Jeremy Toy on the Moog Slim Phatty
Moog Slim Phatty Review
Jeremy Toy is a musician/producer from Auckland. He is a ‘Tui’ award winning producer whose work (engineering, album production or session playing) is featured on recordings with artists such as Opensouls, Tyra Hammond, David Dallas, Hollie Smith, Liam Finn, Ladi6, Julien Dyne, Mel Parsons and The Sami Sisters. Jeremy is currently working on a sophomore album for his band She’s So Rad.
“I was never worried that synthesizers would replace musicians. First of all, you have to be a musician in order to make music with a synthesizer”.
- Bob Moog
I had the honour of meeting Bob Moog in 2003 when I attended the Red Bull Music Academy in Capetown S.A. Bob Moog came to the academy to do a talk on his life and on his latest Moog products. At that point in my life I had very little experience with synthesizers. Bob Moog ran us through the sections of one of his Voyager synthesizers and showed us what each section did. He always did this in a way that related back to playing music, even though he was dealing with electrical currents he never seemed to see the final outcome as an electrical current but instead as some kind of musical sound that could be heard coming from any instrument. It was this unique ability and forethought that Bob Moog possessed that lead him to become a pioneer of early musical synthesizer technology.
Layout on a Moog synthesizer is like no other. Moog make very intuitive products that take a very short time to learn and become acquainted with. This is primary due to the philosophy and vision of Bob Moog. During the academy lecture Bob Moog spoke of this, “What we did musically here was to keep things as general as possible... this is not designed to make any specific sort of sound”. Applying this philosophy to one of the current products in the Moog line, the Slim Phatty, gives us a greater understanding of the great deal of time, thought and passion that has been put in to creating this machine.
One of the key features that was a crucial factor in deciding to purchase the Slim Phatty was its MIDI connectivity. I use the AKAI MPK49 and it took me only a matter or minutes to learn how to assign faders and knobs on the MPK to any parameter on the Slim Phatty. I have owned other rack style desktop synthesizers and have wasted countless hours, days even, trying to get the synthesizer to communicate properly with the MPK.
This is a very strong selling point for myself, I do not want to be in the studio struggling with routing issues, I want to be in the studio focusing on music and if I am going to be struggling with anything I want to be struggling with note phrasing.
Based on these two features, I purchased a Slim Phatty. It is at this point in the review that I have to discuss the sounds this synth can create. In a very basic breakdown of the Slim Phatty, it is a dual oscillator, monophonic, analogue, rack mounted synthesizer. At the heart of this machine is (poetic license) a decent amount of Bob Moog’s soul. By that, I mean it has the sound of a Moog synthesizer, every note you play on this machine is only possible because of the vision Bob Moog had. It is incredible how many sounds you can get out of such a seemingly simple synthesizer. Moog’s philosophy of keeping everything “as general as possible” really does ring true when you perform with a Moog synth. I have owned many different synthesizers and no other synth has taught me how to manipulate the waveforms and help understand what each parameter does like the
Slim Phatty has. How does Moog achieve this? I believe it comes down to a few things; Very little information is hidden inside the unit, most parameters you will ever need are right in front of you. One push of a button and a twist of a knob is all it takes to hear something happening and it is very obvious what is happening at each turn as the sound coming out of the Slim Phatty is of the highest quality you could possibly hope for.
To sum up the Moog Slim Phatty, it is intuitive, solid, warm, exciting, alive and has the potential to get completely out of control in the coolest of ways possible.