With that many blinking lights, it was hard to know where to look. Upstairs in the Williamsburg Rough Trade shop, past all the other music nerd eye-candy, sat so, sooooo many Moogs. There’s no recording studio or Guitar Center on Earth with that many. It had more knobs than a British porno. Since the music company’s founding by Robert Moog in the early 50s, Moog synthesizers and theremins have been inherently linked to the still unceasing rise of electronic music. As an advertisement for this month’s huge Moogfest event in Asheville, North Carolina, the company set up what they billed as “the world’s largest modern synth installation” in the upstairs exhibition room at the New York record store/concert space/tourist beacon. The list of equipment in The Room was super long, filled with unfailingly silly names. A total of 24 “Moogerfooger” effect pedals were spread over 4 stations. Digital display panels on four enormous, wire-crossed “drone towers” flashed bits of text shorthand like, “Tron bass panel active” or “Cheese grits preset.” Since the New York installation opened on March 5th (it just closed this past weekend), it’s been visited by experimental electronic artists like Teengirl Fantasy, Javelin, Gavin Russom, and JG Thirwell. The New York Theremin Society, apparently not an invention of a Wes Anderson script, came en masse to pay tribute. Being slightly perverse, we brought our favorite local dispenser of guitar noise, Yvette, to wreak havoc in there.
Yvette’s debut, Process, was one of the best things any Brooklyn band did in 2013. Though continually harsh and metallic, the sheer variety of insane sounds on that record kept it feeling alive, electric from second to second. Most of the tones came from the abuse of guitars, or sounded like they did, though when you hear something resembling a surgical laser exploding a fax machine, who the fuck knows. Singer and guitarist Noah Kardos-Fein told us that many of the record’s songs were actually built around pedal-distorted synth tones, and he was eager to use the noise-creating possibility of synthesizers even more. Still, dropped in the middle of this Wonka Factory of music tech, the duo barely knew where to start.
“It took us a good twenty minutes just to get our bearings and understand what sounds routed where. By the time I had the feedback cranked and screaming on a delay from a theremin loop, much to the chagrin of everyone else in the room, I had to admit to myself maybe not all of this gear would yield sounds I would be happy with,” said drummer Dale Eisinger. “That was about an hour in.”