Robert Moog (1934-2005)
What do The Beatles, Wendy Carlos, The Beach Boys, Rick Wakeman, Bernie Worrell, Devo, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Nine Inch Nails, and Stereolab have in common? They are all indebted to a soft-spoken electronics pioneer who died on August 21, 2005 at his home in Asheville, NC.
Robert Moog (1934-2005) brought technology developed primarily for and by composers, such RCA’s room-sized Mark II Synthesizer, into the mainstream by attaching a user-friendly keyboard to all that wiring and circuitry in his relatively affordable analog Minimoog synthesizer. Moog’s machines were the first to significantly breach the walls of academia, blurring the boundaries between the elite and the street, leading to countless advancements in sound-making used in and helping newer muscial genres1 (rap, hip-hop, electronica, etc.) to develop.
Moog’s individual voice is silenced, but his work has helped countless others find theirs.
1 Note: I generally dislike dividing music into categories and genres, but I make an exception here to point out very different directions in music that might have been impeded or never seen at all without the wider availability of technology.