When I was a boy of thirteen (way back in 1969) I experimented with a spring coil stretched over an old lute. I had placed a microphone in the resonance body, and connected it to an adjustable pre-amplifier and a serial array of old AM tube radios. The result sounded ominous, and the neighbourhood reacted accordingly: in shock and horror.
Then I discovered stereophonics, tape recorders (two Telefunkens), variable tape speed, looping and overdubbing (using a copper coin between the erasing head and the tape). I recorded many experiments, until the interest got lost, along with the tapes, in the confusion of my adolescence.
Thirty-three years later I am at the SAE (School for Audio Engineering) in Hamburg and find that recording techniques have evolved, and that sound design is now performed with the aid of software algorithms that get sold "along with the currants and raisins at the local greengrocer".
Progress? Degeneration? But no! We haven't yet REALLY learned how to use computers. In spite of Steve Jobs' efforts, computers are still slow, unreliable and user-unfriendly. But we seem to be moving in the right direction. There lies a great future ahead for the digital sound engineer!
One of the more interesting developments in music production today is the phenomenon of "remixing". "A remixer uses audio mixing to compose an alternate master recording of a song, adding or subtracting elements, or simply changing the equalization, dynamics, pitch, tempo, playing time, or almost any other aspect of the various musical components..." (Wikipedia)
Remixing is being denounced and ignored by people who carry distinct ideas of what and how REAL music should be. Others (like Kruder & Dorfmeister) have developed it into an art form and near-religious experience.
Since everything and everybody seems to be getting remixed these days, I thought it would be so great if someone would remix Soft Machine, who were my favourite band when I was a kid. I had no idea how to do something like that. For a while I thought Peter Kruder should do it, until I found he is actually busy with other things. Then I decided to learn it and do it myself.
Playing Soft Machine records used to evoke strong emotional disapproval from the people around me. It still does. But I just love the music, especially the first three albums. I have seen them live on a couple of occasions: they performed sheer wizardry, in a trademark mixture of sloppiness and precision, rendered with a shattering loudness that was on the verge of being bearable, even for an admiring teeny. Soft Machine was really it as far as I was concerned. What a band! They were magical! There never was and there will never be a band like them.
For the remix and re-interpretation efforts on this mini album I replayed a few simple, loopable bars of Soft Machine's more accessible tunes: Esther's Nose Job, Slightly All The Time and Out-Bloody-Rageous, and arranged these into into somewhat simpler versions with a lounge beat in unusual time signatures, which I call Soft Lounge Machine Music.
1. Tout de Suite (Slightly All The Time 1) 3:38
I would like to thank the following people, who helped to make this mini album possible:
Veeresh for showing me a lifetime of friendship and for generously lending his voice to Noa et la Jeune Fille
Mastered by Milian Mastering, Hamburg
Special thanks to Leonardo Pavkovic of Moonjune Records for his encouraging comment on my demo recording: "Great stuff!"