Friday, 30 December 2011

Carl Palmer & Moog?

Someone over on Matrixsynth thinks perhaps Carl Palmer used some of the Moog drum modules featured in this post post on the Brain Salad Surgery album / tour, which is a very interesting development:

"via Suit & Tie Guy: "I believe this is one of the four machines built for the famous 1969 'Jazz In The Garden at MOMA' concert. after the show it was repackaged and sold to Eric Siday.

"it's possible and likely that these modules were also built for Carl Palmer's drum rig for the Brain Salad Surgery album. based on the panel controls it would seem reasonable to assume this. it would be great if someone close to Carl would find out if this is the case."

"Additional note via Suit & Tie Guy: "By 'these modules' I meant 'they pulled the films out and made a few for Carl as well' as opposed to the idea that Carl owned these pieces, which he did not."

"Update: turns out Carl Palmer's drum rig was not Moog but custom built.  If anyone has more info on it, feel free to comment or shoot me an email via the email icon on the bottom right. According to this post he did have a MOOG 1130 Drum Controller, but no sign of it in the following video:

Carl Palmer Showing Off His Drums-10-21-73-Aquarius"


Today I went on a trip to Malibu Creek with Richard, Amanda and Malena. I discovered some more things I like about LA

Hello Alessandro

Had a lovely time meeting you, it was a very inspiring day!

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Happy Holidays!

This year I decided to escape the cold wetness of London and spend Christmas in LA. Here's the view from my new portable studio:

The Moog Drum Machine!

Having said in this post that I didn't think Moog ever made a drum machine, I can happily announce that I was wrong. According to an anonymous reader Moog did make a one-off drum machine for composer Eric Siday, and what a beauty it is! It's currently housed at the intriguing Museum of Music in Paris, which has a website here. I managed to eventually find some pictures of the drum machine there, even though its all in french

The following is from Oliver Grall's web page on this subject:

"In 1970 Bob Moog built for Eric Siday an electronic drum synthesizer with the following modules:
- 701Drum Synthesizer
- 702 Percussion Synthesizer
- 903 Noise
- 912 Enveloppe Follower
- Programmer
- Wheels encoder
- Keyboard controller

The 701 and 702 modules are prototypes never and went in production.
It seems that there are some missing modules from the original configuration.
This unique system is owned now by the " Museum of music"
located in Paris France.

About Eric Siday
Eric siday was born in the suburb of London in 1905.
When he was 14 he received the Prosper Sainton scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music, London.
His first steady bread was playing for the "local cinema" silent movies.
He was composer and arranger and realized musics for commercials and jingles for radios ( ABC / CBS / Pepsi cola / American express )
In 1947 he composed a violin concerto in the "Bop" Jazz idiom.
He created his own recording studio (surely one of the first home studio).
In the middle 50's, he was aware of electronic music - John Cage (the prepared piano) and the French Music Concrete .
He was the fisrt to apply electronics sounds in commercials .
He used : Ondes Martenot / Ondioline / Violon amplified / CĂ©leste / Moog Modular
and this unique Moog Percussion synthesizer.
He was the second customer of Bob Moog and bring a great support to the Moog company.

(B&W pictures: moog archives / synth fool)

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Moog Drum Machine

As far as I know Moog have never made a drum machine. Imagine how cool a huge early 70s Moog drum machine would be - with big knobs, wooden sides and a massive analog sound! So I decided to construct my own Moog drum machine today, using the modular

The 960 sequencer is sending triggers to the trigger gate module. Row A of the trigger gate is making the bass drum, which is 2 VCOs going into the Cynthia low pass gate with some pitch modulation. Row B makes the snare drum, 3 oscillators and some noise, going into the Moog 905 reverb, 904 filter, using the 911 envelope (and the MXR Flanger/Doubler). The high hat is noise / envelope triggered from the main clock, but going into the SSL VC Delay module

Monday, 19 December 2011


I got a new keyboard stand today, from these people:

Pretty cool!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Moog Studios Calendar

Brian Kehew sent me a link to the super new Moog Foundation "Moog Pioneers in the Studio" 2012 calendar. Its got really nice pictures of 12 original Moog Modular users, below are some examples (OK, so the last one isn't really featured in the calendar - ITS ME!, but I can dream...)

