May 1st, 2022 was the official start to my 31st year with Roland Corporation. Over these three decades, I have been given the opportunity to learn, challenge, and grow in ways I could never have imagined, and I am deeply thankful to so many. In 1997 I also met my wife during her brief Roland career, and we just celebrated 23 years of marriage, so that’s pretty good!
In my first decade with Roland I was privileged to work as a Product Specialist, and was given the opportunity to inspire people across Canada and into the USA with new instruments, applications, and solutions. During this time I was intentional with writing original music for every product I demonstrated. This era was when I was most prolific musically, as I reveled in the challenge of limiting myself to one instrument and a sequencer (the mighty Roland Micro Composer!), often facing ridiculous deadlines and a stream of firmware updates as I went. I LOVED IT.
I have not been able to find audio recordings of everything from this era, but I have found some, and I am going to start sharing with my friends (because why not?). These recordings have not been processed or mastered in any way; the audio outputs of whatever instrument I was working with were usually connected straight to a DAT (Digital Audio Tape Recorder), and I simply pressed play.
The first to be shared is a collection of songs I wrote which were published by Roland globally as a GS Format “Standard MIDI File” album (on floppy disk!) in the early 90’s. Everything was created on and for a Roland SoundCanvas synthesizer, with sound design being done using the MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) equivalent of assembly language known as System Exclusive and Non-registered Parameter Numbers (yawn). One or two of these songs were performed live to groups small and very large- fun!
The song Remix on Io has an interesting story. My “album” needed one more song, but I had been afflicted with severe tendonitis on a product tour and could not play with my right hand at all. My solution? Create a new version of the album’s first tune by copying, editing, rearranging, and playing any new parts only with my left hand. Micro Composer Achievement Unlocked!
Anyway, if you like progressive electronic music with rock tinges, perhaps you’ll enjoy Twenty Sixty-One, and if you don’t, there’s not much I can do about that now! Onward…