeric display that let you know how much the parameters are modified. Another display located above the volume knob shows the number of the progammable patch is currently being used. Wheels to control Pitch and Modutation, along with buttons that change the octave of the instrument and an LED that varies with the speed applied to the Modulation Wheel, complete the front panel of "The Source". On the back there's a knob for tuning the instrument, an output jacks for audio, CV input/output , S-trigger input/output and a connector to the cassette where the sounds could be stored. All beautifully arranged in a aluminum chassis and the coloured membrane panel already mentioned before.

Among some bands and artists who used the Moog "The Source" I mention The Moog Cookbook (from my friends Brian Kehew and Roger Manning Jr.), New Order (the bass line of "Blue Monday" was recorded with one Moog "The Source"), Devo, Vince Clarke (he still has one, the same one that he used to record "Speak & Spell", the debut album of Depeche Mode), Andrew Fletcher (used on Depeche Mode's second album, "A Broken Frame", released in September 1982 - there are several videos of Andrew using these instrument on TV appearances at the time), Ultravox, John Foxx, Gary Numan, Oingo Boingo, Tangerine Dream, Jan Hammer, Tim Simenon (the man behind the "band" Bomb the Bass), Kitaro, The Cars, King Crimson (bassist Tony Levin used one in their 1984 tour. He also used on with Peter Gabriel on the "Secret World Tour", 1993), Blur, EMF, Air, Roger O'Donnell (from The Cure).

I bought my Moog "The Source" in the late '90s. I don't remember the year exactly but I know it was before 1998, because I used on Acretinice Atray's album released early that year. Since I bought it, my Moog "The Source" worked and stopped, worked and stopped a lot of times. I used it on my three solo albums and at least in one show I played with Jimi Joe, in his solo album's release, in Unisinos' theatre (São Leopoldo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil). Cosmetically, my Moog "The Source" is very beautiful and I intend to make it work permanently soon! This is one of the few instruments that I bought in the '90s that my good friend Emilio Benvenutti will not remember (because he was not with me when I went to Viamão, a city near Porto Alegre) to buy it. Before I bought this synthesizer, it belonged to a ballroom band, almost like 99 percent of vintage instruments that have. The serial number of my Moog "The Source" is 3049, so I think it was not only one of the last "The Sources" made but also one of the last instruments made by Moog Music in its golden years. When it was manufactured, in the early '80s, Robert Moog was already working for another instruments manufacturer and, at that time, had no rights to the name Moog Music (a fact that he wisely reversed in the years of his life). As I wrote earlier in this text, all the bad things can have a good side and the end of Moog Music activities at that time (and, therefore, the instruments manufactured by them becoming "obsolete" for many years that followed), allowed me to buy some of those relics for a price that today - with renewed love for analog sounds - to sound like a joke (I remember very well that I paid the equivalent of U$ 25 for my Moog "The Source"!). Long live Dr. Robert Moog: the person who allowed me to be a happy man using the instruments he created and gave me the chance to know his history and legacy!

photos: Kay Mavrides and internet

I found these ads from the time that the Moog "The Source" was released:

Also found a guy in the USA that resolved membrane problem from his Moog "The Source".

As my "The Source" is not working, I didn't record any video demonstrating it but I found this one on youtube:

At the end of my song "(Welcome to) The Central Lab (to Dr. Robert Moog and Peter Zinovieff)", I used the sequencer of my Moog "The Source", recorded when the instrument was still working (of course!):

Here's a video of New Order playing Blue Monday "live" on Top of the pops, 1983 (Stephen Morris playing "The Source"):

And HERE is an article on sound on sound magazine, about the instruments used on Blue Monday!!!

Daniel Elfman's band Oingo Boingo used one in their "Private Life" video (it appears on 1:03):

Depeche Mode - See You (TV appearance, 1982):

Devo - Theme From Adventures of the Smart Patrol + Jerkin' Back 'n' Forth (TV performance, 1981):

Air - Sexy Boy (live at KCRW on March 29, 2010):

Roger O'Donnell shows off his Moogs:

Casiopea - Midnight Rendezvous (live 1982):

"Shaking the tree", from Peter Gabriel's Secret World Tour DVD, 1993 (Tony Levin used a Moog "The Source" in this tour):