On Day 2 of the NAMM Show, we had a chance to check out the new gear at the Moog booth.
They were showing the new Moog Taurus 3 bass synthesizer, which sounds massive and is built like a tank.
The Noisebug booth packed was densely packed with synth power, ranging from multiple Buchla 200e‘s to Gert Jalass’s Moon Modular. We talked with Jalass, left, about his latest synth modules, and came away amazed by how much power he is packing into modules. Modular synths are alive and well!
We also had a chance to meet synthesist John L. Rice, who’s an early Moon Modular user. Check out Rice’s YouTube channel for some musical examples of these modules in action.
Here’s something you don’t see very often – NAMM babes that are tastefully dressed:
Back to gear…….
Rock Creek Steel Drums was showing their tongue drums, which have a unique sound, a bit like a steel drum with less complex overtones. They are made from propane tanks, cut in half. Tongue-shaped cutouts are made in the drum to create the notes.
Not electronics – but very cool-sounding instruments.
Pioneer had an upstairs suite, separate from the main NAMM Show floor, so that they could let DJs come in and get loud.
Yes, that’s The Crystal Method. And yes, they rocked the house.
We also had a great conversation with John Henry Lambert – essayist, musician, rationalist, libertarian and the visionary head of Eigenlabs.
Lambert has fantastic stories to tell, ranging from his days in the dot-com boom to creating the prototypes for the Eigenharp in the 2nd story of his barn.
We’ve got more on Lambert and Eigenlabs in the works.
In the evening, Mellotron Archives and Big City Music sponsored a discussion of The Making of Bolero Electronica with Amin Bhatia and Michelle Moog-Koussa, above; a presentation of Mellodrama, The Mellotron Movie; and a Q & A session about the movie with filmmaker Dianna Dilworth and Markus Resch of the Mellotron Archives.
Bolero Electronica is an electronic version of Ravel’s Bolero, arranged for 40+ years of electronic music technology. The work is dedicated to Moog and a portion of each sale goes to help support The Bob Moog Foundation. Bhatia’s site for more info!
Dilworth’s movie, Mellodrama, is a must-see for anyone involved with electronic music.
The movie tells the story of the Chamberlin and Mellotron through interviews with members of The Moody Blues, The Beech Boys, The Zombies, King Crimson, Cheap Trick, Black Sabbath, Maroon 5, Moog Cookbook and many others.
The movie also effectively makes the case that the Chamberlin and Mellotron were the first samplers and that the idea of sampling and recontextualizing sampled sounds in live performance grew out of the instruments.
The best part of the event, though, was enjoying the presentation with a crowd of people passionate about electronic music.
A few of the people we had a chance to talk with were:
- Brian Kehew, left, who’s played keyboard with The Who, co-authored the monumental Recording The Beatles, and who creates Mooged-out covers of classic rock songs with The Moog Cookbook;
- Filmmaker Dianna Dilworth, who made Mellodrama and is in the planning stages on a new documentary about neon;
- Composer and synthesist Larry Fast, who’s played with Peter Gabriel and recorded ten albums of electronic music as Synergy; and
- Author Mark Vail, who’s written two key books on keyboard technology, Vintage Synthesizers and Beauty in the B. He’s also got another synth book in the works.
It was a real pleasure to meet so many people that eat/sleep/breathe electronic music.
See our complete NAMM report for individual product coverage.