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MOOGFEST 2017 // Part One

by Eric Franklin Shook

Click here for MOOGFEST 2017 // Part Two.

The synthesis of music, art, and technology

Their mission: “Grow a community of futurists who explore emerging sound technologies and design radical instruments for change.” Seems simple enough.

A writer friend of mine, Cheyenne Noelle asked me if I was going to Moogfest ‘17, a music festival that moved to Durham in the last few years from our very own Asheville, North Carolina, and I confess with due shame that I had no such plans. If you grew up in North Carolina you were part of two camps of locals. Those who live in Durham, NC, and those who fear going to Durham, NC. I was of the latter. Durham’s statewide reputation for crime, poverty, and white flight had well preceded my birth. In truth, you could say it was our parents who scared us from venturing into that nether region east of Interstate 40. Yes, there is the odd moniker given to the area, “Raleigh-Durham” which I think has something to do with the airport. Regardless, you just don’t go to Durham.

Fast forwarding to the present decade and you’d be a blind local not to notice that Durham, NC has become the ready backdrop for many film festivals, jazz concerts, dance performances, auditorium filling comedians, and it’s own homegrown brand of local indie artists. Over the years Durham has slowly seduced me with show line-ups, and coming soon playbills. After perusing the MOOGFEST website I noticed that Shinola and their audio division director Alex Rosson would be exhibiting their latest Runwell Turntable and self-named bookshelf speakers. You know what happens next, all I needed was a nudge in the w̶r̶o̶n̶g̶ right direction.

Let’s browse together….

Modular Marketplace: A bazaar featuring the top designers of boutique-music tech tools and their latest creations. A global community of manufacturers, designers, and tech enthusiasts are gathered in a creative and thoughtful environment made for the modern electronic musician and instrument design enthusiast.

Industry Partners include: Audulus • Control • Dreadbox • Kitsch-Bent • Landscape • Novation • Sensel • Sunhouse • Sythrotek • ThinkingHz • Zorx • Universal Audio • 4ms Company • Voltage & Company • EarthQuaker Devices • Modal Electronics • Steady State Fate • Critter & Guitari • Keith McMillen Instruments • Moon Modular • Make Noise • STG Soundlabs • Erogenous Tones • Copper Traces • Control Voltage

Moog Pop-up Factory: Moog Music temporarily moves its production to The Moog Pop Up Factory at Moogfest where the company will live build a new limited edition synthesizer.  Beyond manufacturing, the space is an immersive music tech playground where the minds at Moog create one-of-a-kind interactive experiences all technology fans can be inspired by.

Shinola Audio at The Moog Pop-up Factory: Shinola’s first audio product, The Runwell Turntable, designed inside and out for the discriminating audiophile and music enthusiast. Featuring a built-in phono preamplifier and a belt driven pulley with speeds of 33 1/3 rpm and 45rpm, this ‘table was at the centre of all things happening, well, at least to me.

Also on display were Shinola’s active bookshelf speakers. Handcrafted from the ground up by Alex Rosson and the Shinola Audio team. A perfect pairing for the Runwell Turntable.

No Permission Needed: CREATE: An all ages workshop to introduce the basic principles of multi-tracking, and creating music in real-time.

While taking it all in, I had the chance to gain perspective on MOOGFEST and it’s broader appeal by speaking with indie music producer Blaise Clarke, who flew in from Baton Rouge, Louisiana just for MOOGFEST.

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