TDFZ interview 17th jan 2009

TDFZ Radio InterviewBACKGROUND – “Icon One” from the album “Icon One”

Dave Pearson – Hi, this is Dave Pearson of Computerchemist, and you’re listening to TDFZ with your host, as always, Chris Newman.

(opening segment edit plays at low volume in background – “Darklight Drive” from the album “Landform”)

Chris Newman – Hi Everyone, I’m Chris Newman, it’s the 17th of January (2009) and a big welcome to the TDFZ Computerchemist special. Computerchemist is the artist Dave Pearson, who himself has been at the forefront of Electronic music as soloist for some time now delighting us with a very unique blend of soundscapes that are always charged with inspiration from the Berlin School of Music and Tangerine Dream, whilst at the same time blending evocative colours from more contemporary influences. I was fortunate enough to catch up with the sonic alchemist himself earlier this week from his laboratory so sit back, relax and enjoy now the Computerchemist Music Special.

TRACK #1 – FADES UP – “Darklight Drive” parts 1 and 2 from the album “Landform”

BACKGROUND – “Icon One” from the album “Icon One”

CN – That magnificent work everyone, opening up the show, was entitled “Darklight Drive” which is from the third and brand new album release “Landform” from this week’s very special TDFZ guest, Computerchemist, Dave Pearson. Dave, it’s fantastic to catch up with you at last and thanks for taking the time out with me today so we can explore your music with you a bit further.

DP – Thanks Chris, it’s good to be here.

CN – So Dave, firstly congratulations on your new album “Landform” released last month, it’s a real winner for sure and certainly up there with your earlier “Atmospheric” and “Icon One” albums, early days I know but how’s initial feedback for “Landform” going?

DP – Yeah Chris, it’s going really well, at the moment we’ve got it on the Terrainflight site as you’ve probably seen, selling throughCD Baby. I’d got Greg Allen, of all people, who had not long finished thedefinitive biography of Klaus Schulze to do awrite-up on it, just one of those fluky things really, he happened to pop up on Myspace, we got talking to each other, and the rest as they is is history! Fantastic review, really chuffed, really proud of the album, it’s all been going very, very well.

CN – We’ll be exploring some of this fantastic album later on in the program but can we rewind and go back to the very beginnings of Computerchemist and where your own passion and love for EM music started. When was that magical turning point for you Dave, was it a gradual process or did you suddenly hear that one special piece of music or artist and say to yourself.. that’s for me?

DP – I think for me it was back in – how old was I – 15, 16, something like that? I was listening to, I think it was the Friday Rock Show, quite late at night, and they had the normal stuff on that we rockers used to listen to, there I was with my long hair listening to Rush and Iron Maiden and all that sort of thing, and this really strange thing came on, and it completely and absolutely transformed my mind. It was the most incredible piece of music I think I’ve ever heard, and I think that possibly still is the case – the track in question was of course “Cloudburst Flight” – and after hearing it I had this tremendous turning point in my musical encounters. Up to that point it was very very much guitar based rock bands and for me “Cloudburst Flight” was this incredible piece of crossover music really, which just appeals so much, and I think that’s still the case now – for me anyway – a piece of music that just crosses all the boundaries, and I don’t think it’s ever been done again. For me, that was it – I was hooked – I went off, found the album at WH Smiths that same day. I found “Force Majeure” there, it was the “clear cut” edition, I think it had only just come out, so there I was with this fantastic clear vinyl record, took it home, played it to death, next weekend I was back again, and I was buying up everything! It was fantastic, and for me, that was it, that was the thing that said to me that EM is where I am at, I think I’d found myself at last.

CN – Did you have any formative musical training?

DP – No, not really. We had music at school, playing the triangle, if you could a brass instrument or something, I never really got into it. It’s one of those things that in a way you sort of regret, and on the other hand you think, well, would it have given me that much more? I don’t know, some people, they can read music and they’re like punch card machines – you can give them a sheet of music and they play it, they can play it perfectly, and at the end they stop. And you take away their music, and they’re lost – they just don’t know what to do! It’s a bit like a car without a steering wheel I suppose. I was always a bit afraid to be honest – if maybe I did start reading music, I’d forget how to play it – and that would be bad. So, no formative musical training, I haven’t really had any, it’s all been picked up along the way.

But, bands – I suppose you could count bands there in the formative training stuff as well. My first “real” band I was in was back in 1982. That was, of course, discounting all the bands I was in before then which were basically a collection of mates around your house, in the living room, scaring the neighbours, which doesn’t really count I suppose! That was quite good, because around that time, 1983, I’d already managed to get 2 analogue synths together, a Yamaha CS-5 and a Roland SH-101, which I adored, that was a fantastic instrument, and an ARP String Quartet. Basically, as soon as I got a job around 1980, I was buying synths, because I just couldn’t get enough then! Playing live, I think, was a real turning point for me as well, because that takes you from just plonking around in your bedroom to actually being in front of a crowd and entertaining, and that’s a fantastic buzz, as I’m sure you’re aware yourself. The band I was in at the time was called “Monteagle”, a prog-metal band I suppose, for want of a better description. The guitarist in there went onto much better things, that wasMark Gemini Thwaite, who I still keep in touch with, and that was quite an experience, because playing sequencer riffs in the middle of a quite guitar oriented band was quite a revelation for me, to be able to do that and actually get the crowd going along with it. It’s just a fantastic feeling, and to start with, that’s where I was. After a stint in another couple of bands, which you could all consider formative really, (I played in a Greek band of all things! ) and a couple more heavy metal bands, I thought to myself “What am I doing?” – then I went back to what I really liked doing in the first place which was the pure EM stuff.

CN – What was your first instrument Dave?

DP – Now that is something I do remember, quite vividly in fact. It was a Bontempi Organ, one of those really strange contraptions – you plug into the mains, and it positively wheezes, rattles, everything! It’s powered by air – basically a big mouth organ with a keyboard on it and a great big mains fan – and to me it was wondrous. You pressed buttons on the left and they did things like “B Minor” – when I didn’t have a clue what “B Minor” was – but it sounded absolutely brilliant! What I did find is if you pressed all the notes at the same time it made this really asthmatic wheezing thing – and that was really stupendous, you could almost do note bends on it! I really wasn’t very old at the time, and I probably didn’t give it the respect it deserved, well, that and the fact it only had a two octave keyboard didn’t help I suppose! That was my first “real” instrument really, I was probably the tender age of nine or ten!

Atmospheric – 2006/7

CN – Good old Bontempi, the starting point I’m sure for many a keyboard wizard of the future! Now “Atmospheric” was your first album released in 2007. Could you maybe give us some background as to how this project developed and the actual concept behind it?

DP – Yeah, the “Atmospheric” track itself was really a direct result of browsing the net and stumbling across this site which completely blew my socks off. It was data audio samples from the CLUSTER-2 spacecraft, which is basically a small satellite, orbiting around the earth on the edge of the magnetosphere, recording the impacts of the charged particles from the sun on the magnetic fields around the earth. That sounds quite “wow” – but what actually sounded really “wow” to me was the sounds that it actually makes! Not sounds in space – nobody ever hears you scream in space – but the main man behind the CLUSTER-2 project, Professor Gurnett, had taken some of the data samples from the CLUSTER-2 and turned them into audio files, which I thought was quite a stroke of genius to be honest. Rather than having a load of raw data, on lots and lots of pieces of paper and graphs and everything, he’d turned it into sound – the results were absolutely stunning! You can check it out yourself, if you google it. The one in particular that really caught my ear was the “dawn chorus” – which is the sound I eventually ended up using on “Atmospheric”, it really drew it together for me. In my head, I could almost hear it jumping out! It’s just a fantastically awesome thing you know, something literally from outer space, that is there all the time, basically the same effect you get with the Aurora Borealis, but instead of seeing it, you’re hearing it, and that to me was just fantastic. So yeah, it was just a case then of making contact with Professor Gurnett, getting his approval to use the piece, and then get recording on it really!

CN – Well for me, “Atmospheric” is certainly a classic in its own right from start to finish and the thing, I must say, which is one of the things I really love about the overall structure and compositions of your own music, is that many of them are nice long tracks, giving them time to unfold and more of a complete experience for the listener. Is this something you consciously aim towards?

DP – Yeah, I think I do. It is something that you do set out to do – I’ve got no intentions on coming out with a verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-chorus-verse-finish type thing. It’s definitely a case of setting the frame really, setting the mood. One of the things I always try and steer clear of is something that starts the same as it ends. I’m guilty of that myself on some of the tracks but it’s so easy with electronic music, especially with computer aided electronic music, to come up with a really nice line, and then just repeat it, and repeat it, and repeat it…. you know? It’s so easy to do. It’s kind of counter-intuitive, because Berlin School, I think the origins were very much aligned to computer and electronically generated sequences which were then played over, to give some kind of texture and pattern – but those evolve, they change, they’re more organic somehow – and so yes, it’s something I try to replicate to some degree. Obviously, I don’t have the massive sequencer banks that TD have (I would love to have a go on those!) but at the same time I try and steer clear of the trap of getting into the four bars and repeating, all the way through, with a bit of a drum solo at the end.

CN – I think it’s time now, fellow dreamers, to indulge ourselves with the title track from Computerchemist’s first solo album – here’s “Atmospheric”….

TRACK #2 – “Atmospheric” track from “Atmospheric” (1st segment)

BACKGROUND – “Marshfire” from the album “Atmospheric”

CN – How cool was that, just an edited section there from the much longer and wonderful title track from Computerchemist’s first album “Atmospheric”. Dave, some very strong and beautifully crafted Tangerine Dream vibes in particular going on in that piece. When was your own first encounter with the music and magic of Tangerine Dream?

DP – The first encounter was as I said earlier, with “Cloudburst Flight”, fantastic piece of music, and to me then it was a case of just going out and getting as much as I could. I virtually bought their entire back catalogue in between buying synths! It was a revelatory moment for me I think, to discover TD, because it had opened up this area of my brain that previously was dormant, I assume… it’s a funny thing. I must admit, some of the stuff I couldn’t really, at the time get into. I bought this fantastic looking double album called “Zeit”… I really struggled with that one… I’m sorry Edgar (Froese)… but I did, I struggled. But at the same time, TD have reinvented themselves so many times… the only other person or band that I can think of who has done that, albeit in a very different capacity, would be David Bowie, of all people. Because, like them, they have the knack I think, of being able to not stagnate, not stick in the style they first got famous on, they’re not guilty of that at all, they play what they want to play – and for that I absolutely 100% admire them. I think that also taught me a very important lesson as well, which is not to fall into the trap of commercial music; not to just pander to the whim of whatever happens to be current flavour of the month, this year – you just go out there, and do what you want. I think that, for me, it’s a way of life as well as a musical thing.

CN – Obviously TD have been a huge influence on your own work and one that you’ve skilfully adapted your own styles and originality into your own creations.. The big question I ask all of our guests now and for many I know a tricky one.. do you have one favourite TD album, and if so, for what reasons?

DP – Oh, the ten million dollar question! I could be really sneaky there actually Chris, and say could I have the 70s-80s box set as my favourite one? Because that kind of covers it, although that’s cheating really! I think so far, I’ve mentioned “Cloudburst Flight” how many times? I dunno, loads, because for me, that’s my favourite track. The album? Well, fantastic album, but it’s such a toughie, because “Encore”, very close behind it, and “Ricochet”, almost joint second position there…. I think I’ll stick with “Force Majeure” actually, because I like the cover, I had a see-through one, and that did it for me! No seriously, that for me has got to be the best, but there are some very very close contenders I think.

