In the 1970s, before the internet, before YouTube vids, what did synth companies do to get the word out about their amazing future-shaping technologies that would allow people to play sci-fi Mozart and jazz/rock/prog? Well, they made demonstration discs, which could be distributed via the shops which stocked the synths and were handed out to potential customers. Dozens of synthesiser demo discs were produced, and they’re all now highly collectable. When the trade shows came around, some of the better-heeled companies would present their gear with an exotic film of their new product. And they didn’t come much more exotic than Moog’s promo film for their flagship machine, the Polymoog.
With its stop-frame animation of the synth wandering about in a forest, then getting harassed by scary face-painted mimes who appear out of nowhere, all to a soundtrack of early 1970s rock music that sounds like a cast off from a particularly noxious Broadway ‘rock musical’, it’s like the dream of someone in brown acid induced coma.
By the time Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock appear to tell you how amazing the Polymoog is, the viewer is too distressed to concentrate. When Dr Dave Luce, the inventor of the Polymoog, comes on, bald, beardy and bespectacled, it all goes a bit Marti DiBergi, the director of ‘Spinal Tap’. They had no idea that Gary Numan was lurking around the corner, about to make the Polymoog famous on his video for ‘Cars’.
And here’s Mr Numan riding along in his pretend car on his real Polymoog: