It’s the goal of the Bob Moog Foundation to collect and preserve information, documents, and devices of historical relevance that are part of Bob’s legacy. One of these fascinating pieces was recently serviced, resurrected and featured in a benefit performance by Erik Norlander for the Foundation: The Moog Apollo.
See the video here: Erik Norlander and The Galactic Collective, “Fanfare for Absent Friends.” (From A Tribute to Dr. Bob, recorded live in May 2014 at the Isis Restaurant and Music Hall in Asheville, N.C., U.S.A. Archival Moog Apollo on loan from the Bob Moog Foundation.)
The history and functionality of the Moog Apollo is really the history and functionality of the Moog Polymoog. The Polymoog was the result of a great deal of effort on the part of Dave Luce that started before he was even hired at Moog Music. In 1975, Moog released the first polyphonic synthesizer of the modern era with the Polymoog, and the name “Apollo” played a role in that history twice.
There is a lot of mystery in the history of Moog synthesizers bearing the name “Apollo,” and undoubtedly a fair amount of that history has yet to be uncovered. But what we have uncovered is fascinating–and featured in these new videos I have made that demonstrate the history, functionality, and sound of this rare and fascinating paean to the brute-force approach to synthesizer polyphony.
In the late 60s, when the Moog modular became world famous, the question “it only plays one note at a time?” was often asked. As a result, there was a race by various synthesizer companies to be the first to put out a functional voltage-controlled synthesizer that was polyphonic.
Moog music won that race in 1975. But there is an interesting history that surrounds that event and the release of a second version in 1978. To understand the Apollo and it’s role in the release of the Polymoogs, that history must be told.
I have produced two videos that tell the history of the Moog Apollo as far as we currently know it, and let you hear this rich analog device do what it does. They include historical photos, my educational descriptions, and clear, beautiful recordings of the sounds.
Bob Moog Foundation Moog Apollo Part 1: History and functionality
Bob Moog Foundation Archives Moog Apollo Part 2: Apollo voices