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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.

With the exception of "Rocks & Stones" (and, nominally "Exhibition '98, due to it's "auto-wah" treatment), all the following albums use a "clean", unmodified guitar-sound.


Any reservations I have about these discs are noted in italics. Example songs - available in RealAudio - are noted in orange, and appear at the bottom of this page.

- Groove '92: This set of 'drum machine, plus bass, rhythm and lead guitar' songs is in a sort of a funky rock, jazz, bebop type mode with lots of extended soloing. The actual songs are really extended jams on a series of basic chord structures and grooves - and I could improve the sound by remixing the tracks through my Tascam 244, instead of running the output directly from my Yamaha MT-120.

- Bop '92: (see "Bop 92" below) This music comes from 1992. Over a series of ultra-simple drum-machine patterns and novel rhythm guitar chords are some highly animated bass-lines and ultra-fast lead guitar playing that ventures into jazz-fusion and bebop style. I've included a red-blue 3D picture of the guitar used on the cover. The sound could be improved. Featured at http://www.mp3.com.au/AlexVanStarrex/.

- Shorts: Another album from 1992, I think (the backing tracks - maybe even the whole album - could be from the late 1980's). This features a multitude of very short songs (each just over 2 minutes long), with some tasy soloing. Featured at http://www.mp3.com.au/AlexVanStarrex/.

- Guitar '97: (see "Work"below) This project was always lined up to be my first CD-recording. The session comes from my 1996/7 multitrack cassette demos - with sequenced drums from my Roland E-35 keyboard and added bass, rhythm and lead guitar. The backing tracks were almost too most difficult to play against - the final lead guitar - take50+ - made the grade - and I've not happy with several of the later songs. Featured at http://www.mp3.com.au/AlexVanStarrex/.

- Rocks & Stones: This album, like "Guitar 97", required continuous re-recording, and I'm still unhappy with the lead guitar tracks. In contrast to "Guitar 97" (which comes from a similar period), this album is more extroverted and open - featuring a Hammond organ type synth playing for the rhythm and distorted lead guitar work.

- Warped '98: I bought a Yamaha DD-9 "toy" drum machine, with built-in rhythms, 4 pads and plastic drumsticks. But the sound of the kit and the touch response of the pads was awful, so I rarely used it. This recording was made in one day - January 27 1998 - and features improvised drum tracks with twin guitar and bass, all of which is recorded in a deep, slow flange. It's really weird - but it (usually) works.

- Exhibition '98: This disc features bass and drums with two auto-filtered guitar lines. The effect is a little overbearing at times, with the music frequently descending into cartoon-like parody, but the playing is still good. Despite this, the disc stands out as more of a novelty than anything else.

- Guitar Works 1992-1998: Few of my electric guitar-based CDs have been consistently good from start to finish. This compilation - with tracks from "Guitar '97", "Groove '92", "Bop '92", "Warped '98", "Stretching Out" and "Exhibition '98" - was made for an experiment as much as anything else, since the sounds of the recordings (not to mention the performances) are quite diverse.


- Basic Skills: This contains most of my Caringbah jams. These come from mono micro-cassette tapes, with occasional duff playing.

- Hi-Fi: The only stereo cassette recording I made from these nights. This is a bit short, and lacking in bottom-end.Guitar 97 - the enhanded edition


- Guitar '97 (Enhanced CD): For this project I recorded the "Guitar '97" tracks (twice - since there were problems with the first attempt) and added a host of extras - 192 kps MP3's of every track, a mini web-site, pictures (including the original music scores for the bass-lines) and a RealVideo of me playing a different/later version of one of the songs. Unfortunately, after much deliberation, I much prefer the sound of the original recording/CD.



REAL AUDIO FILES TO STREAM/DOWNLOAD (RealPlayer required to play these)

These files are highly compressed and in mono - the originals recordings sound much better.

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URL: http://homepages.tig.com.au/~avanstar
Alex Van Starrex