Monday, March 28, 2011

THE ONION Gets Serious

The hilarious news satire organization, THE ONION, got serious recently when they reviewed the new Raymond Scott documentary film, DECONSTRUCTING DAD, in their non-satirical entertainment section, The A.V.Club:
"Given his ubiquitous-yet-anonymous presence in everything from Warner Bros. cartoons to the experimental works of Jim Henson to the hip-hop instrumentals of J Dilla, the late Harry Warnow chose an appropriately nondescript pseudonym for his adventures on the cutting edge of music and technology: Raymond Scott. An enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a lineage of fantastical electronic gadgets, Warnow isn’t a fascinating figure to tech heads and crate diggers alone — to this day, he continues to mystify even his own son, veteran film editor Stan Warnow. Through interviews with the likes of Mark Mothersbaugh, John Williams, and Moog synthesizer pioneer Herb Deutch — as well as his own family members — the younger Warnow pieces together a portrait of an artist neither he nor his father’s fans fully understand."


  1. Herb's last name is spelled "Deutsch" (Onion's typo, not ours). I recently watched a fascinating 1979 documentary entitled The Man You Loved To Hate, about silent film director Erich von Stroheim. As the closing credits crawled, I discovered Herb's name listed for musical score. I am also under the impression that Herb, who worked with Robert Moog on the latter's early synthesizers, composed the first original piece of music for the Moog around 1964.

  2. Yes, it's true that Deutsch composed the first piece of music for the Moog synth, although I don't know the year. (I asked him about it when I saw him at a private screening of the film in NYC on RS's 101st birthday.) He called it, "Jazz Images — A Worksong and Blues." He also performed some concerts at MoMA on the Moog in 1969.

    I've always found it very impressive that, although Bob Moog wasn't a composer nor musician, he had a knack for making instruments that artists loved to play. Moog had many productive and important collaborations with musicians/composers like Herb Deutsch, Raymond Scott, Wendy Carlos, and Keith Emerson.

  3. Just found it on a cassette Herb gave me years ago. The compilation © 1991 is entitled FROM MOOG TO MAC: The Electronic Music of Herb Deutsch. Below the J-card spine is printed: "A sampling of music from the first generation of synthesis (1964-1990)." Leadoff track is "Work Song, Jazz Images" (1964), described as "the first music composed using a Moog Synthesizer." Herb is also credited with piano and trumpet on the recording. I'll get this transferred to digital soon.