The Mind-Blowing, Mysterious Moogfest: Festival Recap

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Clockwise from upper left, all taken at Moogfest: costumed fans at the Animoog Playground, Atlas Sound, fans reacting to one of the live sets, The Field, a dewy-eyed fan.

Clockwise from upper left, all taken at Moogfest: costumed fans at the Animoog Playground, Atlas Sound, fans reacting to one of the live sets, The Field, a dewy-eyed fan. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

If it weren't for Robert Moog, a lot of the music you enjoy today might not have been possible. As inventor of the Moog synthesizer, he gave rise not only to the technology needed for modern electronic music, but also to the creative spirit that inspired countless musicians to take his vision and play with it, mold it and reshape it into mind-blowing works of art.

This past weekend, a remarkably gifted group of electronic and experimental rock artists gathered to celebrate Moog's genius in Asheville, N.C., for the annual Moogfest. All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen and NPR Music reporter Jacob Ganz were there and, on this week's show, report back with some of their favorite discoveries, including music from Amon Tobin, The Field, Tangerine Dream and Tim Hecker.

Brian Eno also presented his breathtaking sound and visual installation 77 Million Paintings, and the influential minimalist composer Terry Riley performed for nearly two hours. There were DJ sets from Flying Lotus and James Murphy, as well as prog-rock from Battles.

Featured Sets From Moogfest 2011

  • Tim Hecker

    Tim Hecker Crowd
    Adam David Kissick for NPR

    Few working composers transcend their compositional means as thoroughly as Tim Hecker, who produces soundscapes that feel entirely organic. Hecker's sixth and most recent album — titled Ravedeath, 1972— is an enveloping, almost suffocating exploration of noise music.

    Hear Tim Hecker's Full Concert At Moogfest

  • Tangerine Dream

    Tangerine Dream
    Adam Kissick For NPR

    Tangerine Dream has wore many hats during a prolific 35-year career: Krautrock, New Age, film scores and pioneering synth music, to start. The group has consistently worked at a steady clip, generating 116 (!) live and studio albums in spite of its many personnel changes. Edgar Froese, the creative force behind Tangerine Dream, is the only remaining original member.

    Hear Tangerine Dream's Full Concert From Moogfest 2011

  • Atlas Sound

    Atlas Sound
    Adam Kissick For NPR

    On 2007's Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel and 2009's Logos, Deerhunter's prolific Bradford Cox took the opportunity to write sunny, synth-and-sample pop that would have felt jarring amidst his main group's psychedelica. Like most good solo projects, Atlas Sound sounds like a distinct part of Cox's personality, but one he couldn't indulge in his regular digs.

    Hear Atlas Sound's Full Concert From Moogfest 2011

  • The Field

    The Field
    Adam Kissick For NPR

    Swedish trance minimalist The Field received innumerable accolades for his first two albums, 2007's From Here We Go Sublime and 2009'sYesterday and Today. Powered by subtle sea changes of density and crescendo — and constructed out of synthesizers and samples — these restrained recordings elicit enormous emotion with simple ebb and flow.

    Hear The Field's Full Concert From Moogfest 2011

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