Beginnings

It all began in the nineties when I purchased a BIG Yamaha workstation, a PSR-SQ 16, already out-dated, but impressive to my younger self nonetheless. I spent almost all my money on it, and for the months to follow didn’t do anything else but figuring out the workings of that glorious machine. Although I led a rather sheltered life then, I also had a big talent of getting myself into trouble; but those keyboard sessions became a way of pulling me out of depression and illness.

Listening to those early recordings is a strange experience to me. Many of them only survived on tape (the keyboard isn’t working anymore, and I lack the necessary time and equipment for fresh recordings); they are flawed by my inexperience, the dependency on a single instrument and its limited array of sounds, as well as by my musical influences of that time. It was the time of trip hop and electronica, and though I never really got into this style of music (I lost my heart to 70’s progressive rock, but for some strange reason, the music I like to listen to and the music I’m writing don’t have much in common) it made me cherish beats and sounds that seem hard to tolerate today. To be fair, I would never really master percussion and bass lines – but it’s the melodies I want to share, the melodies that still haunt me until today.

DREAD HIP ‘N’ HAPPY DROP
(Early Experiments, ca. 1996-97)

This is the nonsense title of one of the first collections of tracks I envisaged to collect as an album. I tried to imitate that heavy, big-beat sound of hip hop and trip hop I was listening to at that time and got as carried away and confused as the title of the album suggests. These are some of my oldest recordings, just recently resurrected from old tape.

“Départ Sans Regret” is surely flawed by its monotony as well as the silly sound experiments in the middle part; but I must admit I still love the piano theme and that heads-up mood of the saxophone. The track mostly consists of a sequence of C major and g minor chords; I believe James Horner used them in his Star Trek soundtracks a lot, which was my reason for loving them.

“A Trip to Arcadia” is probably what you get when listening to too much of psychedelia in your youth; it’s straight-forward, simple and in a way it just came out right. I should try to do a remix of this some day; it’s the artificial sound of the instruments that puts me off nowadays, while I still like the overall song.

“The City Never Sleeps” has the same strengths and weaknesses as the two songs above; I like the tunes and the “happy” atmosphere, but the beats and the artificial sound of the sax are a pain in the ass. When listening to this again after so many years, I was surprised about the odd medieval middle part of the song. I listened to a lot of such tunes at that time – friend of mine just began playing the bag-pipes in a medieval rock band – and somehow that bit must have sneaked in.

“Marvellous, Mrs Peel” is my personal declaration of love to one of the greatest series in TV history: the Avengers. You have to bear with me through a bad case of artificial-sounding brass ensembles at the beginning, but I still believe the end of this song contains some of my finest moments of step-recorded drums and organ. The finale still makes me want to drive a car at full speed with max volume (those foolish desires!)

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