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Shaping Up

Good review of our latest album The Shape Of Things here

Monday, 12 December 2011

Proto-Moogs 2

I just saw this over on Matrixsynth. It's from an ebay auction for a Moog Memorymoog (WANT!) but what is interesting about this auction is that the seller is throwing in a photo that he took in the Moog factory in the mid 1970s, heres what he says:

"I worked for Gibson Guitars in the 1970’s and our plant manager knew the Moog plant manager thus while on vacation I received the gold plated guided tour when the Memory Moog was in development, and Mini Moogs/PolyMoogs were on the assembly line. I have included a picture of some concept drawings of the Memory Moog"

I have posted about these prototype drawings before here

New Mirror

Our Artrocker award found it's way to the studio wall today. It looks quite at home there I think...

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Pyjama Jam

I was experimenting with the Buchla and the iPad today, setting up a TouchOSC patch to control various parameters (see screenshot). Its really easy to set things up which was pleasantly surprising. The Buchla midi decoder is great because you can feed it a single midi cable and it spews out a ton of midi messages on banana cables that you can send anywhere. Also having the 254v voltage processor is useful for combining the Buchla control voltages with midi controller messages, in other words without it you couldn't send an LFO somewhere and control the amount via midi. It really opens the system up, I just wish the iPad was three times as wide

Monday, 5 December 2011

Keeping Busy

Steve sent me this snippet from some old interviews with members of Numan's band. This was how they used to do it in 1979. Actually its how we still do it in The Maths!

Quote from Russell Bell [Numan's Guitarist, although you wouldn't think so by the gear he used...]

"On that first tour, I had two Minimoogs, a Polymoog, a set of Moog Taurus bass pedals, four Synare syndrums, a guitar and of course a tambourine for Cars. I liked to be kept busy! We liked to use a lot of effects on our instruments as well. For instance, the starting noise of Cars was produced with an MXR Phaser pedal, a small orange box with the modulation turned up to full. We also liked to run the Minimoogs through harmonisers like the Eventide. In total we had twenty three keyboards on-stage at any one time, (with plenty of backups on the trucks in case they were needed)."

For Praying To The Aliens on Sat Night Live: (see video below. BTW, this TV program was seen by 40 million people at the time)

"The set up we used on that show wasn’t quite the same as our live shows. For one thing, Gary was standing behind a bunch of keyboards. In-fact, we had synths everywhere! Gary, Chris and I all had Minimoogs and Gary had a Roland SH-2000 for that low frequency oscillator stuff on Praying to the Aliens. Gary was playing all these extra whooo noises, I was playing the standard tune and I think Chris was doing the same. On Cars, I played the bottom D on the Polymoog. Amazingly, I think I can still play it..."

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Outdoor Mainframes

Saw these amazing pictures over on They are from a brochure for the EAI 640 Mainframe

Falling Lego

Sent to me by Paul. See here for more on this house


Strange Videos

Art Rockers

I'm pleased to announce that we won best electronic act of 2011 at the first Artrocker annual awards ceremony. Its so good to get something back for all our hard work. I love it when a plan comes together!

We were presented with the award by Gary Numan! What a mad day we had! Hannah and Sefa came along to the XOYO too and stood on stage while John said a few words. I did't say anything on the night but I'll say something now: thanks to Sefa and Hannah and Jeanga for being part of the live band, and thanks to Steve for all your hard work behind the scenes you are amazing. And thanks to John for giving me the opportunity to work with one of my musical heroes, its been an amazing 2 years!

UPDATE: Heres a pic taken as we walked off stage!


Whilst in LA Tara introduced me to her friend Stephi, who works at Big City Music, one of the many cool synth shops in that city - check out their blog here. Stephi is a major synth geek. Here she is demonstrating the very strange and beguiling Dewanatron

Thursday, 1 December 2011


The photo below is by Richard Price, it's our favourite pic of us all in action: