The music on these 2 albums was composed on a Fairlight Computer Music Instrument between 1983 and 1988 (ok - not track 19, done on a DX7). Together with the Synclavier (made famous by Frank Zappa's use of it) the Fairlight was the first synthesiser controlled by a computer. It had a digital sampler, a sequencer (called 'Page R'), on-screen wave-form display and a central processor unit (CPU) that took 2 people to lift.
In 1982 I was involved in a studio that bought one, and after 2 months of throwing the manual against the wall I gradually was able to teach myself how to use it. The sequencer held up to 8 momophonic lines, forcing me to think contrapuntally. This 8-voice polyphony was like having a constantly changing octet at my disposal. Also, you could only compose one bar at a time.
By 1988 it was gathering dust in the corner of the studio, having been superceded by newer technology and fashion, so I made an offer and bought it at one tenth of its price for my own embryonic home studio.
In 1990 I sold it and it drifted out of my life. I made great use of it and have very fond memories of the Fairlight.
The earliest of these pieces appear as they came out of the Fairlight, recorded straight onto tape (the first 4 tracks here for instance), except for some editing on the old Ferrograph Series 7 tape recorder long since gone. Say Yes To The Nice Lady took a month of editing and experimenting - mainly using the same sequenced notes but substituting the samples (chameleon octet). I am grateful to Lucy Vigne-Welsh and Elena López who came into the studio as I was working, and who produced extraordinary semi-improvised texts in response to the music.
Ordained For Grave Dancing is the same as Sideways And Pinkwards, except it's at one third the tempo.
The later pieces, composed in the new home studio, now with an 8-track tape recorder, were layered with no edits ( Arminarm, Fire On The Water, Why Orange?). In those days I hardly ever got paid for any composing, thus the pay-jar was empty, but the Page R was full.
In October 1983, on the Irish TV 'Live Arts Show,' I demonstrated the Fairlight Computer Music Instrument, and also there was a song sung by Olwen Fouéré, when the 2 of us were Operating Theatre. See colour stills above.