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Hugo Montenegro - Moog Power
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RCA Victor LSP-4170

Hair/Aquarius
Traces
Touch Me
The Greatest Love
More Today than Yesterday
Don't Leave Me

Moog Power
Dizzy
MacArthur Park
You Showed Me
My Way


Most people know little about the Moog synthesizer except that it's electronic, it makes
weird sounds and actor James Coburn owns one. Actually, the Moog does nearly
everything but rob banks! It can simulate familiar sounds, musical and otherwise, as
well as create new sounds. In case you want to impress your friends, say that the
Moog (rhymes with vogue) is an electronic instrument of almost limitless acoustic
flexibility noteworthy for its method of direct voltage control. Get it?

Anyone can play around with a Moog (particularly if he has the ten to fifteen thousand
it takes to buy one), but only a musician with the skill and adventurousness of Hugo
Montenegro could make as much music out of one as you will hear in this remarkable
album. It was a gargantuan task. Montenegro did all the writing in only one week. The
recording was done in layers - the rhythm section one day, later strings, voices, and
so on. This method was chosen, Hugo explains, "so that we could get cleaner
perspective of each musical segment and have complete control on remix."

What is the point of the album? "People already know that the Moog can make odd
sounds," says Hugo. "I was interested in the Moog's musical values. I wanted to use it
as part of an orchestra - and also make commercial sense, if possible."

That's just what he did. While the album is both contemporary and intriguing, it is,
above all, musical. Credit must be given to master engineer Mickey Crofford, as well as
to Paul Beaver,* the man who "programmed" the Moog. As for the singers, headed by
Ron Hicklin, they're as exciting as the Moog itself. Listen to their vibrant sound on
Aquarius, or Gene Morford's solo on My Way. In many places, such as Dizzy, the
voices were run through the Moog. And let us not forget that an instrument - even an
electronic one - is only as good as its player. In this case the superskilled player is
Mike Melvoin.

But this is Hugo Montenegro's album. Because the Moog is such an experimental item
at this point, Hugo had ten decisions to make for every one demanded on most
projects. That the album presents such an entertaining balance of music is a tribute
to the arranger's talent, craft and inventiveness. That Hugo got excited about writing
for the Moog in the first place is attributable, perhaps, to just the right touch of musical
madness.

MORGAN AMES

* Paul Beaver - courtesy of Limelight Records


1969, RCA Records










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