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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Unsung classic synth tapes/artists
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Artist Discussion Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Unsung classic synth tapes/artists
Scot Solida
I am currently listening to one of my favorite synth albums, a cassette release from Wiggler, patch programmer, and old friend Zon Vern Pyles. Called Earthzone, it is a masterpiece of sequencing and melodic electronics. While not exactly "long lost", it got me thinking about all those cassettes that were sold by mail order or traded via the post back in the 80s and 90s.



Carl Howard's aT label put out some great cassettes from electronic artists, including Jeff Carney's Imperfect Space Journeys. I wore out my copy of this improv Berlin School and have been looking for another for decades.


Back in the 90s, I bought some of tapes from Chuck Van Zyl's Synkronos cassette label. I'm pretty sure that's where my copies of various tapes by the Nightcrawlers came from. I still listen to those. Among the best was Spacewalk (which I believe was also released on vinyl). Awesome, minimal ambient stuff.



Van Zyl is still cranking out awesome electronic music, but the first thing I ever heard from him was his collaboration with Peter Gulch (of Nightcrawlers) and D. Andrew Rath under the name Xisle. The tape was called Eternity's Engine. I really love the cover art for this one:


Today it's easy to find great electronic music online and I certainly have my favorites. Back then, though, the electronic music 'scene' (such as it was) was small and isolated, so it was great comfort to find that there were people like me who love the sound of synths, sequencers, and drum machines. There was something special about getting those tapes in the mail.

Were you around back then? Got any favorites of your own?
neandrewthal
Loving this thread so far. Get back to me in a couple decades when my synth tapes are old and unsung.

Last sold: never. Ouch:

https://www.discogs.com/Jeff-Carney-Imperfect-Space-Journeys/release/1 111289

When you're looking for a rarity like that do you ever stop to wonder how many are still in existence and what they are doing? If someone had one collecting dust would they even know someone out there wants it?
numan7
john adams and morton subotnick were about as obscure as i got as far as 1980s-90s tape-hunting went.

however there were college radio stations in cleveland and akron that had 'space music night' on the weekends which i would tune into occasionally. but the dj's tended to just play consecutive cross-faded tracks for hours at a time, and seldom announced the names of the artists they were playing (or only did so at the end of the set, which was usually around 3 or 4 am after i had fallen asleep). so i was never sure who made what. 'nightcrawlers' does kind of ring a bell though (i think).


cheers
Scot Solida
neandrewthal wrote:

When you're looking for a rarity like that do you ever stop to wonder how many are still in existence and what they are doing? If someone had one collecting dust would they even know someone out there wants it?


I've never seen mention again of this particular artist (there is another musician by the same name, but not a synth guy). I was in contact with Carl Howard (aT tape label owner) for years, but he no longer had access to a copy the last time I communicated with him.

It's very sad to me that such an excellent example of Berlin-School style improvisation has all but disappeared. I always hope that Mr. Carney will surface again now that the electronic music scene has re-discovered the genre.

I don't give up hope, though. Other obscure artists/records I thought I'd never hear again have resurfaced thanks to online distribution.
Scot Solida
numan7 wrote:
john adams and morton subotnick were about as obscure as i got as far as 1980s-90s tape-hunting went.

however there were college radio stations in cleveland and akron that had 'space music night' on the weekends which i would tune into occasionally. but the dj's tended to just play consecutive cross-faded tracks for hours at a time, and seldom announced the names of the artists they were playing (or only did so at the end of the set, which was usually around 3 or 4 am after i had fallen asleep). so i was never sure who made what. 'nightcrawlers' does kind of ring a bell though (i think).


cheers


We had a local station like that in my area, too. Often something would catch my ear and I'd never find out what it was. It may be what led me to buying any record I could find that seemed to be made with synths and had album-length tracks.
wackelpeter
neandrewthal wrote:


When you're looking for a rarity like that do you ever stop to wonder how many are still in existence and what they are doing? If someone had one collecting dust would they even know someone out there wants it?


Being a tape collector for many years myself, i sometimes do ask myself the same.

On the other Hand i find some of the Price demands on Discogs sometimes a bit adventurous but was, when i sold most of my Collection more than a decade ago, often surprised what some People are willing to pay.

But i also regret having sold many of the tapes, which now rarely Show up and i sold for just 10 bucks the item... Happily i managed to get much of my Big City Orchestra tape Collection back (2 of them on Audiofile tapes), leaving me right now with some 60 tapes from them but still 30-40 missing… smile

Don't know if he actually does sell some of his tapes, but i had purchased a few years back a lot of Mental Anguish's tapes from Chris Phinney/Harsh Reality. (not much related, but a cool tape label too and well he did some nice collaborative works with Nomuzic/Carl Howard too)

But i can second that the recent re-surface of many of those early home tapers is well appreciated. And also the effort by many labels making them available again and to a wider and new audience.
Have discovered this way a few real treasures i have missed and was unaware before.
Also it's cool that many of them just started making music again, while being absent from the "Scene" for years. Perhaps they just have discovered that there'S still an audience and that making music still makes a lot of fun.


P.S. just an half-assed attempt of being selfish: if anyone has some Big City Orchestra tapes and would not be too much worried to see them adding up to my Collection, please feel free to drop me a line. Perhaps a trade for some Vinyls or CD's could also be possible but i'm just too lazy to list the stuff i had for sale or doesn'T Need anymore on Discogs again after setting the stuff for sale on Suspension while being in Holidays a few years ago... It's mostly noise/post-industrial related stuff and nothing too much fancy and collectable stuff of what's left in my Sales bin to be honest and truthful.
Scot Solida
wackelpeter wrote:

P.S. just an half-assed attempt of being selfish: if anyone has some Big City Orchestra tapes and would not be too much worried to see them adding up to my Collection, please feel free to drop me a line.


I loved Big City Orchestra. I saw them when they opened for the Legendary Pink Dots' show at DNA Lounge back in 1991 and it was marvelous. Jack Dangers and Daevid Allen came backstage. Carl Howard from aT was on that tour with the Dots. We went to Auricular records the next day (closed during Star Trek - gotta love those guys) and grabbed a few BCO tapes. No idea where they went, though! The next night we were off to the show in San Rafael, where the openers were Sharkbait. Another very memorable night!
wackelpeter
Scot Solida wrote:
We went to Auricular records the next day (closed during Star Trek - gotta love those guys) and grabbed a few BCO tapes.


Alan Herrick of Nux Vomica (purchased some stuff from him not so Long ago, in my case this means only 3 or 4 years ago wink ) he was very much involved in BCO and probably also infected and caught by DAS and Robo's Star Trek enthusiasm… It was nearly impossible to find one BCO release that didn'T had Star Trek, Dr.Who or any weird science fiction films/comic references. This combined with the great choice of humour is what i really love about them… Always love to hear some anecdotes of that time...

Another source of great synth related home tapers from the USA that Comes to mind is also Sound Of Pig by Al Margolis and his Project If Bwana.

Well there were many, too many some times, so you lost track and oversight, but yes it were great times. Spent hours digging the Artware or RRRecords Mailorder lists in the early and mid 90's and spent most of my money for records and tapes.

btw. Scot your Name sounds somehow familiar to me, think i read it somewhere before… Looked it up in Discogs, but couldn'T find something that caused an click and enlightening moment inside my brain… Were there other projects you were involved?
cycad73
Great thread. there's still so much great independent music that has not been reissued. I will mention some that are very meaningful for me personally.

Aart Zwaans - Semi Hora, one of my favorite releases of all time. a totally mysterious figure, nothing ever heard from him after this release.



also on the same label (Exart tapes), many great releases by Enno Velthuys, who is better known but still awaits a proper re-release.

