Max Brand Synthesizer 1957


The first wiring diagrams for the Max Brand synthesizer by Bob Moog are dated 1957. Over more than 10 years, Moog, then a young engineer, built this unique apparatus on the basis of Max Brand’s ideas. The sole traces left by the composer are in the interface design: two keyboards, 2 band-manuals and four foot pedals! The core components are the two frequency dividers, each with 20 sub-frequencies and a adjustable matrix of 3 blocks, each with 4 x 20 sub-harmonic modules including the first voltage-controlled modules Moog ever built (VCA, VCF, VCO).

This musical engine is the outcome of collaboration between a visionary composer and an ingenious inventor. It challenges us to take it seriously as a piece of machinery: to hammer out its mighty sounds and to summon forth its subtle vibrations.

Within the “Große Konzertnacht” a performance takes place on this unique machine:

Elisabeth Schimana: Infernal Machine (composition for the Max Brand synthesizer)

Operators: Manon Liu Winter, Gregor Ladenhauf

A journey inside the one-of-a-kind machine that is the legacy of composer Max Brand. This mechanical monster, the outcome of decades of development, is the distant ancestor of the Moog Synthesizer. Operated by an outstanding pianist, it snorts its sub-harmonic frequencies and spews them forth into the ether.

A trip to hell with no return ticket.

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