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Kick (Dublin, Ireland)

Following the split with their singer the remaining members of Cat Magic auditioned for a new singer. The auditions included one Joyce Murphy who joined the band to begin writing and rehearsing from October/November 1987. The band took the decision to write an all new set of material as well as including some cover versions.

Colin Eyre, Dave Mayne, Peter Fitzpatrick, Joyce Murphy, Mark Small, Jackie Hudson

The line-up Colin Eyre (guitar), Dave Mayne (sax), Peter Fitzpatrick (keyboards), Joyce Murphy (vocals), Mark Small (drums), Jackie Hudson (bass).

In late 1987 they took advantage of the cheap studio time available at a newly established audio engineering school. An 8-track quarter-inch Fostex machine captured this demo of ‘Left Behind’ (Eyre) and ‘Rainy Day’ (Hudson).

The band began playing live around Dublin and in March 1988 they hired the 16-track studio run by Paul Thomas which was located just off Dublin’s George’s Street. The session got off to a frustrating start when they discovered that the first half-day of recordings were unusable. The brand new half-inch tape had a minute crease running through it. Hiring in additional equipment (keyboards) and joined by Dave Mayne on saxophone they produced a two-song demo which they had professionally duplicated.

The band continued gigging through summer 1988 and split in the autumn of 1988.

Two weeks after splitting they received a call from RTE TV ‘Late Late Show’ which was (and arguably still is) the vehicle for TV exposure in Ireland. A researcher on the show had received a copy of their demo tape and wanted to get the band on the show. By then it was too late and we’ll never know what Gay Byrne would have said…

playing live at Dun Laoghaire pier

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Real Estate (Dublin, Ireland)

This is truly a ‘bedroom band’. Schoolfriends Paul Fortune and Peter Fitzpatrick shared an interest in songwriting and the early 1980s synth-driven pop from Depeche Mode, Fad Gadget, Howard Jones, OMD, and Thomas Dolby.

Recording on a Tascam 144 4-track cassette portastudio and mixing to cassette the duo spent evenings and weekends through 1984 and 1985 with minimal equipment (until March 1985 they did not have a polyphonic synthesizer).

The instruments included a Roland CR-78 drum machine, Moog Rogue monophonic synthesizer, an acoustic 12-string guitar, a low quality 6-string electric guitar and a Casio keyboard of unknown ability.

A Roland Juno 106 was added in early 1985. Lacking in funds they did not have any effects and in order to produce echo/delay/reverb they discovered that they could ‘send’ the signal to a cassette recorder and then record it back to an empty track on the Tascam. The hit-and-miss approach to manual synchronisation produced interesting results. Trevor Horn was in no danger of losing a gig to Paul and Peter…

This instrumental track ‘You & I’ is one of the few recordings that survive. The clicking percussion was created by recording the clock voltage output of the Roland CR-78.  The brass sound was from a borrowed Roland SH-101.

 

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Mirror Freak (Dublin, Ireland)

Mirror Freak formed in October 1985. The line-up included Ken Murphy (aka ‘Ken Serval’, aka ‘Hal Sandwich’) (vocals & bass), Brian McNulty (guitar), Colm ? (drums) and Peter Fitzpatrick (keyboards). The singer Ken was also the only songwriter.

November 1985 they played their first gig in a suburban youth club which descended into chaos when the homemade PA system gave up and blew up an hour into the set.  The set augmented Ken’s original material with covers of Talking Heads ‘Life During Wartime’ and Japan’s ‘Stateline’.  Earlier in 1985 Ken had produced a demo tape from which ‘Bridging The Gap’ is included here.

The quality of Ken’s songwriting caught the attention of Owl Records who released a series of compilation albums in the mid to late 1980s. Summoned into the 16-track studio the band began work on ‘Working In The Outdoors’. The track wasn’t finished as the label lost interest in the band (and the singer forgot to tell the rest of the band about the follow-up recording session…). This rough mix has guide vocal, bass, keyboards and Roland TR-707 drum machine.

