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History Part - 2

Production & Cock Ups - 1994

1994 was a time of various adverts and production work including an interesting trip to Sweden. While in Stockholm I used some samples on a project from a sample library in the studio that I thought I had access too, but apparently not. The Executive Producer ended up being so pissed off that he threatened to withhold my payment until I owned up to my “theft”. The problem was that I didn’t have the foggiest idea what he was talking about as I was not aware that I had committed a crime. Thanks to my management it all got sorted out in the end but only just.
Unfortunately that was not the only stupid misunderstanding that year. I was asked to do a remix for Ernie Watts for a track called Show Me. I headed over to the UK for the job and rented the studio of an old friend of mine and settled down to work. It was a fairly straight forward funky track with a nice female vocal, great hook and some OK rapping. I ran off an extended dance mix, an ambient version, and a ethnic Arab version as well as Instrumental and Vocal versions. I thought I’d done a great job, but amongst the things I’d decided NOT to use from the original was the terrible Saxophone.
It was after I turned the tapes over to the record company that the shit hit the fan. Turned out that Ernie Watts was the Saxophone player and he wanted to know what the hell I was up to. Well nobody told me what he played and he could have been the Rapper for all I knew. I thought it was funny (but nobody else was laughing). Shit happens... And the moral of this story is “Do your homework before you start” None of this helped my growing dissolution with the Music Industry and the feeling that I did not want to work in Recording Studios anymore. In 14 years it had gone from the only place that I dreamed of being to the thing that bored and irritated me.

I Quit - 1995

Two things happed early in 1995. My son Linus was born, and an opportunity to start working for a big German Distribution and Export company for music came up. I wanted a change and I wanted to be there for my son so I hung up my headphones and started a 9 to 5 for the first time in my life.
Despite deciding that enough was enough, I was surprised that I was still getting requests coming in for remixes and some production work. It was nice to be able to pick and choose and feel that I was doing things completely on my terms like the Souldier Nonstop project. I also spent some time with one of the godfathers of German electronic music Klaus Schultz after I was asked if I’d like to record an album with him. We did a few sessions deep in the woods at his own studio which was built onto the side of his house. However I realised that even with such an opportunity, my heart wasn’t really in the project. Regardless of the fact that I had written a mass of material I thanked Klaus for his hospitality and packed up and headed back home.
Despite having a studio I could use for free and still the possibility of commercial work, by the end of 1995 I was sure I had nothing else to say and withdrew from the world of music production for what I thought was for good. Now I was going to sell music instead of making it. My last two pieces of commercial work that year was a remix for EMI’s fledgling ethnic label Hemisphere, and a remix of a new single for Tony Banks from Genesis. A track called Only Seventeen.

Pictures and Plans - 1996-2009

My creative talents naturally adapted to the new situation I was in and the changing world. I was no longer making music, but without thinking about it I had morphed and found new outlets to express myself through. A drop in price of Servers and the development of software were catalysts that led to me being asked to help with the design and construction of the first of several websites.
Alongside my normal responsibilities, I also took over graphic duties at the company I was working for and started to produce all our advert and poster materials. One of my most memorable promotions was H’art Musik condoms which I produced for the MIDEM Canne Music Festival and my play safe (with your business) campaign. It was also during this time that I bought my first Digital SLR camera and reignited my earlier passion for photography. Experimentation followed and I soon had requests for image use as well as some exhibition. I was also heavily involved with the design and development of a whole series of exclusive limited box sets featuring such artists as Underworld and The Prodigy.
The company then needed to build  bigger premises and several architects were contacted and asked to submit designs. We were dissatisfied with each proposition both from and ergonomic and aesthetic point of view.
As I knew I understood our requirements better than any third party designer, I purchased Technical Drawing and Architectural design software and developed my own building. My design was accepted at once, but where as I had conceived an hexagonal main office building, the planners would only allow for a quadratic structure. However to allow for my orientation of the building a new road that I required was allowed and built.

Rebirth - 2010

It was the inquisitive nature of my young son that prompted me to dig out my old equipment and I quickly realised  that my long hibernation was over. The simple fun of making some noise started to distill into a creative plan and I re-equipped myself. Armed with the latest gear I was ready to begin again. It was against the backdrop of Post 911, the Gulf War and the New World Order courtesy of Bush/Cheney, that I started to develop a concept album under the artist name 20-12. It was to be my Social Political comment on where we were. My protest. Thanks to the help of Markus Roeder the album Necessary Means was picked up and released by Psyshop  Germany. 
My awakening also brought about involvement with other creative projects and I did various pieces of audio editing for other artists. It was also the start of writing music for my wifes Meditations, which in turn was the catalyst to rediscover my first love of pure Ambient. This would eventually lead me to establish the New Nails For Old Crosses project specifically for this output.

Mixing and Remixing - 2013-2014

I once again started to get behind the mixing desk for other artists. One of the first projects that I was involved with was mixing for Tom Brüderer’s Summer In The Sky album. I was originally contracted to mix the whole album but in the end an unexpected run of ill health  forced me to withdraw before completion. After that I became involved with the alternative rock band film. First as a technical advisor, however this role has developed into that of a “back room” 4th member. I  also started to review and edited Sound Libaries and Sound Designs of mine with a view to releasing them. This in turn started me Re-Mastering some of my earlier works such as my Falconer album.

Afp - 2015

The next challenge was how best to promote and organize all these different phases of my creativity. My own  website was the answer and so was born Afp. Having finally got fed up of Record Companies that either get the information wrong. Don’t account properly, account slowly or just plain old don’t pay, I have also decided to do my own retail. I am proud to be able to offer you a selection of my work for Digital Download. Either available here at the Store or via my Digital Partner Selz. What you also get as a customer is flexibility and the knowledge that you are directly supporting the artist. I get paid at once and you don’t need to purchase a full album anymore. Simply buy what you want and leave the rest.

May - 2015

Inspired by the memories of a 911 camera man and his emotionally charged narration. The new track Blue Coat from my 20-12 project is released. This was followed by the release of New Photo Prints Architecture 01, Architecture 02 and Wood Texture 02 My first News Letter is made available to registered members.

June - December 2015

New releases continue for my musical projects New Nails For Old Crosses, 20-12, as well as the first new track in years for the Falconer project. As well as musical releases, my photographic output also continues and I updated the website store into separate Music and Prints sections to cope with the output. September saw me guest hosting a 3 hour radio show The 180 for KRTU San Antoniom. Registered membership continues to grow and October brings the release of News Letter No. 06.
The new track and accompanying video for “pyramiden über ‘m bett” for the band film is completed. Work also commences on “the clown” and the first co-written track for the band which is so far going under the working title of “Andy’s Anthem in D”. 2016 should see the first live dates from the band.
Thanks to the inspiration and input from Fast Mouse Graphics the News Letter starts to take on a much more impressive  magazine form. The end of the year also sees the release of the 20-12 track Rachel, the first track to be recorded in duel language formats. There also follows a great remix of this track by Rob Mo from the UK. Small editing and Mastering jobs continue to roll in and I develop a website for Joanna Falconer Projects as well as designing various fliers and poster material. All in all 2015 has been a busy year with a lot going on and a lot of good feedback. I’m enjoying myself and looking forward to 2016!

January - March 2016

The year starts strong with two new tracks Last Call and Shake Well from my New Nails For Old Crosses project. Further third party work continues including a new extended mix of pyramiden uber m bett for the band film. Also more remastered versions from my old Falconer album are added and the idea starts to formulate to release the album again in an all new format including new incidental music.

April 2016

A full remastered version of my 1993 Falconer album is released in two formats. MP3 and Wave versions, and as  CD-Kit version with all new graphics, incidental music and bonus track. Also plans are being laid for an ORB reunion as it’s 25 years since the release of the iconic first album “Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld”

