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Back to the Analogue Back to the Future!

This project is a real big change in direction! It aims to combine more of what I love to do,  together with my fascinations and interests as a person. I would like to bring together sound production, visual projection and sculpture as one. I will be producing sound scape’s and sculpturing sound with analogue synthesis. I have a strong draw at the moment towards analogue equipment and modular synthesisers, I have always been fascinated by valve technology so I'd like to explore this in more detail too. 

I'm just starting to accumulate analogue synthesizers and equipment, I'm researching as much strange and ethereal equipment as I can to add to my collection. I'm also looking at what I could achieve with old valve equipment. My first piece of equipment is the mighty Analogue Solutions Vostok Deluxe (images below) obtained by a swap, equipment for my artwork! It was fantastic to do this with the owner of Analogue Solutions Tom Carpenter. A really great guy, a creative artist himself, he just expresses it in creating awesome analogue equipment! It is really fitting that my first bit of equipment for my new direction in my art practice is being funded with an exchange of my artwork! It has a lovely symbioses to it, sort of a special feeling really!

Like any good creative project, I'm not sure where it will lead once I start, at the moment I’m looking to take the sound and combine it with projected sculpture, and maybe elements of Cymatics structures or binaural beats producing abstract soundscapes. I also would like to create sound sculptures in a live setting within gallery environments. live creation intrigues me, much like when I paint live, something changes with the dynamic of creation. It is all up for grabs at the moment, it is the lovely part of research and development in the life of an artist!

I will see where it all takes me, and where it wants to go!  I'm still looking at lots of analogue equipment all the time, the trouble is I now have gear lust! I have my eye on some amazing equipment to join the Vostok,  I'm really looking forward to building my sonic arsenal and what Journey that takes me on! 

Goldie’s Timeless Twenty Years On

Well I’m not sure what I'm going to do for this, but I know I need to do something, and something big! It was a ground braking album of its time, and one that had a profound effect on my musical journey. Released in September 1995 it is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year, I can’t let this occasion go by without marking some sort of artistic gesture to the album. It has been a constant in my music fabric for the last twenty years, I think that is when you know there is something great about an album. like Kind of Blue, Sgt. Pepper's, Catch a fire and so on, you just know when something surmounts it’s musical genre to stick it's head above the pile.  I remember hearing Timeless for the first time, it stopped me dead in my tracks! I have always searched music for something different, whether trawling through history or looking to the future. When I first heard Timeless I thought, this is what I’m looking for! This is it! What the hell is it?  I remember rushing up to one of the guys behind the counter at Way Ahead Records, and saying, ‘what is this playing, I need it now!’. This was the same guy who let me have Saturnz Return a day before it’s release three years later! (good lad)

I wrote a blog on painting to INcredible Sound of Drum ’n’ Bass mix by Goldie. That was a great painting for me, but now I feel ready to do something to Timeless, In my eyes it is one of the best D&B albums of all time. 

Timeless is a complex album, amazingly sophisticated layers of beats intertwine with chest shaking bass, clever samples of light and dark, sublime strings, beautiful atmospheres and some amazing female vocals all merge to give a blend of attitudes. It takes you on a journey and like a rollercoaster, one minute you are soaring majestically high, enjoying the view, then you are plunging into a sonic free-fall. It’s like stroking fluffy clouds one minute, and chewing on broken glass the next! How the album manages to pull all this together cohesively is the real secret to its success for me. 

I will keep you inform when I decide on a fitting tribute! 

Timeless

Release date September 1995  

Disk one (limited edition)

Inner City Life 

Pressure 

Jah

Disk 2

Saint Angel

State Of Mind
Drums [Live] – Mel Gaynor
Keyboards – Justina Curtis
Vocals – Lorna Harris

This Is A Bad
Drums – Mel Gaynor
Electric Piano [Rhodes] – Justina Curtis

Sea Of Tears
Bass Guitar – Tim Philbert
Drums – Mel Gaynor
Keyboards – Goldie, Justina Curtis
Lead Guitar – Adam Salkeld
Vocals – Lorna Harris
Vocals [Guest] – Caroline Butler, Jamie Goldikus Jr.

Jah The Seventh Seal
Engineer [Originally Engineered By] – R. Playford*
Remix, Producer [Additional Production By] – Dillinja
Vocals – Goldie

A Sense Of Rage (Sensual V.I.P. Mix)
Vocals – Goldie, Justina Curtis

Still Life
Co-producer – Dego

Angel
Co-producer – Dego, Mark Mac*

Adrift
Engineer [Additional Engineering] – Howard Bernstein*
Keyboards – Justina Curtis
Percussion – Louis Jardin*
Producer – R. Playford*
Saxophone [Saxaphone] – Steve Williamson
Vocals – Cleveland Watkiss
Written-By – Justina Curtis

Kemistry
Engineer [Original Engineering] – Mark Rutherford
Vocals – D. Charlemagne*

You & Me
Engineer [Additional Engineered By] – R. Playford*
Engineer [Original Engineering] – Dego
Vocals – Lorna Harris


 

Kraftwerk Autobahn a Road to Take

Over the last year I have had a resurgence in listening to classic electronic music. It has been what has spurred me on to get back involved with analogue synthesis again. If we talk about classic electronic music one name always crops up, Kraftwerk. These guys are the people that got me into electronic music first time around. I first heard Autobahn when I was seven on a tape cassette my Dad had, and that started me on my love for electronic music! So, I’m going back to the beginning with the music and revisiting that lovely stripped back minimalism of Kraftwerk to produce art too. I'm looking to produce a more considered graphical style with this small experimental collection. Not much throwing of paint, more cut out minimal colour fields, I think. Again it is all experimentation so I’m not sure where this will take me, but I would like to investigate the concept.

Going back to Kraftwerk has rekindled my love for analogue synthesis and analogue synthesizers. When I was a kid (13)  I bought Human League’s The Dignity Of Labour Pts. 1-4, I think it was in that year (1980) I really fell in love with electronic music. Man Machine had been released in 78, I purchased my first analogue synthesizer in 1980, The Cassio VL1! By the time The Model hit No1 in 1981 I was on my way to owning two Cassio VL-1’s, an MT40, a phase shifter, and a Yamaha CS-5, the latter being in my eyes at the time, ‘a real synth’. That was the starting of my analogue journey, and it was partly because of Kraftwerk and the emerging British electronic synth music scene.

  My first analogue equipment set up as a teenager- 2 x Cassio VL-1, Cassio MT40, Yamaha CS5 and a Small Stone phase shifter! Happy days! :)


My first analogue equipment set up as a teenager- 2 x Cassio VL-1, Cassio MT40, Yamaha CS5 and a Small Stone phase shifter! Happy days! :)

I lost this love for sound experimentation when I changed to digital equipment back in the 90s, and I never really got back to the pleasure of pure sound experimentation until now. When I was a kid I used to have pictures of analogue modular systems and Hi-Fi systems on my bedroom wall, and dreamed of owning them one day. I want to get back to those childhood dreams and passions of plugging in wires, turning actual knobs, and creating sound with heat, heart and connection!  This was the seed for the ‘Back to the Analogue’ project! 

I have just purchased the limited edition vinyl rerelease of Autobahn, to give me that warm creamy sound whilst getting inspired for the coming work. I really can't wait to crank it out on my decks and see what happens. Vinyl on, sit back and relax, listen, and then see where this project takes me. I think that sounds a good strategy!