Thursday, July 5, 2018

Moog Liberation keytar / synthesizer reference sheet, 1980




Moog Liberation keytar / synthesizer reference sheet from 1980.

What do we have here? It's another member of the Moog 1980 reference sheet family!

And nope - it's still not the last one. There's even more in the series.  The others in the series that I have already posted include those scans below for the Polymoog, Opus 3, Minimoog, Micromoog, Prodigy and Multimoog. Click on the images to go to their respective blog posts!


    
    

These should really be re-printed as collector cards. Just sayin'.

Not sure why it took me so long to post the Liberation sheet - I'm a bit of a keytar freak. If I had been born in the 18th century, I probably would have been hangin' around with Beethoven and had an Orphica strapped around my neck.

But as much as I would have wanted to have had my own Liberation to riff with, it's never happened. The closest I've come is having a Poly-800 or a CZ-101 strung over my shoulder - and technically they're not even keytars because they don't have necks. Hrumph.


I love everything about that front photo. The way the Liberation seems to just be floating there (including the shoulder strap!) and the subtle shadows on that warm red background. So gorgeous.

But if there is one photo of the Moog Liberation I love more than the one in that reference sheet, its this classic photo of Devo holding FIVE Liberations (photo taken from Club Devo - go visit and become a member!).

Fun fact - according to the Liberation wiki page, Devo actually never used the instrument live or in recordings. It does say they used them in music videos... but I don't recall any off the top of my head, so I'll be trying to track one down as soon as I'm done this blog post. If you know of one, email me the link! ( retrosynthads[AT]gmail.com )

And, well, although the question of whether they used the Liberation specifically may be up for debate, it is well-known that Mark Mothersbaugh does love Moogs.  :)

Back to the reference sheet - after admiring that lovely photo, its just natural to flip the page over to read about all those yummy specs. And everything you need to know is there. Including the date of printing of the sheet itself!

But for me, the most curious of the specs is that "Burn in (aging)" section.
"Before final calibration, units are burned in for 72 hours at ambient of 72 F"
Similar info also appears on the back of the Prodigy reference sheet and I commented briefly about it in that blog post too. Interestingly, I'm pretty sure that info isn't referenced in the other sheets in this series. Just those two. Which kinda makes a sense since according to Wikipedia, the Liberation is most closely related to the Prodigy. But I wonder why they note that burn-in time for those two specifically.

Anyways, that's it for now. Time to go down that Devo video rabbit hole!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Moog Interface newsletter, Vol. 3 February 1982


Moog Interface newsletter, Vol. 3 February 1982.

Before you even ask... yes! Another Moog Interface newsletter! I just can't stop! You can find all the newsletters under this label.

Now, let's not waste any time and quickly dive into my usual top 10 list.

Top ten reasons this newsletter is awesome!

10. We have a logo change! The Moog Interface logo-type has changed to a font that resembles an LED watch. Bold move. I like-yyyyy!

9. The half-page devoted to the Moog Digital Sequential Controller (DSC). Although apparently never released, it didn't just make it into this issue of Interface, but also into advertisements in Keyboard Magazine. I'd love to know the backstory on that!

8. The feature article on the Memorymoog. Although not released until the last quarter of 1982, the Memorymoog seems to have popped up not just in this Interface newsletter, but also in that ad for the DSC and at trade shows.

7. If you haven't figured it out yet... The Moog Taurus II is also featured in the newsletter... AND in that same ad as the Memorymoog and DSC (link above). That's some good cross-advertising going on at Moog! 

6. At the end of that Memorymoog article is an interesting footnote about the author - Rich Walborn, Chief Engineer of Research at Moog. He started out working at the original RA Moog Company building some of the first Minimoogs, and went on to develop a number of other Moog products. Not in that footnote - he travelled with ELP for a year! 

5. The "Electronic Music in the Schools" article on the last page of the newsletter. Could you imagine going to a high school that had a studio with Multimoogs. Plural. MORE THAN ONE!  

4. We have a keytar! In a photo on page two being held by Ronnie Foster, who we learn will be playing along with Tom Coster at the Western NAMM show. More on Tom Coster below!

3. The Music with Computers article actually prints out an explains a short basic program. A lot of musicians must have been scratching their heads, but the techies must have loved it!

2. Looking at the Input-Output section (Q and As), it looks like someone else is as interested as I am in getting a Moog satin flight jacket. I WANT A FLIGHT JACKET. I'd wear it everywhere. For true!

1. That last question in that Input-Output section piqued by curiosity:
"I recently bought Tom Coster's album. On the credits he list a Moog Invader. What is it?"

The answer...? "Stop at the Moog Booth at the Western NAMM...". GAH!
So I googled away and soon found out. Its a patch! Tom Coster actually goes into some detail on it in a February 1982 article of Contemporary Keyboard, saying he listed it in the hopes that Moog would create an instrument with that name!

Side note: The February '82 issue of Contemporary Keyboard was misprinted on the cover as "February 1981" - so Moog Invader patch references to the magazine are often citing the incorrect 1982 date.

Fantastic newsletter. Read it!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Moog Interface newsletter, Vol. 2 June 1981


Moog Interface newsletter, Volume 2 June 1981.

Yup - another one. So far I've posted four - the one above and these three (click on images to go to their respective blog posts):


With even more to come!

And like those others, I plan to keep the tradition going with another Top 10 list.

Top 10 reasons this newsletter is awesome!

10. There are EIGHT keytars in photos scattered about in this thing. EIGHT!!!!!

9. That Gary Wright interview!  That dude loves his Moogs. And Moog loves that photo - I've seen it re-purposed in a number of different places during this time period.

8. Question 2 in the Input/Output section contains some great historical details on the Canadian dealer for Moog during this time period - Nuco!

7. Also from the Input/Output section: The kit costs for retrofitting a Prodigy with CV/Gate interface jacks ($20/$30 depending on serial number).

6. The Interface logo font! So spacey! Always happy when I see that.

5. The photo and reference to the 10,000th Moog Prodigy rolling off the production line in the bottom corner of page 2. I love synth production quantities almost as much as other historical info.

4. The announcement of the Moog Rogue on page 3 with its scheduled unveiling at the Chicago Summer 1981 NAMM show. Great historical timeline info!

3. That classic photo of DEVO with five keytars. Enough said.   Get it? "Enough said"! Its a DEVO song! "Stop and let me tell you what tomorrow holds for you..."

2. Rock Wehrmann's "Music With Computers" article. Rock worked at Moog from around 1977-1983, eventually ending up managing advertising and marketing at Moog and was involved in the design of the Source, the Rogue, the Opus 3, Taurus 2, the Radio Shack Concertmate (MG-1), and the Liberation! Great little interview with him on the Moog Foundation site. A good read.

1. The Minimoog retrospective on page 1. So much great history jam-packed into that one article.

So, grab a cup of coffee and read through the newsletter. It's a gooder!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Moog Interface newsletter, Vol. 2 March 1981




Moog Interface newsletter, Vol. 2 March 1981.
Vol.1 September 1980

Well, I gotta say... its taken me a bit of time to get back to scanning Moog Interface newsletters. The September 1980 issue was posted in February 2010 and the December 1980 issue was posted in April 2010. That's like eight years. EIGHT YEARS!!!

So, its time I procrastinate a bit more on my Moog Song Producer videos and post another newsletter.   :)

Moog has been wise to keep the format the same as those previous two issues, so I figure why fix something that ain't broken. So, in keeping with my tradition of using a top ten list to blog about these newsletters, here my...

...top 10 reasons this newsletter is awesome!

Vol.1 December 1980
10. That list of schools in the Northeast United States on page four that were offering courses in synthesis or electronic music. 21 schools. Wowza!

9. The historical details about the Moog booth at the 1981 Winter NAMM show in that opening article on page 1 about The Source! Be sure to check out page two for a large photo of the booth as well!

8. Chick Corea's moustache. Because... MOUSTACHE!

7. More historical info - this time giving us some good details on when David Luce became President of Moog Music, and almost as interesting, where former President David Bueschel ended up.

6. In the Input/Output section on page 2, we have print evidence right from Moog Music on how to pronounce "Moog" - an often debated topic on synth forums. There's and few print pieces and videos out there where Bob Moog talks about the correct pronunciation of his name. Here's another reference to add to the list.

5. Also in the Input/Output section... reference to an early 80s Moog Software and Accessories catalog. Which means I gotta go find it and scan it.

4. It wouldn't be an Interface top-ten list if I didn't include... The Interface logo font! So sweeet.  :)

3. The reference to "The Guitar Center" on page three. Not sure if its the same Guitar Center that is currently having some difficulties, but its cool to see a company having a "Moog Month".

2. Photo of Rory Kaplan having "a production meeting with his System 55". Rory toured with Micheal Jackson, among other amazing things.

1. CONTEST FOR A MOOG SATIN FLIGHT JACKET!!! Glad to see Moog has kept this going from earlier newsletters. I want this so bad.

Got more Interface newsletters to scan. Let's hope it doesn't take another eight years.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Roland TR-606 Drumatix drum machine and TS-404 Multitrax sequencer ad, Keyboard 1983


Roland TR-606 Drumatix drum machine and TS-404 Multitrax sequencer full colour advertisement from page 49 in the August 1983 issue of Keyboard Magazine.

I've already posted a scan and blogged about Roland's popular first ProForm advertisement that launched the TB-303 and TR-606, so I thought I'd focus more on the TS-404 in this 606/404 ad.

Within a year after launching the first two pieces of music gear that made up their "ProForm Series" - the TB-303 and TR-606 - Roland realized the hits they had on their hands. In particular, positive response in regards to the simplicity of the TB-303 sequencer led Roland to deliver on their promise to bring more ProForm gear to market by announcing a multi-track TB-style sequencer to go along with the bass synthesizer and drum machine.

Roland is known for re-purposing their cases to help keep costs down, and they've definitely kept that philosophy with all three ProForm products. As can be seen in the ad photo, the TS-404 kept the simple and clean TB-style sequencer on the lower half of the case, but replaced the main synth controls at the top of the case with multi-track sequencer functionality in the form of "Track" buttons and corresponding LED lights. CV and Gate labels indicate that each Track has its own set of CV/Gate outputs situated on the back. Slick!

The result - an awesome four track sequencer that looks absolutely smashing next to its older TR-606 sibling.

And it doesn't just look gorgeous. Its just about as dreamy to program. A Roland representative at the time remarked "If programming and editing one TB-303 sequence was easy, then programming four TS-404 sequences is four times as easy."

I found the TS-404 programming instructions in an article that appeared in the September 1983 issue of CV/Gate-Love Magazine called "The TS-404: Release yourself from your cumbersome Fairlight sequencer software". The guide matter-of-factly states that when using their simple 37-step programming and editing guide, "even someone with only a Doctorate in Astrophysics will be up to speed making Yazoo-style tracks in no time".

An amazing machine, but unfortunately, MIDI had just launched and was gaining steam quickly,  eventually stopping the sales of the TB-303, TR-606 and TS-404 in their tracks (pun intended). Many ended up sold in store blow-out sales and later dumped in pawn shops around the world. And while the TB-303 and TR-606 ended up becoming famous soon afterwards in the hands of acid house producers around the world, the TS-404 became generally recognized within a lesser well-known genre of techno called Banjo-Tech.

This fad of integrating banjos with TS-404s began in Belgium around 1992 and quickly spread to a small city in Canada called Regina. Owners would send their four-string banjo and TS-404 to a guy in Keflavik, Iceland. Known as the GodFerret mod, the integration with the banjo effectively destroyed the TS-404 in the process but resulted in an instrument that had one very unique sound when the four strings were played directly through the four tracks of the sequencer.

But unlike acid house which spawned many sub-genres and is still going strong today, the unique sound and genre of BanjoTech faded soon after, and the few rare TS-404s that never were GodFerreted are coveted by the few lucky owners that have them.

Shame I'll probably never be able to get my banjo GodFerreted.  :(