Kevin O'Neill, also amazing in a very unique style, very haunting in some respects:



Rupert Chappelle -- did a great minimal Berlin-school album with just ARP 2600 and a string machine, called Ozone Music (1978). lots of characteristic ARP noise/percussion, of the type also used by John Bender. unfortunately this is not on youtube, this is in part my fault, because I have the LP and have not uploaded it. the only thing I can compare it to is the Baumann/Koek release which used similar equipment and has a very similar, relentless myopic/claustrophobic style.

Chappelle also did the 1975 Esper album - (mostly tape/echo voice manipulations) and the 1982 Jobs for America release which is more industrial/minimal wave.

Paul R. Kelday, moving towards the noisier end -- he did psychedelic noisescapes as early as 1975, his style is somewhere between Nik Raicevic and Maurizio Bianchi, the earliest I've heard is Spheres (1976). I wonder if anyone has heard or even has found the two tapes he did in 1974.

on the noisier end should also mention Minoy, i like his earliest more ambient material such as In Search of Tarkovsky...

Scot Solida
wackelpeter wrote:

btw. Scot your Name sounds somehow familiar to me, think i read it somewhere before… Looked it up in Discogs, but couldn'T find something that caused an click and enlightening moment inside my brain… Were there other projects you were involved?


Maybe from my articles for Computer Music, Future Music, Grooves magazine? Or maybe sound design for Arturia, PPG, etc?
tau_seti
neandrewthal wrote:
Loving this thread so far. Get back to me in a couple decades when my synth tapes are old and unsung.

Last sold: never. Ouch:

https://www.discogs.com/Jeff-Carney-Imperfect-Space-Journeys/release/1 111289

When you're looking for a rarity like that do you ever stop to wonder how many are still in existence and what they are doing? If someone had one collecting dust would they even know someone out there wants it?


Well, he’s got the master tapes and is willing to license them.

https://youtu.be/Ljnby7KcV_U
Scot Solida
tau_seti wrote:

Well, he’s got the master tapes and is willing to license them.

https://youtu.be/Ljnby7KcV_U


Wow, three days after I posted this, he turns up! Gotta love the internet.
neandrewthal
cycad73 wrote:
Videos

Thanks for posting those. Excellent stuff. Second track on the first one (around 5 minutes in) reminds me of the first track on one of my favorite future old & unsung tapes and the the second one reminds me of it in places too:



tau_seti wrote:
Well, he’s got the master tapes and is willing to license them

Have you been talking to him or did you gather that from the description: "Preview Clips Only"?
Scot Solida
neandrewthal wrote:

tau_seti wrote:
Well, he’s got the master tapes and is willing to license them

Have you been talking to him or did you gather that from the description: "Preview Clips Only"?


It's in text overlaid onto the video. thumbs up
seepaxton
This is my favourite
Scot Solida
seepaxton wrote:
This is my favourite


Heck yeah. Pat Birmingham worked on and released some of my favorite records from Edward Ka-Spel and Legendary pink Dots.
cycad73
neandrewthal wrote:





really nice, thanks! I generally don't find much interesting with contemporary efforts but this really nails it.
cycad73
Another all time favorite -- Galen Herod tape from 1979:



"Three Trails" (about 30:20 into the video) is one of the definitive examples of what I call "inner music".... recommend to start there.
Scot Solida
cycad73 wrote:
Another all time favorite -- Galen Herod tape from 1979:



"Three Trails" (about 30:20 into the video) is one of the definitive examples of what I call "inner music".... recommend to start there.


Wow! Another brilliant blast from the local scene in Phoenix/Tempe where I lived in the late '70s and '80s. Galen Herod was one-half of Tone Set, whose "Out! Out!" received a bit of airplay on local Phoenix and Tempe stations. In the 90s, Herod had a (rock, not synth) band called The Skin People, whose album was produced by Butch Vig, no less. I always thought he'd wind up a household name. A singular and shamefully unrecognized talent. I'm glad to see someone bring him up. thumbs up
cycad73
Scot Solida wrote:

