Recently, I made a post about the theremin, spurred by a documentary I'd watched courtesy of Netflix (there's a plug for you). This past week, I took in a documentary on another electronic music pioneer, Robert Moog. The film is simply titled Moog - here's the trailer:
Admittedly, it isn't as well done as Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey (in which Robert Moog appears quite a bit). Still, it's an interesting look at the man, the development of the Moog synthesizer, and how its been used in popular music. It's worth renting at least. Sadly, Robert Moog died recently (within the last year or two). Of course, there's plenty of music to carry on his name, of which I would like to share two of my favorites.
First up is The In Sound From Way Out!, a collaboration between electronic music gurus Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley. Released in 1966, the album remains a landmark, and a cult favorite. Billed as being "electronic pop music of the future," the album took 275 hours of work "in the laboratory," and "several miles of magnetic tape" for this album to come to fruition. You kids with your Pro Tools and Midi loops just don't understand! Perrey and Kingsley did a bit more work together, but each had successful careers on their own as well (Kingsley is perhaps best known for his composition "Popcorn," a dance hit in the 1970s for Hot Butter). This was one of the first albums of all electronic music I ever heard, and I still love it dearly.
Perrey-Kingsley: The In Sound from Way Out!
EDIT: see WFMU's blog for 79 versions of Kingsley's 'Popcorn'! Here
Lastly, we have Moog: The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman. Released in 1969, the album is an interesting collection of originals and covers. The best known songs here are "The Topless Dancers of Corfu" and "The Minotaur." But the covers include James Brown's "Give it Up or Turn it Loose" and "Time is Tight" by Booker T. and the MGs. All excellent! I actually came across this one by accident. I knew of Dick Hyman and had "The Topless Dancers of Corfu" on a compilation called Easy Rhythms for Your Cocktail Hour. I randomly found this cd for a whopping dollar at a thrift store in Pittsburgh. Score!
MOOG: The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman