25 September 2012

Electronic Circus 2012 Report

Last weekend I visited the Electronic Circus festival in G├╝tersloh Germany. I already went there a day ahead because of the pre-gig dinner that is organized with the artists. We had a great dinner in a Greek restaurant with very good company and a super atmosphere. In the picture you just see Dominique Perrier arriving. Dominique is one of my old time heroes because he played with Jean Michel Jarre on stage for many years. It was very nice that the Space Art crew also joined in that dinner. Thanks to Bernard Poulard for taking this picture. All in all a great night that I ended with Remy Stroomer and his wife Paulien in some Biergarten in Bielefeld where my hotel was at. It was such a nice day already and the festival didn't even start yet :)

The next morning it was back to the venue to help Monique Boots and Eric van der Heijden to build up the Groove Unlimited (my record label) stall were we would sell CD's during the day. Unfortunately Ron Boots couldn't be there that day because he had to work in the music store. We really missed Ron, it was actually kind of strange not having him around on a festival like that. But I think we represented Groove Unlimited very well and actually sold quite some CD's. Well especially Monique did that. I didn't sell that much myself, but well no new releases unfortunately. I did have my nice talks with people about my music though.

Both Remy and I also brought a 10 minutes compilation demo of the new collaboration album we are working on. We both announced that on our Facebook pages and I had two people turning up that actually wanted to listen to it. I'm glad some people still read what I'm posting and are even interested in the music as well ;) Thanks guys! Luckily they were both very enthusiastic as well about what they heard so at least two people are looking forward now to the release of the Primitives album :) They both stated that they liked it a lot, but that it was not what they had in mind up front thinking of the combination Remy and Michel. So I guess we did make something very different and special :) Thanks to Hans-Herman Hess by the way for the previous two pictures. I hope he doesn't mind me using them.

During the day I did see some small parts of the concerts and it sounded all very good, but I did go in especially to watch the Space Art concert. I know their music for many years, since it is kind of pre-Jarre music in the 70's electronic music style. It was great to see these guys having so much fun on stage. They even did two encores after the audience just didn't want to let them leave. Remy Stroomer took a picture of me with the Space Art crew together. It was a real joy for me to meet Dominique Perrier again.

All in all I really had a great time! Even though I was exhausted on the end of the day. I was so glad that I had a hotel in the area and didn't have to drive back home. I would like to thank the whole Electronic Circus crew and especially Hans-Herman, Frank, Mike and Lutz for a really great day! I hope you will continue this festival next year. I'll reserve a spot in my agenda for it :)

14 September 2012

Synth.nl on Live Prog TV EM Introduction

Here is an introduction to Electronic Music for Prog Rock fans by Live Prog TV by Marcel Haster. It features my Apollo album but also some other very nice music like Erik Norlander, Can Atilla, Picture Palace Music, MorPheusz and Ron Boots. Enjoy :)

09 September 2012

New album with Remy will be called Primitives

At the moment I'm very busy working on a new collaboration album together with Remy Stroomer. We did a lot of sessions together in both our studios and things are getting shape. We have about 68 minutes of music divided over 9 tracks. I personally think this is going to be a very special collaboration. The mixture of Remy's Klause Schulze orientation and my Vangelis influence and also both our love for Jean Michel Jarre's music will make this a very interesting mix I think. We are still working hard and we were still planning for a release later this year, but we do not dare to name a release date yet. But we did decide on an album title. The album will be called 'Primitives'. We will let you wonder about why. I'm also working hard on the artwork. More details will follow as soon as possible.

Both Remy and myself will be present at both the Electronic Circus Festival in Guterloh Germany (http://www.electronic-circus.net/) on the 22th of September as on the E-live Festival in Oirschot in The Netherlands (http://www.e-live.nl) on the 27th of October. We wont make the release for Gutersloh, but Oirschot we are aiming for. I'm just not sure we will make it, still lots of work and we don't want to rush it. We WILL have a sneak preview with us though so you CAN take a listen for sure already. Talk to you soon!

05 September 2012

Keyboard Jeff visits Synth.nl Apollo Studio

Just before I went on holiday I had a visitor over in my studio. In the picture on the left you see 'Keyboard Jeff' aka 'Synthex' because of his love of the Elka you see him with. Jeffrey is 13 years old and a very talented keyboard player with a unfamiliar musical taste for a boy of his age. He doesn't play dance or whatever, but he likes 80's synthesizer music. I met him at the E-live festival in Eindhoven were he approached me and told me he knew all my music and my videos from my website. Later it turned out he had read my whole website and knew everything from the top of his head.

 He was telling me all the synthesizers that I had that he never played before and at a certain moment I just stopped him and asked if he wanted to play on them for real and offered him a visit to my studio. In the mean time I also talked to Ron Boots about Jeffrey and Ron knew him very well too, because he visited his studio too and Ron told me also that Jeffrey was working on his own music and he let me hear some stuff. I was very surprised it sounded very well actually :) Quite remarkable.

So a couple of weeks ago he came over together with his father took pictures and also filmed the whole meeting. It was fun to watch that Jeffrey just couldn't chose which synthesizer to play. He wanted to play them all at the same time and jumped around from joy in the studio. He also found his way to the big modular wall and amazingly enough didn't ask any question. He knew how to patch the modular from the top of his head. I know a lot of adult and experienced musicians that don't even know how to do that, let alone get something musically interesting from a modular. But he did :)

Then he asked me a question I wasn't prepared for. He asked if we could play some music together and even record it. Normally I don't do that at all unless I know someone for a while. I just don't feel comfortable with these kind of things. His father was filming the whole thing and I get very nervous from that. Normally I even stop playing when my wife walks in to the studio. But since I had some experience now  with playing together with Ron Boots and Remy Stroomer and I agreed to give it a try. At first it didn't go too well, but that is normal. You have to get used to each others style, especially chords and tempo.

Later on we did play some very nice things together Jeffrey's father told us. I actually never know what I'm playing until I hear it back ;) Most of the recordings didn't work though unfortunately because Jeffrey kept switching synths faster that I could keep up with assigning channels to the recording software. I did manage to record one jam though that turned out quite nice and there are two nice ones on film. I'm planning to put a video on youtube from this. Please keep in mind that these will be fully unprepared improvisations and there are mistakes in there for sure. But it was a lot of fun. Eventually Jeffrey's father had lot of trouble getting him back home, but I think we all enjoyed this day :)

04 September 2012

Nature in the USA Holiday Post

This is the last post in my series about our holiday. So far I posted a lot of technical things, but we also saw a lot of the nature in the US on our road trips. On the left you can see me filming something very special. We were on our way actually to the beach in Clearwater FL when we came to a stop in a traffic jam. There were a lot of people that pulled their car over to look at something in the water. We decided to do the same and get out of the car. At first it look like there was a whale stranded or something from the distance. So we decided to walk over there and have a look.

When we came closer though we saw that it were manatees. We could not figure out what there we doing do. At a certain moment a marina biologist arrived and he told us that these manatees were mating. A rare sight that even the locals stopped their cars for. I filmed the whole thing for a while and together with the manatees we filmed at Manatee Cove I might have enough material for another Synth.nl promotional video.

We have seen a lot of other things too, but I can't share them all on here, but this one I just had to show you. We visited the Shenandoah Caverns in Virginia. A really spectacular place to visit. The caves it itself are beautiful already, but they really outdid themselves with the lighting of the caves. It is hard to capture it on camera since it is so dark and photographing with flash spoils the mood, but I think this pictures gives a good idea.

And then of course we saw a lot of alligators. You just can not miss them in Florida. We did visit the Gatorland park in Florida, which is very nice, but this picture on the right was actually taken by my wife in the pond right next to our holiday house. I think it is a great picture that shows why you don't want to go for a swim in the open water over there. The alligators are literally everywhere. Well enough about the alligators for now.

We also had a less pleasant up close encounter with the wildlife of Florida right at our house. Unfortunately there we had some cockroaches in the house that even pest control couldn't really get rid of. Every day we encountered a few of them, not very nice to have in your house I can tell you, but I guess that comes with the heat and humidity as well. Last year we didn't see any though. Well enough about that too. All in all we had a very nice holiday to look back on and even though we did a lot, we also had some time to relax like enjoying the beach in Clearwater under a parasol. And now. Back to work ;)