Electronic Music was Born in Upstate New York

Depeche Mode (1980)
Depeche Mode (1980) – Early adopters of the MOOG synthesizer

The Moog Synthesizer: A sound made famous in England on an “instrument” born in Upstate New York.

Moog Music - Modular System Test - Trumansburg  NY - 1970 When you think of electronic music, you might picture stobe lights popping over an all-night rave at a warehouse in the outskirts of Brooklyn. Jump back a bit further and you might remember those beloved bands from the 80s, their asymmetrical haircuts swaying over a clunky, chunky arrangement of what looked like a switchboard from a phone company. Both of these scenes have one thing in common – Trumansburg NY, the hometown of the first synthesizer, the MOOG, developed by Dr. Robert Moog in a factory loft on Main Street.

Here’s what Trumansburg looked like back then:

R. A. Moog Company - Trumansburg NY - 1971

And here’s what it looks like today:

Main Street - Trumansburg NY - Photo by Sparrow Hall
Main Street / Trumansburg NY

Main Street - Trumansburg NY - Photo by Sparrow Hall
The building that once housed the R.A. Moog Company / Trumansburg NY

Main Street - Trumansburg NY - Photo by Sparrow Hall
Cemetery Gatehouse / Trumansburg NY

Situated just north of the collegiate epicenter of Ithaca, NY, and not far from the shore of Cayuga Lake, Trumansburg is that rare breed of small town that’s still doing its own thing. With it’s organic grocer, mom and pop shops, friendly cafes, and percolating coffee house you start to wonder: Do I really need to live in a big city? Apparently, Robert Moog didn’t think so. Here he is in a documentary (rightfully directed by a German) about the birth of perhaps the most iconic sound in modern music.

And if you want to hear how it’s done, here’s Depeche Mode crushing one of the most classic electronic hooks ever.

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