So…once upon a time…
I knew nothing about music, I just knew what I liked. I was heavily impacted by anything electronic though. Something about that sound really fueled my interest. I dabbled heavily with the Commodore 64 SID chip during the mid 1980’s. Sadly, all that work is now lost. One of the songs that I wrote on the Commodore in 1987 was titled ‘TechnoDream’, but as I worked on the song and finished it up I realized that the dream was more dramatic, and changed the name to TechnoDrama. And that is where it all really began. The song became the banner of what I would do for the next 12 years.
In 1988 I purchased a Yamaha PSR-36 keyboard, took a Casio MT-68 keyboard I already had, a four channel Realistic mixer and a dual cassette deck tape recorder and started laying down some tracks. I would record a track on one tape, then play it back and record another track on another tape until I had a finished product. Anyone who knows how tape works knows that what I really ended up with was a whole lot of hiss and some really bad sounding music in the background.
During this time I did borrow a Casio SK-1 and Casio PT-1 from time to time. They added a really classic and raw sound to the music.
I recorded several compilations and ‘released’ them. I say ‘released’ because I only distributed to friends and interested parties who wanted to listen. I didn’t try to sell them or get them into music stores. They were horrible (in my opinion). Recently when cleaning out our attic I did find my master copies of the following releases: The Sniggle and Mr. Biggle (1988), No Back Stabbing (1989), and Anti-Anti (1990). I doubt I will be placing them on-line. Some things are better left unheard.
I spent what little money I had on more items to create music with. In 1989 I added a Casio CZ-101 (my first online purchase, if you could call it that back then) and a Casio MT-240 that I picked up at a yard sale and in 1991 a Yamaha PSR-500 that put me in debt for two years. In 1991 I also picked up a 1 in / four out MIDI device (MIDIman MidiSport x2), a copy of PG Music PowerTracks and finally began laying down some tracks digitally. I suppose that this is when TechnoDrama truly came to be the project it was going to be.
In 1991, Now What?! was ‘released’. Born from that time between High School graduation and off to college adventures, Now What?! captured those emotions. It’s very rough, sometimes moody, sometimes over excited, and sometimes just makes no sense. That’s how you feel at that age, or at least how I felt.
I was pushing out more material than I could really publish. I spent some more money on gear and picked up a Yamaha FB-01 Tone Generator. Then, later in 1992, The After Now was ‘released’ and distributed. Learning as I went, I felt the music coming to me more easily and the songs started to take on a ‘TechnoDrama’ feel. However, I wasn’t really happy with the sound. I’m sure an artist is never really happy or content with their work, they just sort of admit that something is good enough and move on.
In 1993 I took a little break. I had basically just spent the past five years spending all of my spare time writing music. I did continue to dabble with some rough frameworks of songs, but nothing I would consider a complete song. I did pick up a Gravis UltraSound sound card for my computer, a Kawai K1-M from a music store. My spending trends were not the best thought out. I didn’t have a lot of money…actually, looking back, I didn’t’ have any money to spare on such things. I just desperately wanted something to call professional in my line up, and the K1-M was that object. The UltraSound card was one of the first cards to offer up 44KHz playback, full duplex recording and 16-bit sample playback.
The results showed in the ‘release’ of PseudoRandom. One of my favorite albums. This album felt like a growing up moment, a departure from the norm of what I had been doing for years before. You may not hear anything different, but it was a more mature product for me. PseudoRandom was also an attempt at a theme, and there is a recurring theme to almost every song on that collection.
Through 1995 and 1996 there was work with various vocalists in an attempt to create a vocal album. To be honest, I’d rather just bypass this part of history. If I was back then the person I am today, I would have stopped everything before it got out of hand and just moved on. Instead, I was trying to be nice. Sometimes, being nice isn’t the right thing to do, but being honest nicely is. That’s a big lesson to learn. There are several recordings from this time period, mostly covers though, and they may or may not end on up this site. Time will tell. I did originally write twelve songs for a vocal album (planned title: My Thoughts, Not Yours) and I had all the music laid down for them. Sadly, those tapes have disappeared. I’m not sure why those master tapes are missing from the collections but they are. Which is really too bad because the songs were really catchy. I was proud of that work. You can get a feel for what was going on during this time on The Vocal Sessions page (coming soon).
1997 saw the return to my genre of instrumental music. I added a few SoundBlaster cards to my line up, retired the Gravis UltraSound (though late in production), and picked up an amazing Yamaha CS-15 for $17 at a music store. This was also the year when Seer Systems released the Reality Soft Synth as well, which I was blessed with a copy of. I took what I could and quite literally threw together a collection of songs and called it My Little World. While I would love to tell you all there was some deep meaning to the name, the reality is that I was setup inside of a closet in an apartment I had at the time. The space was very small and I could barely turn around with all the gear setup in there. Even more sad is the fact that the Gravis UltraSound was not retired until post production, and it started to provide some really horrible results during recording. Some of the songs are off from what they should have sounded like on the master track. Good news is that I recently found some early yet finished copies of some of these songs that were recorded before the UltraSound began to fail, and I will be replacing the bad copies with these soon.
In 1998 I found life catching up with me. Things were getting busy with real life ‘work’, but I still found time to work on music when I could. I pulled together some songs using the Seer Systems Reality engine, my collection of physical synths and my two SoundBlaster cards. This collection is very short compared to other collections, I feel the songs show where I was at the time. They reflect a more mature yet rushed style. The Optimistic Prophets was the result.
19 years later, I’ve found some time here and there and I’ve started working on material again. I’m sure it will take me longer to pull this all together but I plan to finish it this year. I’m working with soft synths now and that brings an interesting dynamic to the process. My pile of gear and yards of cables and wires has been reduced to one keyboard, one computer and 345 soft synths. I need to narrow that down, but there are so many free ones out there and some of them have some unique sounds that just need to be explored.
That’s it for now. Thanks for stopping by.