Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Full Report | Moogfest 2014

Having finally recovered enough sleep to face the glow of my computer screen, I am realizing that it will require a few unconventional methods to adequately describe the magnificent techno-gathering I spent the last five days attending.

First, a haiku:

Wise men and ravers
In the sweaty dancing pit
Harmony is realized

Presentations, demonstrations, panels, and workshops occurred throughout each day, with "Moog yoga" downtown at 10 a.m. to kick off the mornings right. Nighttime performances were held at ten venues throughout downtown Asheville, a festival landscape ripe with delicious food and more craft beer than you can shake a keg at. Seriously, I have never enjoyed walking between venues at a festival so much. Buskers peddled their musical wares on every street corner, presenting everything from old fashioned gospel hymns to bagpipe music, and if that wasn't enough music for one weekend, there were also bars downtown that had local folk and world music to entertain the substantial crowd Moogfest brought in.

Gypsy-folk band at 5 Walnut Wine Bar in Asheville

With so much going on, it seems to me that it's best to do this quick and dirty. Here are the quick hits and wicked pics from the last 5 days of mountainous bliss:


-Chilled with Flying Lotus in an elevator. Sweet.

-Dinner at The Noodle Shop downtown, and a fresh dose of swag from El-P at the Orange Peel

-Blinded by Pet Shop Boys lasers at Diana Wortham Theater, escape to the basement for Slow Hands

-Enjoyed bagpipes before hearing Flying Lotus literally blow shit up at the Orange Peel

El-P photo by Dylan Newcity

Pet Shop Boys

Flying Lotus photo courtesy of Magnum PR


-Ogled synths at the Modular Marketplace before hearing Tom Oberheim talk about his life, the development of his synthesizers, and the time he hung out with Stevie Wonder.

-Nick Zinner (Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs) and Bradford Cox (Deerhunter) duration performance (from 3:00 - 7:00,) however I only lasted about an hour in the washy psychedelia.

-Keith Emerson brought back the 70's with his towering synth rig and ELP jams. A few longwinded, spaced-out stories afforded me and my crew just enough time to snag some ice cream before the band started playing again

-Dan Deacon was fucking madness. There was fire alarm inducing levels of fog and lights that would give your grandma seizures and a dance battle. Holy shit. Enough said.

Nick Zinner and Bradford Cox 

Dance battle at Dan Deacon

Keith Emerson photo by Richie Varnadore


-Screening of Scarface with the composer Giorgio Moroder at noon

-A solid nap, then Giorgio Moroder's live set at Broadway Outdoor stage

-The glory of Kraftwerk closed out the night on a hallucinatory, but awesome, note

Kraftwerk photos courtesy of Magnum PR



-World premiere of I Dream Of Wires, a documentary about the origins of analog synthesis and the pioneering figures in the industry. 8/10, would recommend to anyone with an interest in synthesizers or music technology in general.

-Product demonstration and Q&A with Dave Smith and Roger Linn, The highlight of which was the numerous gasps of excitement after Roger Linn said that the Tempest drum machine would continue receiving updates well into the next decade. Looks like it's about time to invest that two grand...

-Dan Deacon's durational performance, which featured an electric player piano and trumpet amongst God-only-knows how many other instruments and gadgets. Very ambient, trance-y stuff for the most part; many people were laying down or even sleeping. My group and I were immobilized for an unknown amount of time, but we enjoyed every second of it.

-Caught a little of Zed's Dead, but headed over to stake out a good spot for Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks. I can best describe them as a spooky squid-jazz Animal Collective cover band.

-Finished the night off with "Moog chocolate" ice cream and comfy seats for M.I.A. The pit looked like a vortex, and she brought a bunch of girls onstage to dance at the end. The "Ohm" symbol ecstasy pills on the visuals were a little out there, but it was a fun time overall.    

Dan Deacon durational performance photo by Dylan Newcity

CHIC ft. Nile Rodgers courtesy of Magnum PR



-Saw the extremely interesting Math of The Simpsons and Futurama panel with Ken Keeler, Stuart Burns, Jeff Westbrook, and David X. Cohen explaining the surprisingly intricate math that has gone into some episodes of the shows. Fun fact: Futurama is the only show to ever have a mathematical proof created for an episode.

Moogfest this year was seriously stellar and will forever rank among the most inspiring weeks of my life. I appreciate the fact that education is as much a part as entertainment at this festival and look forward to future years of analog goodness.

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