When I first started making music I was in a number of rubbish bands. The best of the bunch was reviewed in the NME as, “Like A Certain Ratio, but crap.” Oh dear.
‘Musical differences’ ended every endeavour and I decided enough was enough. I DJ’ed for a while before serious illness knocked that on the head. Then the rise of home computers allowed me to inflict my efforts on wife and kids – the world’s harshest critics, more so even than the NME.
Instrumental hip-hop (like stuff on Mo’Wax but crap,) appallingly tedious tech-house (like everyone else but crap) and then ambient, occasionally rhythmic stuff (like ‘Patashnik’ period Biosphere but crap). Frustrated by the lack of talent, it all turned dark (like Lustmord but crap.) Finally I lost all semblance of tunes and produced what the kids’ described as Fridge-Music, the sound of domestic appliances talking to one another in the dead of night. It was like Biosphere’s ‘Autour de la Lune’, only crap.
I started listening to English choral music; Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, Tavener. Although hardly a spiritual person, I liked the ‘religiocity’. Then I realised I was producing stuff like Xela, but crap.
Since then, Eastern European choral music. I think Tchaikovsky’s ‘Hymn of the Cherubim’ is the best piece of music ever, no argument. Chants from the Orthodox eastern churches, the polyphony of Georgian music. Sublime. Surprising myself, I even managed to get some of the feel of all this into my own work. I was beginning to find my groove. Even my wife and now grown up kids thought I might, just might, be getting somewhere.
Then Biosphere pops up again after 5 years away and what’s he doing? He’s produced an album containing hundreds of samples taken from Eastern European and Russian folk music recordings. Actually not out until 23rd September on Smalltown Supersound, there is one sample track widely available. It’s called ‘Sweet Dreams Form A Shade’ and it is ace. Really, really, ace. If the rest of the album maintains this standard (and let’s face it, it will,) this really will be a contender for album of the year. Even the cover is sublime. I have, of course, pre-ordered it.
So, back to the status quo ante bellum for me. Like Biosphere, only crap. Hourrah!