DURHAM – Moogfest 2019 created interactive opportunities to blend music and technology into new art forms. Here’s a photo shoot from the event, photos by Renee Wright.

Moog’s Pop-Up Factory creates a hands-on tech playground where fans of all ages can experience one-of-a-kind interfaces with technology.

Visitors to the Moog Pop-Up Factory were able to test run the new Moog Matriarch, as well as earlier Moog synths such as the Grandmother and Mother-32.

Every year, Asheville-based Moog Music sets up a production line at Moogfest where it live-builds a new, limited edition synthesizer. In 2019, Moog introduced the Moog Matriarch at Moogfest, the latest and most advanced of its family of analog synthesizers. Moog technicians produced a pilot run of six Matriarchs at Moogfest 2019 which will begin shipping later this summer.

Jim DeBardi (right), Moog’s communications manager, explains that the real difference between the Matriarch and earlier synthesizers is its paraphonic abilities. “It can play four notes at a time,” he says. “Most synths can only do one note.” With the Matriarch the musician can play chord patterns immediately with “no patching required.”

Moog’s Grandmother semi-modular analog synthesizer lets users easily visualize sounds allowing people of any skill level to get involved with analogue synthesis.

Folktek, which started out as an artist collaborative in 2007, creates synthesizers that are both functional and works of art. Founder Arius Blaze describes his works as “future relics.” Folktek eurorack modules are inlaid with gold and copper.

Raleigh resident Rick Burnett, whose day job is at Microsoft, founded Erogenous Tones as a side project. “I looked around and realized that lots of bands have nothing going on besides music,” he said. “I decided to make a visual generator, something that would produce random patterns automatically.” The Erogenous Tones STRUCTURE module is being beta tested by VJ artists around the world who are providing Burnett with feedback. He expects to begin shipping the new technology within three weeks.


The Buchla Thunder Overlay is an update on Don Buchla’s Thunder, a musical playing interface inspired by Native American art and the natural playing positions of the human hands and fingers. The new pressure-sensitive controller won the award for best MIDI controller at NAAM 2019.

Delta Sound Labs and Nokia Bell Labs teamed on “Vorticity” which lets audience members create interactive art through high-speed Schlieren imaging. A series of cameras captures the movements of spectators, recording them and using them to create a real-time fluid dynamics simulation that generated both colorful patterns and sound.

Lightbath aka Bryan Noll uses synthesizers and plant communication via MIDI Sprout—a device that translates live plant biometrics into music—to guide listeners on a journey that’s equal parts meditation, soundbath, and concert.