The Moog synthesizer

History of the Moog & Opinions on Kurt Cobain

The Moog synthesizer is every bit as important to rock history as the Fender Telecaster and the Gibson Les Paul. As the analog synth revival continues in pop music, Jim and Greg examine the history and legacy of the revolutionary instrument. Then they review the new posthumous release from Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.

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The Moog

The Moog company of Asheville, North Carolina recently announced it would end production on its flagship synthesizer, the Minimoog Voyager. That got Jim and Greg to thinking about the incredible influence the Moog synthesizer has had on rock and pop music since it debuted in 1964. Robert Moog's invention has seen a renaissance in the past decade, as acts ranging from M83 to Future Islands to Taylor Swift have taken inspiration from the synthpop sound.

To get some perspective on the Moog's history and legacy, Jim and Greg turn to Brian Kehew, the former official historian for the Bob Moog Foundation. Kehew also co-founded an all-analog band called Moog Cookbook in the '90s and has worked in the studio with Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann and Moog superstars Emerson, Lake & Palmer. In addition to ELP, Kehew points to the following as great synthesizer musicians:

reviewMontage of Heck: The Home Recordings (Deluxe Soundtrack)Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings available on iTunes

Kurt Cobain Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings

Music fans around the world never thought people they would be able to hear Kurt Cobain's work as a solo artist until now, but it certainly isn't how Cobain intended it. Recently his widow Courtney Love and daughter Francis Bean authorized a documentary called Montage of Heck. It focused on his life and featured old home movies, audiotapes and present-day commentary from Kurt's friends and family. The soundtrack album is called Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings, and many of the tracks are simply Cobain strumming on his guitar or messing around with his tape deck. As a big Nirvana fan, Jim compares the release as was grave robbery. He gives it a massive Trash It. Greg agrees, and notes the whole thing sickens him. The“album”never should've seen the light of day. Cobain sounds stoned, distracted and bored, not at all like how he lit up a stage with Nirvana. Greg says Trash It, as well.



“"The Gormleys Will Miss Me"”27 Various

This week, Jim chose the unique track "The Gormleys Will Miss Me" by the 27 Various for two reasons. One explanation is that after his recent DIJ selection by New Jersey's Red Buckets, it got him thinking more about underground indie rock from the 1980s. The other reason is that ever since Sound Opinions‘ intern Libby Gormley joined the team, Jim couldn’t get this track out of his head. While the Minneapolis band never gained huge traction, Jim loves this group, and finds this obscure song to be the perfect choice for this week's Desert Island Jukebox pick.

Featured Songs

  1. Parliament, Flash Light, Funkentelechy Vs. The Placebo Syndrome, Casablanca, 1977
  2. Wendy Carlos, Two-Part Invention in F, Switched-On Bach, Columbia, 1968
  3. Wendy Carlos, Two-Part Invention in B flat, Switched-On Bach, Columbia, 1968
  4. The Monkees, Daily Nightly, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., Rhino, 2007 (originally released 1967)
  5. Kraftwerk, Autobahn, Autobahn, Vertigo, 1974
  6. Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Tank, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Island, 1970
  7. Brian Eno, Julie With…, Before and After Science, Polydor, 1977
  8. Stevie Wonder, Living For The City, Innervisions, Tamla, 1973
  9. Die Doraus und Die Marinas, Fred vom Jupiter, Blumen Und Narzissen, Ata Tak, 1981
  10. Perrey & Kingsley, The Savers, Kaleidoscopic Vibrations, Vanguard, 1967
  11. Richard Hayman, The Look of Love, Genuine Electric Latin Love Machine, Command, 1969
  12. The Moog Cookbook, Black Hole Sun, The Moog Cookbook, Restless, 1996
  13. Return To Forever, Beyond The Seventh Galaxy, Where Have I Known You Before, Polydor, 1974
  14. Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Lucky Man, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Island, 1970
  15. Tubeway Army, Are ‘Friends’ Electric, Replicas, Atco, 1979
  16. Beastie Boys, Sabrosa, Ill Communication, Capitol, 1994
  17. Kinky, Minotauro, Atlas, Nettwerk, 2003
  18. Fred Wesley, Blow Your Head, Damn Right I Am Somebody, People, 1974
  19. Herbie Hancock, Chameleon, Head Hunters, Columbia/Legacy, 1997
  20. Stereolab, Les Yper Sound, Emperor Tomato Ketchup, Elektra, 1996
  21. P.R. Computer, Az Inga (The Pendulum), P.R. Computer, Start, 1983
  22. Kurt Cobain, And I Love Her, Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings, Universal, 2015
  23. Kurt Cobain, The Yodel Song, Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings, Universal, 2015
  24. The 27 Various, The Gormleys Will Miss Me, Hi., Susstones, 1987
  25. Talking Heads, Girlfriend is Better, Speaking in Tongues, Sire, 1983
  26. The Replacements, Answering Machine, Let It Be, Twin/Tone, 1984
  27. Bob Dylan, I'm a Fool to Want You, Shadows in the Night, Columbia, 2015
  28. Tom Jones, My Way, Greatest Songs, Curb, 1995
  29. Grimes, California, Art Angels, 4AD, 2015
  30. The Warm Ones (feat. Jeanine O'Toole), Small Spies, Sprezzatura, self-released, 2009

Footnotes Moog Minimoog Voyager Voyager discontinued The Moog Cookbook Stereloab on Jools Holland Montage of Heck Jim DIJ with Red Buckets the 27 Various