Moog Liberation/Minimoog: Tadpoles & Jellyfish Piece

This is a piece that I wrote during my teenage years, circa age 16, in an inspired moment while trying out Moog Liberation Synthesizer. This keyboard is a “keytar” of sorts, that is, a keyboard you can wear like a guitar. I got to try it out because the company was wondering how it felt physically to play the thing, because some people thought, and still think, that it was a bit heavy. I thought, and still think, that it felt fine, much like a Les Paul guitar. I ended up using one a great deal in live performance in subsequent years.

What really impressed me though in the first moments I tried it was the sound: The synthesizer features a two-oscillator Moog synthesizer for lead sounds, and a clear sounding polyphonic background as well, that together just sounded fantastic. It was especially potent when there’s a little glide dialed in for the lead voice, so that the lead voice slides against the polyphonic voice in a complex manner. I picked the thing up and a half an hour later and after half an hour of absolutely ecstatic playing had a composition worked out that my band would play for years to come. I dubbed the piece “Tadepoles & Jellyfish” because it reminded of teeming life in a pond or a coral reef.

Sadly, I don’t (at least presently) possess any recordings of this piece from those days. One afternoon in 2018 or so, I found myself sitting in front of a DAW and a vintage Minimoog in the studio of electronic music historian Dr. Thomas L. Rhea, and decided to record a multitrack version of the piece. Time was limited, but I managed to record a fairly good semblance of the original piece, and this now provides a nice showcase of the beautiful sounds that the Mini can produce.

Not long afterwards, I brought my father’s old oscilloscope up from the basement to take some photos, and got the idea of making a little video for the Tadpoles recording, showing waveforms from some of the tracks. I was really happy with how some of the waveform patterns turned out. Here is the result: