Hi. I've been making music with computers since 1981. Remember the Sinclair ZX81? 1kb of RAM, a membrane keyboard, and no audio facilities. However, it would give off loads of RF interference. A bit of assembler would allow you some level of control over this, and the resulting sounds could be picked up on a nearby radio.
That got me hooked.
Dktr is the latest name I've given to my experiments with music and sound that have continued since those days. I like to think that I've got a little better.
I've been working on contributions to the Beethoven Project. Audio to follow. New track is La Perouse a drone piece assembled entirely of field recordings of the fascinating midshipman fish. Yes, it's a fish. Wittengenstein's Boots has been uploaded to Garageband, to gather scathingly crap reviews.
mp3.com *really* don't like you if you ever use obvious samples, so get the epic loop, phase and grind of Wittgenstein's Boots from another site.
Most stuff available for download is at mp3.com. There's a CD of my msuic available for sale there too. A few other files are available locally. Elbow Thing is a cover version of Telephone Thing by The Fall, with guest vocals by Hannah Meehan and Justin Kollar. Ctrl-Z is a short contribution I made to the the forthcoming collaborative album Control Z, available in Autumn 2000 on (Re)Aktion records. I've also got two tracks on the compilation CD toywar.LULLABIES, released as a fundraiser by the art group etoy to recoup funds from their legal battle against the e-commerce giant eToys.
Download the Harmonic Organ soundfont used for "Chromium Fugue".
No more goodies for download, or links to nifty outside sources. Only read on if you're interested in where I've come from and what I'm trying to do.
In the early '80s, like every UK teenager with half a musical conscience, I used to listen to the John Peel show. One evening he was playing tracks from the latest album by The Fall, Hex Enduction Hour. That's when I heard something that changed the way I thought about music for the first time. The song was Who Makes The Nazis?. There's a simple, repetitive guitar riff that runs all the way through the song. It sounded great. It sounded like it was played on a toy guitar. It was.Until then, I'd always thought that you needed "real" instruments to make music, and that was something I'd never be able to do. I pulled down the toy guitar from the top of the wardrobe and started to play.
Other instruments were equally unusual. I had a Tandy electronics kit, which I used to build simple tone generators. I had a cassette recorder from the early 70s, which I modified into an amplifier. Later, I discovered that by judicious fiddling, I could make it play tapes while fast-forwarding. There was the ZX81, as described earlier. Eventually, I would get a reel-to-reel tape recorder, which could play and record simultaneously. With this, I could build beautiful delayed feedback loops. (Much later, I discovered that this was what Robert Fripp was doing under the name of "Frippertronics".) With these simple tools, I would spend much of my adolescence locked in my bedroom, recording hours and hours of music.
It was, of course, utter shite.
Fast-forward a few years. I'm alone at home, watching TV. It's the early years of Channel 4, when they still felt a need to be arty. I was a pretentious kid, and I'd instantly gravitate towards anything arty or elitist. So it was that I saw the TV premiere of Koyaanisqatsi, with soundtrack by Philip Glass.
Now until then, I'd always thought that I listened to some pretty "extreme" stuff. I even had a Laurie Anderson record. But when I heard the deep bass growl of the opening organ notes transform into the heady cerebral rush of contempory minimalism, I knew that I'd only ever known a tiny fraction about what music could be.
University rolled by.
Then, one day, a friend arrived with an album he knew that I had to hear. It was Escape From Noise by Negativland. PoliticsComedyAppropriatedSamplesMusic! Suddenly, there were all these other noises that I realised could be used, deconstructed, reassembled. It was music as Lego®, and the picture was complete. By then though, my standards were a little higher than they'd been in my adolescent bedroom days. I knew I could never gain access to all the sounds I needed. I was stumped.
The problem was solved with the arrival of an Atari ST computer. On-board MIDI and sound synthesis, and basic sampling capacity. Thus, the long journey back to being able to make the music I wanted to hear began again.
So, these days, I build stuff, just like I'd do when playing as a kid. Find new ways of slotting sounds into other sounds. Blur and disregard genres. The music I make these days is eclectic: some of it sounds like American minimalism, some of it sounds like Faust, some of it sounds like Penguin Cafe Orchestra... Somewhere, some of it might even sound like me. It's not considered proper and decent to admit to these things. The "artist" is supposed to be a brave, lone spirit, forging unique sounds from nowhere. Bollocks, I say. Unique sounds, yes, but not from nowhere. I freely admit be being influenced by over 400 years of music. There's lots of music I enjoy. Why should I have to creatively shut myself away from it?
So, please forgive these ramblings. Download the music, and hear for yourself what I should have been saying.