Friday, January 28, 2005

Awakenings 2005 3CDR set is now available

Modulator ESP has two tracks featured on the new Awakenings 2005 3 CDR set.

CD1 features the exclusive track 'Transpatial' recorded live during the practice sessions for my November Awakenings gig last year and CD3 features 'Dark Star Voyage', recorded at my first ever live performance.

The full track-listing and details of how to order are available from the Awakenings website.

Thanks to John Sherwood for organising this.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Sneak Preview - New Track

I've just uploaded a new Modulator ESP track, written between Boxing Day and New Year's Eve. My goal had been to write a track using only analog equipment, to be included in the EM Forum Analog Sampler project, but as I was writing the track I was affected by the events occurring in Asia and the mood of the piece became quite sombre and reflective. Therefore, in remembrance of this natural disaster it is entitled Tsunami
Equipment used:
Roland JUNO-106 (Strings, Flute and FX)
Roland SH-101 (Sequences)
Doepfer MAQ 16/3 Analog Sequencer
Yamaha AW16G Digital Multi-track Recorder (Recording and Effects)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Astrogator website - Modulator ESP updates

New Astrogator website is now online at

Modulator ESP website has been expanded and updated.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Some reviews of my work

Random Fluctuations (self-released, 2001)

"Random Fluctuations" is a two-part electronic suite composed and recorded by Jez Creek in 2001. Each part is divided into several sections that all have their own subtitles, so in the end it's kind of a musical story. By listening to Jez' music, I'd venture that he has progrock background - there is a sense of thematic development and multiple part transitions typical of classic Progressive Rock works and also some classic EM albums like Tangerine Dream's "Tangram" or "Logos". So, if you like early 80's Tangerine Dream or the music of Mark Shreeve, then this CD is for you. It's also quite symphonic sounding, with great dynamics and rhythms. Dark sounds get the first part underway. Soon subtle bass textures are introduced as the soundscape becomes even more intense. This is brooding music - very good stuff. After the 6 minute mark the rhythms are deployed full-time as well as some solos and sequences. I found my head nodding as I listened to this. Great themes and melodies! All is quite and mysterious again after 9 minutes into the track. Of course this section is a transition to the next part that has some warm flowing pads and is surprisingly gentle. Very, very good! Slow rhythm keeps things tight, while the melodies do soar in the sonic ether in a soothing and comforting way. There's even a hint of solemnity in there. The rhythm becomes faster and there are some symphonic textures that strongly remind of "Tangram"-era TD. This is uplifting EM at it's best. And, oh, those solos...! It reminds me on EM from the days gone by. The track ends rather abruptly. The second part starts with dramatic string / drum section. Pretty suspenseful stuff. Some e-drums are introduced along with a melodic sequence and we have a rhythmic section that's halfway between sad and mysterious. The dramatic strings and drums return after a while, sounding like an orchestral movie soundtrack. This time the string sounds are combined with the electronic rhythm and piano playing. Some great synth soloing is also welcome. There's a short intermission after which we get upbeat sequencer lines and a fast theme depicting the war I guess (according to the subtitle). Some very 80's electronic drums (Simmons-like) are used to great effect here. A piano theme comes next, with the sounds of wind in the background. The rhythmic elements do not take long to appear and take control of the proceedings. It's a mysterious and somewhat reflective part. Some processed voices are heard as the screaming solo takes over after 17 minutes into the track. Everything fits perfectly - from voices, to rhythms, to sequences, solos and atmospheres. It all calms down and all we hear for a while are phased / processed synth pads along with some recurring effects. But after a while another excellent melodic motif appears. I loved this part - very complex, even reminding a bit on some of Klaus Schulze material from the 80's. The final section starts with bleeping synths and upbeat rhythm. This is a bit techno influenced (mainly in the rhythms department). I loved the urgent electric piano motif although the main theme is a bit too "techno" for my taste. "Random Fluctuations" is a darn fine album of melodic thematic Electronic Music, that those into most of vintage EM will enjoy, be it early 80's Tangerine Dream, the less sequenced Mark Shreeve, some 70's Vangelis or even Dave Greenslade's "Pentateuch of the Cosmogony".

Reality Excursion Sequences (2004), Time Clouds Distant Memory (2004)

Both albums are live minidisc recordings from concert performances in 2004. They feature sequencer-based music, vaguely in the Berlin School mould. The sound quality is nice but I'd prefer more reverb - the sound is a bit dry to my ears. Reality Excursion Sequences starts with "Dark Star Voyage", which is a lengthy suite with multiple parts. The structure is a bit loose, so you kinda know this is a live recording when you listen to it. Some nice textures, but as I've said earlier I prefer a more spacey, reverbed sound. Nice sequencing and solos, though. "Silent Planet" is a nice mysterious track (that also includes rather cheerful sequences towards the end) with repeating bass motif and good sequences / rhythm combination. "Chaos Theory" is a chaotic (pun intended) and busy sequencer track (which initially makes use of the same sequence that appeared on the previous number). The second live album starts with "Time Clouds" that has an atmospheric introduction with pads and soundscapes, but after a while melodic motifs and, subsequently, rhythmic sequences are introduced that drive the rest of the track along in a relaxed, unhurried mode. You will encounter some pretty tasty solos along the way. The second track is called "Astral Dreams". There's an abstract beginning with noises, soundscapes and stuff, but the sequences ought to appear sooner or later, and viola! - they do as we are nearing the 3 minute mark. Low threatening chords are heard as we are propelled forward at a pace faster than usual with Modulator's recordings. I think it's the best of his live tracks (despite some use of preset choir sounds) - the sequencing is very competent here - pure New Berlin School, a bit trancey and yet more like prog EM. The title of the last track is "Dark Star Voyage" - the same as the first track on Reality Excursion Sequences, but it's a totally different version. It starts with a reflective piano part that gives way to rhythmic notes and in the end it's another mid-paced sequencer track, in typical Modulator ESP style.

reviews by Artemi Pugachov of The Encyclopedia of Electronic Music

New Year's Update

Happy New Year to everyone.

Here's a quick update on my project with Steve Humphries:

We met up on New Year's Eve to go through the output from the Chesterfield sessions and decide which tracks to use and what editing, if any, was required. I will be attempting to do the editing during January.

We have also agreed on a name for the project, which is 'Astrogator' a concatenation of the words Astronomy and Navigator, which is quite apt due to the spacey, journey-like nature of the music.

(see also definition: astrogator the navigator of a spacecraft)

I remember the word from a SF book I read in my childhood, called 'Starman Jones' by RA Heinlein (review)

I can also report that Steve's Prophecy is now fully functional :¬)

We intend to release any music on our own label, which is provisionally called 'Ephemeral Dream'

I've designed a nice new logo for the project and will upload it very soon...