Moog Music recently, sadly, announced the impending discontinuation of their Minimoog Voyager, the final instrument designed by Bob Moog. I’m frankly surprised its taken so long for the company to stop hand-manufacturing expensive synthesizers like the Voyager, as digital synth packs and plugins continue to eat up a bigger share of the electronic music-making market. The simple fact is that synths are expensive, and unlike guitars or analog drums, the digital equivalents have been able to catch up in quality at quite a fast rate.
It’s a sad example of what gets lost as technology progresses and capitalism takes root, like what has happened with Kodak’s declined manufacturing and sale of film stocks as high-definition digital photography has all but staged a coup over actual 35mm and 16mm film in movie-making. This story has sort of been happening in the cracks of the music gear newsstream, much like the switch from film to digital, but for me a telltale sign of change is apparent when you see electronic music legends like John Carpenter and Goblin selecting digital synths over their analog instruments on their new projects (for Goblin, it appears as though they’ve been using MIDI since at least the late 80’s).
For some people, though, analog is still the way to go. Trent Reznor counts himself among this crew, and it shows in the qualities and temperatures of his music – particularly in his film scoring work on David Fincher’s Gone Girl, The Social Network, and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. He recently spoke to the people at Moog about his career, his love of their instruments, and how the sound of synths like Voyager shape Nine Inch Nails’ music, in a piece called “Archetype of a Synthesizer.” As a sneaky bonus, the music in this clip was written by The Haxan Cloak, one of the best electronic (and maybe, period) artists working today. Check it out below: