Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Company Profiled

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

David Borden saw possibilities in Robert Moog’s early synthesizers that the inventor himself had not yet imagined. In the late ’60s, the Harvard-educated jazz aficionado returned stateside after studying music in West Germany, having landed a job writing scores for Cornell’s dance program. Moog was just 10 miles away, in Trumansburg, New York, struggling through the salad days of his pioneering company. The two became friends, with Borden serving as a kind of compositional guinea pig, frying various Moog circuits as he learned this nascent technology.

When Borden decided he wanted to wield these monstrous banks of instruments onstage, Moog was his de facto benefactor, giving Borden unfettered access to his developments. In 1969, Borden’s new band—Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Company, a dual reference to his grandmother and the titanic feat of playing such music in real time—became arguably the first live synthesizer ensemble. A year later, Borden debuted the first Minimoog onstage.