CN – Have you been fortunate enough to see Tangerine Dream live, Dave?

DP – Yes, I certainly have Chris, but maybe not as often as I should have. That sounded like a terrible thing to say didn’t it! I saw them, I think it was 1981 at the (Birmingham) Odeon and again in 1982. That was fantastic, I must say. The atmosphere, the sound levels… I think I saw Motorhead the same year, for the “Ace of Spades” tour, and sound level wise… I’ve got a feeling that TD were louder! They had some incredible PA equipment at the time, and it was just a phenomenal night, one of those things that stays with you forever. For those of you who haven’t seen them live.. go and see them!

CN – Well on that subject you know I’m one that couldn’t agree with you more. I’d like to chat in a bit about your equipment and recording set up, but before we do that I’ve another track or rather, part of it, from the “Atmospheric” album called the “Flight Of F”. Again, all of these influences and elements with the superb sequencing going on just come into their own. Any info can you give us on this track Dave?

DP – It’s one of those things that I just love, getting that really heavy bass sequence going. You hear it a lot in TD stuff, especially the early stuff, and it’s one of those things live that just goes through you somehow, you don’t hear it, you FEEL it, and it’s just a fantastically powerful weapon, I suppose, to use in the music. One of the things I really, consciously, tried to do was to get that “Berlin Sound” going here. I did actually get a report from somebody who bought the album come back to me, a warning more like, to say “Don’t drive when you listen to this! You lose sight of what you’re doing on the road!”. In a way, I thought that was quite a good compliment really, because it kind of achieved what it set out to do, which is to really take you away on a flight, and get you into that altered state of mind, where you’re freed a bit from your daily humdrum stuff.

CN – Here then, fellow dreamers, is the “Flight Of F”.

TRACK #3 – “Flight of F” track from “Atmospheric” (1st segment)

BACKGROUND – “Icon One” from the album “Icon One”

CN – The simply divine “Flight Of F” there, from the “Atmospheric” album. On to sound and the recording side of things itself now Dave, there’s always these amazing textures, layers and instruments adding to that Computerchemist magic happening throughout your works. How does this “from original idea to that final completed track” process work for you? Do you concentrate on one idea for a track and see it through, or do you have say, multiple ones going on and go back to, to fine tune, until you’re happy with them?

Yeah, I generally start with just laying down a couple of guide tracks, you can’t beat a good metronome for starters, just to get the feel of the sort of tempo you’re going to do, the voicings, getting the general “feel” of how you want the track to sound. I do tend to like just letting them grow really, to take their own life in a way. You start off doing one thing, and you look back on it and you go “Ooh! That turned out all right!” but it wasn’t quite what I intended to do at the start! I think a lot of the stuff I do tends to be like that. I am very guilty about going back and just “doing again it to death” as well. I am a perfectionist, unfortunately, a completer-finisher, and it’s a terrible thing to fall into. I mean, people who can do an 80-20 and then just walk away, they’re happy with what they’ve done, and everybody else probably is, but I’m never happy until I’ve done that 101%. So, from the original idea, although I do let it sprawl out, once it’s sprawled, I do some very, very judicious trimming on it. I’m also quite keen to make sure I’m not falling into the trap of laying down lots and lots of tracks over each other, so everything just gets lost in the mush. There’s a very fine dividing line to try and get that balance – you’re aiming for minimalism but at the same time you want to hear nice lush textures – so there’s a balance in the middle, but it’s very easy to tip one way or the other. I do tend to spend a lot of time working post-production on things, I suppose you can think that’s a good thing, but it’s probably very annoying for everybody else who’s listening to me though, going over and over and over again the same piece!

CN – I’m sure it’s not! I know the guitar features to wonderful effect in a lot of your work. Can you run us through what guitars and any other physical equipment you have in your studios?