There are two excellent live tapes which demonstrate that perhaps Mirror Freak had potential to go beyond failed recording sessions and shows in ‘The Ivy Rooms’, ‘Faces’ and ‘The Underground’. In one of the shows the band are playing a speakeasy club when midway through the set the guitarist decided to have a little “lie down” to look at the amazing lights (man). Entertaining listening.

The final recording is a live-to-tape demo recorded in the old Temple Bar rehearsal rooms. “The Unemployment Business” was a highlight of the live set.

Mid-1986 the band split.

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Lazy Circle – (North Carolina, USA)

Dave Laukaitis contacted the blog within days of going ‘live’ in 2011 and for some odd reason I left this in the drafts folder for over a year. I think it’s been worth the wait don’t you ?

Dave used to record under the name “Lazy Circle”. He still gigs occasionally under the band name. It’s a bit difficult as he lives quite a distance from the keyboard player.  He put out one single in 1992 (“Hypnotized” b/w “Manchester” and “You’ve Risen”).  A full length CD-R/Cassette (homemade) was distributed in 1998.  All recordings were made at home.

I’ll let Dave take over from here:

Recording at home began for me in 1979.  Very crude recordings made by bouncing from two-track cassette decks, back and forth.  Pretty ambitious for a 15 year-old.  While most friends were at Friday night football games either fighting or imaging that the beautiful cheerleader was actually looking at them in the stands under the bright lights, I was in a basement nursing this new found hobby.  The recording bug got “serious” in 1983 when I purchased my first real tape machine, a Tascam 22-4.  I was now able to record good sounding demos on 7″ reel tapes (running at 15 i.p.s.).

I would record ‘normal’ rock songs, like many friends, and they would all sound, well, ‘normal’.  But some of my writing and recording was starting to go into uncommon territory.  In hindsight I attribute this to massive doses of Syd Barrett and  Robyn Hitchcock/Soft Boys music.  The demos were getting a little more adventurous, and as such were not a good fit for my band at the time (The Probes).

Fast forward to 1991.  A friend of mine was starting his record label, VHF Records, in Virginia, and was beginning to put out singles (he would later expand to LPs and CDs).  Now THIS would be a good outlet for a few folks to hear some of these songs, because at this point they are not reproduce-able on stage.  John Lennon can talk about how difficult it would have been to play PEPPER tracks, but it’s songs with backwards bits on them that are impossible to replicate.

Being cursed with a horrible last name I did NOT want to put out the single using my name, so when the name Lazy Circle came to me, I knew that I would issue something under this name.  I went into a studio (The Station in Rockville, MD) with the mission of recording the first Lazy Circle single.  I brought the demos with me.  We (Bill from VHF, the engineer and myself) listened to the demos and felt that they had ‘something’ about them that would be impossible to recreate.  So, we ended up cleaning up the original demos and issuing a single “Hypnotized” b/w “Manchester”, “You’ve Risen” (VHF #4, 1992).  Pressed 500 copies and sold them all.  All without Lazy Circle being a real band or gigging.

I continued to write and record both “normal” rock songs and Lazy Circle music (a genre I call “folkadelic”).  I issued a limited cassette/CD-R in 1998, called RUMOURS ABOUND.

Dave (guitar)

Dave (guitar), Rob (keyboards)

The 22-4 has since died, and in the late 90’s I stepped up (or sideways) to a cassette Tascam 488.  I still use that machine to this day.

So, I guess I meet the requirements of these being “demos” sourced from tape.  Enjoy the music of Lazy Circle!  (Side note about “You’ve Risen”:  The guitar pattern that starts the song and plays throughout is not a loop but just a riff that I hypnotically started playing, and it basically played me!)

Here are three demos Dave has contributed.

First up is ‘You’ve Risen’

Here’s ‘Hypnotised (Single Version)’

Finally here’s ‘Solar Globe’

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The Shadow Kabinet – When Stanley Goes Shopping (London, England)

Steve Somerset (a.k.a. The Shadow Kabinet) tells us the story behind ‘When Stanley Goes Shopping’

In 2001 I was approached by film director and writer Arthur Ellis to write music and work on the sound for a short film called ‘Stanley Kubrick Goes Shopping’.
The film was about a pair of fans following Stanley Kubrick around a supermarket with a video camera as he did his shopping. They discover that the pedantic nature of the director, famed for making Shelley Duvall do a scene in ‘The Shining’ over 70 times, extends beyond his films. His shopping expedition takes hours and he goes through endless onions searching for the perfect one. Eventually he leaves the supermarket at night after buying his shopping a total of 160 times!

