Our guest unsigned act this week is Colchester-based solo “hobby musician” Neil Alderson, better known as Kyma. He describes his music as intelligent, mellow electronica, blended with real and organic instruments.
Having started with childhood piano and guitar lessons, Neil started writing songs in an alternative rock band in the late 1990s. His solo work started under the name Karma Police, taking inspiration from the Radiohead song, and kicking off with the album Swept Away (2003). Finding that too many people assumed he was going to be a Radiohead tribute act, he randomly came across the word Kyma (the Greek word for ‘wave’) from a Google search.
The first track we’ll be listening to today is Lost Sands:
It is a great instrumental with a wonderfully chilled out feeling, with gentle pads and strings backed up with soft oriental sounds, and steadily builds to a point half way through where everything breaks down and you realise you’ve just lost a huge throbbing bass as well. Things build again throughout the second half, hitting a point which I can only describe as trippy oriental dub. Fantastic.
Next up is Crystallized:
This one has a bit of an X Files feel for me, with its rippling piano part and a bass line fresh out of the 1990s (that’s a good thing). After Lost Sands this is a great contrast, and proves that Kyma can handle a good range of styles.
Third and last for this set is Angels Breathe, from 2004:
Opening with a distinctly wobbly vinyl effect, this piano-driven track is the only one in this set to include vocals, from a somewhat ethereal sounding lady. I can’t help but feel she’s a little clouded by the effects, but you can hear echoes of Delerium (that’s a very good thing).
Here are some highlights from Kyma‘s answers to my largely daft and unprofessional questions. He was particularly notable, in that his answers were among the best that I received from any of my guests…
What’s your favourite synth, and why?
Well it’s not really an easy thing to pick out an absolute favourite because I am always changing which synths I use and quite often each project will have a completely different rack of synths in the sequencer depending on what sound or theme I’m trying to develop. A number of tracks are born out of me literally randomly picking a synth or trying out something I’ve downloaded and randomly picking another one until I get a layer of sound that I like. I guess I have a few “fallback” synths, namely, FM7, Alchemy, Chimera, Microtonic, If you had asked me 10 years ago I probably would have included Greenoaks Crystal on that list too, not used it much in recent years though. I’m an advocate of freeware synths and I like finding a good freeware synth before resorting to paid for. (That could also be because I’m a cheapskate more than anything though!)
Rearrange the following into the correct order: The Beatles, Justin Bieber, Mozart, Kraftwerk.
Mozart, The Beatles, Kraftwerk.
Mozart has to be top really, a pioneer of his time and technically superior to the rest. The Beatles second, no one can deny the impact The Beatles had on music and they’re just so damn catchy! You probably would have thought being an electronic artist I would pick Kraftwerk as top but in my opinion the other two really made a bigger impact in general, as much as I respect what Kraftwerk did for electronica specifically.
And as for the other one, I’m not even going to sully my keyboard by typing out his name let alone let him onto my list!
Which (existing) movie would have benefitted your music on the soundtrack?
An interesting question… I have no idea! Well I’ve always been inspired by the Blade Runner soundtrack but I think it is already perfect so I would never think I could replace it, not in a million years! But maybe you could slip one or two of my tracks in there to sit alongside Vangelis‘ amazing work? But even then, the quality difference would show (obviously I mean just how bad the quality of Vangelis‘ work is compared to mine… obviously)