DP- In terms of guitars, the first two albums I did with a Fender Stratocaster on loan to me. Unfortunately, it was a left handed one and I play right handed, so that was interesting to say the least! For the last album, or rather between albums, I decided to get a right handed guitar sorted out. I’ve got a pretty limited budget, so I got aBehringer guitar from eBay, it cost me less than fifty quid. The first thing I did upon getting it out of the shiny wrapper was to remove the pickups, went back on eBay and got some Fender Lace Sensors for it, which are incredibly low-noise, very high-definition pickups, well worth the money and dropped those in. I then got a hand reamer and bored out the holes on the top to accommodate someSperzel locking machine heads, and put those on. Essentially, these are all parts that would be fitted to a Fender Deluxe Stratocaster if you were to buy one in the wild, but not on MY budget! So, what I’ve basically done is to take a fairly stock guitar and given it features that you would not be looking at in this sort of range. Sound wise, it has improved it drastically – it can hold notes very well, never goes out of tune – it has just transformed it, and that’s my main instrument now for the guitar work.

I’ve got a bass guitar as well, a long neck Yamaha, it featured quite heavily on “Atmospheric”, especially on tracks like “Sharazad”. I used it quite a lot on “Icon One” too, but on the last album it featured very lightly, but it will probably be making a bit of a return on the next album.

In terms of other external bits I’ve got going here, we’ve got a 19″ rack with a quad DI box,dual input valve preamp which I have retro-fitted with some excellent Slovakian valves which have a fantastic sound on them, they do the clipping very very nicely, much better than the stock valves that came with it. I’ve got a couple of compander/limiters in there, just for the external equipment really. Then I’ve got the soundcard, which isn’t really a card, it’s a 19″ 1U rack, a Hercules 16/12, which is the main card I use. It’s got more inputs and outputs than I’ll ever need in my lifetime anyway, so that’s good enough for me!

Keyboard wise, the only keyboard I’ve got now is an M-Audio Keystation 88ES, which is it, really! It does everything I want, it’s a full-size piano keyboard, semi-weighted, it’s not piano-piano but it’s not cheapy clunky-clunky either, it’s got as good a feel as some of the Rolands had I think. There’s a box full of guitar effects pedals, a Wah-Wah, a Zoom effects pedal, a couple of extra bits and pieces for the guitar, but they’re just for the guitar, not for any of the VSTi instruments.

On top of the desk is a Behringer B-Fader BCF-2000, which is a fantastic thing – motorised 8-way control surface fader with some virtual (endless) knobs on it, links very nicely into the rest of the setup and basically does everything I need in terms of control surfaces for tweaking the EQ’s, getting the levels and balances just right, it’s replaced the old analogue equipment again that I had before, so really, I have gone completely virtual in terms of the actual kit, the guitars really being the big exception.

The drum pads – I’ve got some Yamaha drum pads in the corner which I use as MIDI triggers for some of the sounds as well. I do like the feel you get when you actually play drums with sticks, as opposed to sitting there with a piano roll or trying to do it on the keyboard, which inevitably sounds like someone playing drums on the keyboard. To me, there’s nothing worse than hearing a track which has got some fantastic sounds on it, and then it’s spoilt because you can hear a hi-hat, a snare, a tom and a cymbal all at the same time – and you think, they’ve either got an octopus, they’ve got two drummers, or they’re not very good at programming on the drums, and it can let down something, to me, maybe it’s that perfectionist coming out in me again.

CN – What virtual software do you utilise, Dave?

DP – The mainstay of the recording software I’ve got is Cubase SX3. That’s the centrepoint of the studio really, something I’ve had since 2005. Before then, I think in 1999, I had Cubase VST 3.7, and I hung onto that for 6 years, and I’ll probably do the same with SX3. To be honest, I think that if it’s good enough, it works, it’s stable, it doesn’t crash very often – then it’s good enough!

The other tool I use a lot isAudacity, which is a free, open source product, you can download it with absolutely no charge whatsoever. It’s something I use extensively for post-processing on the tracks after I do the mixdowns from SX. It’s great for fade-in, fade-outs, getting rid of the blank space at the end of the tracks prior to doing the actual CD recording itself. For the actual CD mastering it’s Nero, the full version because you can get the ISRC codes down on there.