It was a genius idea. Very funny. Peter White played the part of film critic viewing the video footage and Arthur Ellis played a very convincing Kubrick. I recorded all the dialogue and effects and wrote and recorded music for the soundtrack. I wrote lots of supermarket muzak which drove me insane. I even recorded a version of ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’.

There was also two songs for the project; a rap track ( yes I did a rap song) plus ‘When Stanley Goes Shopping’ and that’s the demo you can hear here. It was done very quickly, I think on a four track machine. I flew in dialogue from the film’s soundtrack. The project was great fun to work on but unfortunately only my awful supermarket Muzak made the final cut. Ah well, that’s show biz!

Steve Somerset - The Shadow Kabinet

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Good Intentions – Dublin, Ireland

Through my friend Eddie Joyce (Steddie Eddie) who wrote a column in the Hot Press magazine for many years I was introduced to Tony Floyd Kenna from the group Good Intentions. (yes, you can click to their myspace site)

I want to thank Tony for supplying some brilliant clippings, story and photos for the blog. Hopefully it will inspire others to jump in and share.

I’ll let Tony take over from here…

Good Intentions came into being in 1984. The core members of Dave Long,Ian Bolton and Tony Floyd Kenna were joined by Kieran Farrell and Eadaoin O’Donoghoe.

Ian, Kieran and Tony were also playing in Maggies Farm with Joe McGuinness. The idea was to write and record original material. The five set off for the famous Slane Studios and put down ‘Soul Sister’, written by Tony and Dave, and Walking On By, written by Dave. The demos were duly sent off to Steddie Eddie in the Hot Press and having received a favourable review. The track Soul Sister featured in Eddies top twelve for 1984! Along with the emerging Aslan and others. Good Intentions continued to evolve. Dave moved on to Interfusion and John O’Grady, Dermott Jewell and Bernadette Jewell came into the band. More new songs were written and recorded, but that’s another day’s story..

I am loving these clippings from Hot Press magazine!

First up here is a mention of the studio at Slane. £100 an hour !! (Click the image to see it in full size)

... the studio has a Prophet Synth and an Oberheim drum machine.... wow !

Now here is the review in Eddie’s “Local Motions” column which mentions a whole bunch of folk I remember from the Irish music scene: The Fountainhead (Hiya Pat & Steve!), Shay Healy, and Roddy Clear (sic) [Roddie Cleere]. (Click the image to see it in full size)

A few weeks later Eddie wrote in the 1st anniversary of his legendary Local Motions column mentioning this demo. (Click the image to see it in full size)

Irish music fans -recognise any names there ?

Now here is that demo

The story has a great ending:

In Autumn 2009 Tony dug up the old Good Intentions demos, had them remastered by Daire Winston, and released the ‘80s Studio Sessions’ by Good Intentions. Tony then suggested to everyone that it was time to roll again and so they did. The new writing and recording culminated with the Summer 2010 release of the ‘Sacred Ground’ CD. A 6 track EP showing all sides of the band. The title track, Sacred Ground, has been very warmly received and had substantial airplay on Dublin City FM103.2. It is a celebration of Dublin, where all the guys hail from. ‘There’s no where better, no where to be found, Dublin is the place I love, it’s like walking on Sacred Ground, Sacred Ground’. A positive, uplifting rock ballad with a great feel good factor. Angela Macari O’Looney has given the CD a rave review (see below).

So after 25 years four members from the original 80s line ups are writing, playing and recording together again. Tony, Ian and Kieran have also revived Maggies Farm with Joe and new member Syl Burke and yep, that’s yet another story! (Alison charity CD just released in aid of the Capuchin Day Centre For Homeless people).

Good Intentions are currently working on their next CD with a view to an early Summer 2011 release.

And here they are today in 2011

Angela’s review – Irish Unsigned.

Good Intentions – Sacred Ground Angela Macari O’Looney

After a long break from the music scene, this interesting band have reformed and in July 2010, celebrated the launch of this compact collection of songs. Lyrics are well thought out and tell about life. The title track centres around Dublin and its environs, which to some are just a noisy Capital City going about its business, but to any true blue native is a host of sights and sounds never to be taken for granted! Band members are John O’Grady – Vocals/ Keyboards/ Guitar, Kieran Farrell – Vocals/ Guitar, Ian Bolton – Drums, Tony Floyd Kenna – Bass. Backing singers on the CD are Annette Farrell, Eimear Farrell, Laura Ashcroft Jones, Una Whelan, Tarney Reilly, Caoimhe Dunnion and Meidhbhin Ni Urdail. With Rock/ Blues/ Folk leanings, the band have managed to include a good variety of what they do here, from anthemic numbers to more upbeat Rock ‘n’ roll dance songs, featuring outstanding guitar solos. Sacred Ground This memorable anthem has had lots of airplay on Dublin City FM and reminds me a little of Summer in Dublin by Bagatelle. Descriptions about beauty spots along Dublin bay capture the imagination of the listener. I particularly like the lineDublin bay opens up for the day and Tara Street empties the weary. Riffs and hooks are superb, with delicious piano and guitar breaks throughout. Kieran’s guitar solo is a key feature, as he makes his strat talk with fluency and goes from busy screaming notes down to a low, rich stream of fretwork that reaches into your soul! John has a clear voice well suited to the softer verse, but quite commanding for the uplifting chorus, which is shared with female vocalists who add a touch of heavenliness to the moment! It’s not easy This number is fast and would remind me of The Beatles song The Ballad of John and Yoko, with a pleasant dash of Rock-country filtering in. I love the guitar riffs, backing vocals and the little splashes of harmony throughout the verse. Sometimes it’s not easy, sometimes it’s a little hard/ to keep on rising every day, to keep on trying to get work. This sentiment is very poignant in the current economic atmosphere. Despite the fact that the song is about being

unemployed and broke, it’s really upbeat, with loads of exciting instrumental bits going on. A grungey, distortion laden guitar intro takes you into Walk again. John’s vocals prove themselves worthy of rock, as he belts out the feel good chorus. Harmony is done by Keiran Farrell, who also plays a scorching lead solo and some sweet riffs and hooks. Tony’s baselines in all songs are totally seamless, but in particular he comes alive here, framing this fab number with pizzazz! Don’t Fall Down The guitars yet again become the outstanding feature in this explosive, rock number. Keiran is one amazing lead soloist, with John joining him in some sweet twin guitar breaks throughout. Each musician just lets loose for this song. Wow! Chord combinations are just divine, bass is distortion packed and very audible, drum rolls and bashing beats a la Ian Bolton putting the finishing touches to a fine original masterpiece! Listening to this band inspires such energy and enthusiasm; you can feel how much they’ve missed their craft and are glad to be back! Buying houses is a more laid back number, with a kind of heartbreaking story of how life swallows up your energy, so that you can’t always get out to enjoy yourself, or do the things you dream about. I can relate to this song so much myself. With a lovely melody line, it has some beautiful piano in it. John has a wonderful style on keyboards, along with a special way of singing a slow, soulful song like this. It’s a really moving piece I must say. Were our parents ever wild and free, drinking beer till they could not see? Did they watch late night t.v. or just hang out and be carefree? This is a question we asked when we were young and possibly is a question every generation asks and eventually gets the answer when they are themselves working, raising kids, buying houses. A bonus long version of Sacred Ground is included on the CD. All the songs were written and co-written by members of the band. Each one is a top quality, memorable piece, with the title track being one that’s so haunting, you find yourself singing the chorus over and over once you’ve heard it. The lads have each been involved in the music business to a pretty impressive degree and have definitely earned their place as legends of the old school of Rock, who’ve dusted off their instruments. Keiran Farrell started his musical career at age fourteen and during the 70s/80s playing with many popular Irish bands such as Maggies Farm, Face to Face and Orient. John and Tony were friends at school and shared a passion for music and songwriting and are accomplished multi musicians. Tony spent some years sound engineering and served on the council of the IASC, ( song -writers association). Ian Bolton was a member of Sodium Rock, Maggies Farm, Face to Face and Soundproof. Hopefully this album is a new beginning for them and I wish them lots of luck with their project and look forward to seeing them live. Review written by: Angela Macari O’Looney — 13/10/2010

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Mitch Friedman (New York, USA)

I got to know Mitch Friedman in the 1990s via the ‘Chalkhills’ XTC mailing list. I was travelling a lot at the time and was able to revisit my old stomping ground in New York city and got to meet up with him. Mitch has been a good friend of Andy and Dave from XTC so his musical pedigree is not in doubt. On one visit to New York we travelled out to New Jersey to see R Stevie Moore play live. It was my introduction to RSM and stands out as one of my favourite American memories.

Mitch has released a number of his own recordings which have delighted, surprised, confused, excited and alarmed me at various times. So naturally I was delighted when he offered a submission to the blog.

I’ll let Mitch take over from here:

In 1992 I was in an improv/sketch comedy performing company as part of Gotham City Improv in New York City.
One of the reasons why I decided to sign up for improv classes was to force myself to have to write something
other than rhyming song lyrics. I was hopelessly stuck in that mode since 1985, when I made my first batch of
ridiculously silly, musically odd little pop songs.

In our performing troupe was an incredibly stunning asian woman who I was very friendly with, but not quite as friendly
as I wanted to be, wink wink, nudge nudge. We had written some comedy sketches together, a few of which included
amusing songs I had whipped up for the occasion.

During a rehearsal she mentioned that she was thinking of starting a punk band in which she would be the singer, and
wondered if I could write her a song. She wanted something really cynical, negative, and kind of depressing with
chunky chords. Being a life long fan of The Kinks, I knew I could relate to the chunky chords request — but the rest was
going to be a challenge as I was much more at home creating upbeat, goofy, playful material. Nonetheless, I persevered
and quickly wrote/demoed a solo electric recording of, by far, the least happy song I had ever put my name on up to that point.
A very ugly song for a very beautiful woman. It was called “I Hate Love”.

She hated it, and I didn’t love it either. Needless to say, the spirit and gist of the song pretty much came true.
Served me right!

This demo was made on my once trusty Tascam Porta One 4-track cassette portastudio. To this day, the only other person
ever to hear this song was my best friend. And I even regret that decision, as it instantly became a running joke. Until I
heard about this blog for long lost demo tapes, its existence had completely, mercifully skipped my mind. Now you can
join in on the festivities and see why!

Wink wink…nudge nudge… say no more !

Here’s “I Hate Love”

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Celtic Legacy (Dublin, Ireland)

Celtic Legacy have been around since 1997 and split in 2009 – a victim of illegal downloading which wiped out any opportunity to recover costs on their self-financed final album.

I first met Dave Morrissey around 1998 when I offered to play some piano on their demos and helped them with some mastering. I recommended a nearby studio which resulted in some good recordings. In 2000 the band did some overdubs and mixing in my home project studio.  During those sessions we recorded tracks for the Phil Lynott tribute CD “Spirit Of The Black Rose” which included a session with Philomena Lynott (Philip’s mother) who recited some of her son’s poetry.

I’ll let Dave take over the story of this demo which is a great story as it involves missing multitrack tapes, a missing sound engineer and a cassette…

Bit of history… We had a new line-up (as usual) and came up with some cracking new tunes, so we booked Mick’s place (ed. note a local studio)to record them. Mick couldn’t do the session so he left some guy to do the work. Big mistake as it turned out, the guy made a complete bags of it and not only did we not get a finished mix, but one rough cassette copy which he somehow conspired to balls up too by erasing a couple of seconds of the second track. When I went out to do a proper mix a week later the guy had vanished along with my multi track reel so we never got to mix or hear the finished article and that single flawed cassette copy is the only one ever to survive.

Celtic Legacy fans will recognise the voice on this. Mel Shields sang the original versions of 3 songs that wound up on the Resurrection album… Live By The Sword, Children Of The Sky and the title track itself. This demo showed great potential as did the line-up, but a possible record label contract came to nought when the label demanded we fire Mel and get a male singer in. Not surprisingly we had a tough decision to make and quickly told the record label to go and fuck off with themselves. In the event, the line-up lasted just one gig anyway, a shame as it could have been great.

Here is Mel Shields , one-time vocalist in Celtic Legacy during a later recording session

Aside from the obvious difference in vocals, there is a massive fiddle presence on this version that was never emulated on the album version. Ciara Roe played a blinder here as usual and the session player we got in for the album later on never had her touch or skill. Her playing on the demo version of Resurrection was crucial and was definitely missed on the official 2003 version. Phil McEvoys drumming was fantastic. Steve Shields and myself formed a great partnership but he was restless from the start and jumped ship a couple of months later. Both Steve and Mel had great voices and added a massive choral backing vocal presence to all the tracks making them sound huge. I can remember getting goosebumps in the control room thinking about the final mix.

If we could have mixed these songs properly they would, in my opinion have been vastly superior to the versions that ended up on the Resurrection album 3 years later. A great pity. We rounded out the session with an awesome version of Thin Lizzy’s Massacre.

Line up for this demo:
Mel Shields (Vocals), Dave Morrissey (Guitar), Dave Boylan (Bass), Steve Shields (Guitar), Ciara Roe (Violin/Fiddle), Phil McEvoy (Drums)

I strongly recommend you visit the Celtic Legacy website for two reasons: there is a great archive of information about the band, a forum and links to two albums for sale which would go some way to restoring faith by buying a copy or two (the blog-master here appears on the compilation CD which has some bonus demo tracks).

Here’s ‘Live By The Sword’

Here is the 2003 line-up of Celtic Legacy which recorded the official released version of ‘Live By The Sword’

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Pierre Fontaine (New York, USA)

Pierre Fontaine is probably better known for his illustration, animation and paper-models. He has shared some instrumental pieces which date back to 1991-93.  Check his site because Pierre is still making music. I’m particularly impressed with the softsynth work he has created using his iPod Touch. I worked with Pierre at a company ‘Music Pen Inc’ in New York in the early 1990s (hence the reference to the party below).

In his own words:

All the pieces I’m submitting were done on bargain basement synths and consumer keyboards.  Specifically, everything you hear was done using a combination of the following:

Casio CZ-101: This was my first “pro” synthesizer.  Sadly this keyboard is long gone.  This was used to generate a pretty decent electric piano sound and a surprisingly good growling Hammond organ.
Kawai PH-50 Pop Keyboard:  This had some wonderful orchestral sounds and responded to pressure info over MIDI.  I still have this keyboard and continue to use it for some of these irreplaceable sounds.
Korg piano module:  This had two sampled pianos and I bought a RAM cart that included a nicely sampled sax and percussion.
Yamaha YS-200 FM synth:  This was my master keyboard because it had a pressure sensitive keyboard.  It was a 4 op FM synth which sounded pretty terrible except for some harp-like sounds as well as a pretty decent Hammond organ sound that I would get layer with my Casio CZ-101.
Yamaha QX21 two track sequencer (although the two tracks could be assigned to any of the 16 midi tracks).

Alesis MicroVerb

I essentially played each part live into the sequencer and usually quantized the parts to get all the parts to line up nicely.  Each song was done over a single day.  There was no backup on the QX21 sequencer so when I shut that sequencer off all the information was lost!

I had all the synths plugged into a few audio cables through a bunch of Y audio connectors feeding into my home stereo.  When I was ready to record, I hit play on the sequencer and rode the volume sliders on each keyboard to produce a mix.

Crystal Bells” was an attempt at doing something orchestral.  I was inspired by the beautiful bell and orchestral sounds on the Kawai PH-50.  The harp sounds came from the Yamaha YS-200.  Once I had the basic structure, I kept layering parts to create a lovely, full sound that didn’t give away the fact that everything was done with keyboards that probably cost me no more than $200 each.

Divine Madness“.  This was my attempt at Prog Rock.  I always been a big fan of Prog rock and really loved that combination of orchestra, choir and rock music, kind of like Rick Wakeman’s Six Wives of Henry XIII.  The piano sound came from the Korg piano module, most likely doubled with another sound from the Kawai keyboard.  The choir and muted guitar sounds, as well as the marching drums came from the Kawai.  The lead synth sound that comes in halfway through was from the Casio CZ-101.  The Alesis MicroVerb created this wash that tied everything together.

Garbageman In The Rain” Here’s the one and only song I’ve ever written lyrics to.  Thankfully, I don’t try and sing them here…this is another instrumental.

I love honky-tonk piano and I’ve written a few pieces in that style.  The title for this song came from an incident where a I was helping a friend move some furniture.  It was an unusually muggy spring day and I was sweating like a complete fool.  I casually told my friend that I felt miserable, kind of like a garbage man in the rain.  We both looked at each other and said at the same time, “that would make an awesome song title”.  I went home and this song literally just came out within a few hours time.
The rhythm track is a preset rhythm from the Kawai PH-50 and the piano sound is a the Korg piano sound layered with a slightly out of tune acoustic guitar sound from the Kawai, which gave it this wonderful tacky piano sound that I love.  The next song also uses that same sound, which I’ve never quite been able to reproduce.

Happy Dance”  Another Honky-Tonk piano piece, recorded in almost exactly the same manner as Garbage Man in the Rain.  In fact, I think I’m using the same rhythm preset on the Kawai keyboard and definitely the same layered piano sound.

This is perhaps one of my favorite pieces, which I actually performed at my very first Music Pen Christmas parties.  One of the sound guys (whose name sadly escapes me) asked if he could use the melody in “Lenny’s Time Machine” during a sequence that takes place in a wild-west saloon.  I went to the sound studio later that week and re-recorded the piano part and it made it into the game!  I was pretty proud of that since I also did the animation for that game.  It was a completely self-indulgent love fest!

Hackett Two Pieces” Being a big fan of Genesis, I’ve also followed Steve Hackett’s career.  As much as I love his rock music, I’ve always been very fond of the acoustic guitar and flute pieces that he would do with his brother John Hackett.  I wanted to try and do something similar, so this is another attempt at doing something orchestral.  I think the melody is uncomfortably close to the theme music to the “Incredible Hulk” TV series of the 1970’s, but it’s definitely been transformed into something else.

The harp sound about half-way through the piece was from the Yamaha keyboard with a bit of slap-back reverb from the Alesis.  The flute most likely was from the Kawai PH-50. Sadly, the sound on this has really degraded.  I think the original cassettes sound pretty good and I should make an effort to transfer these properly  before they become entirely unplayable.

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A Fuzzy Warble Orphan – Steve Somerset & Andy Partridge (London, England)

Steve Somerset (from The Shadow Kabinet) tells us the story behind ‘Chonk’

One day, in the early nineties, I was over at Andy Partridge’s house in Swindon. We were whiling away a rainy afternoon in his home studio at the bottom of the garden. Andy had played me some new songs and was keen to demonstrate a new sample box with tons of fab orchestral sounds. I have a feeling this piece of equipment made its debut on Martin Newell’s ‘Greatest Living Englishman’ album and later was used extensively on the Apple Venus demos.  I do recall Andy playing a work in progress cut of ‘Before The Hurricane’ from Martin’s album.

I was playing around on the keyboard while Andy dialled up the sounds from the box. It sounded amazing.  I don’t remember who suggested recording something but record we did.  I can’t remember who came up what bit or, who played what bit. I do remember laughing a lot. In fact laughing so much, my stomach hurt and tears were rolling down my cheeks. In our heads we were creating the soundtrack for a Disney animated film, and it was great fun.

“Here come the Chinese mice!” we would shout over the music, which blasted out at high volume from Andy’s NS10 speakers. The walls of the wooden shed were rattling. It sounded like the music for a bizarre oriental parade. The xylophone part and the key changes still make me laugh. At the end of the session we mixed it down onto a cassette, Andy wrote ‘Chonk’ on the label and I took it home. As far as know this is the only copy. Enjoy !

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