Wow! Another brilliant blast from the local scene in Phoenix/Tempe where I lived in the late '70s and '80s. Galen Herod was one-half of Tone Set, whose "Out! Out!" received a bit of airplay on local Phoenix and Tempe stations. In the 90s, Herod had a (rock, not synth) band called The Skin People, whose album was produced by Butch Vig, no less. I always thought he'd wind up a household name. A singular and shamefully unrecognized talent. I'm glad to see someone bring him up. thumbs up


yeah, it's amazing how many stylistic changes he went through but the music was always good. great to hear from someone who was actually there, I was way too young wink
synthguru
Scot Solida wrote:
I am currently listening to one of my favorite synth albums, a cassette release from Wiggler, patch programmer, and old friend Zon Vern Pyles. Called Earthzone, it is a masterpiece of sequencing and melodic electronics. While not exactly "long lost", it got me thinking about all those cassettes that were sold by mail order or traded via the post back in the 80s and 90s.




Hey Scot,
Thank you for your kind words on my music.
Here are a couple of tracks from the album:

[s]https://soundcloud.com/zon-vern-pyles/ritual[/s]
[s]https://soundcloud.com/zon-vern-pyles/dream-circuit[/s]

The synthesizers I played on this album (for those of us who love synth gear) are Moog Sonic Six, (2) Pro Ones, Ensoniq Mirage, Korg Poly 800, EML 400/401/416 synth/sequencer and a Yamha CS01.
I recorded on a Teac 3340 four track and used a Sireko tape echo unit.

Thanks again for the mention and for enjoying my music after all these years.
Zon
Scot Solida
synthguru wrote:


The synthesizers I played on this album (for those of us who love synth gear) are Moog Sonic Six, (2) Pro Ones, Ensoniq Mirage, Korg Poly 800, EML 400/401/416 synth/sequencer and a Yamha CS01.
I recorded on a Teac 3340 four track and used a Sireko tape echo unit.

Zon


I still have the Mirage discs you gave me... thumbs up

Didn't you use some sort of percussion triggers for the CS01 on one of the tracks?

In any event, it's a truly brilliant album!
synthguru
Scot Solida wrote:
synthguru wrote:


The synthesizers I played on this album (for those of us who love synth gear) are Moog Sonic Six, (2) Pro Ones, Ensoniq Mirage, Korg Poly 800, EML 400/401/416 synth/sequencer and a Yamha CS01.
I recorded on a Teac 3340 four track and used a Sireko tape echo unit.

Zon


I still have the Mirage discs you gave me... thumbs up

Didn't you use some sort of percussion triggers for the CS01 on one of the tracks?

In any event, it's a truly brilliant album!


On the above tune "Ritual" I put a Shure SM58 in a small cardboard box and triggered a Pro-One for the percussive sounds.
I used a pencil as a drumstick when I played those parts.
Zon
Scot Solida
synthguru wrote:

On the above tune "Ritual" I put a Shure SM58 in a small cardboard box and triggered a Pro-One for the percussive sounds.
I used a pencil as a drumstick when I played those parts.
Zon


That was it! It turned out beautifully! applause
cycad73
synthguru wrote:
[
Hey Scot,
Thank you for your kind words on my music.
Here are a couple of tracks from the album:

[s]https://soundcloud.com/zon-vern-pyles/ritual[/s]
[s]https://soundcloud.com/zon-vern-pyles/dream-circuit[/s]

The synthesizers I played on this album (for those of us who love synth gear) are Moog Sonic Six, (2) Pro Ones, Ensoniq Mirage, Korg Poly 800, EML 400/401/416 synth/sequencer and a Yamha CS01.
I recorded on a Teac 3340 four track and used a Sireko tape echo unit.

Thanks again for the mention and for enjoying my music after all these years.
Zon


these are great, I hope you'll consider formally rereleasing this, even just self-releasing on a bandcamp page, I would definitely buy it in an instant, I think would resonate with a lot of people these days. Bureau B is reissuing a lot of this kind of music, although they focus mainly on European artists.

ps your track "Sorceress" from 1981 is amazing as well... there must be a great trove of unreleased stuff as well wink
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