Analog synth lover, Henry Keen (The Room Below/Soundspecies/Electric Jalaba) explains why a Moog Rogue has a special place in his studio. Over to you Henry…
After being really excited by synthesizers as a kid it was obviously a big moment to actually own my first analog synth. I got my Moog Rogue in 2005 for about £300 and I guess it was an appropriate choice as a first synth. It was clearly designed as a cheap, entry level Moog in 1981. It’s certainly no Minimoog!
Vintage Synth Explorer only give it a 2-star ‘Humdrum’ rating, but to be honest, I love it. Even with its dodgy weird power jack connection which always turns off at gigs! The bass it produces through its two oscillators is powerful and cutting on square wave, and filtering it whilst playing makes my face contort into that squelch expression that you just seem to automatically pull when tweaking! If you want a subtle, subby bassline, switch to sine wave and it can handle that too.
I love playing 70’s style lead lines on it and if you put it through a nice analog delay or reverb, you can almost convince yourself you’re back in the golden era playing on the Trouble Man Soundtrack or something. And Dub blips, swishes and computer noises? No problem. [Having stocked up enough] I never need to record any more of those although still end up imagining I’m King Tubby every time I put noise through the delay unit and mess with the cut off!
The first recordings that ever got made on it were when Olly [Keen, also of Soundspecies/Electric Jalaba] and I opened the package and started testing it. The audio from that first session went on to become ‘Moog Jam’ (on the LP) and later got the vocal treatment from Ahu to end up as ‘Can We Call It Love?’ (on the EP). In fact the Rogue is all over the Soundspecies releases on burntprogress and, well, almost every track I’ve made since getting it, in some capacity.
Favourite Rogue moments from those releases can be found on ‘CDR People’ ft Foreign Beggars (the bassline and eerie melody in the second section), ‘Mask’ (the squelchy call with the brass response) and ‘Bit Crushing Tommy’ (Everywhere!).
The Rogue is still getting a lot of use to this day. It was one of the two main synths I used to make The Room Below Versions and I’ve been gigging and recording with it regularly in Electric Jalaba (it even pops up in the video for ‘Marhaba’!).
I’d recommend this still relatively cheap Moog to anyone interested in making warm and interesting electronic sounds!
Read + Listen on: The Room Below Versions – Rapping With Paul White
Photo of Henry on his beloved Moog Rogue by Joanna Natalja Gourley.