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Google's Bob Moog tribute a synthesized hit

May 23, 2012 |  1:02 pm

Fans of the synth pioneer Bob Moog's eponymous instruments pay thousands and thousands of dollars for the real artifacts. But Google users woke up today to a fully-functioning software take on a classic Moog synth -- affectionately called the "Goog" -- in their browser window.

The occasion was Moog's 78th birthday, and as Internet time-sucks go, this one is compelling. One can play a four-octave range; tweak the filter, mixer and oscillator to create new sounds; and a four-track virtual tape deck records tracks for posterity and social-media posting. The Bob Moog Foundation has a how-to guide for crafting and recording sounds on the Goog from its in-house synthesis expert Marc Doty, which you can see here.

Moog's synths were staples of early electronic pop and experimental music, and they remain essential to any producer or electronic artist performing today. Moog even has a festival in his honor, the North Carolina-based Moogfest, which last year hosted Moby, the Flaming Lips and a host of avant-garde and new music acts such as Terry Riley, Tangerine Dream and Tim Hecker.

The Bob Moog Foundation is also giving away prizes for the best composition submitted to its website.

Any occasion to pay tribute to a guy who literally hand-wired the sounds of contemporary pop music is worth taking. So here's a hearty salut to Google for spotlighting one of music's great technological innovators.


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-- August Brown


Photo: Google's homepage.