Bob (Moog)‘s Belated Birthday

If he was still with us, Robert Moog (May 23, 1934 – August 21, 2005), the great elec­tron­ic musi­cal instru­ment inven­tor, would have been 78 last Wednes­day.

Today, we present a spe­cial col­lec­tion of clas­sic elec­tron­i­ca, much of which uses his many inven­tions — par­tic­u­lar­ly, of course, the Moog Syn­the­sis­er (such as those pic­tured left and below), in hon­our of his mem­o­ry and aston­ish­ing musi­cal lega­cy.

Today’s pro­gramme includes clas­sic elec­tron­ic music of all kinds — not just syn­the­sis­ers — from a wide range of artists includ­ing Wendy Car­los, the BBC Radio­phon­ic Work­shop, Dis­sevelt and Bal­tan, an IBM 7090 com­put­er, Lar­ry Fast’s Syn­er­gy, Kraftwerk and many, many more. You’ll hear the hilar­i­ous sounds of Per­rey and Kings­ley, two of the ear­li­est artists to use the Moog syn­the­sis­er and record­ed sounds for melod­ic, rather than abstract, ends — and their less­er-known col­league, Pat Pril­ly, who was pro­duc­ing light and frothy synth pieces for pro­duc­tion music libraries in France. And you’ll hear an ensem­ble play­ing Erik Satie on synth as well as con­ven­tion­al instru­men­ta­tion. We’ve even thrown in the Bal­anes­cu Quar­tet play­ing string quar­tet arrange­ments of Kraftwerk pieces, which is tru­ly some­thing else.

We also include some clas­sic elec­tron­ic pieces that don’t include syn­the­sis­ers at all — made before Bob’s time, they’re cre­at­ed with oscil­la­tors and tape edit­ing.

Tune in for an aston­ish­ing vari­ety of elec­tron­ic and musique con­crète sounds from both the pop­u­lar melod­ic and abstract avant-garde ends of the elec­tron­i­ca spec­trum, from the 1950s to the 1980s (by and large).

And at set times dur­ing the day we present the Pyra­me­dia Pro­duc­tions radio doc­u­men­tary, Elec­tron­ic Music Syn­the­sis­ers, pro­duced in the ear­ly 1970s when inter­est in elec­tron­ic instru­ments for rock and pop­u­lar music was in its first flush. It’s in two parts: the first part (45 mins) goes out at 1pm and 9pm Pacif­ic Time, and the sec­ond part (30 mins) at the start of the fol­low­ing hour, at 2pm and 10pm Pacif­ic.

And of course, don’t for­get the ZBS Radio Hour at 11am and 7pm Pacif­ic — tonight it’s the sec­ond part of the rather mar­vel­lous Steam­punk Steam Dream­ers of Inver­ness fol­lowed by anoth­er strange sto­ry in Stars & Stuff. (See sep­a­rate arti­cle).

Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin. You can lis­ten to the pro­gramme in-world at the appoint­ed time at, or sim­ply click here to start your play­er, if your brows­er is con­fig­ured to do so. Lis­ten­ers in the Unit­ed States are encour­aged to tune in using this link:

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