1984 – Still Life

An intense 16 year old Mark doing his best to reconcile teenage angst with the day-glo world of 1984. Howard Jones, oh how you encroached on my musical sense. Makes me wonder where I’m getting my influences from now. I suppose you never truly find out until after the event.

There you are again,
Holding hands with a smile on your face,
But a look that cuts like a knife,
Living on again,
Statuettes in a game of still life,
Still life.

And it’s strange to think,
There’s a part of you in me,
And it’s hard to believe you’re just part of history,
Yes it’s one thing to look but another to see,
When in time our memories fade and fail.

Who needs aliens?

May is my favourite month of the year for weather. It’s warm but not humid, and there still aren’t too many insects about. Apart from these buggers that is. For the past few years we’ve had centipede incursions every May. This particular one was waiting in the doorway when I arrived home one night last week. I usually catch insects and let them out, but for these nightmares I make an exception. Boiling water does them in.

A couple of experiences.

One time I was sitting at the computer. You know those comedy horror films where there’s a person and this huge monster is behind them? They’ll mistake the monster’s claw for their wife’s hand or something and bat it away? Well I was that person and one of these creatures was the monster. I thought it was a thread on my jumper touching the back of my neck. I kept brushing it away until I realised what it was. I hit the ceiling. Never moved so fast.

Then, one time I was sitting watching the telly. No warning. Something’s up my trouser leg! Pain!! One of the little buggers had slipped up unnoticed and rammed its horns into my shin. Again, I’ve never moved as quickly in my life. The two holes took over a week to heal.

This one here is about the length of my middle finger. Very meaty and has a weight when you pick it up. More like a little animal than an insect. And look at the colour. Who needs aliens when these things are lurking nearby?


Incoming: Moog Etherwave Plus Theremin

I’ve wanted a theremin for years, but spare cash has always gone on other things. This time felt like the right time. First there was the Google doodle in March, which started me checking prices. I found this very attractive customised Etherwave. Then Prince died. There’s nothing like celebrity musician death for inspiring (justifying?) gear purchase. Not that Prince used one – just the old mortality, no second chances thing.

So now I have a theremin. It’s the Plus model that has CV out, so I can hook it up to the MS-20 or Microbrute and drive those. It’s a lot more difficult than it looks. An hour with it and I still can’t produce anything remotely resembling music. Call me if you need a retro horror movie soundtrack though.

Check out this wonderful performance. Unbelievable precision.

Prince and Tomita one after the other. What a shame.

Prince was probably the only artist I’d count myself a fan of. Well, him and Kate Bush. Flawed but brilliant. Funky as hell. Unswerving. Always true to his own music. The first song on his first album could have been the last on his final.

Then Tomita, who gave the world one of the best electronic music albums ever in “Snowflakes Are Dancing”. I started listening to it in my teens and it still calms me now.

Sad to see them go.


A break between equipment change didn’t really work. I should have started up again the week after switching. Instead, no music and no posts for over a month.

This is the three analogue Volcas – beats, bass and keys. They’re all running through a Mini Kaoss Pad 2S ping pong delay and a Behringer RV600 hall reverb for width. I’m doing the Volcas to learn how to tweak parameters rather than play my way through a piece, but keeping things evolving and interesting turns out to be a lot harder than it looks. I’ve failed miserably here. Can’t keep my fingers off the keys.

This is the kind of thing I’m aiming for.