Throughout the pandemic, people have been looking for ways to cultivate new skills and explore their creativity (or, to see how many times Netflix asks, “are you still there?”). At the dawn of the stay-at-home orders, Moog Music launched an app to encourage music experimentation right from your palm. Now, almost exactly a year later, they’ve kicked it up with the Moog Sound Studio, a “semi-modular synthesizer experience” that comes complete with all the equipment, cables, and accessories you need to get started. The Moog Sound Studio comes in two varities: the Mother-32 & DFAM synthesizers (which features a step sequencer and 64 slots of sequence memory) or the Subharmonicon & DFAM (which offers six-tone subharmonic chord shapes and polyrhythmic sequences).
To launch the new home-studio system, Moog has released the seven-song EP Explorations in Analog Synthesis, inviting artists like Bonobo, Julianna Barwick, Ela Minus, Dan Deacon, Martial Canterel, and Peter Cottontale to contribute tracks they created using it. Today, KEXP is premiering the contribution from artist/activist Madame Gandhi, who wow’ed us with her performance at our 2019 Iceland Airwaves Music Festival broadcast.
We asked Madame Gandhi about her experience crafting her track “Bending Time.” As a former drummer for M.I.A. and Thievery Corporation, we knew she’d utilize the percussive features in a fascinating way. (And, we learned what DFAM stands for!)
“I really loved the creative challenge of having to use only the DFAM and Mother-32 synthesizers to make the song, end to end. And originally, I was not going to use my vocals. I was just going to create kind of like a percussive journey of a song. But I found myself humming along to the vocals, to the track over and over again. And, eventually I just started recording ideas and decided to feature my vocals at the very end.“
“As a drummer, it obviously was really fun to use the DFAM — “drummer from another mother” — to sculpt the different percussive synths that you hear on the track and then to use the Mother-32 to really create the wide spectrum of frequencies that you experience, that you feel like you’re going on a journey. I called it “Bending Time” because that’s what I certainly feel like I’m doing with the music, and I think that’s what’s possible when you’re producing with synthesizers. You’re really in control of how you want to sculpt time and sound. And at the very end, I just sung kind-of an anthemic line that came to me that I really liked.“
“That goes, my heart is so strong. My heart is never wrong. My heart is so strong. My heart is never wrong.“
Explorations in Analog Synthesis is available to stream for free on Moog’s SoundCloud. To learn more about Moog Sound Studio and find an authorized Moog dealer near you, click here.
By Janice Headley for KEXP