music by Ken Cumberlidge

THE HISTORY...

We were an electronic family.  As children of a Radio Ham, my brother and I grew up surrounded by magic boxes full of glowing valves and high voltages, our ears thrilling to the ethereal sci-fi soundscape of the short wave bands. Hardly surprising, then, that we should develop a mutual fascination with audio, electronic music and recording technology.

One of those magic boxes was a huge Vortexion WVB tape deck.  In the 1970s, using this machine, I recorded several bizarre pseudo-musical cacophonies involving tape-loops, home-made oscillators and found objects.  By the early 1980s, having bought a gorgeous old ReVox G36 which could do track-to-track overdubs, I was writing songs and recording demos.

Then, as it is all too fond of doing, life got in the way and the songwriting was shelved.  The tapes lay in their boxes undisturbed until 2001, when I got my first computer and was introduced to the capabilities of non-destructive digital editing.  I overhauled the G36, dug out the tapes (by now rather fragile) and set about digitising their contents.

Much time was spent cleaning them up: removing hiss and hum; repairing drop-outs etc.  Some tracks came up really fresh, needing very little extra work; others were so badly damaged that new recordings had to be made from scratch, or the original backing track sampled and re-constructed.  The results were then re-worked as multi-track edits, adding new vocals and a host of MIDI-synthesized instruments - all the ones I could never have afforded 20 years earlier!

    21 Song demos and backing tracks, with lyrics and background info.

    16 Sonic Curiosities from the 1970s.

Format:    160 or 192kbps mp3, via HTML5 audio tag.