- Sight & Sound
April 1st, 2012
Moog Gets Cheeky
Again, I will underscore that this is not a joke. I’ve tested the BASE pack, and the sounds themselves are actually pretty cool.
It’s a dirty little secret that people like to play with their iOS devices while sitting on the toilet. So why not an app that lets you recreate that experience when you’re away from the porcelain throne?
Moog Music has released a new extension pack for its Animoog iPad synth that explores the lower end of the sonic spectrum by tapping into the sounds generated by the lower ends of our digestive tracts.
In other words, the company has added fart sounds to the Animoog app.
With a release date of April 1st, it’s easy to dismiss this as a joke. The North Carolina-based company actually has a history of fictitious April Fool’s product releases — in 2011, Moog posted fake demo video of a polyphonic Theremin to YouTube.
But this one is frighteningly real. Starting Sunday, you can buy the BASE Pack as an in-app purchase inside Animoog for $1.
According to Moog, BASE stands for “Biomimetically Augmented Synthesis Expansion.” The sound pack adds 25 tones to Animoog, ranging from tiny tweets and poots to huge rips and rumbles (In the video above, the sound pack is demonstrated by Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess).
Moog product development specialist Amos Gaynes tells Wired the sound engineers actually put a lot of work into creating the gaseous sounds.
“There’s a real art to transforming a raw sound source in to an Animoog timbre,” Gaynes says. His team typically starts with high-quality sound sources, then edits and adjusts them so they’ll play properly on the instrument. “In the case of the BASE Pack, we started with the ripest, most evocative acoustic sounds we could produce, through a combination of field recording and foley work, and then gave them the Animoog treatment.”
Field recordings? Eww.
The names of the sounds are truly disgusting — “Bad Beans,” “Damp and Dribbly,” “Carbonated Frogs,” “Gassy Wobbler,” and three variations on “Wet Balloon.”
Gaynes says everyone on the sound design team at Moog Music got to name their own sounds. “We really endeavored to convey the unique character and origin of the BASE sound sources while balancing absurdity and technical detail.”
Again, I will underscore that this is not a joke. I’ve tested the BASE pack, and the sounds themselves are actually pretty cool. Well, most of them. They are all tuned to play at the bottom of the Animoog’s keyboard, so they do sound (awfully) similar to farts. But play them an octave or three up the keyboard and they become quite musical. Some sounds would even make some cool percussive tones. You could use them to craft unique techno beats, or using them as snare hits or wet splashes (that’s really a drum thing, trust me).
Don’t expect a glorified fart soundboard. These aren’t super-realistic gas explosions. Typical of Moog, the sounds have an offbeat sci-fi vibe to them — maybe “Space Farts” is the more apt descriptor.
If you already own Animoog, you can buy the BASE Pack for $1 as an in-app purchase, but first you have to update your copy of Animoog to enable in-app purchases. If you’re not already running Animoog on your iPad, the app is on sale all week for $3. The iPhone version is also on sale for $2, but there’s no BASE pack for the iPhone Animoog yet.
The new in-app purchasing system inside Animoog opens the door to other sound packs down the road. Gaynes says his team is busy building more add-ons.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” he says.