Went to the Moog exhibit this afternoon at Rough Trade NYC in Brooklyn. It was small but completely amazing. The exhibit was upstairs in a small room above the main entrance. They had five stations, each one with a huge rack of synths. Also, downstairs in the Main Drag Music area was another smaller space that was more store-like and more focused on the various Moogerfoogers.
Honestly it’s a bit hard to decide what my favorite part was. It’s hard to deny the appeal of the triple rack “modular” wall filled with Voyagers and Moogerfoogers, but for me it really had to have been the polyphonic Phatty tower that was the highlight.
There were maybe 10 Slim Phattys in the tower, all slaved to a single Little Phatty that controlled them. Now, I have a Little Phatty Tribute Edition, and have played Moogs since I got my first one in 1980. So I went up to it and just naturally started playing. It was totally cool that when you turned a knob on the controller the entire tower’s knob lights changed with it. But the weird thing was that I almost didn’t even think of playing more than the single note at once. I’ve been playing Moogs for so long and they’ve only been one note at a time, so I had to actually mentally make myself play more than one. But once I did that, well, I almost don’t even know how to describe it. It was sheer Moog synthesizer power under my hands, playing huge chords making monster sounds. Almost at a loss for words to describe how it felt.
Once I tore myself away from the PolyPhatty tower there were a number of other stations in the room. One was a drum station with a six-Voyager tower of its own. Another was a guitar station with six Moogerfoogers and 20 Minifoogers. Yes, 20. If that’s not enough effects power for any guitarist, well, I just can’t help you.
And because I had to get home in plenty of time for the first Cosmos episode I didn’t even have a chance to mess with the other stations. And that’s not even mentioning the theremin, or the downstairs section. So I think I’ll actually go back next weekend seeing as how it’s there for the whole month. I’ll get there when they open and set aside more time so I’ll be able to really work with the equipment, take some closeups, take a quick movie of the Slim Phatty’s lights moving in synchrony, and take enough photos to make a panorama. I actually tried an iPhone one but the walls weren’t far enough away to make it work, so I’m hoping my regular camera and some software will work better.
So, if you’re in the New York City area, I highly recommend a visit to Rough Trade NYC for this Moog exhibit. It’s small, but it’s totally packed with Moog synth technology. Heck, it’s worth going for the Moog pocket protector alone!