Bob Moog Foundation and Erik Norlander Make Modular Synthesis Accessible for Fans and Students
Erik Norlander, synth guru and ardent supporter of the Bob Moog Foundation, is known for his Moog-laden symphonic rock. At the heart of Erik’s music is his massive custom Moog modular synthesizer, affectionally referred to as the Wall of Doom by his roadies. You can get a glimpse of the WOD, situated behind Erik, below.
Here’s how Erik sums up the synths unique attributes:” My modular synthesizer is a unique creation that started out life as a Moog IIC in 1967, grew to a IV-C in the late 90s and then was repackaged as the first “Wall of Doom” in 2001. All of the audio modules are original Moog modules from 1967 – 1972 except for three custom 16x2x1 oscillator mixes that use the identical circuit topology as the original 1967 (pre-CP3) Bob Moog design to mix the system’s 22 oscillators. Many other custom control modules have been added including 8 channels of MIDI to Gate/CV along with additional processor modules from Roger Arrick’s Synthesizers.com in Texas. The control elements are extremely modern and offer state of the art flexibility; The sound is pure Moog.”
Recently, Erik and the Bob Moog Foundation joined forces to make this historical synthesizer more accessible to fans and students alike. The idea was to reconfigure the massive instrument in to six large rack mount cases that Erik could take on tour and expose his audiences to modular synthesis, and to bring in to schools in his area to teach the science behind synthesis to kids, thus helping the Foundation fulfill its mission and extend its MoogLab reach.
With the generous help of a few crucial supporters, we are delighted to announce that the re-configuration was completed on the eve of Bob’s 76th birthday. We couldn’t have accommplished this without:
In-Kind Donation of Gear
- OSP Worlwide – OSP Worldwide is a distributor of all kinds of super high quality audio gear. They donated six 16-Space ATA Shock Mount Flight Case Effects Racks to the Bob Moog Foundation for this project. We simply couldn’t have done this without their generosity. The quality of the cases they provided has well exceeded our expectation;they are extremely well-made. The six OSP cases provide an ideal home to this unique modular synthesizer.
Rockstar Engineering Volunteers
- Amos Gaynes and August Worley– To many of you, Amos Gaynes from Moog Music needs no introduction. He is well-known in the synth community for his clear and insightful articulation of all things that involve a Moog tech. Amos understands the contemporary Moog gear inside and out as a tech and as a creator of firmware for some of the newer products. A student of mechatronics at UNC-A, he is well on his way to becoming an engineering force at Moog Music, Inc.
August Worley is an electrical engineer who shares a unique qualification with Bob Moog. August is the only person to have worked at Moog Music Buffalo, Big Briar, Inc. and Moog Music Asheville. He was part of the engineering team who helped Bob develop the Voyager. August was uniquely qualified to work on this modular project, as he formerly toured with ELP as the keyboard tech for Keith Emerson’s Monster Moog Modular. He also developed the pyrotechnics for Keith’s Moog ribbon controller.
Between the two, Amos and August have donated over 60 hours of time to the completely reconfiguration of the Wall of Doom in to its new home. They have planned, inquired and researched in order to re-wire Erik’s system. Working well into the wee hours of the morning on more than one occasion, this highly skilled team has completed the transition of this extraordinary synth just in time for it’s first appearance at Moogus Operandi on May 27th.
Many, many thanks to Amos and August — we couldn’t have done this without you! Your generous donation of talent and spirit is a tribute to the Moog legacy itself.
Musician Open to the Possibilities
- Erik Norlander – Not only does this guy rock musically, but he rocks as an open, creative spirit who is excited by new possibilities. Not every owner of a priceless custom synthesizer would agree to submit their musical centerpiece to be shipped across the country for a complete metamorphosis. Erik agreed to take the project on and he was an invaluable source of information, guidance and encouragement.
We cannot go without thanking Lana Lane, Erik’s lovely wife and musical partner. With Erik away on a consulting trip, it fell upon Lana to pack and ship over 300 pounds of modules with a considerable time constraint thrown into the mix.
This project is a tribute to the historical, musical and technical legacy of Bob Moog. Many thanks to all involved!
Over the coming months, we will be asking Amos, August and Erik to write blog posts from their unique perspectives about the Wall of Doom reconfiguration. Keep your eye out for those insights into this project.