Always press 'Record' - A Cautionary Tale
When I started making music back in the early 90s, I wasn't always as great with my housekeeping as I would be now. Throughout my formative years with a cassette based 4 track, to my first really listenable creations, I often had no real long term future proof mentality, or any rigid discipline of mixing finished tracks to DAT or even just CD.
As a result; the most creative, intense and inspired period in my life suffers from some very patchy record keeping and non-existent cataloging.
Much music has been lost.
Many compositions are just gone.
There are many known losses (the Ozric Tentacles inspired space jams I did with me mates Graham and Jason for example), and there are even more unknown losses. Compositions I have forgotten even producing that have drifted off into the sub-ether wilderness.
It means nothing to anybody else I'm sure, but I get quite emotional about it, and feel like little bits of myself got lost along the way to sitting here telling you about it.
Snapshots of who I was in 1998 or 2001 or 2005 etc, just fucking gone, seemingly never to return.
Let me tell you about this one time...
It was 1999 or thereabouts, and I had just got my Aphex 104 rack mounted Aural Exciter (I know), and had a wonderful piece of music on the go at the time which was the first to feel the 104's big bottom.
I was so excited and thrilled at just how good this composition was turning out, and I wanted to lay a killer guitar solo on it there and then. I just had to get it out and soar.
So like a total twat, I set my guitar sound up, set my 8-track digital multi-track in record-ready mode, and set the mix down pathway from the console to my DAT recorder, with a tape in, but only set in 'armed' mode, which was then fed to an ordinary tape cassette in me deck, and I hit play on the sequence in Cubase....and fucking rocked it.
I played through the entire piece, take ONE, straight through, and everything I hit, I nailed.
Out dropped one of the most beautiful solos of my life.
After it was over, I sat there the elation and dizziness of feeling so at one with my guitar. To bend it to my will, to access that ethereal plane of gorgeous holy notage, and pursuade the gods of guitar to let me steal a few of those gosamer tones back into the realm of mere men.
At that moment I knew what Gilmour meant when he said that the 'Shine On' riff had just dropped out of his guitar..YES Dave, I UNDERSTAND, you and ME are ONE man, I KNOW I KNOW Yessssssss!!!!! The gods of holy grail guitar are real and today I am a guitar NINJA!
....and the only fucking thing in my studio that I bothered pressing actual record on was the motherfucking cassette deck.
Yes good people, for some reason; even though there were three devices in the signal chain that had to be put into 'record ready' mode in order for me to do this, I only pressed 'GO' on the shittest quality least useful one right on the end.
Where is that one single tape of that performance now? I don't know, but twenty year old fusty lost tapes aren't the most durable things are they.
Of course seeing my immense folly, I smashed myself in the face several times and set about doing 'TAKE 2' and recorded it properly on the 8 track. But the magic was gone, the gods were not with me. The ethereal plane of orgasmic guitar was closed to me, I hit the limit of my frustrations and I played 7 minutes of uninspired shitness.
I was so dejected, I never EVER went back to that piece of music, there was no take 3.
Today, the entire thing is gone, I can't even remember anything about the composition except for how amazing that Aphex 104 sounded when I first switch it in on the mix, and what a massive grin it put on my face.
Folks - Don't EVER do what I did. The only slightly mitigating circumstance in my case was that in those days hard drives were tiny, and the 'massive' 840MB one my VX880 had in it was full, which is what led to my folly.
You have no excuse, don't be a twat, record properly, and back your work up regularly.
Today, a little bit of something else came back to me
A dusty old CD came out of a disintegrating box in the shed, and on it were a bunch of tracks, most of them titles I never really lost track of over the years and already have digitized, SoundClouded, and filed away.
But among them on this CD was one of those unknown losses. A track I haven't thought about in 20 years, and only remembered composing the moment it began to play back in my headphones.
It may have had a name originally, I really don't remember
I will share it on SoundCloud I guess, why not.
It's not that great, but it was a long time ago.
I'm just happy that this little slice of Benji creativity has come back to the land of the living, and I can save it for posterity...for whatever that's worth. .
Ben Pegley - 21st July 2019