Red Bull TV get achingly meta with their Ripple Effect documentary of Moog Music. It’s fast, furious, visual and visceral and is probably what MTV would do if MTV still made programmes about music.
If you can cope with the visual style and over-enthusiastic voice over then there’s a huge load of fascinating material in here. Ok, I’m not sure I can cope with this new-image-for-every-word style, but it’s good even if you listen to it as a radio programme. Emmy Parker, brand director for Moog Music, is the real star of the show. Along with a bunch of ageing pop stars from bands like Portishead and Goldfrapp, Emmy takes us through the history of Moog Music. From Bob’s first noises in the 1960’s, the connection with Wendy Carlos and Keith Emerson, through to Gary Numan who discovered a Mini Moog in the corner of a studio in 1978.
By this time Moog is in trouble and Bob has to go and do something else. The documentary then skips all the important synth-pop decades to take us to 2002 when Bob returns to Moog Music and regains control. They build the Voyager and work their way back to profit. The documentary talks a lot of the ethos and family feel of Moog Music and gives you a feel for the heart of this remarkable company.
The best soundbite is from Gary Numan (who doesn’t look a day over 58).
The synthesizer is the most human instrument of all. It’s the only one where you can change the sound itself to suit the emotion you’re trying to put across.
Red Bull is not a name you would associate with anything other than night-time motorway driving and weird adverts. But this is a superb bit of film making, a bit bonkers, but deliciously informative.