“Less than a decade ago this would have sounded like a preposterous title,
for nobody knew then what either a Moog or a Beatle was.”
Admittedly this is not one I found in the dollar bin, though I suppose in some small, unsuspecting towns one might find an old weathered copy forgotten and buried somewhere. This one was too special, and I was willing to fork over a small chunk of cash for a copy in excellent condition. This is truly one of my most prized records from this era. The Moog synthesizer was gaining a lot of attention by the mid-late 60’s. And of course, everyone was crazy about The Beatles! What better way to grab an audience’s attention than to meld their favorite tunes with the latest music technology? I have no idea how well this record actually did commercially, but fans of pioneering electronic music must savor this one.
Working in conjunction with William Sear, who had worked with Robert Moog for many years, Marty Gold wanted to show people just what the synthesizer was capable of and perhaps make it more accessible. While the Casual Listener might not appreciate the amazing technology of this machine, they could appreciate its power to create compelling music.
The resulting collection of arrangements is a super psychedelic space-capade! The album starts out with a real far-out banger in “Eleanor Rigby”, definitely the stand out track (listen below). It then drifts into the trippy “Norweigan Wood”, followed by a dreamy “Yesterday”. Then comes a more straight-forward but groovy as ever “Get Back” with Moog “vocals”. “Penny Lane” wraps up the first side.
Holy moly, you’re in for a real treat as Side 2 opens up with “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” in all its video-game-esque glory. If you thought the original was a great track to drug out to, your trip would probably be ten-fold with this version. We then come to the heavy wah-wah-ed out “Michelle”, followed by equally compelling tracks “Hey Jude” and “In My Life”. “The Fool On The Hill” follows gloriously, and the album wraps up with the serene lullaby “Good Night”.
I should note that the tracks are not 100% synthesized – there are plenty of other traditional analog instruments, but the Moog certainly is the star. There are no vocals, either, aside from Moog itself.
The cover art on this one is peculiar, featuring two naked figurines of each sex placed in front of a plastic-lined, psychedelic-looking title. You get the rear view (literally) on the back of the gate-fold sleeve.
So I have a confession to make – this is actually the closest thing to a Beatles album I even own. A little astonishing and perhaps somewhat embarrassing for someone who loves so much music that was inspired by them. It’s not that I am not a fan, I have just never been compelled to pick up any records, mainly because it’s such a tough and overwhelming enterprise to enter into at this point. Where would I even BEGIN? Of course I know lots of Beatles SONGS and spent time with some albums when I was younger, as my other owns several, but I am generally not too savvy with their catalog.
In talking about space-age electronic music, I must go off on another tangent about how I found my way to this era. It’s not all that mysterious, as I have always loved electronic music that came out of the 1980s, particularly the kind you can dance to. My favorite artists growing up were OMD, New Order and the Pet Shop Boys to name a few. My older brother also listened to a lot of hip hop in the 1980s, which got me really turned on to the beats, and I later fell in love with a lot of Electro and Bass music (can’t resist that Roland TR-808 kick!). As I began to follow the roots deeper, I became intrigued with Moog and other pioneers like Raymond Scott (post-Quintette).
In listening to this record of Marty Gold’s, I am reminded of one of the spaciest Electro tracks out there by The Jonzun Crew that came out just 14 years later on Tommy Boy Records, a track (and group) which would not have existed without innovations made in the 1950s and 1960s. I think Marty Gold (and Robert Moog) would have agreed – SPACE IS THE PLACE!!