Monday, November 1, 2010

Moog Rogue, Keyboard 1982

Moog Rogue advertisement from page 39 in Keyboard Magazine, June 1982.

I was flipping through Keyboard yesterday when I came across this Moog Rogue ad. It wasn't the first Rogue ad to appear in Keyboard Magazine, but it is the one that I always remember when I think of the Moog Rogue. And my first thought was, "Hey - MoogFest was just on, what a great way for me to contribute in my own little way".

But as great as MoogFest was (and I'm jealous as heck that I couldn't make it), there were two other memories that flooded back into my brain when I started looking more closely at this ad that clinched it for my blog post. And, surprisingly only one of them was synth-related.

First the non-synth-related memory:

The Moog logo immediately brought back my first memories of using Photoshop's "stroke" feature. I used that "stroke" feature a lot on band posters a long while back. The Moog logo really would have gotten lost in this ad if they hadn't put those ever-expanding blue, pink, orange and yellow stroke lines around it.

Now the synth-related memory:

The grid line graphic elements making up the backdrop of this ad immediately brings me back to memories of watching the movie Tron, which, probably not-so-coincidentally, came out the same summer as this ad. I wonder just how much TRON's computer-generated glowing blue design influenced the art and culture of the time. I'm guessing *a lot*. But that's not the synth-related bit.

According to Wendy Carlos Web site, she was asked to produce the computer-world portion of the score for TRON back in 1981 - which you might have guessed, included a synth or two :o)

You can find some great historical information about the original TRON soundtrack on her Web site, including her TRON anthem 'first sketch' and some great anecdotes. There is also a PDF link to a Keyboard article written by Bob Moog entitled "Wendy Carlos & Michael Fremer reveal the secrets behind the soundtrack of TRON". An excellent read. A few quick Google searches will provide even more great info.

And now that the new TRON movie is coming out, I'm getting even more excited looking at this Rogue ad. The new movie was apparently scored by Daft Punk, and I recently saw the latest preview for it on YouTube:

To me, the original TRON movie was all about the visuals and the soundtrack. And I expect no less from this new movie. I'm crossing my fingers this movie lives up to the hype I've built up in my tiny little brain.

So, those two great memories definitely influence my opinion of the ad. And I do love this ad. Honestly, I can only think of one thing about this ad that bugs me. You have to look *really* hard for the actual name of the synthesizer - The Rogue. The logo can be seen in the photo in the top-left corner, and on the photo of the synth itself. But both of those are rather small. And it's not until you get to the end of the third line of ad-copy that you see the name.

If you look around the Web, the Rogue often gets a date of "1981" stamped on it. But, this Rogue ad actually appeared very sporadically throughout 1982 (June, September), 1983 (November), and, yes.... even 1984 (March). The only difference between the 1982 version of the ad and the later versions is a call-out box in the top right corner that reads, "Now, surprisingly affordable, visit your dealer". Which is strange, because the first line of the original ad copy included the text, "never been so affordable". In fact, two-thirds of the ad-copy is devoted to telling the reader how affordable this synthesizer is.

I guess they were making sure they hit *that* nail on the head.

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