July 2016

Reunion time and the old gang was back together again for a special  occasion. On Friday 29th July electronic titans The Orb will perform their seminal debut album ‘Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld’ in full for the first time ever, to mark its 25th anniversary. For this very special sliver jubilee gig, Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann will be joined on stage by the original cast of collaborators who helped create the magic on this influential, era-defining milestone, plus a special punk icon whose music heavily influenced The Orb.
Paul Cook of Sex Pistols fame will guest on drums and fellow punk legend, original Orb member and ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ co-writer Youth will join on bass. Psychedelic-electronic-prog heroes Steve Hillage and partner Miquette Giraudy co-wrote ‘Supernova’ and ‘Backside Of The Moon’, and will also bring their mythical shamanistic magic to this special show. If all that wasn’t coup enough fellow ‘Ultraworld’ contributors Andy Falconer, Tom Green and Hugh Vickers will also guest, whilst original Orb lighting wizard David Herman will transform Electric Brixton into a vintage fractal technical wonderland.
Amidst the late 80s fervor of acid house The Orb explored their own meandering tangent, drawing on hip hop sample culture, krautrock, kosmische, ambience and a wealth of unusual and unlikely sound sources. In doing so they pioneered a more horizontally-inclined alternative to the jacking trax emanating from discerning nightclubs’ main rooms. Following a limited number of prototype 12”s from early pre-Orb incarnations, ‘Ultraworld’ was The Orb’s first fully formed, double album realization of the sonic sculpture they’d been finessing, amidst a punk-schooled period of fertile, no-rules creativity. The album was a critical and chart smash that soundtracked a generation. It still sounds amazing today and its influence on subsequent decades of dance music is immeasurable. This gig follows ‘Ultraworld’’s recent Record Store Day deluxe reissue, which was remastered at Abbey Road Studios and spread over 4-discs of 180-gram audiophile vinyl.

September 2016

With the release of News Letter 18 the 1½ year mark is celebrated and it happens at a busy time. The end of the summer and into the autumn sees work starting on a complete redesign of the afp wed-site and the decision for 2017 to amalgamate all different musical projects under the one name afp. Also the sound track for the short film Random 2 by Dirk Gerigk and Iris Dobimn is completed and released, while preparations are also under way for Live work for 2017.
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November 2016

My new ambient album Ski For The Trees (while there’s still time) is released as download version only.

December 2016

A new video by Fast Mouse Graphics for the track H2 OH taken from the album Ski For The Trees (while there’s still time) is available for viewing on both Youtube  and Vimeo.

January 2017

The brand new afp website V2 is launched. It’s a stripped down cleaner, faster and brighter surfing experience which also offers a brand new Merchandise shop featuring high quality designs available in a range of colours and sizes.

June 2017

The brand new album Resistor is released as download only and is available from my online partner Selz.

