The Mix's Guide to Moogfest 2011
by Justin Farrar | October 26, 2011
Only in its second year, Moogfest has quickly become one of the United States' more diverse and cutting-edge music festivals. It's also one of the country's most scenic. Taking place in Asheville, N.C., on Halloween weekend (October 28-30), the three-day event will be awash in the fiery reds and incandescent yellows that dot the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains in late autumn.
The mission of Moogfest is to celebrate the legacy of the late Robert Moog. For those of you who aren't gearheads, Moog, an engineer, played a critical role in the development of modern music when he created the Moog synthesizer (as well as a host of related technology). In the late 1960s and early '70s, this unique electronic instrument was initially embraced by underground and avant-garde musicians: modern classical composers, psychedelic heads, composers who made a living scoring science-fiction and horror movies, prog rockers and the fathers of Krautrock. A slew of pop stars including Beatle George Harrison, who created his 1968 album Electronic Sound with a Moog synth also helped expose the world to these strange new instruments. But over the next two decades, Moog's myriad innovations helped spawn an electronic-music revolution, one that has shaped nearly every genre out there (okay, maybe bluegrass not so much).
This year's Moogfest lineup reflects the breadth and scope of Moog's innovations. The brain-surge explorations of The Flaming Lips rub shoulders with Moby's pop electronica and TV on the Radio's atmospheric indie rock. The absurdist electro-noise of Crystal Castles can be heard the very same night as Suicide recreate their legendary self-titled debut album. The more out there sounds are also well represented, from The Field's icy ambient techno to Oneohtrix Point Never's kosmische musik revivalism to AraabMUZIK's blend of hip-hop and trance-tinged dance music. Then there's all them old-school synth pioneers. In addition to performances by Tangerine Dream and Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Brian Eno's multimedia art exhibit 77 Million Paintings will be on display.