Monday, April 28, 2014

Moog Synthesizer 35 modular system six-page brochure, 1974

Moog Synthesizer 35 modular system six-page brochure from 1974.

As a communications guy, I'm always looking for that "hook" to use in a news release or promotion. For example, if you are planning a topical news item on the Internet, the lead-in or hook should no doubt be a story about a kitten (or eight kittens). And I would recommend including a video of those cute kittens if at all possible.

It's that little bit extra that is going to give the news item its legs and hopefully help push journalists and bloggers into being interested on whatever it is you want promoted. That little extra can also help keep the story alive longer than the news by itself may have been able to.

A great real-world example (and why I posted this delicious brochure!) is how Moog Music recently made a huge announcement last Friday at MoogFest - the 50th anniversary of the Moog Modular. This news on its own would have made the rounds of MoogFest and the Internet with some fanfare, but it was their hook that made the story come alive. 

The unveiling of the new Emerson Moog Modular System! Bam! 

From the news release:
"Over the last 3 years Moog Music has set out to research and build a faithful recreation of this highly complex, custom instrument. Using the original documentation as well as circuit board and art files for nearly every original Moog module, Moog Engineers have painstakingly recreated the original Emerson Modular System. The new Emerson Moog Modular System is comprised of handcrafted Moog modules built from the original circuit designs and are true recreations of the originals, utilizing the same hand assembly methods used in the Moog Music factory in Trumansburg, NY in 1969. The modules in the new Emerson Moog Modular System are built just as the originals were, by hand-stuffing and hand-soldering components to circuit boards, and using traditional wiring methods. Even the front panels are photo-etched aluminum (a rare process now), which is the classic and durable, look of vintage Moog modules."
Definitely check out that news release link above - it contains yummy photos of Keith Emerson and the beast of a modular itself. And his original system. Yum! :)

So, some may say that this Emerson Moog *was* the actual news - not the hook. But that news had already come out 24 days before when Moog originally announced the existence of the Keith Emerson Moog on April 1. Yup - April Fool's Day. The actual announcement was titled something like "The Synthesizer Genome Project: Moog Reverse Engineers the World's Most Famous Keyboard". Unfortunately the original link to the announcement that was included in the photo promo and link from Moog's Facebook Timeline no longer works:
(has it been taken down? Or just moved?). 

But as you can see from the comments underneath the Timeline photo, many took it as an April Fool's prank. A mighty good one at that!

The point is, Moog did a wonderful job setting up their April 25 announcement TWENTY FOUR DAYS EARLIER by first announcing the *almost* too-good-to-be-true Keith Emerson Moog on April Fools Day. A set-up that would become a great lead-in or hook to an already fantastic story for many of the online news sources and blog posts.

Now, not every April 25 article referenced the April 1 "pre-announcement". And some sites didn't even originally take it as an April Fools joke.  But as far as I'm concerned, the really good new stories did include the reference to the April Fools Day pre-announcement as a lead-in, and that little bit extra in the lead-in made the story that much more fun to read. For example:
  •  MATRIXSYNTH's lead-in -
    "Remember the April Fools post? Turns out the April Fools joke was that it's actually real."
  • The title and opener for Peter Kirn's article on Create Digital Music -
    "Moog Really Is Recreating Keith Emerson’s Modular, in Biggest Analog Relaunch Ever

    "April Fools’ Day seemed an appropriate time for Moog Music to announce they were recreating Keith Emerson’s legendary, room-sized modular rig.

    I mean – that’s be preposterous. You’d need an unprecedented engineering team working round-the-clock for years to execute such a project. To do it right, you’d have to go back to the original circuit boards and reprint them, find surplus, vintage parts, source new parts that fit the specs, and assemble the entire thing by hand..."
It was the perfect story vector and made the story that much more enjoyable for readers.

Well played Moog. Well played. :) should probably comment on the brochure itself before I end the post. If you read my blog regularly, you will know I'm lucky to have had a Moog Modular come home with me over 20 years ago and has been an integral part of my musical "therapy" over the years. Most recently I blogged about it when I took it to the doctor's office a short while ago, but have also posted a few other things about it, including a patch-sheet that includes Bob Moog's own handwriting. Lucky indeed.

It's the main reason I took so much interest in the announcement of the Emerson Moog and one of the main reasons Moog Modular brochures like this one are such a treat for me to read and share. was almost a year ago that I posted the Moog System 55 six-pager. They are very similar in design inside and out, but one of the first differences you will notice is the accent colour. The System 55 has a purple accent colour while this System 35 has an orangey-gold. Psst: the System 15 uses baby blue - but I'll save more on that one for a future post!  :)

The content on the inside three pages of each brochure are quite similar in style too, with similar headings:
  • The System XX is:
  • The System XX contains:
  • The System XX will:
In particular its the Instrument Complement under the "Will" section of each that rocks my socks the most. It contains a call-out box with a cool little photo of each type of module with a label key underneath. It's what I imagine a LittleBits promo kit would look like if they had gone with Moog instead of Korg. Truly awesome and may just become my Facebook image in the near future.  :)

The outside pages are nothing to sneeze at either. The one page contains sections called "General Specifications" and "Individual Module Features", and the other page is the same great photo of some of Moog's best instruments, along with Bob Moog sporting side burns the size of which would make Wolverine jealous.

The brochure has a print date of 1974, but I also have a reprint from 1976 that looks to be identical. Could the 1974 brochure also be a reprint from an even earlier version? The front of the brochure says "New state-of-the-art 921 series oscillators" - but according to sources on the Web like Synth Museum and Synth-Werks (PDF), those 921s and the System 15/25/55 became available as early as 1972.

If there are earlier System 15/35/55 brochures out there, then I must find them!  :)

1 comment:

Micke said...

To the best of my knowledge the Moog systems 15/35/55 were all introduced in early 1974 and therefore I'm
pretty sure this is the original version of the brochure.
Moog system/module price list Feb 1974:

It is correct however that the 921 series oscillators became available in '72.
Moog system/module price list oct '72:

The Moog 12 (with the new 921s) appears to have been released this year as well. I seriously doubt that the system 15/35/55 became available as early as '72 though. The fact that the older systems are still being listed in this price list from late '72 should be proof enough that the 15/35/55 didn't exist yet.


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