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The ALEX VAN STARREX Website
INTRODUCTION: MY RECORDINGS
Having over 100 original CDs available, I thought it best to give them a section of their own on this site. First-time readers should check my Musical History Page to see how I got this far - the rest can delve into the contents as they see fit. As I currently write, there are easily another 100+ CDs capable of being produced from my backlog of tapes and files - but I rarely find the time to transfer the material to disc.
Why advertise the availability of these recordings? Well, until other people - with equally-large(?) collections - start making their recordings available, I may as well be the first to do it. These aren't commercial-quality releases - for the most part, anyway - but they show a willingness to constantly explore new audio-territory.
MP3s of my best (available) solo work now appear at http://www.mp3.com.au/AlexVanStarrex/. The 40+ mp3.com.au files (available for both streaming and downloading) do, however, feature a fairly narrow range of my musical output over the years - but together with the various RealAudio files featured in this current section, they at least give some idea of the scope my work.
My music-production "business" is essentially home-based. This is by my own choice - since my musical output is too large and diverse to make a conventional commercial "record deal" worthwhile. The internet gives a convenient outlet for my work, but I was quite happily working away before it came along.
I'm more concerned with creating/making "product" than selling/distributing it. To be honest, I wouldn't care if no-one wanted my work - and, traditionally, have taken little interest in those who express an interest my work. This could be because I'm focussing so much of my energy into producing the music and discs - and maybe becuase I've had some problems setting up my "PayPal" account. Either way, commercial production and distribution (in due course) is still a viable option.
The format of my CDs change from time to time - nothing is permanently fixed. Changes do occur from time to time in the technology, equipment and procedures that I use to create, package and copy my CDs - so I occasionally "remaster" and/or re-package material. But there is too much material around to work on, so I balance these considerations with the need to be able to make finished discs to start with.
UNRECORDED(*) LOST(+), AND WORTHLESS(-) WORK
Firstly, here's a rundown of the material you won't get to hear on the CDs:
* 1963-4: At the age of 3-4, I used to play for
hours every day on the piano of a house that my mother used to
* 1965-7(some time): I got a "Zippy Zither" for Christmas, that I would make sort-of musical noises on;
* 1971-3: The years of my first acoustic guitar - a cheap ($ 11.95?) "Tempo" guitar - I took one lesson on it;
* 1971-3: I used to have an extraordinary vocal range, but never sang in public and never recorded it;
+ 1972-1975: Dad bought us kids a cheap cassette recorder - I only remember us making one short joke recording;
* 1973-4: I turned the Tempo into an electric by installing a pickup from a Hawaiian lap guitar my nucle gave me;
* 1975-6: I bought my first cheap/nasty electric guitar second-hand from "Chook", a school-friend;
+ 1976?: My high-school got a monophonic synthesiser - and I made a tape of me playing it - well and truly lost;
+ 1976?: I remember Dad making a recording of me attempting the start of Led Zeppelin's "Over The Hills & Far Away";
+ 1976-7: I made a lot of experimental recordings - and can barely (if at all) remember now what was on them;
* 1977: I got a decent electric-guitar (a Navarra SG-copy) and played with a school-band in the "Looking for Space" musical;
** 1977: I played along with radio songs, working out how to record separate tracks on a stereo radio-cassette recorder;
* 1978-9: I recorded several experiments with guitars, keyboards and percussion - only a few compilation-tapes remain;
** 1979-80: I lost original mixes of my first solo & electric guitar and keyboard "albums" by re-equalising tapes over each other;
* 1980: The first (Great Unknowns) "band" jams weren't recorded, as far as I can remember - one or two tracks remain, though;
* /+ 1981-2: My/our best performances - at two birthday parties - weren't recorded. Jeff Moore's family may have other tapes;
** 1980-82: Many of the band tapes I have were "best-of's"- compiled from now-lost master-tapes. Others have deteriorated;
- 1980-1981: There were many experiments with musical-ideas and sound-on-sound experiments that aren't worth listening to;
- 1982: There are at least two drummer-less jams not bound for CD - one very-badly recorded one and another just silly/bad:
-/+ 1982-1985: "The great cull": I threw out around 200 finished but otherwise unmemorable and musically-worthless solo tapes;
+ 1981-now: I haven't recorded every single thing I've played - though for a long time I wouldn't play unless I recorded;
*? 2000-1: Most of my "live" acoustic-electic performances and jams weren't recorded (to my knowledge) - at least not by me;
- 1981-now: A lot of my worse and inessential recordings and music-files will probably never make it to CD - who knows?
And here's what you will hear:
FEATURED ARTISTS AND SESSIONS
The layout of this current section - as per the explanations in the CD Index Page - together with the information in my Musical History Page - should give a clear anough indication of who and what is on the CDs. But here's a quick history and rundown, anyway:
Solo Work 1: 1978-82 - My early solo "albums" were theme-based, according to instruments: "acoustic guitar", "electric guitar" (with "fake" bass & drum-machine) and "keyboards" (piano, organ & synth). The tracks on the keyboard "album" had been recorded and compiled going back to 1978. After this, I started integrating these disparate elements into more cohesive collections of songs, but consciously strove never to repeat myself along the way.
The Great Unknowns - This "band" was just a (variable) group of local guys that my brothers Rudi and Johan used to occasionally jam with, while I was away working in the country. I joined in, start recording the sessions and virtually took over most of the proceedings - edging Rudi out along the way (since I never like his playing). I started played with them around 1981 and by 1983 everyone had lost interest. My solo "guitar" albums stemmed from (unsuccessful) attempts to compose music for this group.
The Audients 1: 1981-85 - Away from the band, I got Johan to play in a series of highly-experimental (and often quite chaotic) recordings. The combination of having solo, jam and band sessions to play in and record meant that my musical creativity was given full reign in widely different directions. But I always found it much more productive to work on my own and, with increasing frustration through the other areas, started to concentrate my energies in this way.
Solo Work 2: 1983-1991 - Buying a "Tascam 244" multitrack cassette-recordor allowed me to make recording at a truly phenomal pace - in excess of one "album" a week. But, left to my own devices - and lacking the discipline for writing-out my ideas - my recording became too experimental and erratic in nature. Much of my work became unlistenable and I'd already thrown out a few hundred tapes in a "cull" by the time the Tascam broke down in 1988. Shortly before that my bass-guitar was 'broken', anyway - my old favourite Ibanez "Les Paul" copy joined it some time afterwards.
Solo Work 3: 1992-1998 - In 1992 I bought a new multitrack recorder - a Yamaha MT120. Weekly jam-sessions at a local hotel also led to me buying a new electric guitar (a "Samick Les Paul" copy) and bass-guitar (a "Fender Precision bass" copy). I recorded many of the sessions that I played in (resulting in my "Caringbah All-Stars" CDs) and made some sizzling solo-albums. I also bought a video camera and recorded a series of tapes ( mostly of me performing "overdubbing" lead guitar on old multitrack recordings). I then made a number of other new guitar-based albums, but nothing of any great note - up until my "Guitar '97" recordings, which became the basis of my first self-recorded CD in early 1999.
Solo CDs: MOD & MIDI - I'd owned a Commodore 64 computer since 1984 and used it to create some fairly rudimentary music (I have a tape of the best songs, to which I added other instruments - this may see release in some form). But in 1988 the purchase of an Amiga 500 really set me off on the a course of exploring computer music. I started working with the Deluxe Music Construction Set, then switched to MED and OctaMED for sample-base MODs. In 1993, with the purchase of an Amiga 1200 and a MIDI keyboard, I switched to MIDI music-making.
The Audients 2: 1996-now - Having the video camera, together with the inclination to play - and, thanks to Rudi leaving one of his electric guitars here (on his occasional visits from Japan), I made some more recordings with Johan. More still followed - often in an acoustic vein - with Johan becoming involved with the "Return of Cool" band.
Solo Work 4: 1999-now - The availability of CD-mastering and internet connection - through my my new computer in 1998 - rekindled my interest in making albums, and I tried a series of experiments with old, new and even hybrid recordings. Even so, the flame was going out of this type of work - though being briefly rekindled when I bought a Boss BR-8 digital multitrack recorder. The purchase, in 2001, of a stand-alone Philips CD-Recorder has made CD-making much easier and quicker - though the sound isn't as good as the slow, laborious and old-fashioned method of hard-disk recording.
Solo Guitar CDs: 2001-now - My major progression as a musician since 1997 has been in composing solo-arrangements of popular songs, which also led to a return to live performing from late 2000 to late 2001. The increase in diversity and complexity of these songs has been truly staggering, but my enthusiasm has started to level off of late. Still, of my available mp3 tracks on-line , these are by far the most popular. Readers will note, from the "Multimedia" section, that I've put a lot of effort into making "CD-Extra" discs of my guitar-work - with audio, videos, graphics and text.
For the latest news - in music and all things generally - check the Personal News page.
THE AVAILABILITY OF CDs
I can provide CDs and MP3s - either for sale or trade. Contact me for details. I can recommend and select material, if the available choice is too overwhelming, and record "new" material on request.
As mentioned earlier, I don't have a lot of time for publicising and distributing my CDs - but everything is available. There are even stacks of (secondary, faulty or just plain wrong) "test" pressings which I could gratuitously give away, but for the fact that they may become unfairly representated as my deliberate "official" work. either way, readers should contact me if they want proper CDs of my work.
Three things will make distribution much easier - an established Paypal (or other) payment system, a fast internet connection, and a more effecitve means of distribution. Becoming more "famous" wouldn't hurt either. But, in the meantime, I'm happy to work on producing my CDs - and there are certainly more than enough to work on at the moment!
- Musicmedia 1980-2000: This CD-Rom features: (i) my "20 Years of Original Music in 100 MP3s" (recorded at 96 khz and intended for uploading to http://mp3.freediskspace.com/Folders/6062976/ - password "avsplay"); (ii) 31 additional MP3s which didn't make the final selection; (iii) 23.5 MP3s of the songs from my "Guitar Medley No.1" session; my complete collection of original RealVideos - over 250 files (including my complete A Virtual Serenade - 50 Popular Songs In Real Video site and the videos from my "Love Songs" CD Extra plus guitar, bass, keyboards, and experimental works); (iv) digitised versions of almost all my music-related photos from 1980 to 2000; (v) a copy of the "My musical history" page from this website. Note, however, that this isn't so much a multimedia disc as an excuse to wipe the files from my hard drive.
REALVIDEO FILES (RealPlayer G2 required to play these)
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© 1998 Alex Van Starrex