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Lucifer, Wozards & Music for Plants: The Electronic World of Mort Garson
09:44 am


Mort Garson

Cover for Mort Garson's
When people talk about pioneers of electronic music, several key names are invoked. Musique concrète founder Pierre Schaeffer, Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Cage and Moog-goddess Wendy Carlos, just to mention a few. But one name that does not get invoked nearly enough is Mort Garson. This Canadian-born composer was not only a mere innovator but went on to make some of the most deliriously strange and wondrous electronic compositions (and cover versions) of the 20th century. Just the fact that the phrase, “occult-pop” has been used as a descriptor of his work should give you just a tiny hint of this man’s wholly unique genius.

Originally finding work as a session musician and lyricist, working with artists like Julie London, Rod McKuen, Doris Day and The Lettermen, it was when he started to work with the still new instrument known as the Moog Synthesizer, that things become very, very interesting. Albums like Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds and The Wozard of Iz, a psychedelic retelling of The Wizard of Oz, managed to create something that was on one hand very much of its time and yet, transcended the calculatedness of an industry cashing in on “The Love Generation” and become something on its own. The Wozard of Iz in particular, with such strong tracks like “Big Sur” and “Killing of the Witch,” is symptomatic of the high quality of Garson’s work. Some parts are kitschy-in-a-groovy-way, while others are as lush as they are alien.

“Big Sur”
In 1971, Garson made Black Mass under the appropriate moniker, “Lucifer.” While it’s not as ooky-spooky as it may sound, Black Mass is the kind of album you can listen to in a pitch black room and be transported to some charismatically unsettling landscape with nary a drug in your system. You don’t need drugs for this kind of beautiful high-weirdness. Mort Garson is the drug.

Mort would dip into the occult realm yet again with 1975’s The Unexplained: Electronic Musical Impressions of the Occult under the nom de plume Ataraxia, which is the Greek definition of “lucid state of robust tranquility.” Change “robust” to “robot” and that definition is apt for The Unexplained.

More Mort after the jump…

Posted by Heather Drain | Leave a comment
God is a Moog: The Electronic Prayers of Gershon Kinglsey
08:33 am


Gershon Kinglsey

Moog pioneer Gershon Kingsley’s “Shabbat for Today” was his attempt to fuse traditional Jewish religious music with a more contemporary avant-garde sound, to draw in younger people to temple. The “Shabbat” utilized, of course, the then-futuristic electronic instrument Kingsley helped make famous, the Moog Synthesizer.

A televised excerpt from “Shabbat for Today” was broadcast on PBS in 1971, conducted by the composer, and featuring cantor Ephraim Biran, Rabbi Gunter Hirschberg, narrator Alfred Drake and Kenneth Bichel on the Moog Modular.

Some time in 1999, I was invited by Mr. Kingsley to hear his “Shabbat for Today” performed in a synagogue in Manhattan and it was a wonderful experience. I am pretty sure that recital was held in the same synagogue seen in the video below, Temple Rodeph Shalom, located on the Upper West Side. (There are several Perrey & Kingsley numbers and two (AMAZING) little known pieces by Kingsley (”Shank” and “Hey Hey!”) on a long out of print CD I compiled titled Best Of Moog: Electronic Pop Hits From The 60’s & 70’s).

A compilation of Kingsley’s religious compositions, God is a Moog: The Electronic Prayers of Gershon Kinglsey was released in 2006.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Techno pillows: the full set

Sure, there may be one or two synths missing (why no SH-101?), but this is the fullest set of synth-cushions I have yet seen. It would also make a great home studio.

On a related note, today, for one day only, the Arturia company are giving away a soft synthMoog emulator that is usually worth over $200. There is more info on that offer (too good to be true?) on the Arturia Facebook page.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The Minimoog Sofa
8G Roland TR-808 USB-Stick

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
The Minimoog sofa
01:25 pm



This delightful item is made by the Spanish company Woouf. says:

They tell me it is nice to play on – it looks touch sensitive and has a good action but it is designed for you to make many bum-notes. I could go on but I am sure you get the picture.

I wonder if a soft version is available?

Thanks to TJ Kong.


Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Fully-operational LEGO Minimoog
10:43 am



The Arvo Brothers built this replica Minimoog made of LEGOs and say “Fully-operational MIDI Interface - demo video coming soon.” I’m damn curious to see this video and wonder how it’s going to sound?  I’ll keep you updated once they post it.

Below, a photo of a Minimoog for comparison.

(via KMFW)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
A mini-doc about the Minimoog

Here’s a cute lil’ doc about the origins and early use of the wondrous Minimoog from the company that brought it into existence. It’s so very easy to take for granted today but this was the very first synth to have a built-in keyboard. I was fascinated to learn that its signature tone, the thing that allows it to cut through any musical setting it’s used in was an unintended excess of overdrive. Credit Moog for realizing what a brilliant mistake they had made and not changing it.

Bonus: Two of my favorite funky Minimoog workouts, firstly it’s The Harlem Buck Dance Strut from Les McCann’s 1973 LP Layers:


And here’s crooner Marvin Gaye bringing you some Minimoog (or is that an Arp Odyssey ?) magic on After The Dance (instrumental) from his brilliant and under rated 1976 LP I Want You:

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
‘Moog’ art print from DKNG Studios

The print above is part of a limited edition of 100 and is screen printed with four colors. It will be available for purchase after the weekend of the festival (November 1st).
‘Moog’ art print by DKNG Studios for the upcoming show SYNTH at Moogfest 2010.

(via Coudal Partners)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
When Moogs ruled the earth: video mindbender of the day

This is indescribably surreal. Just watch.

Film footage from 1970 Czech film Na Komete (On The Comet). Moog music by Jean Pierre Decerf and Marc Saclays from the album Pulsations (1980).

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment