Book Recommendation: Analog Days (T. Pinch / F. Trocco)

Our headline is a bit simplified – we apologize. But even the original title Analog Days – The Invention And Impact Of The Moog Synthesizer seems almost too minimalist. The book illuminates the development of the (early) Moog company “in its time”, which also affects the development of other companies, such as Buchla, Oberheim, ARP, EMS and many other synthesizer manufacturer.

Analog Days is worth every single chapter. It informs the (possibly surprised) reader that the old Moog company sold more guitar amps than synthesizers. And it takes a closer look at the fateful meeting of several personalities that surrounded Robert Moog, like Herb Deutsch, Walter Sear, Bill Hemsath, Jimm Scott, Jon Weiss, David Van Koevering, Bill Waytena, Bernie Krause, Paul Beaver, Wendy Carlos, Keith Emerson, Malcolm Cecil and many more.

The period between 1964 and 1969 is particularly exciting, when Moog (Trumansburg, New York State) on the one hand and Buchla (San Francisco, California) on the other led to early different approaches / musical orientations in the field of synthesizers / music electronics, known as East-Coast versus West-Coast sound.

The influence of the Tape Music Center in San Francisco is also an exciting chapter. The Tape Center not only as birthplace of the Buchla instruments, but also as a meeting place for numerous icons of contemporary music (Steve Reich, John Cage, Terry Riley, Morton Subotnick and many more).

All in all, Analog Days provides a nice, supplementary overview of the social, musical and economic developments and changes that went hand in hand with the invention of the Moog Synthesizer in 1964 (then called Electronic Music Modules) and the invention of the Buchla Synthesizer in 1965 (then called Music Box).

“Analog Days – The Invention And Impact Of The Moog Synthesizer”
(Trevor Pinch, Frank Trocco)

First Harvard University Press
370 pages, foreword by Robert Moog

ISBN: 0-674-00889-8 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0-674-01617-3 (Softcover)


Filed under 2020, Books, General

“Es genügt, einen Ton schön zu spielen” sagte der Komponist Arvo Pärt im Jahre 2005. Diese Aussage ist ebenso einfach wie ich auch exzellent: Es braucht kein Meer an Tönen, denn entscheidend ist der Klang. Dass so mancher Vintage-Synthesizer der 70er und 80er Jahre teils unerreicht hochwertige Klänge liefert, steht außer Frage. Doch tatsächlich leben wir “heute” in einer nahezu perfekten Zeit. Einerseits hat man – mehr oder weniger – noch Zugriff auf die Vintage Analogen, andererseits wird auch bei Neugeräten die wichtige Komponente des hochwertigen Klanges wieder zunehmend berücksichtigt. Doepfer, Cwejman,, MacBeth, Moog, GRP, Studio Electronics, COTK, John Bowen und andere Hersteller bauen hervorragende Synthesizer, die den “Klassikern” in nichts nachstehen. All diesen (alten wie neuen) “großartigen” Instrumenten ist Great Synthesizers gewidmet. _________________________________________________________ In 2005 composer Arvo Pärt said: “Playing one tone really well is enough”. In other words, it is sufficient to play one tone 'beautifully'. I agree with that. All musical efforts are focused on the sound itself. Although I studied classical music (piano and drums), it’s the electronic sound that inspires me. Synthesizers are the epitome of new sounds and exciting tonal spheres. Today, many companies produce high-quality - excellent! - synthesizers: Doepfer, Cwejman, MacBeth, Moog, GRP,, COTK, Studio Electronics, John Bowen and others. It's their products I'm really interested in ... apart from Vintage Synthesizers, which I have been collecting for 20 years. Subsequent to our former websites Bluesynths and Blogasys, Peter Mahr and I have now created GreatSynthesizers. We hope you like it.

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