Other bits of software I use; well, VSTi’s – that’s virtual synthesisers. I’ve made a point of not buying anything if I can, because there’s that muchopen source, free downloads out there. It’s not like the old days at all is it, when I literally spent all of my wages for the first couple of years buying synthesisers, now you can download a copy of them, and they are just as good as the originals – it’s frightening really isn’t it, how technology is moving on.

The same goes for the effects as well, all the effects are VSTi effects. I occasionally use the external reverb, but why bother when you’ve got millions of different variations you can use with just a single click of the mouse! It is a frightening thing.

Icon One – 2007/8

CN – Lets go from your first album from 2007 to your second, the brilliant “Icon One” that came out later the same year. I remember when we first featured works from that on TDFZ and it remains another striking EM album from start to finish. Can you tell us a little of your general concept behind the “Icon One” release itself?

DP – Yeah, there were some high concepts going on in “Icon One”, far more than there were for “Atmospheric”. The general stance behind it was to imagine the two sides – a bit like the yin and the yang, the good and the bad, the dark and the light. “Icon One” was symbolic of the power switch – that’s the cover – it’s really energy, but at the same time, too much energy is destroying; we’re using far too much of it and it’s destroying the planet, so there’s a dark side to energy, and what you consider to be good.

“Icon Zero” is the flipside, the off, the entropy and the decay, the dark side of that light, and so really the balance has to be struck. The tracks in the middle are trying to reflect that. “Chaos Theory” is an attempt to act as the fulcrum of the album, the two sides of it; the light side and the chaos side – the two sides almost in an interlocked, perpetual battle.

“The Message” at the end, quite symbolic of the fact that we still have the chance to save ourselves. We’re not dead yet, you know – yeah, we’ve got global warming, we’ve got all this stuff going on, but at the same time, we’re not completely up to (our necks in) it, there is still a way out, there is still hope, and we can still change, and I think that’s an important thing to try and get across.

So yeah, there were some more concepts going on in there than certainly there were for “Atmospheric”.

CN – As I mentioned earlier one of the many compelling factors for me with Computerchemist’s works is that they’re not compromised in their artist vision by standard short time limits, harking back to those great TD and Schulze album days where one track would more often than not make up one side of an album. Please bear this in mind listeners, with all of Dave’s works, that you’re hearing here today, that they’re edited highlights. You need to absorb the full versions to make the experience even more of an epic one. With that in mind, lets enjoy now part of our first track taken from the “Icon One” album which is called “Icon Zero”… enjoy..

TRACK #4 – “Icon Zero” track from “Icon One” (2nd segment)


CN – Just heavenly… “Icon Zero” from the “Icon One” album courtesy of today’s special TDFZ guest, Computerchemist, Dave Pearson. Dave and I have for you another glimpse into this second album of his in a minute before we unveil an exclusive TDFZ first look into his 3rd and latest album to date, “Landform”. Before we do that, and to celebrate this new release here with us all today, he’s very kindly given me some signed copies of his CDs to give away, so I thought it only fitting we’d run a small competition. Dreamers, these are truly awesome prizes in front of me so I hope you’re all going to join in today. What I have sitting in front of me as prizes is firstly – one complete set of all of the Computerchemist albums .. that’s three autographed CD’s which are “Atmospheric”, “Icon One” and his third and latest master work to date “Landform”. On top of that I’ve also got two signed runner up copies of “Landform” itself. How good is this?

To enter the competition is simple. Dave’s going to read a TD related question we’ve set now then I’ll tell you what to do next.. What’s the question Dave?

DP – OK, the question is…. The classic Tangerine Dream line-up of the 70’s consisted of Edgar Froese, Chris Franke and Peter Baumann… following his departure from TD, what was the name of the record label Peter Baumann went on to create? You’ve got all three lifelines intact, and the lines are open now!

CN – Excellent, thank you Dave. If you know that answer, just go over to our competition page at our Cyber-Warehouse store , you’ll see that question there and the email link to forward your answers. The Cyber-Warehouse address is of course Best of luck everyone, these are great prizes, so join in and you never know your luck.

Marvellous,…some more music I think is in order now. Originally aired on TDFZ following its release, let’s all take another look into the “Icon One” album with the track “Timethorns”.

TRACK #5 – “Timethorns” track from “Icon One” (1st segment)

BACKGROUND – “After the Eclipse” (3rd segment) from “Landform”

Landform – 2008

CN – “Timethorns” there from “Icon One”. That brings us nicely up to date with where we’re at musically in the EM career of Computerchemist and to the new “Landform” album itself. It’s another cracking release Dave, I love the cover artwork as well, it’s a really nice touch, can you tell us about the main theme behind this one?

DP – Yeah, I think the main inspiration there for “Landform” was very much looking at it from a more organic, earthy, rocky point of view. That’s “rocky” on many levels, actually, because it’s probably the most “rocky” album I’ve produced – there’s a lot of guitar work on it, in fact it’s probably about as far out as I’m going to go with the guitar work. So there’s very much of an Earthbound feel to it. What I’d almost subconsciously done I think, was to make the first album “Atmospheric” about the atmosphere, the air, the edge of space. The second album was very much about energy, about fire and light. What I appear to have done, is to (inadvertently) start going through the list of elements (elementals) – so, it got put to me not long ago to maybe consider doing a fourth album which is about water, which is probably what I’ll do! But getting back to it, Landform is very much an Earthbound thing, I think, I’ve been focussing primarily on that. “Darklight Drive” being the exception to the rule there, because that’s almost like a release from Earth into space, but the rest of them are very much following that line.

CN – Now that great track from it that also opened today’s special on your work, “Darklight Drive” also featured on the first of our TDFZ vision online music video programs last year. You can still view that dreamers, on Computerchemist’s MySpace site itself, or the TDFZ vision program. Both direct links are on today’s playlist. I believe you incorporated some Apollo 11 NASA material into that recording?

DP – Yeah, I did, it’s actually the sequence of the Lunar Excursion Module (or Lunar Lander) as it lifts off from the surface of the moon for the first time, and it’s this matter-of-fact way in which they are going through the countdown, and actually recounting that it’s very similar to asking for landing permission on their local runway, and it’s that matter-of-fact thing juxtaposed with the fact that if that engine doesn’t light, they’re stuck there forever – and I just thought it was a very poignant piece, more poignant for me in a way than actually landing on it in the first place, it’s that life or death thing. The “Landform” album as a whole is far more earthbound, but this particular sequence was very much a trip into space and back again, viewing the earth from a height, as you can probably see from the video.

CN – Time to experience some of this great album itself again now. Here, everyone, is a small section of the longer title track, which is called “Landform”.

TRACK #6 – “Landform” track from “Landform” (1st segment)

BACKGROUND – “After the Eclipse” (3rd segment) from “Landform”

CN – That was “Landform”, one of 5 inspirational musical voyages of discovery that make up the “Landform” album. Make sure you all check out this album and all of Computerchemist’s works to date. I know you’re not going to be disappointed, a must-have. Dave, can you let everyone out there know where all of these great albums are available from?

DP – Yeah Chris, the first two albums have just been re-issued on, so if you browse across there you’ll find they’re offering some re-issues [NOTE – as of June 2009 Syngate will no longer be distributing these albums.]. They’re also available where you’ll find “Landform” as well. They’re also available on iTunes, Amazon, and all of those other e-music sites that are fairly decent – you should be able to find them there.

CN – Superb. I know you moved recently from the UK and are now based in Hungary, they’ve a wonderful TD fan base there I know, having met many of the fans at various concerts over the years. How are you finding the EM scene yourself there?

DP – One of the things I have been to, was it last year or the year before now, was EFOTT, which is a big festival which is held over the course of a couple of days, over in the east of the country in a place called Debrecen. It’s basically like Glastonbury, but without the rain and the mud! A fantastic time, very late summers over here so it’s very warm. They had some fantastic bands on, all sorts over there, 3 or 4 main stages, lots of smaller tents, and it is surprising, the scene is very vibrant over here, no shortage of inspiration.

The Future

CN – Another track from “Landform” now and its by way of “Cave Search”. This is another of these works for me like so much of your work that has video or visuals screaming out. Can we expect any more jaw-dropping music videos like the “Darklight Drive” from you in the future?

DP – One of the things I’m looking at is to look around for collaborating with VJ’s – “Video Jockeys” by any other name – and it’s something that I think Tangerine Dream really started to pioneer back a long time ago. Getting that visual element going with the music is a very tricky thing indeed – it’s quite easy to get Winamp or something just playing away, bringing up some visualisation stuff in the background, but it doesn’t really do justice to the music, you know? It’s very difficult to synch, it’s very difficult to get it all working. A real human brain operating real stuff, in the right circumstances with the right sort of people, you can get some really amazing shows going that way. So what I am doing is looking around for a collaboration like that. If anybody’s interested, drop me a line! 🙂

CN – Here, and from “Landform”, is the track “Cave Search”.

TRACK #7 – “Cave Search” track from “Landform” (1st segment)

BACKGROUND – “Darklight Drive” (4th segment) from “Landform”

CN – Terrific. “Cave Search” there, from the “Landform” album. What can we expect from the Computerchemist laboratory in the future!

DP – Priority number 1 is finishing off the fourth album. While I’m in the process of doing that, starting to look at the logistics of how I can start doing some live tours. One of the things I’m very concious of is that it’s very difficult to pull it off if you’re one man and his PC on a stage. So, as I mentioned before, getting a collaboration with a VJ is a must. The other thing I’ll be looking at is getting a live drummer involved in there, because the pieces are very much percussion heavy. I think I’ve got a pretty good sound going on there but there’s something about live drummers that you can’t get any other way, and in front of a live crowd it’s fantastic.

Probably looking at getting a guitarist involved as well, possibly some other musicians. I used a cello player on “Darklight Drive” – the possibilities are there to start branching out but definitely looking at getting some live acts together is priority now I think.

CN – Well Dave, Computerchemist it’s been an absolute joy having you actually connect with us all at last on TDFZ. You’ve shared your enthralling music with us all from way back so its been a real blast and experience for us all to eventually catch up with you. I’m sure all of our listeners would like to join me in wishing you all the very success you deserve with this latest album and like me are looking forward to more incredible music in the future, Dave thanks a million.

DP – Thanks very much Chris, it’s been a pleasure.


CN – The one and only Computerchemist there, Dave Pearson, always inspirational and producing music from the very top end of the electronic music scene. An enormous thanks again to Dave, please go check out all of the related links on today’s TDFZ podcast site, to link to Dave’s websites, and do go check “Landform” plus his previous releases today in full.

Don’t forget, why not have a go at the competition and who knows you could end up winning all three of Computerchemist’s signed albums or be one of 2 lucky runner up winners of his latest album. Just go to, go to the competition page there, answer the simple TD question and you never know.

Well I hope you all enjoyed today’s journey fellow dreamers. I’ll be back here again next Saturday with the TDFZ Friends music special. We’ve another huge line-up of TD inspired & influenced bands and artists from around the world waiting us all in our ongoing quest to bring you the finest in global electronica there is.

Seeing us out of today’s special is one final treat Computerchemist has left for us and again it’s from “Landform” and it’s the track “Geoid”. I’m Chris Newman, you take good care of yourselves, you take good care of each other, and I’ll see you next week. And remember, the Dream doesn’t remain the same, it gets better and better.

TRACK #8 – “Geoid” track from “Landform” (1st segment)


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