The late Robert Moog deserves a museum (which is in the
planning stages), a postage stamp, a best-selling biography, a Broadway musical
and much else for all that he did to innovate and develop analog synthesizers.
But while he certainly merits a tribute album, he deserves a better one than
this, which was spearheaded by Maurizio “ErMan” Mansueti of the Transistors. It
has a Euro emphasis, featuring 20 artists from Belgium,
France, Germany, Italy,
Russia, Great Britain and the U.S. You’ll need to do a lot of
Internet searching to figure out who’s from where, since the liner notes aren’t
very forthcoming, and some of the contributors’ names – Rural War Room,
Creamyshoes, 9 Lazy 9 – don’t give much away. Only Jean-Jacques Perrey – a
French elder statesman of electronic music who contributed one track and a
short written statement – is well known.
Since Moog was neither composer nor recording artist, this
tribute relies on artists performing relatively short synthesizer pieces.
Sometimes the results are clever and touching – the Transistors’ track,
“Switched on Bob,” which has neat sound effects and chant-like unison singing
supporting a soft lead, is pretty terrific. And Funki Porcini’s take on Henry
Mancini’s “Moon River” (called “Moog River”) is a natural for synth. Timeless
Sonic Factory’s rockin’ “The Day the Moog Stood Still” samples dialogue from
the great 1950s sci-fi film “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”
But it all inevitably becomes repetitious after awhile – one
wishes for longer and more complex compositions. This write will confess to
nodding out somewhere around Margoo’s “Hipsters Shangri-La” (track six) and
being awakened by someone chanting “zombie pussy” on track 13, Messer Chups’
“Zombie in Mini-Skirt.” This album could use a lot more zombie pussy.
Standout tracks: “Switched On Bob,” “Zombie in Mini-Skirt” STEVEN ROSEN