The Reaper has an unusual but strong western movie theme. It’s about the early settlers and the conflict with the indigenous Indian population. Track 1 starts with an electronic style western cowboy theme with a twangy electric ‘guitar’ sound using analogue synthesiser acoustic models. The “Nand Gate” in the title, by the way if you didn’t already know, is a basic computing logic element. So I must have used many during the making of this album. “The Reaper’ is a contrasting wild and sometimes aggressive hard-edged rhythmic track featuring another analogue acoustic modelled instrument I call “The Scythe”. Track 3 is an eerie abstract electronic music sound-scape. To me, it evokes a strange world where the spirits of the slaughtered (mostly Indians it turns out) might end up. For Track 4 I imagined a view, looking down on a white man’s church service from the viewpoint of a remote spirit world of dead Indians. A distant Bible text reading about the creation filters through occasionally into a strange sound world full of spirits and ghosts.
This was the second album to be based on use of my unique analogue physical-modelling modular synthesiser, (see synthesiser adventures and the acoustic modelling section). Ghostly choirs, odd sounding drums, thin metallic stringed instruments, gongs, weird wind blows and plenty of other strange analogue model sounds that form the bulk of the sound material were all created on this instrument and give this album a totally unique feel.
The recording process was as before; entirely analogue, using a 1/2” 4 track tape machine and 4 extra 1/4” stereo playback machines controlled by a BBC micro-computer to run in various ambient tape effects. By the way, this is the same tape recorder setup I used for a “UK Electronica Festival” at Stafford when I did a very strange, entirely tape based set with the 5 remote BBC Micro controlled tape recorders.