Savannah Twilight

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Another recording “from my vault” that I am sharing for entertainment in unprecedented times. ‘Savannah Twilight’ was recorded in 1998 when my good friend and musical collaborator Asha Dub joined me for one of our regular jam sessions at my flat in Highgate (London).

 

“Savannah Twilight” – guitar improvisation, 1998
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Background:

Shortly before this session, Asha had asked me to fit one of his Steinberger (GM model) guitars with a hex pick up (Roland GK-2A) for MIDI output. This involved enlarging the instrument’s control cavity and drilling several holes into the top, so I was flattered to be entrusted with his guitar for such a project. It was the first time I had undertaken a MIDI ‘conversion’ and so the work represented an opportunity to gain further experience. As a result of this session, in which Asha used the modified guitar, I decided to build myself a MIDI enabled guitar as the final project of my Musical Instrument Technology course.

 
Recording Notes:

“Savannah Twilight” is a one-off, improvisation. In this period Asha and I often played to a simple backing track of 8-bit drum loop samples but on this occasion we used a looping sequence of computer game music from a ‘public domain’ floppy disk that came free with a computer magazine. To this accompaniment, Asha and I played guitar.

For the latter part of the track Asha reverted to a standard (non-MIDI) guitar output and I switched from my Jackson guitar to one that I had made myself as a first project on my MIT course. After hearing the recording, we overdubbed a bass, percussion and background keyboard sounds. I then mixed the resultant, multitrack recording down to a stereo DAT (Digital Audio Tape) recording.

After hearing the final mix, I found the track evocative of a different landscape and the passage from the bustle of day to the tranquility of the night. I described this to Asha and asked him what the music had made him think of. He replied simply, “grass”. I decided not to ask for clarification of this reply and combined our respective interpretations of the music in the title, “Savannah Twilight”.

 
Backing track:

“Sad Reality” sequence by Dr. Avalanche
OctaMED Sound Tracker software
Amiga 1200 personal computer
 
Guitars:

Asha –
Steinberger (GM) MIDI equipped guitar
Yamaha G50 Guitar MIDI Converter
MIDI sound module
Standard Guitar Effects (closing solos)

Myself (1) –
Jackson Stealth Pro (1992) guitar
Korg A4 Guitar Processor
Korg KVP-001 volume pedal
Dunlop ‘Cry Baby’ Wah pedal

Myself (2) –
Hand built, solid-bodied electric guitar
Dunlop ‘Cry Baby’ Wah pedal
Digitech Studio Quad multi-effects processor
 
Overdubs:

Asha – Gibson SG bass; Djembe
Myself -MIDI keyboard, E-mu ESI-32 digital sampler
 
Recording Equipment:

Fostex D-90 digital, multitrack recorder
Soundcraft Spirit Rac Pac mixer
Sony DTC-A6 DAT recorder
 
Attribution:

Original ‘Savannah’ image by Dan Sudermann from Pixabay
 

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