History Part 2

In Demand - 1991 & 1992

My first post ORB project was working with Tony Martin on his Hypnotone Ai album for Creation Records. This was a fun record to make with recording taking place in Manchester and London. I Engineered, Mixed, Co-Produced, Co-Wrote and Wrote the tracks “God’s CPU” and “Airwalk” for the album. I also oversaw the final Post Production Pro-Tools work on the record which was done at Berwick Street Studios.
There then followed sessions with ABC for their album Abracadabra. Cool guys and rather surreal to be working with pop-stars from when  I was a teenager. I also found myself back at Berwick Street with the trance master Ollie Olsen formerly of Max Q, which had been a side project of Michael Hutchence from INXS. We worked on his self titled album Third Eye while Ollie regaled me with stories of the old days and “Cooking up” instant coffee and main-lining white wine. I’m not sure I believed a word, but he made me laugh till I cried.
Unfortunately you can’t please everybody all of the time. I was mixing the track “Let’s All Dance” for the Gibson Brothers (Cuba) and decided that the arrangement should be changed a little and I just did it. Rod Gammons who was not only producing the track but had also arranged and co-written it, loved my changes. The Gibson Brothers came by and they loved the change. However it was then that Dave Christie turned up and he just wanted to kill me. Rod and a couple of guys had to more or less drag him out of the studio while he cursed and screamed that I had ruined his song. We still kept my changes.
Then it was off to Condulmer Studios in Italy just outside of Venice to mix the album Mosaic for the highly acclaimed Japanese artist Mimori Yusa. The executive producer Tomo drove me mad and at one point in an arrogant sulk I phoned my management to ask if we could give the money back and could I come home. NO was the answer. I pulled myself together and finished the album. In retrospect I realised that Tomo had simply being pushing me and confronting me to try to drag the best out of me, and it worked. I’d become very lazy and complacent and Mosaic was my wake up call and the best mixes I’d ever done. My lesson had been learned.
Back in London and it was another Japanese project with some work for Keiichi Suzuki from the Moon Riders and his solo album White Report. I produced and recorded one track myself and mixed another for Toni Martin who was also doing a remix for the album. Keiichi had heard my work on the Art Of Noise Ambient Collection and the ORB Ultraworld album and was mad about the ORB. There was one particular phased cymbal effect that he was very keen to have on his album but I was not so thrilled with the idea of copying the work. So as well as employing myself he got Alex and Thrash in to do a mix and they were happy to please him with the cymbal effect.
I was then on my way to Brussels and once again working with Toni Martin from Hypnotone. This time I was pushing the buttons and mixing for a remix he was doing for Dominique Dalcan on Crammed Discs. The remix was from his French language hit “Comment Faut-Il Faire?”. We had a great time. Not least of all with us climbing the natural stone clad wall of the control room at Daylight Studios, and evenings bar hopping in the Moroccan quarter and taking in the excellent Arabic street musicians.
In Soho doing some tracking with Rob N Raz and Leila K. The boys were great guys and fun to work with which is more than you could say for Leila. Once the main track was finished she turned up for the first time in a huge fur coat with her minder in tow. She just teeth-kissed the boys, had a row in Swedish with the manager and then flounced into the vocal booth in VERY bad grace where she proceeded to neither speak, sing or rap a single word till the manager threw his hands up in despair and got her back in a taxi. End of session, end of working relationship between Rob N Raz and Leila K.
Working with Youth once again mixing the single Ever Lasting Day for the band Magik Roundabout. Youth was in the Producers seat for these really nice group of guys from New Zealand.
Recorded and mixed this beautiful little self titled ambient record from Red Sun. I can well remember the great lengths that we went to get the sound of just the right sort of waves breaking on the shore. The sand had to be not too soft and the pebbles not too hard. The project got me my first Name Check on MTV.
Another Japanese project. This time for the band Fairchild and their album Gimix. Basically I got the complete multitracks and in both cases just threw everything away but the vocals and wrote, recorded and mixed new songs from scratch, one per evening. The first song went well but the second track was a bugger. I had a real big orchestral arrangement in my head, and having worked half the night I ended up with something that sounded like a funeral march and it sucked big time. I told the tap-op to erase everything and I went for a walk through Soho in the early hours of the morning. I came back and with only a couple of hours to spare till my time ran out I  wrote, produced and mixed a beautiful ambient master piece that the client just loved. The muse was suddenly with me.
Our paths cross again and the old team reconvenes. Back in the studio with Alex and Thrash, but this time as guests on Steve Hillages new project System 7. I co-wrote a track for the album as well as doing some additional engineer, mixing and co-production work. Paul Oakenfold turned up for 1/2 an hour, told me the bass line I was playing was good and he got a writing credit for that. Nice work if you can get it Paul.

Papers Please - 1993

I moved to Germany which was not a problem for my work as I still had my management in London and was living near an International airport. My first domestic project was Producing the album Violence for the band Invisible Limits.  The residential studio was great, the label manger worshiped the ground I walk on, the band were serious and at the same time it all sucked. It’s the first time I’m having thoughts about quiting it all and going and doing something else. Anything else apart from staying up all night working  to try and polish somebody else’s dream.
Back in the UK once more and this time it was to remix the track Private Pride for the Japanese band Soft Ballet. I end up in a studio in Sheffield and run off three completely different versions in one night and then head straight for the train station/airport at dawn. I’m in good company as other remixes on the album are by by Fluke, EMF, Pop Will Eat Itself and Adamski to name but a few.
Back in the UK again and once more working with Steve Hillage as well as the legendary Salif Keita, the voice of god. Things have gone full circle for as well as working at Marcus and Landsdown Studios I also found myself back where it all started for me at Falconer Studios. One of several film soundtracks I’ve worked on during my career, but certainly the most interesting. As well as recording and mixing I also have a credit for sound design. It was also the first time I had the opportunity to mix in complete surround sound.
Next I headed over to Malibu California to do some work with the Space Bambi’s. It was Disney land all over, 24/7.
I was invited to record an album of my own material and headed down to a little studio near Frankfurt with my old friend Nigel Butler. The little town was provincial with a capital P and we wondered where the hell we’d ended up. Technically the place left an awful lot to desire but they were eager to please and I could do anything I wanted. So I settled in to have some fun. Everything was done on the fly on the day. I ended up with a groovy record full of gags and surprises and one that I have recently been re-mastering and is available for download at the Store.
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