If you were to ask me who was the most significant influence behind the Prog Rock movement, it would not be a musician, it would be an electronic engineer. His name is Robert Moog, and his contribution to Prog Rock is enormous, he is the guy that invented the Moog Synthesiser. I was slightly taken aback recently when I stumbled upon a web site that catalogued ˜obsolete” electronic instruments and it had the gall to list the Moog.

The great proponents of the Moog were undoubtedly Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson, these two musicians took this wonderful creation to places that even Robert Moog could not have imagined.

The good news for music dinosaurs like myself is that the Moog Synthesiser is alive and well, as this DVD clearly shows. Moogfest is exactly that, an annual celebration of this fabulous and groundbreaking instrument from the late 60’s.

Many of the artists on this DVD play what is known as the ˜Mini Moog’ , and while it may be technologically superior, it lacks the Frankenstein Mad Scientist aura of the real thing.

The high point of this concert has to be Keith Emerson (as in ELP) working a full size Moog, one hand on the keyboards and one twiddling the switches and dials. This is a real treat for any Prog Rock fan. If you are an aging hippie (like I am) this is nostalgia at its finest. There are lots of electronica on the market today for the even the smallest band, and I am sure it is light years ahead of the venerable Moog, But the Moog will always be my favorite. On a practical note, I have no idea how they managed to transport and set up this monster, it must have been a roadies nightmare!

Put on those flared trousers, practice saying Peace and Love and regress to a better time with Moogfest.

August/28 Update:

I have noticed that a lot of people are reading this article, if you are prog rock fan you might also want to check out my recent interviews with Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, and Dave Cousins.

Simon Barrett


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